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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Life in the Spirit

Sunday Sermon
Isaac Kim
Passage: The Spirit gives life; flesh counts for nothing. John 6:63 (Romans 8:11)

Bible passage to read: 1 Peter 3:8-22
The key Bible verse to remember and meditate: 3:18 Christ also suffered for sins...

Hymn song to sing: Sing to the Lord 242 Glory to his name

The Apostle Peter was speaking to the Christians undergoing sufferings under the Roman rule.
In the waves of persecutions some were scattered to remote places like Catacomb or Cappadocia.

Some were caught and were executed in the public arena being eaten live by wild animals. 

When placed in a marginalized situation like this one is tempted to not be like minded, quarrel each other or accuse the other of wrong doings, and that even among the believers. 

But Peter says "Be like minded, all of you, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.... And he reminds them that the Lord watches over the righteous, and his eyes are on the evil/unrighteous. 3:8-12

He continues to say: "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. 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 - the hope of resurrected life - 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. In his day Christians scattered in remote areas used to hold early morning prayer meetings evening Bible classes etc. and so forth. Yet some spies reported to the local authorities stating "Oh they appear to meet secretly to connive against the Roman Rule" or "They worship another King (than the Roman Emperor Caesar)." 

Those in political power in Jesus' day did the same thing on Jesus. They piled up charges against Jesus saying "This man breaks Roman Law; he teaches people not to pay taxes to Rome; He says he himself is the King". 

Referring to what Jesus went through Peter says, "It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous once
to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit." He further says, "After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits - to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days while the ark was being built." This statement affirms that after the fall of the body life continues. And Jesus spoke to the imprisoned spirits apparently to free them from the prison into God's freedom. We do not know how many if not all of them got saved. Yet Peter revealed Jesus' post resurrection ministry for the rebellious who lived during the Pre-Flood Era, that is, those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built, which must haven take closed to 100 years.

But we are not to be sidetracked, for Peter uses this episode to talk about the importance of his audience to keep the pledge of the conscience, that is, water baptism, to further strengthen the meaning of "Do this,,,keeping a clear conscience." Thus he continues to say, "[Of the many who used to live in Noah's day] only a few people, 8 in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also - not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God." 

Unlike many who describe Peter as "impulsive, emotional, a man of feelings, emotions, rather than, intellect", I would say "Peter is man of reason, intellect, governed by more of reason and sound mind, the cold head that reasons, searching for the truth, rather than  emotion and feelings." 1 Peter 1:23, 25; 2:2

Thus he states, "not the removal of the dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. [Unlike what some of the baptists say] it (not mere water ceremony) saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand - with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him."