Sketched IX Day 15 One This Rock: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) How does suffering make a believer in Jesus “blessed”? (verse 14)

2) Why does our good conduct in Christ get us into trouble with the world? (verses 14-16)

3) During suffering, persecution, trials, fear, and intimidation, what should our mindset or attitude be? (verses 16-18)

1 Peter 3:14-18

But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear them or be intimidated, 15 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. 16 Yet do this with gentleness and reverence, keeping a clear conscience, so that when you are accused, those who disparage your good conduct in Christ will be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit…

Original Intent

1) How does suffering make a believer in Jesus “blessed”? (verse 14)
No one expects to suffer for doing good. In fact, we feel justified in being upset if someone rejects or mocks our act of kindness or love. Paul’s phrase, “But even if you should suffer…”, is a conditional clause in the original Greek language, which highlights that suffering is not the expected outcome for someone’s zeal for acting with goodness. (E. A. Blum) Specifically, Paul is referencing the suffering that stems directly from a Christ-follower living righteously because the Spirit of God is at work within them, shaping them to be conformed to the image of God. (Romans 8:29) When suffering comes as a result of following Jesus, Paul declares we are “blessed”. Christians are considered to have this blessing, even in struggle, because we are confidently assured of God at work in us! His likeness is being made evident in us; this is a supreme blessing! We belong to God! All of His coming goodness is ours as inheritance! In light of this amazing reality, we are encouraged to not be afraid in the face of unjust persecution or taunting, instead we can respond with “gentleness and reverence” (verse 16) God does not promise to remove the suffering for His followers, but He does vow to never leave, always empowering His children to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:10-12) The Spirit of God living inside believers is powerful, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. (2 Timothy 1:7)

2) Why does our good conduct in Christ get us into trouble with the world? (
verses 14-16)
Through the centuries, followers of Jesus have been persecuted, arrested, threatened, beaten, tortured, and put to death. Why would the world hate Christians when our message is love? “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Satan, the enemy of our souls, and the ruler of the domain of darkness, under which we all live unless we have trusted Jesus as our Savior, loves lies, chaos, and selfish pride. Because we are born with a fallen sin nature, our innate desire is to please and worship ourselves just like the tyrant who rules us. It is only when we come to understand the true life and freedom from sin and self-service and idolatrous pride available in Jesus, that we are awakened to a new way of living. “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind …” (Romans 12:1-2) Our new life in Jesus runs absolutely counter to every goal and deception of Satan, so that even our love, which is God’s love through us, is rejected and spurned. Jesus, the always-loving God, said, “If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18) Christians are anchored in contentment in Jesus, which is the opposite of self-pity or arrogance, which come from Satan. When our hearts are contentedly abiding in God as His Spirit works in us, bringing good fruit to bear in our lives, the world will reject us. God’s fruit of life adamantly opposes Satan and his reign of death. Those around us cannot recognize the work of God in our lives because Satan has blinded them. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) Pray for their eyes to be unveiled so they may experience the fullness of life!

3) During suffering, persecution, trials, fear, and intimidation, what should our mindset or attitude be? (verses 16-18)
Peter’s letters were written to the Church in a time of intense persecution. Beheadings and burnings were common for believers. Even against such intensity, Peter admonished his readers to not be afraid of men, but acknowledge Christ as Lord in their hearts and lives. Christ was to be their center. Jesus said, “Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him (God) who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) By choosing God to be the constant center, believers are able to respond in a God-honoring manner to persecution and suffering. Christ chose to willingly surrender to suffering on our behalf because of the joyous hope set before Him. (Hebrews 12:2) One distinguishing mark of true Christ-followers is our possession of this same certain joyous hope. (Ephesians 2:12, 1 Peter 1:3) Christian hope is so real and distinctive it puzzles those who don’t have God’s Spirit working within them. Our unique hope gives unbelievers pause, questioning why we have such unshakable hope. When facing trials, we are to respond with gentleness and humility rooted in love, for this is the heart of God towards us. (2 Timothy 2:24-25) It’s only by responding with genuine love and care that we can reflect God’s character to others. Peter instructed the Church to choose gentleness and reverence because he knew that when we love like Jesus loves us, we can operate with a “clear conscience”. (verse 16, Acts 24:16) By living with humble love towards others and choosing to honor God with our life choices, big and small, our adversaries have no grounds to accuse us. (verse 16) Though we may not understand the “why” for our suffering, we can be confident that God will use it further His kingdom and His purposes through us. We should be intent on living righteously before God, so we only suffer for “doing good” and not because we chose to rebel against Him. (verse 17)

