Be Prepared! 11 October 2015

Be Prepared!
Series: What In The World Is Going On? A Study of 1 Peter
1 Peter 3:8-17

Series Overview:
God’s grace is present in the midst of suffering.

Big Idea: Always be ready to give a reason for the hope you have in Jesus.


This morning we continue our series on 1 Peter, “What In The World Is Going On?” This short letter to the early, suffering church is a powerful message not only to an ancient people but is increasing relevant to modern Christians as we face persecution. We may never face the horrors of ISIS victims, but nevertheless we can—and perhaps should—feel in the minority as followers of Jesus in a world consumed with money, sex and power. The theme of this book may well be called hope and grace in the midst of suffering. We’ve looked at hope, holiness, and harmony. Then we looked at the unpopular word of submission, first at the marketplace, then at home, and today in the church.

Before we dive into today’s text, however, I want to acknowledge the elephant in the room. This is my last Sunday as your pastor, something that affects me deeply, far beyond words. I’ll talk a bit about that later, but being this is my final Scio sermon, i thought it might be a great opportunity to briefly share some of my favorite passages of scripture, concluding with 1 Peter 3:8-17. This is not my greatest hits but what I think are some of the Bible’s greatest hits!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

If I could only tell you one thing, that’s it. That’s my life verse. Make Jesus LORD. Submit—there’s that word—everything to God. That’s what it means to follow Jesus. It’s not just praying a prayer. It’s not just studying a book. It’s knowing, loving, and obeying God. Trust is not easy, but Daddy knows best. He is good and faithful.

The second passage—or passages—are found in John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Belief requires action. It’s not simply mental agreement, but authentic faith. Jesus said the two greatest commands are to love God and love your neighbor…and one way we love God is by loving our neighbor. 1 John 3:16 says

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)

I have been delighted to both see and receive this love at Scio. There are some incredibly generous, servant-hearted people in the Scio family and that’s fantastic. The first series I did almost five years ago was a continuation of a series about “one another.” The greatest of all of them was to love one another. Peter said it a few weeks ago in our text

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22)

The next passage I want to share was preached by our previous District Superintendent, Jeff Brown, at my pastoral installation. The simple message: be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-20)

When you receive Jesus, you get the Holy Spirit, too. Many feel they can’t come to Jesus until they clean up their act. Nothing could be further from the truth! Jesus is a friend of sinners. He died to show His love and grace and provide forgiveness so we can know our Holy Father. The Holy Spirit—the same power that raised Jesus from the dead—is available to all followers of Jesus.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)

The Holy Spirit—when we confess our sins and exhale the junk and then inhale the Spirit—fills us with beautiful fruit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23a)

Now we turn to Scio’s mission. My first words to you as pastor were…why are you here? There are many answers to that question—if we’re honest—but here’s our purposes in existing:

We exist to fulfill the Great Commission and follow the Great Commandment by 
• serving our communities
• sharing our story
• sending disciples to bless the nations

so that God is glorified.
The Great Commandment is to love God and love your neighbor. The Great Commission was spoken before Jesus ascended into heaven.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Make disciples. Of all nations. Reproduce the life of Jesus in others. Fill this world with people who look like Jesus, who act like Jesus, who love like Jesus, who know Jesus.

Great! So how do we make disciples? How do we become disciples? Today’s passage offers a secret.

1 Peter 3:8…

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. (3:8)

If I had one challenge for you, Scio, one verse upon which to meditate and practice it could very well be this one. I have prayed four things for Scio since I arrived nearly five years ago:

Direction: wisdom to hear from God
Protection: we are engaged in a battle against satan
Unity: Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17

Peter tells us to be united. He doesn’t promote uniformity but unity. We are different—by design—but we are to work together. We are to love and serve one another.

We may not always agree on how to do things, but we should always be united regarding what to do and why. That’s the mission. That’s the Great Commandment. That’s the Great Commission.

