Sunday, January 02, 2022

“To Bring You To God” [Matt's Messages]

“To Bring You To God”
As Foreigners and Exiles - The Message of 1 Peter
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
January 2, 2022 :: 1 Peter 3:17-22

We’re going to take at least 2 weeks to study this passage in depth. One reason is that this is–by far–the most difficult passage in all of 1 Peter to interpret. Just about everybody thinks so! The great theologian Martin Luther once said about this paragraph, “This is a strange text and certainly a more obscure passage than any other passage in the New Testament. I still do not know for sure what the apostle means.”

So, I feel like I’m good in company in needing more time to study it and more time to explain what I think Peter is saying here. 

The other reason we’re going to take so much time on this paragraph is that I want us to really slow down and simply marinate our minds in the truth of verse 18. 

There are some words in verse 18 that I want us to set our minds on as we enter into the year 2022.

But first, let’s recite together our memory verses from chapter 2. They’re on the back of your worship bulletin. All Fall and now all Winter, we have been trying to embed 1 Peter 2:11-12 in our minds and hearts. It’s been a few weeks. Is it still in there? I hope so.

“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.”

Now, let’s look at our passage for today in chapter 3.

You’ll quickly notice the connection between this passage and our memory verses.

The connection is the idea of doing good.

Peter urges us as a family of foreigners, as God’s elect exiles, to live good lives among our unbelieving neighbors–such good lives that though they want to label us as trouble-makers they have to admit we are not trouble-makers. We are, in fact, good-deed-doers! If we are living as we ought, they will all have to say that on the last day. And some of them will be drawn to the good news of Jesus because of our good deeds in Jesus’ name.

The main thing I want us to dwell on this morning are 5 glorious words nestled in the middle of verse 18 in the NIV. Five glorious words that beautifully express the purpose and result of the suffering of Jesus Christ on our behalf. 

These words are perfect for us to dwell upon on a communion Sunday. 

And they are perfect for us to dwell upon on the first Sunday of the new year.

The main thing I want us to dwell on this morning are the words, “To Bring You To God.” Peter says that is why Jesus suffered and died–“To bring you to God.”

I want us to sit with those words and let them really sink in.

That’s the main thing I want us to dwell upon this morning.

But it’s not main the point of this bigger passage. The main point of this whole passage is to encourage us, as foreigners and exiles, to keep on doing good even in the face of unjust oppression and persecution.

Peter has been banging this drum all along:

“Live such good lives...that they may see your good deeds.” Chapter 2, verse 12. Our memory verse.

Chapter 2, verse 15. “[I]t is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.” Greek word, “agathopoiountas.” “Doing good.”

Chapter 2, verse 20. “[I]f you should suffer for doing good [agathopoiountas] and you endure it, this is commendable before God.”

Chapter 3, verse 6. “[D]o what is right [agathopoiountas] and do not give way to fear.”

Chapter 3, verses 13 and 14 that we looked at last time. “Who his going to harm you if are eager to do good [agathou]. But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.”

The big point of this passage in front of us–including all of the tricky parts that we’re going to look at more closely next week–is that Peter wants us to keep on doing good...even when it hurts.

Even when people hurt us for doing good.

I wish that were not a thing, but it definitely is a thing. And Peter wants us to know it. And be ready for it. And keep on doing good even when evil is coming at us.  #BlessThemBack, right?

Look at verse 17 and catch Peter’s logic.

“It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

Same word. “agathopoiountas.” “Doing good.”

Sometimes it’s God’s will for us to suffer. Our suffering is never outside of His sovereign control.

I’m thankful for that, though I do wish that it was His will that I never suffer. Someday that will be true. But I’m glad that if I have to suffer these days, it’s always within His sovereign control.

But Peter says that’s it’s better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

On one level, that’s obvious, right? I mean if you suffer for doing evil, then you’ve kind of asked for it.

But on another level, it’s not obvious. I mean, if you’re doing good, how could it be good to suffer for it?

It makes you wonder if you’re really doing it right. And it makes you wonder if it’s really worth it. I mean, at least if you suffer for doing bad, you at least got to enjoy doing bad...

But Peter says that it’s better to suffer for doing good. In fact, he’s just said that if you do, you are “blessed.”

And now he’s going to give the greatest example of this principle that ever was–our Lord Jesus Christ. V.18 “For [it is suffer for doing good...FOR] Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”

There’s your example! There’s your proof!

Jesus suffered for doing good, and look where that got Him.

We’ll look at the details more next week, but verse 22 says that not only did Jesus suffer and die, but He rose again and has “gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand–with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.”

There’s your proof that it’s better to suffer for doing good! And there’s your example follow! It IS worth it.

It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. It sure does. Those nails hurt. That Cross hurt.

But the end result was victory!
The end result was vindication. 
The end result was glory!

And that’s the main point of this whole passage.

Which should sober us as we enter into 2022. We should ready ourselves for suffering and commit ourselves to doing good no matter what.

In the name of Christ and following the example of Christ.

For the glory of Christ. “All glory be to Christ our King. All glory be to Christ!”

And we’ll see that even more next week.

