The Sunset pastor continued our theme, “First Peter—Trials, Pilgrimage, Courage and Hope” with a message, “But I Did No Wrong!” The text was from 1 Peter 3:15: “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Did you ever suffer a punishment for nothing more than doing the right thing?
In Acts 5, Peter and the other apostles were arrested, jailed, let out of jail by an angel, rearrested and flogged—all for doing no more than preaching the Good News of God’s love in Christ.
When they were released, they were “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the name.”
The apostles had done only what Jesus had commanded them to do.
The pastor made three points: (1) God’s Vindication; (2) What about Fear? (3) God’s Help.
(1) God’s Vindication. Our text follows V12: “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Whatever happens to God’s people in this life, God’s people will win in the end. He says, v13: “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?”
Generally speaking, if you are doing the right thing as a law-abiding citizen, you won’t get into trouble.
Then, v14: “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.”
Why do we sometimes suffer for doing what is right? The answer: we live in a sinful, fallen world.
When God’s people walk in the light, their actions often shine a light on the darkness, just by our doing right. In that instance, you are blessed.
Jesus said (Matthew 5:10-12): “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The apostles rejoiced because they had been counted worthy to be put in jail and flogged for their preaching. The world’s disapproval was God’s proof: you’re doing something right!
(2) What about Fear? V14b, quoting Isaiah 8: “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”
Today is the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on our country in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. The terrorists did that to strike fear in our hearts. But God’s people do not fear these sorts of things.
Isaiah 8:12: “Do not call conspiracy everything they call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear… The Lord Almighty is the one you are to fear… and he will be a sanctuary.”
God’s people have a calm assurance of God’s presence and help in the midst of chaos, confusion and violence in the world. We fear God, and God helps us not to fear anything else.
Hebrews 13:6: “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
(3) God’s Help. V15: “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.” When we do that, Christ comes in by his Spirit, gives us strength and power to do his will, and words to speak for him.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect….”
The difference between the Christian and the unbeliever is that we have hope—for God’s presence and power in this life and beyond this life.
With the help of the Lord, God’s people are bold as a lion.
We’re looking forward to our Prepare and Share night—a great food fest—at Sunset on Saturday, September 17, at 5:30 p.m. You are invited!
We’re also anticipating our annual Sunset revival with local preachers on October 2-4. We hope to be graced with your presence!
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” [Psalm 91:1-2]
May the Lord be your shelter, your refuge and fortress this week—our prayer for you from your friends at Sunset Christian Church.