Sunday, November 28, 2021

“Inherit a Blessing” [Matt's Messages]

“Inherit a Blessing”
As Foreigners and Exiles - The Message of 1 Peter
“Inherit a Blessing”
As Foreigners and Exiles - The Message of 1 Peter
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
November 28, 2021 :: 1 Peter 3:8-12

Remember our “marching orders” from the Apostle Peter:

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:11-12, NIV84).

Peter wants us to live good lives. Beautiful lives. On the inside (fighting the temptations of our sinful desires) and on outside, doing good deeds that our unbelieving neighbors can’t help but notice. So that, even though they want to dismiss us as troublemakers, many of them will actually be drawn to our Lord and all of them will bring Him glory when Jesus Christ makes His return visit.

And we are all to do all of that as foreigners and exiles. 

That’s a tall order! 

This letter is full of tall orders. Peter has some hard stuff for us to do.

For example, he wants us to submit ourselves to human authorities, good and no-so-good. That’s hard to do. 

But, apparently, it’s important for us to do because the world is watching.

And now in this next section, Peter is going to take things to another level of difficulty.

He’s not just going to ask us to passively submit to human authorities (which can be hard enough) and to not fight back and retaliate (which is even harder), but he’s going to ask us to actively bless those who persecute us.

That is where this letter is headed. Peter is not going to talk so much now about submission but about suffering. He’s already been talking about it, unjust suffering (since chapter 1 and especially at the end of chapter 2), but that’s going to become more and more the focus as the letter goes on towards chapter 4.

The Christians in Asia Minor were experiencing painful trials at the hands of persecutors. And Peter wants them to know that this is not abnormal. Unjust suffering is normal and expected for Christians during this age. 

Our Lord Jesus went through it, and He told us to expect it for ourselves.

And He told us how we should respond to it when it comes our way.

It’s not going to be easy.

But, the great thing about today’s passage is that Peter tells us that it is worth it.

I pulled 3 words from the end of verse 9 to be the title of this message, and they sound really good. 3 words: “Inherit a Blessing.”

Doesn’t that just sound good? “Inherit a blessing.”

Well, I’ve got some great news for you today: This is really good!

“Inherit a Blessing.”

That last word “blessing” is a favorite word for Christians. We use it a lot, especially this time of year, right?

Last Saturday, we had “Blessed to Be a Blessing” with the Ministerium. And last week we sang, “Count Your Many Blessings,” and “We Are So Blessed,” and “Blessings All Mine with 10,000 Beside.” And this morning we sang, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”

Probably every one of us thanked God around the table on Thursday for all of God’s many blessings to us.

Blessings are good things, good gifts from God’s good hand.

Or they are good words about good things, good things conveyed in words over and on to others.

We give others our blessing when we speak good over or towards someone else.

And Peter says that God has even more blessing in store for us to inherit and receive!

Do you want to inherit a blessing from Lord Himself?

You might want to wait a second and hear again what comes first before you answer that.

Not because the blessing isn’t great. It truly is. It is worth everything!

But because our part first is not so easy.

I want to summarize today’s message in three short points of application. 


And here I’m trying to summarize verse 8.

Peter is rounding off the last section where he’s been painting a picture of a submissive Christian who does good works that turn the heads of the pagans. V.8

“Finally, all of you [not just citizens, slaves, or wives and husbands, all of you], live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.”

Now this is a beautiful and inspiring short list of 5 virtues for every Christian to cultivate. 

I could preach a five point sermon on just that verse.

Beautiful! But not so easy, is it?

It’s not real easy to “live in harmony” with other Christians. Or literally, to be “of one mind.” Christians often dis-agree. 

We have to work at unity. It doesn’t just come naturally.

Sometimes we have to work on sympathy, as well. Especially when we see other Christians having trouble perhaps because of what we think were bad choices that we saw them making.

But if they are having trouble, Peter says that we need to do our best to be sympathetic. Sharing their feelings with them. Caring about what they care about, what they are going through.

He says we need to “love as brothers.” The Greek word there is “philadelphoi,” where we get our “City of Brotherly Love.” The church is supposed to be a community of brotherly love.

Peter says that we need to be compassionate or “tenderhearted” towards each other. Caring about each other, being kind to one another. Caring in such a way that we do something about it. That we act in compassionate ways.

And “humble” or “humble-minded.” Putting each other before ourselves.

This is the Christian ideal for living in spiritual community, and it is beautiful, but it is not always easy.

How are you doing at being a blessing to your church family?

Our church family has grown tremendously in the last couple of years. It’s not always obvious because we are spread out on Sundays, and because of various schedules, we are spread out in attendance over several Sundays. But Marilynn tells me that we consistently have at least 200 people worshipping together every three weeks. And there are many more than that who call this church family, their church family.

So we have to work at this. We have to work at being a blessing to our church family. How are we each doing at living in harmony, being sympathetic, loving each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, being compassionate, and being humble?

It might be hard to answer that question about ourselves for ourselves. It might be good to ask someone you trust how they think you are doing at those things. And how they think you might improve.

