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1, Sermon 6 - 1Peter
3:18-20 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just
for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in
the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which (Spirit)
he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime
were disobedient, (and
so consider) when
an earlier time) the
longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was
This sermon is a follow-on to Sermon 5. Dear reader, to grasp what I say here the reader must first read Sermons 4 and 5. Sermon 4 begins with (in black print) ---
Romans 14:9,11 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived (i.e. 'lived again'), that he might be Lord both of the dead and living... For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me (i.e. the Lord), and every tongue shall confess to God.
Before my comments are forthcoming for this passage, we must first spend considerable time in Isaiah 45 to see what Paul is saying in Romans when referring back to what Isaiah had said; for consider -
Isaiah 45:23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
In Romans 14:9,11 instead of using the term "Jesus", Paul identifies the One having 'sworn' in the Isaiah passage as 'Christ' (i.e. who 'both died, and rose, and' lived again).
I also said in Sermon 5, "Sermon 4, then, goes at length into Isaiah 45:23 because that is where Paul studied for his sermon in Romans 14: 9,11. In Sermon 4, I had also meant to include that which follows here (i.e. the topic of 'the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ') which varies somewhat from Sermon 4 but significantly adds to it. I repeat, it is related to the Romans 14:9,11 passage. However, Sermon 4 had become longer than at first I thought it would be ... and so I continued in Sermon 5."
now I continue the general theme in this Sermon 6 ... which general
theme has grown into "The Whole Christ".
Note above in Romans 14:9,11 'For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived (i.e. 'lived again'), that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.' Here we see similar wording 'both died, and rose, and lived again' and 'both of the dead and (the) living'. These corresponding phrases show direct connection: the word 'died' has to do with 'the dead', and the phrase 'rose and lived again' has to do with '(the) living'. We know that Christ died to save the many who shall be 'dead in Christ' (1Thessalonians 4:16) ... that is, we know it of those 'dying in Christ' after the Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Ah, but what about before the Crucifixion and Resurrection? Remember: just before the Crucifixion that Jesus had said in Matthew 11:27 'All things are delivered unto me of the Father: … ' (i.e. All things of the Father which specifically have to do with the Father's children, and to do with the world in which they live). Therefore at this point, Christ Jesus (soon to be crucified and resurrected in total obedience to the Father) had received the 'all things'; therefore at this point, all who had believed (i.e. 'faithed') in God the Father, Son, and Spirit from the beginning of the world of Adam were 'delivered' to the Son (i.e. the Second and thus new Adam). From the very beginning, it was the Lord Christ that had created them, and loved them. And as the Lord Christ Jesus he would soon die for them; therefore, they were now within his ownership by means of his Sacrificial Blood.
I repeat: the Lord Christ had created 'all these things' within God's Plan of the Ages ... which included all of the persons named in the Olden Scriptures (and so many more not therein named) ... persons like Abraham, Jacob and his sons, David, Solomon, etc. From the beginning, then, the Lord Christ had 'worked out' the Plan of the Father. And so he especially considered these to be under his care from Abraham's seed and onward, and even more so from Jacob's seed and onward throughout Israel's history. Indeed, it has been so very much the case that Israelites have always claimed the Lord Christ to be their God. And thus do we not see that the Bible is all about the Plan of the Ages as it has been working through the ages through Israel?
It is this Olden Scripture that is the Bible of which Jesus (the Second Adam) and the writers of the New Testament studied and wrote. Jesus was so different from all those around him (i.e. men of the First Adam) because of the simple fact that he was God's Second Adam to bring in a new kind of man. The men around Jesus knew he was from heaven, but they did not comprehend that a new lineage was beginning and it was out of the Second Adam.
In Matthew 11:27, then, we see that Christ Jesus had newly received Ownership of the Plan which from the beginning he had been working out (designed by the Father and the Son). Ownership came to Christ Jesus due to Faithfulness of his Sacrificial part in the Plan while earthbound for 33 years. But please note that The Sacrifice was by more than Jesus' death. God's Son ... to become the Second Adam ... had stepped out of heaven to arrive on earth in the form of a babe born of a lowly virgin. (And note that the Virgin Mary also was of the First Adam.) Jesus was of a different kind of flesh that was (and is) not of earth.
