1 Peter 3:13–17: “13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
Peter asks a seemingly rhetorical question, “Who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?” For decades Christians in America have faced some sort of persecution. As long as Christians went about their worship of God inside the Christian circle and did not speak about God in the marketplace then everything was good. Once Biblical values were spoken of in the world and sin was exposed then the door to persecution opened. The question is not if Christians will face persecution, but how do we handle the persecution?
Christians are to stand up for Righteousness. We are to stand up and stand firmly for Christ! How do we do this?
- Do what is right and good. (v. 13) Be a follower of what is right and good. The word “follower” comes from the Greek word zealot. We are to be zealous for what is right. Christians should be gripped by the passion of the Christian faith.
- Do not be afraid or troubled (v. 14) Will the Christian face persecution? In some way, yes. Peter says do not be afraid or troubled. God will give you His strength
- Set your heart upon God. Be ready to “give an answer” for your faith in Jesus. (15) Be prepared! What a tragedy…most professing believers do not know what they believe. This is why I teach discipleship classes on Tuesday nights. I cringe at the thought of how I presented the Gospel to people about going to Heaven and not being a disciple of Jesus.
- It is better to suffer for Good than Evil (v. 17) Suffering is coming. It may already be here. Stand for Christ, not the world.
“…you don’t have to be lunch meat for a hungry lion or lit up as a torch in Nero’s palace before it’s fair to claim that you’re facing persecution as a Christian. And just because we are, that doesn’t mean we shrink back for one second. In fact, we run all the faster and work all the harder, making the most of the days, for we know that they are short and evil.” –WILLIAM WOLFE