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Service Archives > 60 1 & 2 Peter - Rock Solid - 2013 > The Irresistible Beauty of a Tender Heart

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The Irresistible Beauty of a Tender Heart - 1 Peter 3:1-6

Taught on | Topic: Marriage | Keywords: marriage, submission, wives, husbands, unbelievers, unequally yoked, evangelism, beauty

The most attractive people in the world are those who display depth of character and pleasant personalities. Solomon insisted that “[outward] beauty is passing” (Proverbs 31:30). As Peter speaks to a common issue in the early church (Christian wives married to unbelieving husbands), he also gives us three marks of a tenderhearted woman: in her actions, attitudes, and admiration.

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2/2/2014
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The Irresistible Beauty of a Tender Heart
1 Peter 3:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
The most attractive people in the world are those who display depth of character and pleasant personalities. Solomon insisted that “[outward] beauty is passing” (Proverbs 31:30). As Peter speaks to a common issue in the early church (Christian wives married to unbelieving husbands), he also gives us three marks of a tenderhearted woman: in her actions, attitudes, and admiration.
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60 1 & 2 Peter - Rock Solid - 2013

60 1 & 2 Peter - Rock Solid - 2013

When Jesus asked his disciples. "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" Peter responded "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus promised Peter that upon the Rock of that confession He would build His church.

The truth of who Jesus is empowers common man to speak the message that opens the doors of heaven to sinners. Join us to learn strong principles for godly living and reach new heights in our faith as we work our way through Peter's epistles—writings which evangelize the lost and instruct the church. Pastor Skip Heitzig guides us through First and Second Peter in the series Rock Solid.

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Outline

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  1. Her Actions Speak Louder Than Her Words (vv. 1-2)

    1. Submissive Practice

    2. Silent Preaching

  2. Her Attitude Is Her Prettiest Feature (vv. 3-4)

    1. Impermanent Beauty

    2. Imperishable Beauty

  3. Her Admiration Is More Biblical Than Conventional (vv. 5-6)

    1. The Former Ladies of the Scriptures

    2. The First Lady of the Patriarchs

CONNECT QUESTIONS


  1. According to 1 Peter 3:1-6, what is the purpose of a wife’s submission to her husband?

  2. In these verses, what characteristics of submission are included?

  3. Rather than outward adornment, what beauty is precious in the sight of God?

  4. How would you describe this hidden person of the heart?

  5. How did Old Testament women like Sarah display submission?

  6. What did God reveal to you in this passage?

  7. Is there anything that applies directly to you or to someone you know? How can you take aim at changing a negative behavior in a biblical way?

