1 Peter Message #15 “The Day of Presentation” Ed Miller, May 25, 2022

Listen to audio above while reading along with the transcript below (also available for download in Word at www.biblestudyministriesinc. com)

As we come to look in God’s word, there’s that principle of Bible study that’s indispensable, and it’s total reliance on God’s Holy Spirit.  I’m going to share a verse with you before we pray, and I think it will make a lot more sense at the end of our study than before, but 2 Thessalonians 1:10 talking about the return of our Lord Jesus, “When He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and be marveled at by all who believe..”  If you meditate on that, that He’s coming to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at by all who believe, that’s a wonderful day that’s coming. 

Heavenly Father, thank You that we can gather in this place where You are gladly received, and we ask you, Lord, to minister Christ to our hearts.  We ask You to, by You indwelling Holy Spirit, to turn the eyes of our faith in a fresh way to the Lord Jesus.  We thank You for every part of the Bible, and in a special way these weeks through 1 Peter.  We just ask You, Lord, as we get close to the end, that You would clinch the message of your heart in our hearts and unveil the Lord Jesus again.  We ask in His name.  Amen.

As I suggested, we’re in lesson #15 and we’re coming very near to the end of whatever light I have on 1 Peter.  I’m not going to review everything, but I want to review two things that will tie in very closely and be connected to what I want to share this morning.  The first is the audience.  I want to remind you about the audience that Peter was writing to.  He was addressing, listen to the first verse of the first chapter, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontius, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia…”  The reason they are scattered is that they’re being persecuted, and so the whole message of the book is addressed to aliens, scattered people.  In KJV, chapter 2:11 calls them “pilgrims”, “I urge you as aliens and strangers, as pilgrims to abstain from fleshly lust which war against the soul.”  This is a book addressed to Christian pilgrims who reside her, but we don’t live here.  This world is not my home.  We’re just passing through.  We’ve been redeemed.  Peter is writing to the suffering saints who were being terribly persecuted, not only by religious Jews which took place right from the start, but now by the Roman government under Nero.  He had blamed the Christians for setting Rome on fire, and they were now taking out vengeance on the Christians.  They were being tortured, crucified, some were being decapitated, were being thrown to wild animals, and were not even only being tortured, they were being torched.  They were turned into lamps to light Nero’s Garden.  So, they were really being persecuted and it was an undeserved persecution.

They soon learned, as we will learn or have learned, that as Christians redeemed from this world that we’re not very welcomed here.  We’re not at home here.  We become strangers and citizens and we belong to new country, a new citizenship, a new environment, and we’ve been redeemed from this world, but our Lord desires to continue to redeem this world.  So, 1 Peter is addressing those people, and he’s trying to encourage them.  Now, this is not “How to live the pilgrim life”, well, it is in a sense, but Peter develops, and I won’t go through it again, the idea that we are not qualified to be pilgrims, because we need to be as holy as He is holy.  We’re not qualified, but He is the Pilgrim, and He’s presented as the real Pilgrim who wants to live in hearts and live in our place.  As He lived the Pilgrim life, whatever came to Him, He didn’t resist, but He kept trusting the One who lived in Him, and now whatever comes into our life, we trust the One who lives in our heart and in our place and in our stead and in our room.  So, that’s the first reminder; He’s writing to persecuted Christians.

As they treated the Lord Jesus, they’re going to treat you and me.  1 Peter 3:18, “Christ died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God., having been put to death in the flesh and made alive in the Spirit.”  Jesus endured what came into His life, trusting His Father, because He knew that was redemptive.  That’s how He brought people to Christ, and Peter’s message is that He wants to do it again.  As He once lived in His incarnate body and trusted the indwelling God, He now lives in His mystical body, and He lives in you and me, and He’s willing to be done unto again for the same reason, to bring others to Christ.  So, that’s the great message of 1 Peter.