D.L. Moody was once criticized for his evangelism methods. He responded, “Well, I’m always ready for improvement. What are your methods?” The man had no answer so Moody said, “Then I’ll stick to my own.”

Unity, not uniformity.

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (3:9)

We are to bless others. The Golden Rule. Turning the other cheek. Community 101.

Returning evil for good is satanic.
Returning good for good and evil for evil is human.
Returning good for evil is divine. Jesus set the ultimate example for us.


“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
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.” (3:10-12)

Peter quotes Psalm 34:15-16 and Ecclesiastes 2:17. There’s so much here.

We choose to love life. It is truly a gift…and the next one will be even better!
We must control our tongues, the source of so many of our problems.
We are to do good and hate evil.
We are to seek and pursue peace, though it is not always possible (Romans 12:18).

Let’s live it up…doing good!

God is watching. God is listening. He hears the prayers of His children.

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” (3:13-14)

We talked about suffering in chapter two. Suffering for being right should bring us joy, not because we enjoy suffering, but because God is watching and doing the right thing brings Him glory.

But in your hearts revere 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. (3:15a)

How do we make disciples? It begins with a conversation. It might be at a picnic, a party, a water cooler chat, or an online encounter. If we are truly following Jesus, our lives will be different. They will radiate love, joy, and peace. They will be filled with hope, and people will ask.

But you have to be ready. We must know the Bible. Even more, we must know Jesus and always “be prepared” (the Boy Scout motto!) to introduce others to HIm. The word “apology” is from the Greek word “answer.” It’s not regret or saying you’re sorry, but rather like a defense in a court. Apologetics is defending the faith.

But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (3:15b-17)

I love this passage! We are to treat everyone—Republicans, Democrats, even Buckeyes—with gentleness and respect as they are created in the image of God with dignity, value and worth. They’re lost and Jesus wants them found (Luke 15). There’s no greater thrill than introducing people to Jesus! But it’s not just what we say that’s important, but how we say it. Megaphones are not always the best tool for evangelism and discipleship!

We must keep a clear conscience in the process. This word “conscience” comes from two Latin words, “con” which is “with” and “scio” which is “to know.”

(Did you catch that? Scio means “to know”!). Conscience enables us “to know with.”

Peter closing this section by reiterating what he has said so many times before: sometimes we will suffer for doing good, and that may be God’s will. We pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” If you suffer for Jesus, rejoice. Great will be your reward. Our enemies may hurt us, but they can never harm us.

Closing Thoughts

It might be cliche but appropriate to challenge you to

love God
love your neighbor
make disciples

That’s our mission as a church. How are you doing? How are we doing?

I want to close by saying thank you. I love you, Scio. You have blessed me in my family in ways you cannot begin to understand. You embraced us when our arrived in the midst of suffering and remained faithful with us during many storms. You have been generous, encouraging, and kind. I will cherish these years together and delight in knowing this is not goodbye, but simply “see you later.” We will remain in the Great Lakes District of the Christian & Missionary Alliance. Although we’re crossing the border, we’re only an hour away—and near a great zoo, the Toledo Mud Hens baseball team, and the Walleye minor league hockey team!

When Heather and I visited nearly five years ago, her comment to me in the car was, “I think they need us and we need them.” Jeff Brown uttered the exact same words at the conclusion of my licensing prior to starting at Scio. I think both Heather and Jeff were right. Hopefully we have added value to your lives and you have certainly been a blessing to us.

I will continue to pray for you, your search for a new pastor, and my big four:


LORD, may Your kingdom come and Your will be done at Scio as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Thank you, Scio. Shalom!


Some ideas from

Be Hopeful (1 Peter): How to Make the Best of Times Out of Your Worst of Times (The BE Series Commentary) by Warren

Thru The Bible audio messages by J. Vernon McGee

1 Peter (The NIV Application Commentary) by Scot McKnight

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