The Trumpet Shall Sound, 23 April 2023

The Trumpet Shall Sound
Handel’s Messiah
1 Corinthians 15:51-53

Series Big Idea: Handel’s Messiah may be the greatest work of music ever created, bringing praise and glory to the Creator.
Big Idea: Transformation is coming soon…get ready!
High school. For some, it’s filled with wonderful memories of making the homecoming court, scoring the winning touchdown, or winning the spelling bee. For others, it’s social awkwardness, struggling through final exam week, or a long list of poor choices. I went to Brighton High School in Michigan and graduated in nineteen-something! The best thing that happened to me in high school occurred in my senior year when I met the love of my life, an amazing girl named Heather.
The second best memory of high school is band…symphonic band, jazz band, and most of all marching band. I played the trumpet and our trumpet section was so passionate, we made t-shirts that said, “Trumpets Jam.” I don’t have the t-shirt, but I still have the trumpet! The greatest thrill was when four of us were featured at the Detroit Lions halftime show at the old Pontiac Silverdome, hearing my name over the PA system in front of 80,000 fans (most of whom were at the concession stands or bathrooms!).
Today we’re continuing our series on Handel’s Messiah, arguably the greatest piece of music ever composed…with lyrics taken directly from the Bible. Today’s song is The Trumpet Shall Sound. The text is taken from 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. The New King James Version reads,
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53, NKJV)
Is this good news? Absolutely!
Let’s look at the passage again, this time from a modern translation.
But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53, NLT)
There is so much we don’t know about the future, but this hopeful text reveals many things. First, transformation is coming. I’m too old to have played with Transformers, but I know of their ability to change from one thing to another. That’s the idea of transformation. A caterpillar is transformed into a…butterfly. Our physical campus is in the midst of several transformations. The garage across the street has been leveled and will soon be transformed to green space. Our children’s wing was first transformed by a car flying into our nursery and is now being transformed again with new flooring, murals, and decorating to become vibrant space for kids to encounter Jesus. You get the idea!
We all realize change can be hard, especially when loss is involved, but in the case of our campus—and the case of our bodies—transformation is a beautiful thing. I said two weeks ago the odd of you dying are about 100%. This text seems to make an exception for some in the future who will not die. There will be a brief moment when a trumpet is blown, the dead will be raised, and our mortal bodies will be transformed. Transformation is coming.
Second, we must prepare for the transformation. There will be no advance notice. It will happen suddenly…in the blink of an eye. That’s fast! Nobody knows when this event will occur, not even Jesus (so don’t waste your time with people claiming to know)!
Our transformed bodies will be like Jesus’ resurrected body. I mentioned it will be immortal. Jesus ate after the resurrection, so we will eat…but perhaps we won’t have to count calories! There was at least one moment when Jesus seemed to defy the laws of physics and enter a room without going through a door or window.
Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said.  (John 20:26, NLT)   
That’s kind of fun! Resurrection Sunday is about more than just Jesus’ resurrection. It’s a preview of coming attractions for his followers, too. We will have our own resurrection day soon (well, after we die!).
But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53, NLT)
Compare our current bodies from our resurrected ones:
Perishable                             imperishable
Sown in dishonor                 raised in glory
Sown in weakness               raised in power
Sown a natural body           raised a spiritual body (1 cor. 15:35-54)
Sickness and death             no sickness or death
There’s more to the transformation than just the physical flesh and blood which will decay and die. Our sinful nature is in rebellion against God. It’s not suitable for the new world that is to come, the new creation
If we read a bit more…
Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
            “Death is swallowed up in victory.
55         O death, where is your victory?
                        O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55, NLT)