'Hebrews_2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him (the form of) the seed of Abraham.' Note that Jesus was in the form of the seed of Abraham and not of the natural lineage of the loins of Abraham or of David and thus was not of the loins of Joseph, Mary's husband to be. From the 1Peter text above we see that Jesus indeed had flesh and it was this flesh that had died: i.e. 'being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit'. The flesh that was put to death was the flesh of the new kind, of the Second Adam. The blood shed was sinless blood and not of the fallen race of the First Adam. After Jesus' resurrection did he not have holes in his hands and a wound in his side? Was the Lord Christ not 'the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world'?
For 33 years the heavenly Second Adam had walked among his earthly people as pleasing to the Father ... always walking in the Father's command. Thus, while in his heavenly flesh, the Lord Christ Jesus demonstrated the 'life' that is entirely pleasing to the Father. Dear reader, this is Second Adam 'life'. We cannot match that or come anywhere near it while earth-bound. But we do know that the risen Christ Jesus is Guarantor of the eternal 'life' of each believer (even from Adam and onward). 'For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived (i.e. 'lived again'), that he might be Lord both of the dead and living'. In heaven, each Christian will experience the 'live again life' with Jesus Christ.
The Blood Sacrifice and Resurrection (i.e. Christ Jesus the Son having accomplished his mission and returned back to be with the Father) IS the new Linchpin that from the Beginning had been Promised, which would keep the Wheel of God's Plan of the Ages in Continuation. For the moment consider God's Plan of the Ages like a wagon that has traveled a long way and its wheel is near coming off. Indeed, at the exact time the impossible occurred in the Holy Land of Judea that a babe was born of a virgin ... anyone with eyes to see could tell by the wobble in the wheel's forward motion that a new linchpin was required.
The old linchpin of course was the Mosaic Law. However, due to much sin and gross national disobedience the Mosaic Law had lost nearly all of its saving-effect. You see, all along the wagon has been good, and the wheel moving the wagon forward has been good; but a new linchpin became the need, and it occurred at the appropriate time as Promised.
Ah, but the new was more, in that even the Old Covenanted Adam (created with so much promise and moved along in so many ways through the ages by the Lord's workings) could not properly function in a New Covenant of the Second Adam. By the time of Jesus, the Old Covenant of the First Adam had become merely a shell of itself, 'Hebrews 8:13 In that he saith, (by) A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.' That is to say: Israelites no longer had the temple and priesthood of the Law and so they must rely on "traditions" (unless individually each might recognize his Lord and accept the Sacrifice, for the Old Law had become fulfilled in Jesus Christ.)
All has been (and ever shall be) operating within God's Covenants to and within the world and especially to His people. Indeed, the two major Covenants are like a Coin with both sides comprising a Single Covenant of Promise. The Function (i.e. the action of Jesus' completing his mission) of the Blood Sacrifice and Resurrection was the all-along-Planned-in-heaven new Linchpin. And, IT allows (indeed energizes) the rest of the trip to be continued according to God's Plan of the Ages.
We tend to think that the "old covenant" was the Mosaic Covenant, but that covenant was a sub-covenant of the Abrahamic Covenant. The Law of the Mosaic Covenant was given because the people of the Abrahamic Covenant ... including early ones who were forming the nation of Israel ... were fumbling along and too often sinning against the inner Guidance of the Spirit. Thus, through Moses God gave a Law, with its temple and a priest hood to help the people. (Ah, but individuals walking in faith from the beginning and onward through the ages have been in direct connection to God, for righteous ones in faith did not need the law. See Romans 2:13). The problem with the majority of Israelites was that, within the Lord's Blessing upon them, their hearts often looked more to the Blessings than to the Blessor. (As it is in the Church today.)
In fact, the Mosaic Covenant was supposed to be studied individually by all the people groups out of the loins of Abraham and in some way or other to be obeyed; the Law was a guide for them also. And in fact, the Law really was respected and honored by believers of these people groups. 'Heb_2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him (the form of) the seed of Abraham.' I.e. The seed of Abraham (not of Moses or Jacob, etc). The Promise was to Abraham's seed.
And did not Jesus tell his people Israel that he had people 'of another fold'? Remember Philip and the eunuch ... and remember Jesus and the Centurion? These were Gentiles of the nations; the Promise was even expanding and continuing through Jesus Christ, where before it was through Israel and and Law.
'The just shall live by faith' has always been true through the ages for each man, woman, and child.
Hosea 14:9 Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.
Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
Romans 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any (just) man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. (See Hebrews 11:6)
1Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
Among all of God's people through the ages there have been but a few who were willing to empty themselves so that they could become 'just' before the Lord Christ. The Lord Christ Jesus saves all those who will be saved, and he works those who are willing to 'live by faith'. 'Walking by faith' has always been the key even from Adam and Eve and their son Able on to Noah, etc.