  8. Who was this passage originally directed to?

  9. How does this passage apply to believers?

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. Marriage magnifies the personality you already have
    2. A New Jersey classified ad: "Honey, please come home. The children miss you, the lawn hasn't been mowed in three weeks, and the garden needs a worm like you. Your loving wife, Gretchen."
    3. Submission is not an easy to talk about
      1. Responses range from nervous laughter to outright scorn
      2. New Mexico congressmen involved in controversy for citing the Bible, saying that a wife should voluntarily submit to her husband, while her husband should lovingly lead and sacrifice for her
    4. In I Peter 3, Peter deals with four major areas of social interaction: the society, the workplace, the home/family, and the church
    5. Verses 1-7 are addressed to wives and husbands; verses 1-6 are addressed to women in an unequally yoked marriage.
      1. Paul uses the phrase unequally yoked (see 2 Corinthians 6:14) to refer to the marriage of a believer and an unbeliever; they are married legally, not spiritually
      2. In ancient times, it was assumed the wife would follow whatever religion her husband was part of; therefore there were issues when a wife converted to Christianity, already seen as a subversive movement
      3. Unequally yoked spouses should not divorce or separate; there is something else that should and can be done
    6.  "I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person. I do know that many people have a lot of wrong ideas about marriage and what it takes to make that marriage happy and successful. I'll be the first to admit that it is possible that you did marry the wrong person. However, if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all."—Zig Ziglar
  2. Three Marks of a Tenderhearted Woman
    1. Her Actions Speak Louder than Her Words
      1.  "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe [or watch, or carefully scrutinize] your chaste conduct accompanied by fear" (1 Peter 3:1-2)
        1. Treating the wrong person like the right person and discovering you may have married the right person after all; the Lord uses relationship to win the unbelieving spouse
      2. The Greco-Roman culture gave women basically no rights
        1. An unmarried woman living at home was under a Roman law known as patria potestas—the absolute authority of the Roman father over the child.
        2. A Roman father even had the right to execute his own children without any legal repercussions
        3. When a Roman woman married, those rights passed to her husband, her new owner
      3. Why are Peter's words to wives six times longer than his words to husbands?
        1. The position of being a wife in those days was much more complicated and difficult: If a husband converted to Christianity, the wife would follow
        2. If a wife converted to Christianity, not be the case; there would be trouble
      4. There are two basic principles Peter (and Paul) tell the wife of an unbelieving husband to adhere to: continuation and submission.
        1. Continuation—Stick with your husband; don't leave him because you're unequally yoked.
          1. 1 Corinthians 7:14: "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband."
          2. That is, the spouse is placed in a special, set-apart position for accessibility by God's Holy Spirit into the life of that person because of the influence of that believer; God has a unique access to reach and save a person.
        2. Submission: Likewise in verse 1 refers to the previous chapter, in which Peter told believers to submit to government, to those in the workplace, and to Jesus Christ or the Father's will.
          1. Submission does not infer moral, intellectual, or spiritual inferiority.
          2. Citizens must submit to government leaders, yet these leaders are not superior or better than any citizen.
          3. A master is over a servant, but it doesn't mean the master is intellectually better, superior, or loftier
          4. A Christian woman and a Christian man are equal: "There is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28).
        3. Men should not turn into military leaders because of the verses that call for wives to submit
          1. Submission does not imply the superiority of a male or inferiority of a female
          2. Submission for the functionality of the relationship.
        4. What about a believing wife having to submit to an unbelieving husband?
          1. It doesn't mean you can or should submit to him when he's telling you to do something sinful or against God's will
          2. It does mean to respond to him, to relinquish your rights and serve his needs
          3. "The husband does not replace Christ as the woman's supreme authority. She must never follow her husband's leadership into sin, but even where a Christian wife may have to stand with Christ against the sinful will of her husband, she can still have a spirit of submission. She can show by her attitude and behavior that she does not like resisting his will and that she longs for him to forsake his sin and lead in righteousness so that her disposition to honor him as head can again produce harmony" —John Piper
        5.  "Be submissive to your own husbands that even if some do not obey the word" - this word refers to God's Word -- "they, without a word" -- this word refers to the wife's word -- "may be won by the conduct of their wives" (v.1)
          1. Does not mean that a wife never has to say anything about her testimony or the gospel
          2. We have been "born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, through the word of God" (1 Peter 1:23)
          3. The time does comes when the husband has heard it all and heard enough, and he needs something stronger than just words—a life that he can see
          4. It's like when you're young and your parents tell you the same speech over and over again...
          5. Nagging, badgering, and arguing with your husband will not convert him; high-pressure Christianity is never effective, especially in the home
          6. The unbelieving husband of a believing wife already feels threatened: His wife is in love with somebody else that he can't even see, and he has been demoted to number two
          7. A balance of influencing your husband without alienating him
        6. Peter's counsel in this situation: Be a good wife!
        7.  "The silent preaching of a lovely life"—William Barclay
        8. Tension in home between believing mother and unbelieving father: "She served her husband as her master and did all she could to win him for You, speaking to him of You, and by her conduct, by which You made her so beautiful, finally, when her husband was at the end of his earthly span, she gained him for You" —Augustine
    2. Her Attitude Is Her Prettiest Feature
      1.  "Do not let your adornment be merely outward - arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel - rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and a quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God" (v. 3)
      2. This is not a legalistic ban on fashion or style; everybody appreciates beauty; a $17 billion a year industry
        1. Even 2,000 years ago, women dyed their hair bold colors and wore wigs, the most popular color of which was blond, and which have been found in Christian catacombs
        2. Examples of physical beauty/fashion in the Bible include the description of the bride in Song of Solomon and the robe and ring given to the prodigal son by his father in the New Testament (see Luke 15:22)
        3. It is possible for an unkempt wife to discourage her husband.
      3. "If the barn needs painting, paint it."
        1. Don't just paint the house—furnish it with holiness and character.
        2.  "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised" (Proverbs 31:30)
      4. There's always a promise and allure of beauty in the world, but Peter's saying here, "Hey, it's fine to look good, but get a spiritual makeover—incorruptible beauty."
        1. The world's idea of beauty is all about youth, but incorruptible beauty makes a woman look and be more beautiful as the years go on
        2. You can be stunning on the outside and ugly on the inside.
      5. The hidden person of the heart is the real you—your reputation and character—and you need to be very concerned about it.
        1. Do you spend as much time and energy on the hidden person of the heart as on getting ready in the morning?
      6. Two types of furnishings for the hidden person of the heart: gentle and quiet
        1. Gentle means meek, which doesn't mean you're a cowering person, but rather that you have power under control.
          1. Being meek means your spirit, your mouth, your responses, and your emotions are under God's control.
        2. "Quiet" means "tranquil, undisturbed," like a glassy lake.
          1. A wife can set the tone of the whole house by her tranquility of heart.
    3. Her Admiration Is More Biblical than Conventional
      1. When a woman of God looks for role models and examples to follow, she'll look in the Bible, not in People magazine.
      2. Verse 5-6: "For in this manner, in former times [reaching backwards], the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror."
      3. Jewish women would always look back to the heroines of their past, like Ruth (see Ruth 3:11) and the Proverbs 31 woman.
      4. At the time Peter was writing, he was basically saying, "Hey, look to gals like Sarah, not Cleopatra! Look to biblical role models."
      5. We should follow suit as people who take all their cues from the Bible.
        1. The Bible is useful to teach us whatever is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right (See 2 Timothy 3:16).
      6. Other books may give you information or inspiration, but the Bible provides transformation.
      7. Why did Sarah call Abraham lord?
        1. Lord is not just a term of deity, but of respect—like sir; I respect you; I honor you; I submit to you.
        2. Peter uses Sarah and Abraham's marriage as an example; their marriage was not perfect: He made some bad decisions and she had to go along with them (see Genesis 12).
  3. Closing
    1. This message is a call to focus on the hidden person of the heart
      1. Choose good character, not just good cosmetics
      2. Adorn yourself with gentleness, not just jewelry
      3. Let your "bling" be goodness, not gold
    2.  "Which is very precious in the sight of God" (v. 4); God is watching you.
      1. If we lived under that awareness, most of our problems would go away