The second thing I want to remind you of is the truth that we ended up with last week.  The question that Peter raised is, “How is any Christian who is being done unto unjustly, who has to take it, how are they going to be happy or have any joy in their life, especially 1 Peter 1:8, “Though you’ve not seen Him, you love Him.  Though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”  Not only take it, not only be willing to be done unto when you don’t deserve it, but to have joy unspeakable and full of glory.  When we left off last time, I showed you the Holy Spirit through Peter, how can I be happy when I’m being done unto? 

I think Peter experienced that in his own life, and then he wrote it in the epistle.  Let me show you the place I think he first learned it.  Mark 10, this is the occasion when the rich, young ruler was struggling and Jesus said this to him, Mark 10:21, “Looking at him Jesus felt a love for him and said, ‘One thing you lack.  Go and sell all you possess and give to the poor and you’ll have treasure in heaven.  Come and follow Me.’ At these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.”  Peter was there that day at that moment, and Peter responded, and here was his immature response, Mark 10:28, “And Peter began to say to Him, ‘Behold, we left everything and have followed You.”  Our Lord Jesus didn’t address his pride at that time and didn’t challenge his surrender, and He didn’t say it wasn’t true, and He didn’t rebuke his presumption, and He didn’t quench the smoking flax.  He dealt with him where he was, and here’s what Jesus said, Mark 10:28, “Jesus said, ‘Truly, I say to you, there’s no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms for My sake and the gospel’s sake, but that he’ll receive a hundred times as much now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecution, and in the age to come, eternal life.’”

Now, the elements in that confrontation with Jesus, He then spells out in doctrine in 1 Peter, and we ended up with that last time.  Remember that I showed you that Peter says, “You need to know that there’s a glorious future,” and then he says, “You need to know that there’s an inglorious present.”  So, we have the sweet by and by and the sour here and now.  You have both the future and the present.  Then he said, “You need to know that in between that, you have a present foretaste of future glory.”  I showed you that the present foretaste has a name.  It’s a Person, the down payment, the earnest, the Holy Spirit.  The only way I can have joy, the joy of heaven now in the midst of suffering, is to know that all that’s coming that now is, is mine in the Lord Jesus.  So, we have the One who makes heaven heaven.  When Peter experienced that in Mark 10:30, “Jesus said, ‘In the age to come, eternal life,’” that’s future, the age to come.  And in the same verse He said, “He’ll receive a hundred times as much in this present age.”  That’s the present. Then, in a beautiful way, He adds, “..with persecution.”  That’s the theme of 1 Peter.  So, you’ve got the future, you’ve got the present with persecution, and then you’ve got the foretaste illustrated by, “In this life, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, a hundred times more in this life.” 

My Lillian and I have found Mark 10:30 to be wonderfully fulfilled in our own lives.  We have family, brothers, and sisters and houses and farms. We have lost nothing by allowing the Lord Jesus to have possession of our lives.  We have lost nothing by allowing Jesus to be done unto in our lives.  We have met the greatest people on the earth.  We have family in France, in England, in Egypt, and we could go to Northern Ireland, and we could go to Norway, and we could go to Sweden.  We have mothers and brothers and sisters and farms and houses.  Doors are open to us.  Even if there were no heaven at the end, it would be worth it to know Jesus I this life, for the joy that comes.  That’s what Peter was talking about, that there’s a glorious future and you’ll have the full development of that.  “There’s a present now that I want to use to win the world, and so if you’ll allow me to be done unto as I was when I was on earth and you keep trusting Me, then I will use that to bring redemption to the earth.”  That’s where we left off.