So consider again -
'Isaiah 45:23 I have sworn by myself (i.e the Lord Christ), the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear', and therefore Paul added 'Thus, it was to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived (i.e. 'lived again') ... .
And consider to whom the Lord Christ was speaking -
Isaiah 45:1-3 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
45:4-6 For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
At that time in Israel's history, the Northern Tribes had been captured and scattered in all of the lands which the Lord was giving into the victories of Cyrus. From the Babylonians, then, Cyrus was going to return the people of Judah back to the soil of Judah, including Jerusalem the holy city. This was unbelievable to the world, much less to all of the Israelites scattered in the world. Even so it gave great hope to all Israelites, but also to all dejected and downtroden persons who had suffered under the harsh rule of Babylon. Indeed, in all of the world, the Lord Christ was making himself known as a Powerful, but Freeing, Loving, God of Israel.
The Spirit was affecting Cyrus and thus also the nations of his victories ... while at the same time the Spirit was affecting each and every person of the world who would properly respond to the Spirit. How did they respond? They did not yet have the Name of Jesus, but they did have the Name of Yahweh, the God of Israel. I suggest that this was a great Spiritual Awakening in history affecting the Israelites and Gentiles of the Nations. The Gentiles did not have access to the specific Promises of Israel, but they did have access to the God of Israel and to Israel's Law.
before the Crucifixion,
Jesus Christ had received the 'all
things that were from the beginning'.
Peter teaches in 1Peter -
3:17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, (rather) than for evil doing.
Peter gives an example of the kind of suffering 'if the will of God be so'. Note that it is in regard to 'well doing' as opposed to 'evil doing'. This passage is not about the many kinds of suffering that fall between these two. Disease, mental anxiety, accidents, loved ones dying, etc. These are many sufferings common to mankind. Things happen!
And yes, some of this kind of suffering may be due to belonging to our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, these come from outside of oneself. Peter is speaking of sufferings that result from within oneself; 'well doing' and 'evil doing'.
For instance, being bullied in school is not such a suffering ... for if the bully simply sees you as weak and ripe for his actions against you he would do so to any weak person. You, however, are not to be the bully 'evil doing' or 'evil returning'. On the other hand, if you and/or your family are well known as belonging to Christ because of actions and/or speech, then this passage is for you even on school grounds. Now note the longsuffering that Peter is going to tell us about.
3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
The 'unjust' here are you and me because 'all have gone astray'.
Even with the body of Jesus dormant in the grave, Christ was alive ... 'quickened by the Spirit'. Thus, '...the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God', for that now we are brought to God, Peter would have us to walk by faith, for '...the just shall shall live by faith.'
But what of individuals not yet a child of God saved by Grace in the Lord Christ Jesus? (I am not delving into the topic of 'quickening by the Spirit'.) We are focusing on Christ Jesus 'bringing us to God'.
3:19,20 By which (Spirit) also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, (so, consider) when once (upon an earlier time) the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was (in) a (mode of) preparing ...
Peter tells us that while Jesus was physically in the grave that he 'preached unto the spirits in prison' (i.e. spirits not already at rest in God. Thus, we see that every person born of man and woman have spirit-being after death. These particular 'spirits' were of the days when Noah was preparing the ark ... while also Noah was preaching to the people of the region. Today a popular theme exists that those people were "vile sinners". But according to Peter, their predominant shortcoming was 'disobedience' to the message preached to them even as God was 'longsuffering' throughout those many years of preparing the ark.
The building of the ark and the preaching thereof was a 'longsuffering' sign from God to the people.
Too often the same essential message was a necessity in the long age of Israel, even up to the days of Jesus. The walk of Jesus among his people was pleasing to the Father during a 'season of longsuffering' by the Father.
True preaching by the Spirit (when God's Spirit is doing the wooing of persons) impresses a Will of God upon the person such that he MUST make a decision in that moment of hearing the Word. A person hearing the preaching and experiencing the wooing, but putting off the decision, is flirting with danger of the soul.
When would the Noah-flood come: when would the ark be launched? Even Noah did not know. Does even Jesus know when he will come again in his kingdom power?
Ah, but Peter wants us to know just how 'longsuffering' God can be. After ages in prison, these 'spirits' were again hearing preaching from God and this time by the Son himself (Crucified but not yet Risen). Would you, if in prison that long, and having such a chance, remain 'disobedient' to God? Did the Lord Jesus Christ preach to those 'prisoners' in vain? or did he 'set them free' as often he preached about himself and the reason of his coming to earth?