    Figures referenced: Zig Ziglar, John Piper, William Barclay, Augustine

    Cross references: Genesis 12, Ruth 3:1, Luke 15:22, 2 Corinthians 6:14, 1 Corinthians 7:14, 2 Timothy 3:16, 1 Peter 1:23


    Topic: Marriage

    Keywords: marriage, submission, wives, husbands, unbelievers, unequally yoked, evangelism, beauty

    Transcript

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    Pastor Skip Heitzig guides us through First and Second Peter in the series Rock Solid.

    Why don't we pray together? Father, we just want to come before you and humbly ask that your Holy Spirit, whom we believe to be the real teacher here, would take the truths of your Word that we believe to be inspired by God. And, Father, those truths, that you would apply them to our situation. Lord, I understand that in this group none of us is experiencing exactly the same thing, but your Word is true nonetheless, and Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And we all need to hear the same truths spoken into our hearts and applied. Help us, Lord, and bless your people, in Jesus' name, amen.

    It is my belief that marriage will simply magnify the personality you already have; whether your personality---whether you're kind or unkind; whether you're a leader or you're passive; whether you are submissive or defiant; that marriage will take the personality you have and magnify it. It's the testing ground. In a New Jersey newspaper there was a little ad in the want-ad section that read thus: "Honey, please come home. The children miss you, the lawn hasn't been mowed in three weeks, and the garden needs a worm like you." [Laughter] And it was signed, "Your loving wife, Gretchen."

    Well, I have a hunch that there were already some issues way before that ad came out. I have a hunch that he was already a passive husband, and she was already a pistol long before that little blowup happened. There were three guys that were talking together. They were in a pub and they were discussing marriage and the kind of control that a husband has in his marriage and over his wife. And they were kind of boasting about how they have control over their wives. Actually, two were doing all the talking; one was just kind of watching and listening, quiet.

    And so they finally turned to them and they said, "So, what's up with you? Do you control your marriage? Do you have control over your wife?" And he said to them, "Well, you know, just the other night she came crawling to me on her hands and knees." And they turned to him with wide-eyed wonder and said, "Then what happened?" To which he replied, "Then she said, 'Get out from under the bed and fight like a man.' " [laughter] Okay, so whenever you talk about submission, it's not an easy thing to talk about. Them's fighting words in some circles.

    Submission---the response I have found is all the way from a nervous laughter at best, to out-and-out scorn at worst. You may have seen the article in the Washington Post this last week that spoke about the controversy that one of our own New Mexico state congressmen has stirred up over a book that he has written. He's a Christian. He cites the Bible. And in citing the Bible he simply wrote that in a marriage a wife should voluntarily submit to her husband, though not inferior to her husband. She should voluntarily submit to her husband, while her husband should loving lead and sacrifice for his wife.

    That's almost verbatim. Just saying that has stirred up so much controversy. How dare anyone use the 'S' word, submit. Well, Peter has a few things to say about that in First Peter, chapter 3. That's where we find ourselves today. Let me bring you up to speed that Peter is dealing with four major areas of social interaction, four areas of social interaction: the society; the workplace; the home, family; and, finally, the church. And in chapter 3 he moves and focuses in on the smallest possible unit in society; and that is, the home, the family.

    Verses 1 through 6, he addresses wives. In verse 7 he addresses the husband. But this isn't really a treatise about marriage as much as it's focusing on a particular kind of relationship. It's a marriage of an unequal yoke, or an unequally yoked marriage. Now, if you're not familiar with that term that just sounded really weird to you. "Unequally yoked marriage? What is that? Like, you don't cook your eggs evenly, or what is that?" An unequally yoked marriage is a term that is used by Paul the apostle when a believer is married to an unbeliever.

    They are married legally, they are married legitimately, but the believer is single spiritually. The yoke, the bond, the spiritual bond isn't together, so the yoke is an unequal yoke. Now, two thousand years ago this is how it would work. In ancient times the wife was just---it was assumed that she would follow whatever religious inclinations her husband had. Whatever religion he followed, that's what she would do. She would never individuate. She would never, like, choose a different religion.