Here’s what I’d like to do this morning.  As we come closer to the end of 1 Peter, I actually thought I would finish today, and I think I even announced that, that this would be the last lesson, but no, no, no.  There’s at least an abbreviated lesson next time.  I don’t know if it will be an entire lesson.  Anyway, here’s what I’d like to do.  Peter has a great burden as he comes to the end of this epistle to encourage those suffering saints.  He’s been trying to instruct them and encourage them and to let them know that what they’re going through is bigger than just suffering.  It’s redemptive, and God is using it to redeem others.  In our first lesson I reminded you of Peter’s stated purpose, 1 Peter 5:12, “Through Silvanus, our faithful brother, so I regard him,” by the way, that is Silas, the one that was thrown into prison, “I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying, this is the true grace of God.”  So, he said, “I’m writing to exhort, and to give my testimony.  This is the grace of God, this pilgrim experience, letting Jesus be the ideal Pilgrim after God’s heart in your heart.” 

As he gets to the end of the letter, he’s more focused on the suffering pilgrims, their concerns, their questions, their struggles, their confusions.  He wants them to understand what is happening in their lives, and he wants them to surrender to it, and God’s redemptive plan, to surrender to the Lord and let God use them redemptively.  In this book he presents heaven’s wisdom and heaven’s resources, so that they could live redemptive lives.

I want to mention, for those who like logical connection, four truths as he comes to the end, four truths that have a special application to the audience.  It has application to everybody, but in a special way to that audience, those who are suffering so terribly.  This is what these truths have in common; they all have a special application to those who are suffering.  The first is chapter 4:12, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.”  KJV says, “Do not count it strange.”  I can think of a couple of reasons that those suffering pilgrims might be scratching their heads, “Why is this happening to us?  What is God doing and what is God allowing?”  They were surprised.  It was implied that they were surprised that God was letting that happen. 

There’s a couple of reasons they might have been surprised, and the first is that they may have had bad memories.  Let me tell you what I mean by that.  It was only one day before Jesus went to the cross when He said these words, John 15:18, “If the world hates you, you know it’s hated Me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love its own, but because you’re not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.  Remember the word I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.  If they kept My word, they keep yours, also.  All these things they’ll do to you for My names sake because they do not know the One who sent Me.”  And then the Lord Jesus explains why they were rejecting Him.  John 15:22, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.”  KJV says, “They have no cloak for their sin.”  They were hiding under a cloak, and when Jesus came in His holiness, He ripped the cloak off and they were exposed.  That’s why they hate Him, and that’s why He went to the cross.

He said, “You shouldn’t be surprised that if they hate Me that they’re going to hate you, because I live in you, and they’re really hating Me in you.  But I’ve been highly exalted to high heaven at the right hand of God, and they can’t reach Me in My exalted state, and so they’re going to come at me by coming at you.”  I’ll tell you how to hurt a parent, go after their kids.  That’s going to hurt the parent, more than if you tried to hurt the parent.  Satan hates you with an infernal hatred, and it’s because he hates Jesus so much.  That was Jesus’ explanation.  He said, “You’re surprised that you’re going through this.  Don’t you remember I told you?”  Listen to John 16, “These things I’ve spoken to you, that you may be kept from stumbling.  They’ll make you outcasts from the synagogues, and an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think he’s offering service to God.  These things they’ll do because they’ve not known the Father or Me, but these things I’ve spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them.  These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.”  He said, “These things I’ve said, so that when it happens, you might remember.”  And Peter says, “You forgot.  He told you and warned you and told you to expect it.”  I’ve got to admit that there’s thirty years between the time Jesus said that and their experiencing it, so they might have a reason for forgetting it.  But again, John 16:4, “These things I’ve spoken to you, so when their hour comes you may remember that I told you of them.”  A short time after He ascended to heaven it already began.  They were only a few months after Pentecost, and they’re already being beaten on the street and thrown into prison.  So, Jesus warned them and it took place almost immediately, and it was going on with breaks here and there, but now it’s come down in full force.  So, that might be one reason they think it’s strange, that you forgot what Jesus said.

I can think of another possible reason that they might have been caught off guard, where they might have thought it was strange, and that is because they could have been using carnal reasoning.  They might have been thinking like people think on earth.  Human parents, even Christian human parents, try to protect their children from pain and suffering.  They don’t like it when their children suffer.  We try to spare them.  It might have been puzzling if they were thinking on that level, “How come we, as loving parents, protect our children from pain and suffering, and yet God allows His children to go through all of this stuff?  Doesn’t He love His children more than we love our children?” 

