ALWAYS BEING PREPARED (2 Peter 3:3, I Peter 3:15)

I feel like one of the reasons God still has us on earth is so that we can fulfill His great commission to make disciples. After all, the Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  The context of this verse is the day of the Lord (3:7, 3:10), and the reason for the delay is that God wants people to have time to change their minds – to repent.

I’m reminded of what God told Abraham in Genesis 15. He said that after a time in Egypt, they would return.  This would specifically be in the fourth generation, because (and don’t miss this), the iniquity of the Amorite was not yet complete (Gen 15:16).  God delays His wrath, desiring for people to change their mind about Jesus and to believe in the gospel.
As such, it’s important that we are sharing the gospel with others.  I love the way that 1 Peter 3:15 puts it: “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”  I notice several things in this one short verse.

First, we are to “set Christ apart” in our hearts as Lord. He is the sovereign King, and we should give Him the special place as Lord in our lives. We should follow His lead and pursue holiness as He is holy.

Next, we must be people of hope. How can we give a reason for the hope that is in us if we are not hoping for what God is going to do for us in the future?  We can’t.  Earlier in 1 Peter, Peter tells us to “set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  We should be forward looking, expectant about what God will do. This hope is something that should make us different than others.  This hope shines the brightest when we are suffering – the context of 1 Peter 3 (see 3:14, 3:17).  When we are in difficult positions and respond well to our circumstances with our eyes on the Lord, a watching world will notice.

It doesn’t stop with just living our lives well, though. It must include the words of truth in the gospel.  We need to be ready to share our hope with others.  The attitude that goes along with this sharing is one of gentleness and reverence.  We don’t need to be threatened when giving others the gospel.  If someone rejects the gospel, it is not necessarily us they reject, but our Savior. He’s plenty big enough to defend Himself.  We just have to be faithful and make the most of every opportunity that God gives us to tell others about Jesus.

May God give all of us opportunities for sharing our story of grace with others today!

by Mike Hogue, Senior Pastor

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