I love those words. Those are fightin’ words! Death, you won’t have the last word. Your time is coming to an end. Jesus defeated you, and someday we will, too!
Paul quotes from two Old Testament prophets, Isaiah (25) and Hosea (13). But if you look at the entire library we call the Bible, you will see the themes of creation, death, and new creation. What God did in Jesus the Messiah He will do for all of Jesus’ followers. Through Jesus, we’ve been given victory over sin and death. It has been given, it will be given, and in the here and now it is being given to us.
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:56-57, NLT)
Like much of scripture, it is a present and future reality, now and not yet. Sure, we look to the future, but don’t miss the present reality, the mission, the calling to make disciples and restore masterpieces now. Jesus didn’t come so we can go to heaven when we die. He came so we could experience moments of heaven now—Thy Kingdom come and Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven—and in a more complete way in the future. Perhaps you were taught that the value of Christianity begins when you die. Paul…and Jesus…and I would vehemently disagree.
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. (1 Corinthians 15:58, NLT)
The things we do in this life matter for eternity, good or bad. Paul is saying specifically the things we do for the LORD are not in vain, they are never useless. This is an important thing for us to remember. We have a present responsibility, an opportunity today.
All this talk of resurrected bodies and new creation are wonderful…for followers of Jesus. But tragically, there is an alternative destination for those in rebellion against God. From Matthew 25 to 2 Thessalonians 1 to Revelation 20, we see judgment is coming and without Jesus as Savior, they are without hope. We must tell them. We must show them. We must proclaim good news in word and deed. Family, one of my four prayers for us is passion…passion for the things that matter to God…passion for the lost. I have family members, friends, and neighbors I love who are facing an eternity without God. I can’t imagine such a hell! My heart aches when I think about them living without God now, too, and how they’re missing out on a life of peace, joy, and meaning.
But ministry is hard. I don’t mean professional ministry. Any ministry, any discipleship, any outreach, any investment we make in people…because people are people. They are messy. They wander. They betray. They deny. They leave. They backslide. They sin (just like all of us!). Discouragement is rampant among anyone trying to make disciples, restore masterpieces, love their neighbor as themselves. You’re heard the old adage “no good deed goes unpunished.” It’s not biblical, but it seems true sometimes.
First Alliance Church, be strong. Be immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the LORD. Nothing you do for God’s Kingdom is in vain. Even if people quit your Life Group. Even if your ministry struggles. Even if the person you are discipling seems clueless. Even when that student you poured your life into makes poor choices. Even when your own children or grandchildren walk away from the faith. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. You matter. Your Kingdom work matters. We’re all called into the disciple-making ministry and it’s hard. It’s rarely convenient. It will stretch you and take you out of your comfort zones…but God will meet you there, and there’s nothing better than that!
I love these words from N.T. Wright:
How God will take our prayer, our art, our love, our writing, our political action, our music, our honesty, our daily work, our pastoral care, our teaching, our whole selves – how God will take this and weave its varied strands into the glorious tapestry of his new creation, we can at present have no idea. That he will do so is part of the truth of the resurrection, and perhaps one of the most comforting parts of all.
Wright, N. T.. Paul for Everyone: 1 Corinthians (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 228). Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Kindle Edition.
Family, I love you, and I’m so proud of you. Many of you have served around here for decades, pouring your time, talent, and treasures into God’s work here and around the world. A day is coming when you will receive your reward. It will be greater than any paycheck or new car or lottery winning. Your new body alone will be worth it, to say nothing of eternity with the LORD.
The day is coming. The trumpet will sound. The dead will be raised. We will be transformed. Are you ready?

