Class Notes: 6/22/2008
1Pet 3:15 Conclusion of the Doctrine of Giving an Answer, Matt 10:28 Beginning of the Doctrine of no Fear
In our study of the mandates for the believer in God's pre-determined plan we are presently examining the mandate found in 1Pet 3:15-16; for the believer to sanctify or set apart the TLJC in their hearts or stream of consciousness and as a result be focused on TLJC rather than the adversities in life and to be ready to give an answer of the "hope or absolute confident expectation of future divine good" that is in them" that results from the believer's occupation with TLJC which accrues from their continuous PMA of Bible Doctrine while keeping a good conscience and good behavior.
We saw last time that the believer's witness consists not only of the answers they give to people, but that their whole life may be presented as a witness before the angels.
We then began to look at some of the characteristics of the believer who endures the suffering that is part of God's plan for their life and while in the suffering maintains their good conscience and conduct through their application of Bible Doctrine.
Some additional results that accrue to the believer who endures suffering with a good conscience and behavior.
The believer presents their identity in union with TLJC by following his example. 1Pet 2:20-21;
The believer receives blessing from God because of their endurance through undeserved suffering 1Pet 3:14; 1Pet 4:14;
The believer's motives are purified and their doctrine tested. 1Pet 4:1-2; 1Pet 1:7;
The believer will have great Joy and Triumph at their evaluation when TLJC returns and they receive the blessings that accrued to them in the suffering. 1Pet 4:13;
God will himself restore, strengthen, establish, and confirm the believer 1Pet 5:10;NET
Peter presents the idea that endurance in suffering can be possible only as one is able to look forward with absolute confident future expectation of eternal reward through their recall of the promises of God that are recorded in Bible Doctrine.
Believers are able to be steadfast in the most difficult situations when they are aware of the inheritance that we saw in Eph 1:3; has already been prepared for the believer and that TLJC will convey to them in his perfect timing.
Peter wants each believer to know that slander, insult, persecution, trouble, affliction, or any type of suffering is limited to life in time, and that the inheritance will be conveyed in eternity.
Hope, the believer's absolute confident future expectation of divine good gives believer motivation for enduring the hardships that are encountered in their life in time.
By means of Doctrine, believers have the absolutely sure promise of ultimate victory and vindication in their union with TLJC which when applied as doctrinal rationales with the Faith Rest Drill provides them an unwavering endurance.
Endurance in suffering is made more understandable by the example of TLJC. Peter emphasizes that if the Christian is compelled to suffer cruelly and unjustly for their faith, they are traveling the same path that TLJC has already walked.
When in the midst of suffering the believer must always remember that they have a model for their suffering... the suffering of TLJC. Christ's attitudes and actions during His unjust persecution reveal the proper response to suffering that His followers are to maintain during stressful situations.
Therefore each believer during times of suffering and unjust circumstances should reiterate Peter's doxology in 1Pet 1:3-6;
Some concluding points regarding believers providing an answer to those who ask of their hope or confident expectation of future divine good:
The best presentation of the Gospel occurs when believers know their audience so they can speak their language, and share their thinking. The best presentation of the Gospel is given by those who live within a society, thereby knowing its hopes and its fears and can identify with its viewpoint resulting in an almost intuitive sense of the points of contact that exist for the presentation of the Gospel.
In Acts 2 Peter addressed the Jews in Jerusalem who were very familiar with the Old Testament. In Acts 17 Paul addressed the interests of the polytheistic Greeks in Athens. In each case the approach was tailored to and based on the interests of the audience.
Believers today need to have that same ability to present the unchanging Gospel to those who ask them of the hope that lies within them in the context of the interests of the audience.
In providing a defense of their hope, believers need to use the things that the audience perceives as important as a platform for their presentation.
Peter referenced the Old Testament, knowing that his Jewish audience would regard it as authoritative. Paul appealed to Greek literature that his audience regarded highly in his presentation and defense of the gospel in Athens.
By following this pattern, of presenting the Gospel in the context of their audience's interests the Gospel will be presented in the most effective way.
Believers must always remember that God the Holy Spirit is the Divine agent of evangelism and that it is ultimately his work in common grace that brings people to a position where they make a change of thinking decision regarding TLJC.
In our study of the mandate found in 1Pet 3:15, for the believer to be prepared to give a defense of the hope that was within them we saw that the context of the request was suffering. 1Pet 3:14;. We saw that Peter quoted Isa 8:12; for believers not to be intimidated or fearful and not to be troubled by the suffering or those who were the source of the suffering.
Paul has the same instructions for believers in Phil 1:28; where the word translated "alarmed" in the NASB is the Greek word "pturo" that means to be frightened or intimidated.
This brings us to the mandate for the believer not to fear that is found in Matt 10:28,31; Rev 2:10; Isa 41:10; LXX where the believer is commanded not to fear.
The word translated "fear" in these passages is the Greek word" phobeo" in the imperative mood.
There are many other passages such as those we have just seen in 1Pet 3:14 and Phil 1:18 where the mandate not to fear is in the indicative mood of reality.
We can see from the passage in Matthew that fear is presented in two ways in the Bible, in a positive way as in fear, respect, awe, or reverence toward God and in a negative way as in sinful fear of mental attitude sin.
Both are commands to the believer. We will take up the negative side of the mandate first.
The sin of fear is characterized by panic when one is in a dangerous situation or under sudden pressure. When someone is intimidated they are usually under pressure to compromise their norms and standards. In such a state, the principles of Bible Doctrine become less important the desire for preservation.
Fear is a painful emotional distress aroused by impending pain, danger, disaster or evil, or by the illusion of impending pain, danger, disaster or evil.
Whether the fear is caused by reality or imagination, it is still sin because fear is an indictment against God and his integrity.
Weather they know it or not, fear is the believer saying in their stream of consciousness that they actually do not trust that God will come through for them but instead they expect God to fail them contradicting His word in Heb 13:5; Rom 8:32; and many other passages of scripture.
Because of this, fear is a mental attitude sin which can escalate to the level of panic and terror in situations perceived as dangerous such as was exhibited by the disciples in the boat on the lake when TLJC was sleeping. Matt 8:23-26;
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