It’s quite amazing when you think about it, that we are actually sometimes trying to protect our kids from the very things that God used to bring us where we are now, and to make us into men and women of God.  We were brought through it, and then we try to protect our kids from that.  We need to live in the wisdom of the Lord.  So, Peter is encouraging them.  He said, “Don’t think it’s strange that you’re going through this.  He has a high redemptive purpose.  There’s a glorious reason for this.”

Let me give you the next thing that relates to them in a special way.  1 Peter 5:5-7, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders.  All of you, clothe yourself with humility toward one another.  God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.  Therefore, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”  Usually these verses, they’re always precious, but usually they’re lifted from 1 Peter, lifted from the context.  I’ve been in homes and these verses are on a wall, on a plaque, “Cast all your care on Him.  He cares for you.”  They’re wonderful out of the context of 1 Peter.  They’re never out of the context of the Bible, the whole truth of God.  You can take it out of context, and it’s still in the context of God’s word.  It’s interesting to see these verses in context, how they read them and how they heard them and how they understood them, and how it ties in with the message of 1 Peter.

I remind you what Peter has been stressing the last two thirds of this book, and that is the principle of subjection.  We’ve been talking about willingness to be done unto, over against willingness to do.  This is a deeper truth, that we need to be willing to be done unto.  Actually, we need Him, we’re dead, and He needs to be done unto in our lives, so He can reach the world.  He hasn’t dropped that theme.  We read this and say, “Now it’s something else, and we can cast our cares upon Him.”  He’s still showing the importance of being subject to delegated authority, and now He told you how Jesus submitted to His Father, and told you how we are to submit to the government, and told you how we are to submit to every institution of man, and He told us how slaves were to submit to the master, and He told us how wives were to submit to their husbands, and the mutual submission husbands were to submit to their wives, and now he comes to you youngers, submit to the elder.   He’s still on submission, and you have to tie that into what he’s saying.

1 Peter 5:5, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders, all of you.  Clothe yourself with humility toward one another.  God is opposed to the proud, and gives grace to the humble.”  Now, in that context, “..humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,” let me describe for you, what is the mighty hand of God?  What is he talking about?  He has something in mind.  It’s not just a general thing, “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God.”  He has something in mind.  Let me paraphrase it in my own words.  I don’t think I’m doing violence to the precious Holy Spirit by adding these words, “Therefore, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God’s delegated authority, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”  It’s easy, just in a general way, “humble yourself under God’s mighty hand,” especially if you have no control.  Let’s say there’s an automobile accident, or a diving accident or some kind of an experience, or there is a reversal in your finances or there’s a bereavement and somebody in your family dies, or there’s a doctor’s report that’s threatening, and almost like a death sentence, and so on, when it’s out of our hands we say, “This is the mighty hand of God.  I’m going to humble myself, and accept it and cast my care on Him.”  But when it’s in context, when he says, “Submit to delegated authority, it’s even more impossible without a miracle to humble yourself under God’s mighty hand.”

