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Focus On Christ. Focusing On Christ In The Day Of Persecution . Focus On Sanctifying Christ In Your Heart: We typically use these verses to emphasizing knowing what we believe and being able to defend it (1 Peter 3:14-15) Apologetics – Defend creation, the Bible, key doctrinal issues, etc.

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focusing on christ in the day of persecution
Focusing On Christ In The Day Of Persecution
  • Focus On Sanctifying Christ In Your Heart:
    • We typically use these verses to emphasizing knowing what we believe and being able to defend it (1 Peter 3:14-15)
      • Apologetics – Defend creation, the Bible, key doctrinal issues, etc.
      • We apply this from a negative angle… People disagree with what we believe and so we have to be able to defend our beliefs to them
      • Context is more positive – Being ready to tell people why we have hope when we face persecution with faith.
      • “Why?” – They will be confused, amazed, and even appreciative by our response to opposition. It creates an opportunity to show Christ!
      • So by focusing on Christ, times of persecution can actually be a positive experience… taking something meant to destroy our faith and allowing it to be a tool for spreading our faith!
focusing on christ in the day of persecution1
Focusing On Christ In The Day Of Persecution
  • Focus On Sanctifying Christ In Your Heart:
    • Christ must hold a sanctified place in our hearts (vs. 15)
      • NKJV: “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” – Idea of giving Christ our hearts. Keeping Christ holy in our affections. Christ as Lord in our mind and actions. His dwelling place… Our hearts, His sanctuary
      • Connection to hostility (vs. 13) – Instead of allowing others to fill our hearts with fear and trouble, fill our heart with Christ. Fear and trouble gives to others the place that Christ should hold
      • Application of a prophecy of Isaiah (Isaiah 8:11-13) – Saying Christ is LORD. He is the Great I Am. He is Jehovah. No need for fear!
    • Our success in facing opposition in our faith depends on what we do before the persecution arises. We have to live daily with Christ as our heart’s focus… His living sanctuary (Gal. 2:20)
focusing on christ in the day of persecution2
Focusing On Christ In The Day Of Persecution
  • Focus On The Suffering Christ Endured:
    • Suffering will be a reality in our life… Not surprising since it was a reality in the life of Christ as well (1 Peter 3:17-18)
      • Peter unexpectedly speaks of suffering in a positive light. Suffering is sometimes a sign that we are walking in God’s will.
      • Focus on the cross – Jesus was treated unfairly, hypocritically, deceitfully, cowardly, wickedly, and more. How did Jesus respond?
      • We are amazed when we suffer for doing right and good. We feel life is not fair. Yet we are not innocent. Jesus suffered innocently!
      • Cause And Effect – Jesus was put to death by man, made alive in the spirit by God. God took what man did in order to destroy Jesus and used it to glorify Jesus. We have the same promise! (I Peter 5:10)
focusing on christ in the day of persecution3
Focusing On Christ In The Day Of Persecution
  • Focus On The Suffering Christ Endured:
    • Jesus was clear and straightforward about the opposition His disciples would face (Matthew 5:11-12)
      • A real certainty for life – Not “If you are…” but “when you are…”
      • Blessed, rejoice, glad – An untypical response. Requires looking beyond the moment. Just like the way Jesus endured the cross.
      • Jesus reminds us that persecution places us in a great company – Puts us in fellowship with Elijah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel… And Jesus Christ!
      • Notice verse 13ff – We are compared to salt and light. These are usually very good things. Salt flavors and preserves while light illuminates and heats. But they can also be abrasive to a wound or darkness.
    • Persecution has a way of making us feel alone, so focus on Christ! Can leave us weak and discouraged if we look away, just like it did Elijah (1 Peter 2:21-23)
focusing on christ in the day of persecution4
Focusing On Christ In The Day Of Persecution
  • Focus On The Work Of Christ In Your Baptism:
    • Next Peter reminds us about our connection with Jesus through our baptism (I Peter 3:20-21)
      • We typically think of the flood as judgment and destruction, but it was also God’s way of sparing and saving Noah and His family.
      • The avenue through which God saved Noah was water… Today God uses the same avenue to bring salvation into our lives.
      • The message is simple – “Baptism… saves you”  Baptism is not us saving ourselves, but it still saves us!
      • It’s an appeal to God for a good conscience – Baptism gives us a clear conscience. Guilt free, even though we’ve sinned. We are forgiven! Gives comfort, confidence, and assurance.
      • Persecution? When we face opposition for doing right, we can reference our baptism and know we are saved. If others accuse and slander, our conscience is clear and we know we are in Christ.
focusing on christ in the day of persecution5
Focusing On Christ In The Day Of Persecution
  • Focus On The Work Of Christ In Your Baptism:
    • Remembering our baptism reminds us of our identification and unity with Jesus (vs. 21; Romans 6:4-5)
      • When we reference our baptism, we are referencing the power of God. The same power God used to raise Jesus from the dead physically is available to raise us from the dead spiritually.
      • It is more than just a symbol, but its still highly symbolic… We die with Him, we’re buried with Him, and we’re raised with Him to new life
      • Suffering has a way of causing us to questing our identity and fellowship. Sometimes we doubt if God is with us. By remembering our baptism we are remembering our fellowship (Romans 8:35)
    • Since persecution often takes things away from, set your heart and mind on your baptism… It provides something that no amount of suffering can take away! (Col. 2:11-13)
focusing on christ in the day of persecution6
Focusing On Christ In The Day Of Persecution
  • Focus On The Place And Position Of Christ:
    • Finally, Peter has us focus on where Jesus is and what Jesus is doing (I Peter 3:22)
      • Focus on Christ’s Place: In heaven, presence of the Father. He has conquered sin & death and is glorified. The exalted Lord!
      • Focus on Christ’s Position: Right hand of God. Jesus is reigning. He is in a place of control & authority. He has the Father’s ear.
      • Focus On Christ’s Power: He has a great force at His disposal. These forces can be used as He protects and defends His saints.
      • When facing hostility it’s easy to shift our focus to physical & temporary things. It causes us to see what’s happening now as the biggest thing. What we have to sacrifice as more important & more real than the spiritual and eternal. Christ puts in back in perspective.
focusing on christ in the day of persecution7
Focusing On Christ In The Day Of Persecution
  • Focus On The Place And Position Of Christ:
    • This seems to be a main part of the message of Revelation. Especially the throne room & Jesus’ ascension (Rev. 4-5)
      • The throne with God sitting on it… Everything around the throne and emanating from it. God is reigning & in control (4:2ff)
      • Everything in Heaven falls down before God and worships Him… Because of His power over all things and His holiness (vs. 8, 11)
      • A sudden interruption – A “PROBLEM” – Who is worthy to open the scroll? Only Jesus because He has conquered (Rev. 5:11-14)
      • Why show this? Christians were hurting from persecution. Their life was in turmoil and they were under attack. Jesus has won the victory! The Lord reigns! The Lord is in control! All power is at His disposal!
focusing on christ in the day of persecution8
Focusing On Christ In The Day Of Persecution
  • Focus On The Place And Position Of Christ:
    • When facing opposition, set your face on the object of your faith. Remember that Jesus is at the Father’s right hand, that He is reigning, and that He is in control! Not only is Jesus in that position, He knows exactly what we are feeling! (Heb. 6:19-20)