But right now I want us to slow down and just focus in even more on the words of verse 18.

Because the result of Jesus’ suffering was not just His glory; it was our good.

It wasn’t just His vindication; it was our salvation. V.18

“For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”

Let’s think about that for a while.

Peter has been thinking about the suffering of Christ for a long time. Ever since that rooster crowed, I think. Peter’s been thinking about the suffering of Christ.

His thinking here proceeds in three steps.

Number one. Christ died for sins:


“Christ died for sins once for all.” That means here once for all time. Meaning that Jesus Christ’s death was a unique. It was distinctive. It was unrepeatable.

It only had to happen once and it only happened once.

Like it says in the Letter to the Hebrews (chapter 9, verse 28), “Christ was sacrificed once...”

Yes, we are called to suffer (for doing good) as well, but His suffering was also unique. It was special. It was unlike any other suffering that ever was or ever will be.

That’s why we keep singing about it. “Nothing But The Blood of Jesus.”
That’s why we keep memorializing it at the table with the bread and the cup.

It was unique. It was once for all. Everything that needed to happen at that Cross happened at the Cross.

Number two. Christ died for sins...


He did not deserve it.

Talk about suffering for doing good! Jesus was perfectly righteous. Remember how Peter quoted Isaiah in the last chapter? “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth” (2:22).

But the righteous One took the place of the unrighteous on that Cross. Jesus substituted Himself for us.

May we never get used to that idea!

“The righteous FOR (in the place of) the unrighteous.”

Put your name in there. “The righteous for the unrighteous __________.”

To put your name in there, you have to admit you are unrighteous. You have to admit that you do deserve this suffering, this death. But when you do, you realize that Jesus has already suffered FOR YOU.

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).  “The righteous for the unrighteous.”

And here’s the result. Number three.

Christ died for sins...


Just think about that!

You were far from God.
You were His enemy.
You were separated from Him.

And you couldn’t do anything to bring yourself to God.

The distance was too great. The chasm un-crossable.

But Christ died for sins, a sin offering, once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous and the result was that you and I get to be with God!

In His presence.
In His love.
In relationship with Him. His child!

In Christ, we have been brought to God.

That’s what I want us to dwell upon this first Sunday of 2022.

And as we do, let me suggest three points of application.

#1. Be brought to God.

If you have not yet already, now is the time to come to God.

Jesus Christ has died for sins once for all the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God. 

Have you come to God? Has the purpose of Christ’s death been applied to your own life?

Repent and put your trust in Jesus. Be brought to God. 

Put your faith in what Jesus did on the Cross on your behalf.

Put yourself in that phrase, maybe for the first time, “the righteous (Jesus) for the unrighteous (you!). Pray, “Lord Jesus, thank you for dying in my place. I trust and receive you. Bring me to God. Bring me to the Father. I believe you are the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through you. Bring me to the Father.”

What a great way that would be to start 2022!

And for all who have, the second application I want to suggest is simply:

#2. Give thanks that you were brought to God.

Thank God that you were brought to God!

That’s what we’re going to do right here at this table in just a minute.

The Bible calls it “the cup of thanksgiving” (1 Corinthians 10:16).

We should thank God every single day for what Jesus did for us.

“Thank you, Lord, for suffering.
Thank you, Lord, for suffering an unrepeatable death.
Thank you, Lord, for suffering in my place.
Thank you, Lord, for bringing me to God.”

And number three and last...and lasting forever:

#3. Enjoy being brought to God.

Enjoy everything that it means to be brought to God.

Think about what that means!
It means peace with God.
It means eternal life with God.
It means heaven with God.
It means hope.

All of what Peter was saying in chapter 1 about that “living hope.”

We have been brought to God, we have everything to look forward to.

The Bible says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).

You’ve been brought to God!

I want you to think about how bad 2022 might be for just a second.

Two years ago, as we were heading into 2020, everybody joking about “2020 vision,” and it was a lot easier to say, “This is going to be my year!” and expect great things.

And some of you awesome optimists are doing that for 2022 already. That’s cool! I hope it’s everything you’re feeling right now.

But for many of us, we are looking at 2022, and we can be filled with dread. We can be anxious. We are worried about covid, about cancer, about politics (it’s another election year, did you know that?). We’re worried about finances and supply chains and freedoms and a whole host of things including potential persecution.

Some of you know what you’re facing in 2022, and some of you don’t.

But go ahead right now and imagine the worst.

Now put that up next to this sentence, “I have been brought to God.”

“I have been brought to God.”

Not for judgment. But for atonement.
Not for punishment. But for blessing.
Not for condemnation. But for adoption. For fellowship!

For love.

“I have been brought to God.”

That doesn’t mean that 2022 won’t also be bad.

But it can’t touch the goodness of “I have been brought to God.”

The Bible says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ...  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation (or in all of 2022), will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).

“I have been brought to God.”

“Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood–
Sealed my pardon with His blood:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!”


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
11. "Do What Is Right And Do Not Give Way To Fear" 1 Peter 3:1-7
12. "Inherit a Blessing" 1 Peter 3:8-12
13. "Even If You Should Suffer For What Is Right"  1 Peter 3:13-16