Lillian’s great grandfather, he lived with us for several years and he got to be 106 years old, and he spoke with a German brogue and broken English.  Every time we would try to explain something to him, he would say, “All God is different proposition.”  That’s how he would say, “That’s a different proposition.”  So, when the command comes from a delegated authority that seems unfair or unjust or stupid or unreasonable and against common sense, and they command you, but it still hasn’t violated Caesar.  If Caesar goes against God, you go with God.  But if this is till Caesar and they give some stupid command and it doesn’t go against clear revelation, the Lord says, “Submit under the mighty hand of God’s delegated authority, casting your care on Him.  You are going to have to trust Him for this.”  But if they say, “You know, no visitors.”  Recently a child was not allowed to see his father because of the age difference.  “That’s stupid.”  Or they say, “You need to wear a mask,” or they say, “You can’t visit your sick loved one who is in the hospital,” or they say, “You aren’t allowed to defend yourself,” or, “You’ve got to pay taxes upon taxes,” or, “You aren’t allow to gather together,” or, “You must fill out a million forms to have this done,” and in your head your just saying, “They’re dumb and I don’t want to do that,” Peter is reminding them, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God; that’s the hand of God’s delegated authority, and cast your care on Him and trust the Lord”  You’ve got to trust the Lord for those things, because you don’t have what it takes.  That’s why the very next verse said, “If you are suffering according to the will of God, commit your souls unto Him as unto a faithful Creator?”  Why Creator?  If I’m suffering I want a high priest and I want a mother and I want a sympathizer and I want a friend.  I don’t want a Creator.  You better commit yourself to a Creator, because you don’t have what it takes, but you have Him who can create what it takes, and He lives in your heart.  That’s what he’s talking about.  So, he says, “Humble yourselves and submit.  I’m bringing these things into your life, and it’s redemptive.   Submit, this is the mighty hand of God; submit and then trust Me and cast your care upon Me.”  Peter is encouraging these saints in that same message that goes through the book.

Let me give you another illustration of Peter’s reminding them.  1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sin.”  I’d like to focus on that expression, and why Peter brought it up, “Love covers a multitude of sin.”  Your love does not cover your sin, and my love doesn’t cover my sin.  We’ve got the blood of Jesus to cover our sins and to take it away, but whose sin does love cover?  The answer is somebody else’s.  Love covers their sin, and not yours.  Let me suggest how that might tie in a special way to those that Peter is addressing.  He had already encouraged them to love one another, and we saw that in 1 Peter 1:22 when he said, “Love one another fervently from the heart.” 

We know from Paul’s epistles that not every Christian appropriated the life of Christ and His strength to be done unto.  Sometimes when they were being done unto, they buckled and caved in and they gave into pressure.  Like Demas, he completely turned around under pressure, and temporarily John Mark buckled under pressure.  In fact, one of the people who buckled under pressure was the Apostle Peter.  Listen to Galatians 2:11, “When Cephas,” that’s Peter, “came to Antioch, I opposed him,” this is Paul, “to his face, because he stood condemned.  Prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with gentiles, but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of circumcision.  The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.”  So, Peter knows, because he was there.  He is one who caved in. 

He’s writing to these persecuted Christians and he said, “You know, there’s a possibility that you who don’t cave in, you might have a temptation, because you are being harshly treated, and you look over your shoulder and your brother is getting away with it, and he’s turned back to Judaism, and he doesn’t want to get hurt and he doesn’t want to be persecuted, and you could be very critical of him, just to save his skin.  While you and your family are suffering, and some severely, you turn around and you see your neighbor, your friend, and they’re compromising (we used to call them Mugwumps, their mug is on one side of the fence and their wump on the other), in the middle compromising and they’re straddling the fence, making unreasonable concessions, there’s a possibility that these saints would be annoyed, and become critical.”  Peter says, “You need to know that love covers a multitude of sin.”

1 Corinthians 13 is a great chapter on love.  Let me read one verse Wuest, 1 Corinthians 13:5, he said, “Love is not irritated, provoked, exasperated, aroused to anger, does not take into account the evil which it suffers.”  Even to your life partner, your children, it’s easy to be irritated, provoked, exasperated, aroused to anger, let alone your Christian friends.  So, this exhortation to love is definitely a miracle, and Peter is writing to keep them from suspicion.  This is not only to keep them from hate.  He’s writing to keep them from gossip.  That’s what is included in this phrase.  In other words, don’t publish their failures.  Love covers a multitude of sin.   That’s not the same as a cover-up, that God is teaching us to cover-up.  We cover with love.  Politicians cover with lies.  It’s not the same thing at all.