But we should be asking those questions.

It’s important for us each to cultivate these virtues not just because it will make our church fellowship thrive, but because the world is watching.

“Live such good lives [together] among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds [towards one another] and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

People are watching Lanse Free Church to see if we live out verse 8.

When the outside world sees Christians living like verse 8, they will sit up and take notice. As long as they see Christians living the opposite of verse 8–dissonance instead of harmony, apathy or worse antipathy instead of sympathy, love, and compassion, and pride instead of humility–as long as the world sees Christians living like that, they won’t care what our message is. And they won’t want to know about our Lord Jesus.

But when they see us living like verse 8, they will want to know more.

And when they see us living like verse 9?! That’s when it will really get interesting.

Look at verse 9. While you’re being a blessing to your church family...

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”


Be a blessing to your spiritual community.

Return a blessing to the enemies of your spiritual community.

That’s not easy, is it?

It’s certainly not natural.

It’s fairly easy to love those who love you.

It’s fairly easy to bless those who bless you.

Someone gives you a gift at Christmastime, you want to respond with a gift in kind. Someone allows you to move ahead of them in the checkout line, so you feel like letting their car go first out of the parking lot.

Someone says, “Merry Christmas,” it takes a Scrooge to say, “Bah, Humbug.” No, you want to say, “Merry Christmas to you!”

But repaying evil with good is a lot harder.

Repaying insult with blessing and well-wishing is not easy to do.

We either want to walk away or we want to respond in kind. Evil for evil. Insult for insult. Tit for tat. That’s what’s natural.

Someone stiffs you, you stiff them.
Someone calls you a name, you have one for them.
Someone cuts in front of you, you speed past them at the first chance.
Someone blocks on you social media, you block them.

It’s human nature to respond evil to evil, insult to insult.

But Peter says we are not to do the natural thing. Listen to verse 9 again.

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing...”

Peter expects these followers of Jesus to have evil come at them from others. 

It could come from others inside the church who are not living out verse 8, but it’s more likely to come from others outside of the church who are bringing evil on them because they don’t like their religion!

And it could be pagan governmental authorities like we saw in chapter 2 verses 13 through 17 or harsh masters like we saw in chapter 2, verses 13 through 21, or unbelieving husbands like we saw (last week) in chapter 3, verses 1 through 6.

And it could from a lot of other vectors, as well.

Here’s what to do when evil comes at you:

Do not retaliate. 

Do not pay back evil with evil.

Do not repay insult with insult.

But more than just “don’t retaliate.” Peter says to repay insults with blessings.

Bless them back.

If they come with a beating, you come back with a blessing.

That’s what Peter is saying.

Where did Peter get this strange teaching? Who taught it to him?

Who said this? 

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:28-29)?

If you don’t know, that was the teaching our Lord Jesus Christ.

And He didn’t just say it. He lived it.

Remember what we just saw at the end of the last chapter (2:23-24), “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. [And He did more than that. He died for His enemies!] He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

Peter is telling us to be like Jesus and return a blessing to our enemies.

Now, this does not mean that we should run towards persecution or that we are not allowed to try to escape it.

Christians are not masochists who just love being mistreated. “Ooh. Give me some more of those beatings! I just love it when you insult me!”

No. The Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter tried to get out of trouble. At times, Paul even used his rights as a Roman citizen to escape persecution. 

We are allowed and even encouraged to seek justice.

But we are not allowed or encouraged to seek revenge.

To retaliate. To blast back. To return reviling with reviling, but instead we’re to return beatings with blessings.

You know that takes a strong person, doesn’t it?

And the world is watching.

The world will stare at something like this.

“How come you aren’t fighting back?”
“How can you be so sweet to that person who did that to you?”

The world will stare. They may not agree. It may be unsettling to them. They may think you are crazy. But they won’t be able to ignore you either.

I want you to think right now about your enemy. 

Who comes to your mind right now when I say that? Enemy.

You might not have an enemy right now that hates you because you love Jesus. Be ready for that. There will be more of that in the days to come.

But who was the person who most recently insulted you? Called you a name? Made fun of you? Made your life hard? Brought evil into your life.

How could you bless them?

How could you bless them back?

I’m not saying that you help them to hurt you more or certainly to help them to hurt someone else.

And I’m not saying that you can’t try to resolve the problem between you by showing them the error of their ways and asking for reconciliation and even restitution.

But instead of running away, or stabbing them in the back, or blasting them back– which is probably what you feel like when you get that person in your mind–what could you do to bless them back?

It might just be prayer for them.

One of the books I read this week to prepare was for this messages was by a Bible scholar named Karen Jobes. And she says this about applying this passage:

“Those who are able not to simply clench their teeth and remain silent but to maintain an inner attitude that allows one to pray sincerely for the well-being of one’s adversaries, are truly a witness to the life-changing power of a new identity in Christ.