    And so for there to be a relationship where you have a husband who is either worshiping another God, like a Roman God or a different system, and a wife who has become a Christian in a society where Christianity was already labeled as subversive, and possibly upsetting to the culture, big issues existed. So what is the Christian wife to do? She's in that relationship. It's volatile. Her husband is not a believer; she is. There's pressure from the state, from the community, and from her husband. What should she do? Should she just dump her unbelieving husband and go find the man of her dreams who's a Christian?

    There's some who would say that's what you do. And now she can go, "Free at last! Free at last! God Almighty, I'm free at last!" [Laughter] No. Peter would say no, and Paul would say no. As hard as it is to hear, there's something else to be done. Before we jump into the text I want to read something to you, quote something to you by Zig Ziglar who wrote this: "I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person. I do know that many people have a lot of wrong ideas about marriage and what it takes to make that marriage happy and successful."

    "I'll be the first to admit that it is possible that you did marry the wrong person. However, if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all." With that in mind we're going to jump into our text. I'm going to give you three marks, three marks of a tenderhearted woman. Don't worry, women, we're going to get to men, equal time next week. This is three marks of a tenderhearted woman, and the name of this message is "The Irresistible Beauty of a Tender Heart."

    Three marks: her actions, her attitude, her admiration. Her actions speak louder than her words. Her attitude is her prettiest feature. And her admiration is more biblical than conventional. We begin in verse 1 of chapter 3 where we ought to begin: Her actions speak louder than her words. Look what Peter writes: "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe," or watch, or carefully scrutinize, it could be translated, "your chaste conduct accompanied by fear."

    See, this is a case of treating the wrong person like the right person, and discovering you may have married the right person after all as the Lord uses that relationship to win the unbelieving spouse. Now, again, let me take you back to the first century when this was written. The Greco-Roman culture gave women virtually no rights at all, very, very different from today's world. An unmarried woman living at home lived under a Roman law known as patria potestas, the absolute authority of the Roman father over the child.

    In fact, when I say "absolute," I mean that Roman law gave the father the right, if he chose, to even execute his children without any legal repercussions whatsoever. He owned those children. He has absolute right and authority over those children. So the daughter under that kind of a world was under total control and domination by her dad. Then came the day for her marriage when the dad entrusted that daughter into the hands of another man, a husband. At that point the husband was the owner of the wife. Like he owned many things, he now owned the wife.

    Now, I'm telling you all this because some of you may have read ahead, and you're wondering by now, "So, how come Peter's words are like six times longer for the women than they are for the dude? It's six verses to the chick, one verse to the husband. What's up with that?" Well, now you know, because the position of being a wife in those days was much more complicated and much more difficult. And, so, if the husband converts to Christianity, the wife is going to follow to some degree. But if the wife decides she's going to follow Jesus, there is going to be trouble, so six verses are devoted.

    There's a couple of basic ground rules. Both are seen here. Both are fleshed out in other parts of the New Testament. Two basic things that Paul and Peter here would say to a believing wife married to an unbelieving husband. Number one, continuation. Stick with it. Don't leave him. Don't say, "Because now he's an unbeliever and now I'm a believer; I've converted, he hasn't; now I'm in an unequal yoke. I need to dump that guy and go find somebody else." No. What Paul says in First Corinthians 7 is that the unbelieving spouse is sanctified.

    Remember that text? Sanctified by the believer; that is, placed in a special, set-apart position for accessibility by God's Holy Spirit into the life of that person, because of the influence of that believer, God has a unique access to reach and save a person. They're sanctified by the believer. Second, submission. Continuation, and then; second, submission. And that's his idea here. "Wives, likewise," meaning just like all of the other incidences of submission I've already written to you about; whether government, or workplace, or Jesus Christ to the Father's will; "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husband."

    Now, please, do not hear that word wrong. Submission does not infer some kind of moral inferiority or intellectual inferiority or spiritual inferiority. Just like the previous examples, if you have a government leader and you have a citizen, and the citizen submits to the government leader, doesn't make the government leader superior or a better person than the citizen. In fact, in many cases the citizen is far superior to the government leader. But you need to submit to keep order in that society or in the workplace.

    A master over a servant doesn't mean the master is any more intellectually better or superior or any other means, loftier, but there needs to be order---so submission. A Christian woman and a Christian man are equal. Galatians, chapter 3, "There is neither male nor female; we are all one in Christ." So mark that, please, especially you men who love the text---every time there's a Bible text that says, "Wives, submit," you've got it underlined, highlighted in yellow, memorized in every verse. You know it in the Greek. "Submission! I love that Bible text."

    It doesn't mean you've joined the military now and you can make---"You've mouthed off, twenty push-ups right now!" That's not the idea of submission. It did not imply superiority of a male or inferiority of a female, but rather it's for functionality of the relationship. But we have a problem. The problem is Peter is speaking to believers telling them to submit to an unbeliever. "Now wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Unbeliever? You want me to submit to the unbeliever? How can I submit my life to somebody who isn't submitted to Christ?"