I think there’s a wonderful illustration of this in Genesis 9, for more than 600 years Noah had a sterling testimony.  He found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and he had a revelation of the Lord Jesus, pictured by that ark, he was righteous, and he was a preacher of righteousness, and he was a Godly man.  Genesis 6:21, “After the flood, he drank the wine and became drunk, uncovered himself in his tent.”  Now, some think that took him by surprise.  They claim that before the flood there was no such thing as fermentation, because it was a different ecosystem back then.  I don’t know about all that.  Whether he knew it or not, I know the record is that he got drunk and he took off his clothes and he passed out naked on the floor.  That’s the picture we have.

His son, Ham, happened to go into visit his dad.  Genesis 9:22, “Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and he told his two brothers outside.”  After you see something like that, what do you have to do?  You’ve got to tell somebody, and so he went out and told.  So, Ham went out and told his brothers. What did his brothers do?  This is marvelous.  Verse 23, “But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it upon both their shoulders, walked backwards, covered the nakedness of their father, and their faces were turned away, that they did not see their father’s nakedness.”  I think that’s one of the grandest illustrations of love covers a multitude of sins.  What a powerful testimony Shem and Japheth had, walking in backwards with a blanket and covering up the nakedness of their father. 

Peter exhorts them to do that, and not to be critical with those who buckle.  I think his exhortation is true today. “Did you hear about brother so and so ran off with his secretary?”  How easy it is to just say something like that.  “Did you hear about the false prophesy Rev. X gave on the TV?”  It’s easy to say something like that.  “I hear that Mr. and Mrs. Somebody are going to get a divorce.  Did you hear that?”  “Do you think sister so and so is on drugs.”  We do that.  “Guess where I saw Christian so and so going?  They went into this whatever…”  Anyway, we need, whatever it means spiritually, walk backwards with a blanket, and let love cover a multitude of sins.  We don’t need to talk about a Christian who has failed or who is weak or is falling or is struggling.  James warns us about the power of the tongue, that the tongue, like a rudder, has a power to turn a big ship, and like a spark, it has the power to start a forest fire, and it has the venom of a serpent, and it can poison a relationship, and so on.  So, we need to take that.  Peter is reminding every pilgrim that we need to have love cover a multitude of sins.

There’s a fourth thing that Peter mentions.  Not only does he say, “Don’t think it’s strange,” and not only does he say, “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God’s delegated authority,” and not only does he say, “Love covers a multitude of sins,” but 1 Peter 4:15, “Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, a thief, an evil doer, troublesome meddler.  If anyone suffers as a Christian, he’s not to be ashamed, but to glorify God in His name, for it’s time for judgment to begin with the household of God, and if it begins with us first, what will the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  And if it’s with difficulty the righteous is saved, what will become of the Godless man and the sinner?”

Like many verses in 1 Peter, some of them seem to make more sense not in 1 Peter.  If you take it out, it’s hard to understand in the context.  The question comes, “How does this fit in, how does it connect?”  He’s talking about undeserved suffering.  In other words, that’s not the consequence of sin.  They didn’t do anything bad.  They’re suffering for redemptive purposes, and their treatment is undeserved.  They didn’t break any laws, so why would Peter say, “Undeserved suffering, it’s time for judgment to begin at the house of God?”  It’s hard to put those two verses together.  What does that have to do with undeserved suffering?  When he says, “It’s time for judgment to begin at the house of God,” that sounds like a frown, like God is chastening, like God is dealing with them.  He’s saying, “You’re suffering underserved suffering and it’s time for judgment to begin at the house of God.”  So, what’s going on, what is Peter actually saying?  Is God, does it say testing, refining, pruning?  At first glance it sounds like God is dealing with the righteous, and if He won’t let them get away with anything, where do you sinners think you’ll get away with anything?  That’s what it looks like it’s saying.  It’s very awkward to put verse 16 and 17 back to back.  “Glorify God for the privilege of suffering; it’s time for judgment to begin at the house of God.” 