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Matters of Life & Death, 12 November 2017

Matters of Life & Death
Psalm 90:9-12

Big Idea: You’re not ready to live until you’re ready to die…spiritually and otherwise.


Death and taxes. It has been said they are the only sure things in this life. We’re not going to talk about taxes this morning. Given this is the Sunday after an election we’ve all heard enough about taxes and government and politicians! But we are talking about death. What a cheery subject! But here’s the truth:

You’re not ready to live until you’re ready to die. Are you ready?

The odds are very good that someday you’re going to die. Yes, there will be a generation of followers of Jesus who will be alive when Christ returns, but billions of people have been waiting thousands of years for that day and have all…died! People ask me all the time if I think such and such event is a sign that Jesus will return in our lifetime and my answer is always the same: we’re one day closer than we were yesterday.

If we set aside the statistically unlikely possibility we will be living when Christ returns, we must face the reality we will someday die. Perhaps the most difficult thing is we don’t know when. We all have an unknown expiration date!

The media reminds us constantly how our death could come suddenly. We might die of old age like my dear friend Harold whose life we celebrated yesterday, but we could die this morning unexpectedly as dozens did last Sunday morning in Texas. Jesus told a fantastic parable in Luke 12:

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ (Luke 12:16-17)

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’ (Luke 12:18-19)

But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ (Luke 12:20)

Today is the first day of the rest of your life…but it could also be the last day of your life!

We’re talking today about matters of life and death. I promise there is some encouragement at the end, but it’s so important we are prepared to die. Most of you are aware of the large number of funerals we’ve already done this year, some very unexpected. Some were ready, others not so much.

Here’s a rather poignant photo taken not long ago with two of our sisters who are now in the presence of Almighty God.

All our days pass away under your wrath;
we finish our years with a moan.
Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
If only we knew the power of your anger!
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalms 90:9-12)

You’re not ready to live until you’re ready to die.

I know many of you are thinking, “I’m ready. I can’t wait to die and meet Jesus!” But what about those who are left behind? What will your loved ones experience as they grieve your loss? A blessed inheritance? Wishes for your funeral? Keepsake letters of wisdom? Or a mess?

Financial Preparation

When people think of preparing for their death, the first thing they usually think about is their…will. Do you have one? Or do you have a Revocable Living Trust, which has additional benefits? Are beneficiaries named on your assets? What about passwords? Is there a place people can access your login information for bank accounts, bills, and other websites? Is there a list of your assets, including insurance policies, properties, and investments? Proverbs says

A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous. (Proverbs 13:22)

My dad died several years ago of Alzheimer’s. We had years to prepare…and mom did. His transition to the next life was smooth and easy.

My mother-in-law also died several years ago…unexpectedly. When we took her to the hospital, we never imagined she would never come home. She had assets without beneficiaries, an under-water apartment, boxes of papers, and we spent needless time and money in probate court. It was a stressful mess.

If you died today, will your loved ones be grateful or grumbling about your estate? I’m not merely saying leave millions of dollars behind for your kids. Even if your assets are modest, are they organized? Are your plans written in a legal document? Will your possessions easily transfer? I might add have you considered charities in your directives as well as individuals? Do you have a “cheat sheet” with passwords for those left behind to settle your affairs? Are your financial wishes clear?

Medical Preparation

Preparation for death does not always involve death itself. Do you have a living will? A health care power of attorney? Who will make medical decisions if you are unable to do so?

Recently a member of our church family was knocking at death’s door. When his medical records were examined, he listed First Alliance Church as next of kin! Needless to say, the phone call to the church office was quite challenging. Fortunately, he survived and signed papers designating a person to make decisions should he again be incapacitated.

It is imperative that you communicate with loved ones your wishes regarding medical care, especially in regard to prolonging your life. Don’t burden others with decisions you can make today.

Are your medical wishes clear?

Funeral Preparation

Financial and medical preparation are vitally important. Communicating your desires need not be complicated, but must be done…before it’s too late

What about your body? Do you want to be buried? Cremated? A funeral or memorial service? Who do you want to officiate your ceremony? Do you have special songs you want sung, a favorite Bible passage read? Some of us will have months to consider such decisions, but there may be no better time than the present to sketch out some ideas of how you want to be remembered. Are your funeral wishes clear?


Obviously, none of us has complete control over how we will be remembered. Even if we plan the most memorable funeral, we will have no say in how others remember us once we’re gone.

The most important thing you can pass down to your loved ones is not money or even a well-planned memorial service but your legacy, your story, your wisdom, your life. I’ve attended countless funerals and the legacy of the deceased is always apparent.

