You get to Chose!

You Get to Choose (1 Peter 3:18-22) *all verses in NLT*

Opener: 26.2 miles with gun to your head.

– What if someone held a gun to your head and demanded you run 26.2 miles, or die? Would this be a good day or a bad day for you?

– I always wanted to be a runner, and I have “run” a couple of marathons. First one: “injured”, only made it 17 miles before walking the rest. Second time: running with Evan, hit the wall at 20 miles, hadn’t even seen my family cheering for me yet…

– I was exhausted, knees were screaming, nothing left, Evan running circles cheering me on, my family is waiting at the finish line… I had to finish the race! I did it, and they were proud of me! Do you think this was a good day or a bad day for me?

– What is the difference between my “good day” marathon story, and the “gun to my head” bad day marathon story? I chose my race.

…Same long hours, same screaming knees, same pain and suffering… but I chose these problems. You’re probably saying, “But they are the same problems!” and that is exactly my point.

– Life is not fair, but You always have a choice of what problems you want to struggle with.

– Captain Odell, “I don’t do anything I don’t want to do.” Meaning, I have willing chosen these problems, and they are the ones I want. 

– The nature of problems or suffering, being good or bad, is a matter of perspective… a perspective that YOU get to choose.

Only 2 points today: 

1. You get to choose your problems, and 2. You get to choose your perspective.

– Read 1 Peter 3:18-22

#1. You get to choose your problems. 

Here is what Peter said in the verses just before these:

“Even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So, don’t worry or be afraid.”

– Be honest about where you hope comes from (which is your Faith in Christ), and be respectful and of good reputation. “Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live, because you belong to Christ.”

1 Peter 3:17, Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, then to suffer for doing wrong.

– You get to choose your problems. Do you want to live for Jesus and suffer, even for doing what is right in God’s eyes? You’ll get rewarded in heaven, and you won’t have to live in fear…

OR… Do you want to live for yourself, suffer for being you, and live in worry without eternity?

– Jesus got to choose his problems too. He chose to unfairly suffer for our sins.

1 Peter 3:18, Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.

Isaiah 53:5, But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.

– Read Philippians 2:5-11

– Even if you suffer for His name, God will reward you for it, so don’t be afraid. 

– The Apostle Paul said this, and it show great perspective.

Romans 8:18, Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

Romans 5:3-5, We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

– Some might see “choosing suffering”, but not for suffering’s sake. You are really choosing to honor God, to grow in your faith, and to have eternal life. 

– You have a choice on how to respond to your circumstances too. You can make your God look good, or you can be just like everybody else.

– You get to choose.

#2. You get to choose your perspective. 

– Peter uses these next verses to take what the Jewish Christians already know about, and put it into a different perspective. 

1 Peter 3:19-21, So he went and preached to the spirits in prison— 20 those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood.] 21 And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

– This is saying that Jesus/God made his appeal through Noah so that the people of that day would repent of their wicked ways. The “spirits in prison” being everyone who was not on the ark, they are now in spiritual prison, destination Hell. 

– One perspective would be that God is wrathful and angry, and wiped out all the people of the earth out of frustration (except Noah’s family on the ark). But that isn’t what happened.

– In Genesis 6:6, (After God saw that every person on earth was completely evil), “So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke His heart.”

– Look at it from this perspective: It took Noah 100 years to build and fill the ark. God made his appeal through Noah for the people to repent, and patiently waited 100 years before the flood.

– Sure it amounts to massive death and destruction… of the wicked, who had been warned for 100 years. Also, God didn’t destroy everyone. He spared all of the humans who were obedient (8 total), and gave them a clean earth and a fresh start.

– God has compassion on His children, and he will rescue them from the wicked.

2 Peter 2:4-9, For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment. And God did not spare the ancient world—except for Noah and the seven others in his family. Noah warned the world of God’s righteous judgment. So God protected Noah when he destroyed the world of ungodly people with a vast flood. Later, God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people. But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment. 

– So, is the theme of your nursery “the greatest massacre the world has ever known”, or “God’s story of rescue and salvation through the cleaning waters”? … or just a bunch of cute animals??

– Think about it: If God didn’t spare all of those other sinners, why do you think he would spare you or me, if we are apostate and unrepentantly steeped in our sin?

– You need to have an honest and humble perspective about where your life is at. “We all have sinned”, but thank God, he gave us the Holy Spirit to give us the power to resist sin in our lives. BUT… are you “struggling against sin”, or giving yourself over to it? Have you crossed “the line”?

– Peter also compared baptism to the flood. As the flood waters cleansed the earth, its real purpose was to save Noah’s family. Not salvation because of the work Noah did, but because of the faith in God that Noah had. Baptism symbolizes by water, the salvation we have too.

– Before Christ, Jews would do ritual bathing, a full emersion in living water in which they would emerge “clean”. This would be required under circumstances like contact with corpses, or the high priest after releasing the scape goat on the day of atonement.

– With Christ, Baptism is not for a physical cleaning, but a spiritual one. You are symbolizing your own death, burial, and resurrection with Christ, which Peter says, “saves you”.

*VERY IMPORTANT* The practice of baptism does NOT save anyone. What brings salvation is believing Jesus is your Lord and Savior, repenting of your sins, and living a re-born life for Jesus. That’s what baptism symbolizes, thus the symbol of your salvation. (*see baptism sermon for more.)

– Like Verse 19 says, “It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

– Matthew Henry said, “The baptismal covenant, made and kept, will certainly save us.”

– As Noah’s salvation through the water was not because of his actions, but because of his faith, so also is our salvation not because of the baptismal waters, but secondary to the faith that brought us into the water in the first place.

– As with flood waters, our declaration unto salvation is equally condemning to the nonbeliever, who by the same standard that will get us into heaven, will also put them into hell. 

– God was patient in the days of Noah, and he is being patient with us now.

2 Peter 3:9, The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

– You get to choose your perspective.

– Finally, Jesus dying on the cross seems like a terrible outcome, so much so that Peter pledged to stop it from happening. But obviously, it needed to happen. 

– Jesus suffered unjustly so that our sins could be forgiven. He chose that problem. 

– Peter needed to change his perspective, and trust Jesus, even when Peter didn’t understand his own circumstances.

– 1 Peter 3:22, Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.

– This is meant to be the example to us of the glory that is coming. Endure like Christ and follow his example. 

You have to be humbly honest about where you are at today. You don’t want to “miss the boat.”

– alter call –

1 John 1:8-9, If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

– prayer –

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