    Well, first of all, you know, you know this, that it doesn't mean that you can submit to him when he tells you to do something sinful and against God's will. We've already covered that. You know that. So if your husband says, "Honey, let's get drunk and knock off that bank on the corner." "Okay, honey. I'm going to submit." You don't do that because it would be unsubmissive to the Lord's will. So the idea of submit to a husband is to respond to him, to relinquish your rights that you might serve his needs.

    John Piper offers this: "The husband does not replace Christ as the woman's supreme authority. She must never follow her husband's leadership into sin. But even where a Christian wife may have to stand with Christ against the sinful will of her husband, she can still have a spirit of submission. She can show by her attitude and behavior that she does not like resisting his will and that she longs for him to forsake his sin and lead in righteousness so that her disposition to honor him as head can again produce harmony." Well said.

    Now look at verse 1 again. "Be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word"---stop right there. What word? What word is he talking about? Some do not obey this Word, God's Word. In other words, if that guy is an unbeliever, he doesn't believe in Scripture, he doesn't rest under God's authority, he does not obey the Word. He's an unbeliever. It continues to say, "If some do not obey the word, they, without a word"---stop right there. What word is that talking about? Her word, not the Bible's word.

    They don't obey the Word, so they can "without a word," he says, "may be won by the conduct of their wives." Okay, this does not mean that a wife never has to say anything in terms of her testimony or the gospel. I used to hear this crazy saying years ago: "Preach the gospel. By all means preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words." Uh, okay, it's always necessary to use words. And Peter isn't saying, "Don't speak. Don't use your words." He already said in chapter in 1, verse 23, that we are "born again, not by corruptible seed, but incorruptible seed, which is the word of God."

    So when he writes this to believing wives yoked to unbelieving husbands, he had in mind a wife who has already repeatedly shared the gospel with her husband. But the time comes when he has heard it all, and he needs something stronger than just words; and that is, a life that he can see. You know what it's like. It's human nature. When you hear the same message repeated over and over again, after a while you turn off to it; whether it's the Christmas story, or the Easter story, or Jesus died on a cross. We've heard it so many times it just doesn't impact us the same.

    Now, when you're young, when you're a kid and your parents tell you the same speech over and over again; do you remember what your reaction was? It was something like this. That was my reaction. My dad had like five or six of these little speeches he would pull out. I could always finish them for him. I knew what he was going to say. And he'd put it out and he'd say these: "A job worth doing is worth doing well." "Now, when I was a kid . . ." And I'm listening to this and I am so not interested in this. Although, everything I remember looking back that he said was so right and so good and so helpful.

    But I had just heard it enough that I'm turning off to it. So that's the idea. She has shared the Word with him. The time has come where he needs more than just her words. I guess you could say nagging your husband will not convert him. Badgering your husband into the kingdom of God, arguing with him, will not be helpful. Any atmosphere of high-pressure Christianity is always not effective, and especially in the home. Have you ever tried to think of it from the vantage point of an unbelieving husband? Let me help you.

    An unbelieving husband married to a Christian wife already feels threatened, already feels threatened. Here's why: "My wife is in love with somebody else that I can't see. When we got married we swore that nothing would come between us. Now something has come between us. She's in love with somebody I don't even see. Now suddenly I am demoted to number two. I'm not number one anymore, Jesus is number one." It's very offsetting. So the precarious balancing act of a wife trying to influence her husband without alienating her husband to keep the equilibrium in the relationship goes on.

    And he's thinking, "She's always gone on Sundays. She's got those weird Christian friends. She sings these songs I've never heard of before." Now let's make matters a little worse. Maybe he's married to the kind of Christian wife who's very, very zealous and creative in her evangelism. So when he comes home at night she's got the television evangelist cranked up to ten. It just, like, infuriates him. "But he needs to hear the truth." Or she decides to go into the garage at night and turn his car audio system to Christian radio with superglue. [Laughter]

    Or stuff tracts under his pillow or in his lunchbox. Or set his mobile device phone to John 3:16. Or, perhaps, when they have family meals she wants to say, "I'll pray. Let's bow our heads. And I wonder how many here would say yes to Jesus and raise their . . ." and, like, turns it into an evangelistic event. [Laughter] And he's thinking, "I-I-I don't even know this woman. She's, like, a freak." Peter's counsel: be a good wife, be a good wife; what William Barclay called, "The silent preaching of a lovely life." Isn't that a great description? "The silent preaching of a lovely life."

    If you know church history at all, you've heard of Augústine or Augustine, however you would like to pronounce it, same dude, a third-century bishop in Northern Africa. His mother, Monica, was a believer in Jesus. His father, Patricius, was an unbeliever. Augustine writes of the tension in the home. And in one of his writings, as if it's a prayer to God, he writes what happened: "She served her husband as her master, and did all she could to win him for You, speaking to him of You by her conduct, by which You made her so beautiful. Finally, when her husband was at the end of his earthly span, she gained him for You."