(The 'longsuffering' as a sign to people today ... and especially to God's people ... is not the message for this Sermon. For here I am trying to help brothers and sisters in the Lord to become more familiar with the All-through-the-Ages Lord-Savior.)
wherein few, that is, eight souls (of
Noah's family) were
saved by water.
3:21,22 The like figure whereunto even baptism (i.e. baptism also a 'figure') doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer (i.e. response) of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who (now) is gone (back) into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
As it was with the Lord Christ early in the ages, so now it is under the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, now he is 'Lord of lord and King of kings' and he shall set up his kingdom ... as described in the various passages regarding his kingdom ... which passages he himself gave through psalmists, prophets, etc. ... beginning long ago even with Moses.
But we are not through with Peter ... or I should say, "Peter is not through with us."
1Peter 4:1,2 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin (i.e. done ... turned from the ways of sin); That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
4:3-5 For the time (of the) past of our life may suffice us to have wrought (unto) the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in (their) lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein (now) they think it strange that ye (an Israelite) run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
As stated above, before Jesus, a great many Israelites lived among the nations in communes of their own kind. To survive they had to deal with the environment around them, and so in their necessities they 'wrought unto the will of the Gentiles'. And they looked to their "traditions" for help since very few of them could go to Jerusalem and visit the temple and ask priests to sacrifice for them. (Sacrifices were only acceptable to God as accomplished properly in the temple.) But some non-righteous Israelites walked 'in (the Gentiles') lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries'. Even so, most Israelites were faithful to their "traditions".
Yet, Peter was writing to the churches in those eastern nations, 'Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.' Sadly, many Israelites forced Israelite believers away from the communes and 'spoke evil' of them. Churches thus formed with both Israelite and Gentile believers (as it was with Paul and the churches he founded).
Today for us, how many Christians 'speak evil' of brethren that have not the same doctrines? How many Christians avoid other Christians for numerous reasons?
4:6 For for this (very same) cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead (i.e. preached by Noah), that they might be judged according to men in the flesh (i.e. as they were judged by God and therefore they were in 'prison' ... until Jesus preached to them), but (now) live according to God in the spirit.
We see that Noah preached long the 'good news' of salvation to them.
Moreover, we see that Peter considered them who were preached to by Noah as 'but (now) (a)live according to God in the spirit' in response to Christ's preaching.
4:7 But (for now) the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
Peter was the Apostle 'sent unto the Jews' (including Israelites scattered in the nations east of Jerusalem). Paul was sent unto the Gentiles of the nations east of Peter's assignment where Gentiles and some Jews became banded together in churches. Neither apostle had any idea that you and I would also be required to be 'sober, and watch unto prayer'. Thus, we see that Peter's teaching, preaching, and encouraging was to God's people: beliving-Israelites and believing-Gentiles banded together. All over the world at the time, in some form or other, such churches became persecuted. This is why all of the epistles were letters of encouragement and instruction to such churches
Everything in his two small books was firstly for Israelites of the 'olive tree'; and secondarily to the 'wild branches' of the nations 'grafted into' the 'olive tree'; so it is to you and to me.
11:10,11 Let their eyes (Jews) be darkened, that they
may not see, and bow down their back alway. I say then, Have
they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through
their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them
11:16,17 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the (natural) branches be broken off, and thou (Gentiles), being (of) a wild olive tree, wert graffed (as branches) in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
11:18 Boast not against the (natural Israelite) branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
11:21,22 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. ... otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
11:23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature (i.e. not of the Israelite race) into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
11:25-27 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits (i.e. conceited minds); that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I (i.e. the Lord Christ said through the prophets) shall take away their sins.
The Lord Christ, Son of God, was from the beginning (see John 1). And as the Lord Christ Jesus, the Son of God shall be far beyond the end of the ages; I pray that the reader sees that the Old Testament is not "Old". It was the Bible of Jesus and also of the writers of the New Testament. Therefore, you should delve into their Bible to find so much more there of our Lord and so much more about him; for then the Lord Christ was very active among his people and to his people. Thus, there is revealed much about who he is, his character, and his many workings for God the Father ... and foretellings his comings to earth: the first time and the second time.
From the beginning 'the glory of God is in the face of Christ and continues in the face of Jesus Christ'. (Sermon 5)
And the Apostle Peter says, '... be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.'
Sermon 4 led me into Sermon 5 and thus into this Sermon 6.
I pray that I have given some small insight into "The Whole Christ".
You can also download this study as a pdf file.