What do you want on your tombstone? He worked hard and made a lot of money? She was devoted to her hobbies and loved to shop? They generously invested their lives in the next generation, mentoring and tutoring? Their life resembled Jesus and they helped others to know Christ, too?

This is where things get personal in a hurry. Your legacy will not be established during your final breaths. It is established now, today, on an ordinary day, over the course of ordinary days, months, years, decades.

While you’re at it, write notes to your loved ones. Videotape stories of your childhood. Preserve your memories for future generations.

What will people say at your funeral?

Are You Ready?

We’ve talked about ensuring your loved ones are ready for your death, but what about you? You’re not ready to live until you’re ready to die. Are you ready? I know many of you are, but many of you are not. You hope you’ll make it to heaven when you die, but are you sure? How can you know for sure?

First, contrary to popular belief, we don’t get to heaven by being good…because God’s standard is perfection. If you’re not perfect, you’re out of luck! Going to church and giving money to the poor, and volunteering at Cherry Street Mission will not erase the sins you’ve committed…those sins we’ve all committed. The book of Romans is quite clear:

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)

You, me, Billy Graham, we’ve all sinned and fall short of God’s glory, His perfection. On our own, we deserve eternal punishment for our sins, our mistakes, our rebellion against the Almighty. But this is where Jesus comes in. People often take Romans 3:23 out of context, ignoring the fact it completes a sentence…and ends with a comma! Here’s the complete sentence.

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:22-24)

What this means, simply, is Jesus came, lived, and died to pay for our sins. The next verses say

God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:25-26)

Some translations use this word “propitiation,” a word meaning appeasement or satisfaction. Throughout history, people have tried to appease God by offering gifts, sacrifices, and doing certain practices. The problem is God requires perfection, and Jesus lived a perfect life so his death on the cross was able to satisfy, appease, and wash away our sins.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10, NIV)

Another translation uses that word “propitiation.”

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10, ESV)

The difference between Christianity and other religions is how they are spelled. Religion is spelled D-O…what we do to appease God. Our faith can be spelled D-O-N-E…it’s about what Jesus has done on the cross. You can’t earn it. You can’t buy it. You can only accept it as a gift of grace…unmerited favor.

You may wonder what you have to do. Simple: surrender.

We often look at Ephesians 2:8-9 because it’s such a powerful text:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Grace is a gift…the greatest gift.

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)

You’re not ready to live until you’re ready to die. Are you ready?

It my hope and prayer that you surrender your life to Jesus today if you haven’t already. He died for you. He gave everything he had to show God’s love. He wants to be your Savior—forgiving you of all of your sins—and LORD—becoming the leader of your life. It’s not that he wants to manipulate you, God simply loves you and wants what’s best for you. The Bible shows us how to live the most exciting, satisfying life imaginable…while preparing us for the next life.

Death is morbid to many, yet for followers of Jesus it can be an anticipated reunion with our Creator.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants. (Psalms 116:15)

Paul wrote to a church…

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)

So What?

Get your finances in order: will, passwords

Get your medical directives in order: living will, power of attorney

Get your funeral wishes in order

Get your spiritual life in order: do you know Jesus or just about him?

A message like this can be a downer, but it need not be depressing. Actually, planning for your death can be a tremendous blessing to your loved ones and even to you. As followers of Jesus, we have hope that we truly are going to a better place. Jesus said

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:1-3)

Heaven is where Jesus is, and those who know Jesus as LORD will be with him…forever!
"We're afraid to die because we've actually been afraid to live." - Erwin McManus
"The only proof of life after death is life before death." - Erwin McManus
Now go live like you’re dying…because you are!


Financial Planning

Medical Planning

Advanced Directives Packet (Ohio)

Funeral Planning

  • You can listen to this message and others at the First Alliance Church podcast here.
  • 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

    You can listen to this message and others at the Scio podcast here. You can also subscribe to our podcast here.