    You get the drift? He was converted by her lifestyle that he observed over a course of time---the silent preaching of a lovely life. So, her actions speak louder than her words. Number two: Her attitude is her prettiest feature. Verse 3, "Do not let your adornment be merely outward---arranging the hair, wearing gold, putting on fine apparel---rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and a quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." Now this is not a legalistic ban on fashion or style.

    Listen, everybody appreciates beauty, okay? And you're not going to get away from it. It's a seventeen-billion-dollar-per-year industry. We all like beauty. God created beauty. We admire beauty. Now, when a person makes themselves look better, there's not a problem with that. And do you know it's not just a modern concept, it goes all the way back into antiquity. They've done archaeological digs in Rome and they found that two thousand years ago when this was written women dyed their hair, sometimes weird, bold colors.

    They also wore wigs. And you know what the most popular color of a wig was two thousand years ago? Guess. A blonde wig. Can you imagine that? In the Roman Empire two thousand years ago, blondes had more fun. [Laughter] Yeah, I know, you're thinking, "Well, those are just worldly Romans." No. They found these wigs in Christian catacombs. So beauty and fashion was always a part of every culture. And even in the Bible, the bride in the Song of Solomon is complimented for the ornaments on her cheeks and the chains of gold around her neck and the beautiful sandals that she wore.

    Or in the New Testament Jesus gave a parable about the Prodigal Son and when the prodigal son returns the father put a beautiful---his best robe on his son and a ring on his finger. So fashion is important, and I'm saying that because I think it's possible for an unkempt wife to actually discourage her husband. But I have seen and heard preachers go crazy with this verse. "Makeup is of the devil!" Well, really? I've heard of a Southern saying, I don't know where I heard it from: "If the barn needs painting, paint it." [Laughter]

    I like that one. Listen, I've looked in the mirror lately, no paint's gonna help. [Laughter] I am kind of beyond the painting stage. But here's the deal: paint the house. Okay, if the barn needs painting, paint it. Paint the house, but then go inside the house and furnish it with holiness, deck it out with character. That's the point that Peter is making. Proverbs 31 says, "Charm is deceitful, beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she will be praised." And you've discovered, right? That beauty and charm are deceitful.

    I mean, you go into a store and you see those magazines up by the counter: "Lose thirty pounds by Valentine's Day." "Have younger looking skin in fourteen days." There's always that promise, that allure of beauty and betterness and miracles. And Peter is saying, "Hey, it's fine to look good, but get a spiritual makeover," or in his words, "incorruptible beauty." Notice what it says: "incorruptible beauty." Think about incorruptible, because beauty is corruptible; am I right? The fashion industry, the beauty industry depends on one thing---ready?---youth, youth.

    So that last year's models are today's unemployed. That's why they have to keep reaching younger every single year. Incorruptible beauty is different. Incorruptible beauty doesn't rely on mascara or lip gloss or skinny jeans. Incorruptible beauty makes a woman look and be more beautiful as the years go on. See, you can be stunning on the outside, and ugly on the inside. This is an incorruptible beauty. I want you to notice a phrase. Did you pick it up in verse 4? "Hidden person of the heart," look at that. "Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart."

    Do you know that you have one of those? You have a hidden person of the heart. The hidden person of the heart is the real you. You see, your reputation is what people perceive you to be. Your character, the real you, the hidden person of the heart, that's who you are what nobody's looking. We all got one, "the hidden person of the heart." What Peter is suggesting, what the Bible is mandating is that we as Christian believers, male or female, get really concerned about the hidden person of the heart.

    What if we spent as much time on the hidden person of the heart as the outward person in the mirror? So this is how it works. You did this today, so did I. You get up in the morning, you shower, you shave; at least I did. You try on clothes. You do your hair. You put on an outfit. Maybe if you have a little more---you're a little picky, you might try two or three outfits on till, "That one works." "Do you like that color?" "Okay, I like that." And you check yourself out. And you go, "Okay, I look good." And then you're getting ready to leave and you have one last look.

    You know, you go sideways [laughter], middle of the mirror, back, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah." One final look, okay, I'm out the door. Okay now tally up all that time in showering and shaving and dressing. Do you spend that much time and energy on the hidden person of the heart? Okay, paint the house, but furnish it with character---the hidden person of the heart. What would those furnishings look like? Well, there's two of them that are mentioned in the verse. Notice the first word: "gentle." "The incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God."

    The word "gentle" is meek. You know what meek means? It doesn't mean cowering. It doesn't mean, "Hi, I'm meek." [Laughter] Well, you might just be weird. [Laughter] The word "meek" means power under control, power under control. A horse that was bridled was called meek. He's got power, but it's under control. A gentle spirit is somebody whose spirit is under God's control. It's a wife who's under God's control: your mouth under God's control, your responses under God's control, your emotions under God's control. That's gentle.