Everyday Application

1) How does suffering make a believer in Jesus “blessed”? (verse 14)
If we are honest, we’ll admit we don’t usually, if ever, hope for suffering. We may be eager to experience the power of Christ’s resurrection in our everyday lives, but we are far less passionate about wanting to experience the agony of His suffering. However, Paul writes, My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferingsbeing conformed to His death.” (Philippians 3:10) Down through Church history from Jesus’ time on earth to 2021, those who have surrendered themselves to following Christ have suffered for Jesus. Sometimes, persecution comes through mockery, exclusion, hurtful words or actions. For many around the world, suffering for righteousness may mean imprisonment, torture, or death. In the face of such cruelty, Paul spoke positively about suffering for Jesus’ sake and he urged others to join him. How ironic is that?! Today, we invite others to also “join us” in this suffering, by which we are blessed, when we testify about the love of Christ and hold out the invitation of salvation through Christ alone by faith alone. We are blessed because we know the end of our lives on earth is only the beginning of an eternity of knowing God and enjoying His presence forever. Crazy as it sounds, what a blessed gift to be “counted worthy to be treated shamefully on behalf of the Name.” (Acts 5:41) What joy to walk through the trials of this life knowing we are standing on the solid rock of Jesus and one day, will be ushered into the waiting arms of the Master to hear His marvelous welcome, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21)

2) Why does our good conduct in Christ get us into trouble with the world? (verses 14-16)
God has set apart His Church as an outpost of love and light in this world of sin and rebellion. In a world bent on opposing God and worshipping self, it comes as no surprise for the Church to suffer persecution. Paul didn’t view this as discouragement, but rather, as validation of God at work. Christ’s radical love and self-sacrifice is life-changing, world-shaking, and history defining for all who surrender themselves to Him. The gospel (Jesus dying in the place of sinners to give them undeserved grace and inheritance) is revolutionary within our hearts, lives, and should impact the lives of those around us. No revolution is easily fought or won. Jesus is honest about the cost of following Him, “You will have suffering in this world.” (John 16:33) As believers in Jesus, we fight against our fleshly desires so we might honor God with our whole lives. (Romans 12:1) Of course, this conflicts with the rest of the world who are in rebellion against God! Jesus is also honest in His authority over all things, even suffering, “Be courageous! I have conquered the world!” (John 16:33) AMEN!! As Christ-followers, we can expect to encounter two realities: 1) Trouble and suffering and 2) Christ’s sustaining victory in the midst. Yes, my sisters in Jesus, we will walk through hardship for following Jesus, but this is no reason for discouragement because JESUS IS HERE! He is our unshifting, solid rock. He is the anchor of overwhelming victory in the middle of our struggle as we pursue righteousness. Lift your voices, praise God with me! He knows our pain, He understands, and He gives us His victory!

3) During suffering, persecution, trials, fear, and intimidation, what should our mindset or attitude be? (
verses 16-18)
To all who have suffered, and will suffer, for living for Christ instead of self, Peter’s words are meant to encourage us. “For Christ also suffered…” (verse 18) What comfort to know that our God and Savior has also suffered! We are not alone! Our God is not far off, disengaged from our pain. Through the Holy Spirit living within every believer, Jesus is with us in our suffering. Every tear. Every wound. Every loss. Every grief. AMEN!!! Suffering feels disheartening, doesn’t it? Especially as we are trying to follow Jesus, are praying, and deeply desire to honor Him, yet still suffering. We need more than a “pep talk”, we need truths that will not shift like sand. We need to know: 1) Our goal is Jesus, not the end of suffering. He holds our hearts, carrying them when we cannot keep going. 2) Christ sustains because He is the God who never leaves 3) Christ holds our victory, which means we have JOY in suffering. Christ has WON! The believer’s life will never end in tragedy! With these truths as our centering foundation, we can respond rightly in the midst of suffering for following Jesus. We can hold out love, respect, and gentleness with a clear conscience knowing our lives are surrendered to Christ; He alone is our victory. Though we may be imprisoned in some fashion in this world, the reality for every Christ-follower is that we are held captive first and only by the radical glorious love of Jesus Christ, our Master and Savior. Here, inside His life and in communion with Him, we are the freest person in the world! His faithfulness never wanes, His presence with us never walks away. We can boldly say, “The Lord is my helper! I will NOT be afraid! What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6) Go, Sister, in grace, peace, and knowledge as you hold out the light of Hope and Freedom to all through Jesus. Suffer joyfully; we know the end of the story is victory!

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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