Many commentators try to explain it by saying that Peter is preparing them for the judgment seat of Christ that they’re going to face after they’re martyred, after they die, and they need to understand, “Don’t buckle, because you are going to answer for that.”  I can’t quite make that my own.  Some think the key is in verse 18, that expression, “It’s with difficulty that the righteous is saved.”  In other words, they say, “Look what the Lord Jesus had to go through in order to make somebody righteous.  He had to shed His precious blood, so where do sinners think they’re going to come off if they reject that?”  I think possibly the essence of that thought might be there, but he seems to apply it more directly.

Let me make a suggestion.  When we see or hear the word “saved”, we automatically think about eternal salvation, salvation from hell, salvation from judgment.  “Somebody is saved, and they got born again.  They were converted.  They became Christians.  I was saved in 1958.”  And they have that idea.  But I think the word “saved” here is used a little bit differently.  I think it’s more “spared”, scarcely are the righteous saved, spared underserved suffering.  I’m going to try to tie that into that. 

You see, God’s plan to redeem the world, He wants to live in you and me.  It’s through us that He’s going to redeem the world, and the way He usually does it is through the undeserved suffering that His children allow Him to live through.  God has other ways to reach people.  Not everybody suffers, not every Christian suffers, but most do.  This is generally, primarily His method, that He’s going to live in me and be done unto, and they’re going to hate Him in me, and through that He’ll reach the world.  That’s His general method.  The righteous are scarcely saved, scarcely are delivered from that method.  Once in a while they are, but mostly they’re not.  I think Peter is encouraging them to show them their great privilege to let the Lord be persecuted in you, in order to save them.  What a tremendous cost, if the Lord allows you to suffer in an undeserved way, just to reach them, and they reject that, but you are, and I am, we are the sinners’ last hope.  Christ has ordained that He lives in us, and through us He reaches them.  So, he’s saying, “It’s time for judgment to begin at the house of God.  If the righteous are scarcely delivered, in My plan I would rather have, first, to begin, I would rather have My children suffer, to begin there, than to have them suffer.”  I think that might be what He’s saying. He’s not trying to scare them.  I think Paul summarizes what he had in mind, 2 Corinthians 4:10, “Always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so the life of Jesus may be manifest in our body.  We who live are constantly being delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, so the life of Jesus may be manifest in our mortal flesh.” 

I want to share one more, and then we’ll wrap it up.  1 Peter 3:14 & 15, “Even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you’re blessed.  Do not fear their intimidation.  Do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, with gentleness and reverence.”  And you remember the hope that is in you?  It’s 1 Peter 1:2&3, “The living hope by the resurrection…”   It’s the living Christ.  A big part of my privilege and yours is to proclaim the excellencies of Him that saved you.  It’s to manifest the Lord Jesus Christ.  It’s the presenting the living hope.  But there’s a greater joy than that, and what I want to do now is just give you the two parts of the greater joy.

The first is in verse 14, “If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”  But what does that mean?  What does it mean that the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you?  It has the same impact as Ephesians 3:17 where Paul prays that Christ might dwell in your heart by faith.  Why would he pray that?  He’s writing to those who are already Christians.  Doesn’t Christ already dwell in their hearts by faith?  Doesn’t He already live in them?  Paul prayed, “I’ll pray that Christ would dwell in your heart by faith.”  But the reality is that he’s saying, “I pray that Christ would dwell, settle down, rest, be at home.  He lives in this house, but is He at home here?”  That’s what he’s saying.  He’s saying, “I’m praying that Christ would be comfortable in His house.  He lives in you.  That’s not an issue, but can He kick off His sandals, and can he relax, and can He throw up His feet, and is He comfortable?  Does He have to work on you, or can He rest on you?  You see, it’s the same idea, we saw this when we did the tabernacle.  You remember the ark of the covenant, the symbolic throne of God, when that was finally in its rightful place, the glory rested on the tabernacle, the Shekinah glory.  He’s saying, “I’ve been trying to work with you, and I’ve been trying to get you to allow Me to live in you, and be done unto,” and when you finally let that happen, the Shekinah glory rests of you.  Now Christ is at home in you.  He doesn’t have to work on you, because now He can rest on you, and work through you.  That’s what He’s talking about, this willingness to be done unto, to the place where God, (I know this is a human term), but where God can relax, and is comfortable saying, “That’s My instrument, and they let Me and have given Me permission to be done unto in them, and whatever takes place in their life, they are going to trust Me.  At last, I can rest and I can relax in that heart, and now I can use that life.”