    Next word is "quiet," simply means tranquil or undisturbed. Picture a glassy lake, the surface of a glassy lake early in the morning. The wife can set the tone inside the house for the whole family just by that undisturbed, tranquil trust in God. Oh, there's bad stuff going on in the outside world, and there's maybe even problems in the home, but there's a tranquility of heart. Her life is furnished with that---incorruptible beauty. Her actions speak louder than her words. Her attitude is her prettiest feature. Here's the third, and we close: Her admiration is more biblical than conventional.

    What I mean by that is that when she looks for role models and examples, she'll look in the Bible, not in People magazine. Look at verse 5, "For in this manner, in former times [reaching backwards], the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror." What Peter does is point back to, it says, "former times," biblical women as examples.

    And by the way, all Jewish women would always look back to the heroines of their faith, like Ruth of whom Boaz said, "My whole town, the whole village knows that you are a virtuous woman"; or Proverbs 31, "Who can find a noble woman, or a woman of noble character, a virtuous wife?" And twenty-two verses describe her. And so we too, the audience that Peter writes to, should look back and their admiration of women should be more biblical than even contemporary. What Peter is saying is, "Look, look to gals like Sarah, not Cleopatra; not the Etruscan women that everyone looked and modeled their life after because they were just so magnificent, but a biblical role model."

    That's true for all of us, by the way. For all of us, for all of life, we look to the Scriptures for all our cues, right? That's what makes us Christians. We're Biblicists, we look at what the Bible says. Second Timothy, chapter 3, "[The Bible] the Scripture is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right." The reason we have one of these and carry it and read it and refer to it and study it line upon line is because other books will give you information, other books may even give you inspiration, but this book will provide transformation.

    It'll change the way you think and the way we live. And so it is in this relationship, Peter would say to these women. Now, I just gotta make a comment about what Sarah called her husband, because this sort of, well, it confuses some women. It says, "Sarah called her husband"---what?---"lord." So you have to go home and when your husband comes home every day, "Hi lord, [laughter] welcome home to your kingdom." [Laughter] Or if he says, "Honey, let's go." "Yes, lord." [Laughter] I don't think so. That would be kind of goofy.

    "Lord" is a term of respect, as well as deity. It's not capital 'L', it's small 'l'. It's like "sir." "I respect you, I honor you, I submit to you. In this earthly relationship I may not agree with you, but I respond to you." I think it's fascinating that Peter of all the examples he could have chosen---Sarah and Abraham. Was their marriage perfect? Uh, no. He made some pretty stupid, boneheaded decisions and she had to go along with it. Like, "Honey, there's a famine in the land. God isn't taking care of us. Let's go down to Egypt." "Okay, lord."

    Or while they're in Egypt, "Honey, you're so beautiful, I don't want them to kill me, so let's say that you're my sister and not my wife, because then they'll take you in the harem, but they won't kill me." What kind of a husband is that? [Laughter] It was a husband that God gave to Sarah, and Sarah responded to that as much as she could. Here's the bottom line, and we close: this is a call today to get a spiritual makeover. This is a call to focus on the hidden person of the heart. Can I just say from looking at you right here from this vantage point, you've done a great job.

    You look marvelous. But I don't know what you're like on the inside in the hidden person of the heart. So, choose good character, not just good cosmetics. Adorn yourself with gentleness, not just jewelry. Let your bling be goodness, not gold. You want to know why? Because somebody else is watching you, and it's not just your husband, it's not just your coworkers, it's not just neighborhood or Bible study gals. Somebody else mentioned in verse 4, "Which is very precious in the"---what does it say?---"sight of God." God's checking you out.

    "Well, how do I look, God?" "Outwardly, okay; inwardly, eh." Spiritual makeover, irresistible beauty, under the control, dominated by God, to be a witness to the unbelieving world---it's a lot of pressure, isn't it? In this whole section Peter's been saying, "The world is watching you in society; the world is watching you in the workplace; you're husband in the world who's not a believer is watching you; but what you need to know is God is watching you." I believe if you and I live under that awareness, that God is always watching us, most all our problems will go away.

    If we are just always cognizant that God is checking me out, and the microphone is always on, he always hears, he always sees, then them looking at me, not an issue, because I'm living with integrity before him. Let's pray for that. Lord, it's that hidden person of the heart that Peter is touching on, focusing on, pinpointing. Lord, we all---we all know what it's like to adjust the way we look or appear to people. And we also know that there's a whole, sometimes, other person lurking underneath the surface that nobody sees, because it's the hidden person of the heart.

    It's what we really think, how we really feel, what we're really like. Lord, I just pray that you would, you would give us grace to get to that person, the inner person; that our makeover would be more spiritual than even physical. You've given beauty, Lord, but there's a beauty that can be unfazed by wrinkles and age that gets better with age. Help us in that regard, Father, in Jesus' name, amen.

    For more resources from Calvary Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig visit calvaryabq.org.