When I asked students in class one day to come up with specific practical examples of how someone might bless an adversary, the story was shared of a Christian soldier living in a barracks with his unit. Each evening, when he would read his Bible and pray before retiring, he was reviled and insulted by the soldier across the aisle. One night a pair of muddy combat boots came flying at the Christian. The next morning, the hostile soldier found his boots at the foot of his bed, cleaned and polished and ready for inspection. Several soldiers in this company eventually became Christians as a result of the inner strength of one who could return blessing for insult” (1 Peter. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, pg. 218).

This is not being passive-aggressive and pretending to be nice and faking it. It is genuinely loving your enemy and paying them back with blessing.

Peter says that we are “called” to that.

Same language as chapter 2 verse 21 when he said that we are called to walk in Jesus’ footsteps.

We are called to repay insult with blessing.

And here’s the payoff. Look at verse 9 again.

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

In other words, it’s worth it. God has something so good in store for you that it is worth not only taking the beating and receiving the insult but repaying it with good! The blessing is that fabulous! It’s worth it!

Now, don’t get me wrong. The blessing here is not earned by your good works of blessing your enemies. You don’t grit your teeth and speak a few words of blessing on your adversary, and then God says, “Okay, that’s enough, you’ve earned your blessing.”

Notice that it says, “inherit” a blessing in the NIV. Nobody ever earns an inheritance. It’s all a gift. It’s all of grace.

But this is our part, what we do to position ourselves to receive it.

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with that you may inherit a blessing.”

Point number three.


Be a blessing to your church family, and return a blessing to your enemies, so that you inherit a blessing from your Lord.

Which will make it all worth it.

To prove this point, Peter reaches back into the Old Testament which should not surprise us by this point in this letter. Peter loves his Old Testament, and he’s actually already quoted this Psalm, Psalm 34. We studied it together here back in the Spring.

Peter quotes Psalm 34 to show that God blesses His people when they keep from evil and instead hand out good (even to their enemies).  Look at verse 10.

Inherit a blessing...“For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.”

Do you hear the blessing words from King David? Loving life and seeing good days.

That was a Old Testament shadow of the blessing to come in the eternal Kingdom!

How do you come about it? “Keep [your] tongue from evil.” 

“But what if they tongue evil at me?”

“Keep [your] tongue from evil...He must turn from evil.”

“But what if they are bringing evil at me?”

“He must turn from evil and do good.”

It’s not enough to just keep from doing evil. We must do good to our enemies!

“He must seek peace and pursue.” This is actively seeking to bless our adversaries.

Because the Lord is watching. V.12

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’”

And you do not want the Lord’s face to be against you.

The Lord’s face is against the unrepentant. “He must turn from evil.”

But His eyes and ears are watching and listening to the righteous to bless them beyond belief as they bless, not just their friends but their enemies, in the name of Jesus Christ.

Is this what we are known for?

Until the Church is known for acting like this, in a counter-cultural, counter-intuitive, counter-natural way, we will be fairly ineffective in our witness.

Jesus will still save Who He will save, but we will not be very instrumental in the process.

Peter says that we should live such good lives among the pagans that they will see us blessing our enemies, and glorify God on the day He visits us.

Who are our enemies?

And what we can we be doing to bless them?

Because when we do...we will inherit a blessing!

Imagine if someone told you that they would give you one billion dollars if you consented to being insulted for one month and just smiling in return.

What would you do? Personally, I would start spending that money in my head as I smiled through a month of insults.

And that illustration doesn't begin [doesn't begin!] to compare with the blessings, the good things, the rewards that God is promising in this letter!

Bless them back.

“Because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”


Previous Messages in This Series

01. "Elect Exiles" 1 Peter 1:1-2
02. "A Living Hope" 1 Peter 1:3-7
03. "Angels Long To Look Into These Things" 1 Peter 1:8-12
04. "Be Holy In All You Do" 1 Peter 1:13-16
05. "Live Your Lives As Strangers Here In Reverent Fear" 1 Peter 1:17-21
06. "Love Each Other Deeply, From the Heart" 1 Peter 1:22-2:3
07. "But Now You Are..." 1 Peter 2:4-10
08. “As Foreigners And Exiles” 1 Peter 2:11-12
09. "Submit Yourselves For the Lord's Sake 1 Peter 2:13-17
10. "Follow In His Steps" 1 Peter 2:18-25


Inheriting a Blessing sounds marvelous and especially because it's an eternal blessing, but the Living Blessing of being able to set an example for Christ here on earth in the ways you described in your lesson would be a Phenomenal Gift for the here and now! What Joy it would be to be able accept hostility, suffering, punishment and be in a state of mind where no ill thought would arise in our mind, but rather a natural and instinctive thought on how to return a blessing for repayment is absolutely wonderful! It is very encouraging and demands change! Praise God! Thanks for sharing Pastor! God Bless brother!
Stache SOGMC

Thanks, Stache! I agree. I think this is one of the hardest things the Lord asks of us--but He doesn't ask anything He didn't already do for us to show us the way and make the way, too. Good to hear from you. Blessings!