But there’s a greater part to the joy.  That’s a tremendous joy.  If you know, I mean really know, that the Holy Spirit is comfortable with where you are in Christ, if He’s at home and He can rest there, how wonderful is that?  There’s a greater joy.  1 Peter 4:13, “To the degree you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exaltation.”  That’s a joy added to a joy there.  At the revelation of His glory, what is the revelation of His glory? 

There’s a day coming when there will be a final fulfillment of Isaiah 53:11,” He’ll see the travail of His soul and be satisfied.”  All that His blood purchased; it will finally be there.  Not only a joy for you.  The Apostle Paul couldn’t wait for that glorious day.  Listen to 1 Thessalonians 2:19, “Who is our hope for joy or crown or exaltation?  Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?  You are our glory and our joy.”  The Apostle Paul said, “My joy is that God used me to bring somebody else to Him?  I can’t wait for that day when I see them that came because I let Jesus live in me, and somebody else has been brought to Him through that.”  We sing, “That will be glory, glory for me,” and it will, but we need to sing, “Oh, that will glory, be glory for Him.” 

I’ve given a name to that day from Ephesians 5:27 and Jude, “That He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such things, that she would be holy and blameless”, and through that word He might present to Himself, I would like to call it the “Day of Presentation”, the day when the church finally, finished, done, over, through, complete, when the church in all her glory without a spot of wrinkle is presented to Him.  That’s the promised day of the Lord, and that’s His day. 

There’s so much talk about the end time.  When I went to Bible school we had to take a course called “eschatology”, and that’s the study of last things, final things.  We studied the rapture, and the judgment seat, and the tribulation, and the marriage feast, and the millennium, and the resurrection, and the white throne judgment.  I took two courses on eschatology, and I didn’t hear a word about the Day of Presentation, the day when the bride is presented to the Lord Jesus.  That’s the day that Peter is talking about, and that Paul was looking forward to.  I look forward more to the Day of Presentation when He gets His bride than I look forward to heaven.  I can’t wait for that day to see my Savior, when He receives His church in all her glory.  It’s done and it’s finished, and He receives His glorious bride.

Jesus waits and longs to live redemptively in me, in them and through them.  When they allowed it, finally, the Holy Spirit says, “At last I can rest.  I can become comfortable here.”  They were given this great privilege, that He’s going to use them, and some glorious day the great burden of His heart to see the travail of His soul, to see everything He’s longed for, He’s come to seek and save that which is lost, and He’s chosen to use us, and Peter says, “That day, that glorious day, you’re great rejoicing will turn into exaltation.’  We need His light to praise Him on that day.  So, through His redemptive suffering on the cross, and now His redemptive suffering in us, there’s a glorious day coming called, I call, the Day of Presentation.

I’ve seen many marriages in my life.  My favorite marriage so far has been my own, but I’ve seen our children married, and I’ve seen some grandchildren married, and so on, but I’ll tell you, the one I’m looking forward to is when the Lord Jesus receives His bride.  What a day for Jesus!  That’s why I opened with this verse, that when He comes, He’s coming to be glorified in His saints, and marveled at by all who believed.”  It’s going to be a glorious day. 

Let me close with a benediction that also has to do with the presentation.  It’s from Jude 24 & 25, “Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen.”

Father, thank You for Your word, and burn it indelibly into our lives.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.