    Additional Messages in this Series

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    Date Title   Watch Listen Notes Share Save Buy
    9/1/2013
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    A Pebble, a Boulder & a Solid Foundation
    1 Peter 1:1
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    Peter is the most famous of the apostles, even though he only wrote two short epistles in the New Testament. But of all the early followers of Christ, Peter is perhaps the most relatable to us since he demonstrates all the weaknesses and failures we see in ourselves. But Peter's personal life and his writings become a composite model of "strength through trust." Any weak, wobbly, failure-ridden person can become Rock Solid through Christ.
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    9/8/2013
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    The Underpinnings of a Rock-Solid Life
    1 Peter 1:2
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    Peter skillfully lays the foundational basis for the Christian life to his readers in a single verse. We've been picked by God, placed in His family, and promised future benefits. For anyone who has ever struggled with a weak faith, these truths can be transforming. In this introduction to Peter's letter, let's unpack the meaning of these encouraging realities.
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    9/15/2013
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    Stepping Stones of the New Birth
    1 Peter 1:3-5
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    "Born again" wasn't a term invented by the popular press or religious fundamentalists. It was something Jesus told Nicodemus must happen for anyone to enter heaven (see John 3:3). Peter certainly heard that term from Jesus and speaks of it here (as well as in 1 Peter 1:23). It's a term synonymous with being saved and having eternal life. What does this new birth provide? In a word—solidity! Coming to Christ brings hope, inheritance, and power.
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    9/22/2013
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    Why We Hate Trials (And Why We Love Them)
    1 Peter 1:6-7
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    If the trials of life could only exist by popular demand, we would have voted them away long ago. People, by and large, hate suffering of any kind. Here in the Western world, we have made it our aim to mitigate against any form of it by a multitude of distractions and experiences. There is even a theology that seeks to say God never wants us to suffer—ever. Let's look at five reasons why we hate (and love) trials, and consider how they can be used to make us better people.
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    9/29/2013
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    Rock Solid Relationship or Relationship on the Rocks?
    1 Peter 1:8-9
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    Why do we insist that having a relationship with God is not the same as being a religious person? How is a relationship with Him even possible, since He is GOD and thus is unique from all other creatures? Today, the answer to that will be made simple as we consider the simplest components of any relationship, including a relationship with God.
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    10/6/2013
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    Our Bedrock Salvation
    1 Peter 1:10-12
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    God has always planned on saving you. You were never an afterthought or a last-minute consideration. Not only have you been chosen before time began (1 Peter 1:2), but throughout the ages your salvation has been expected and planned for. The spokesmen of the Old Testament wrote about Jesus’ coming and the new covenant of grace, which you are now a part of. All this makes our salvation more secure than ever, built on the bedrock of His promises.
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    10/20/2013
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    How to Walk in the Dark
    1 Peter 1:13-18
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    Holiness is an uncomfortable subject for most believers. We have no problem assigning holiness to God as we sing, “You Are Holy, Oh Lord!” But our minds get muddled when we think of our own holiness because we don’t want to appear holier than thou. So what does it mean to be holy? And how can we live holy lives around unholy people? In short, how can we be “children of light” (Ephesians 5:8) while walking in a dark world?
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    11/3/2013
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    Where You Fit in God's Plan
    1 Peter 1:18-21
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    God's plan always involves people, and you are one of those people. God's plan includes you. Just think of it. God had you in mind when He put His plan together for the whole world. So where do you fit in that plan? When did this plan have its beginning? How much did this plan cost, and what is your part in it? Today we make that discovery by noting five vital truths:
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    11/10/2013
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    Rock Solid Love
    1 Peter 1:22-2:3
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    Peter's love for his Friend and Lord, Jesus Christ, was at one time on shaky ground when he denied that he even knew Jesus. His love would even get questioned by Christ later on (John 21:15-17). But now Peter knows that love for Christ and love for His people is all part of the same package. A relationship with God includes an affection for God's people. Four components of a rock-solid love are given by the very man who learned what true love is.
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    11/17/2013
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    Got Milk?
    1 Peter 2:1-3
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    Babies need milk to survive and to thrive. And newborn babies need and crave it a lot. So too, those who have been spiritually born-again need spiritual milk so that they can grow and be mature. As believers grow, they will begin to enjoy more solid spiritual food. But here Peter is addressing our appetites?those things we desire and crave. He gives us a three-part instruction that will curb and train our appetites in such a way that maximum growth will be achieved.
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    11/24/2013
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    This Old House
    1 Peter 2:4-10
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    God has been building His "house" since He first made the world. This is not a physical home nor a temple of worship as much as an assembly of peoples whom He has gathered to Himself. The stones He chooses are human beings in relationship to Christ, the cornerstone foundation. Let's consider God's site-plan for this construction project today.
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    12/8/2013
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    Maximum Impact
    1 Peter 2:11-12
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    How can Christ-followers make the most meaningful impact on the unbelieving world? That was in Peter's mind when he wrote this letter to scattered believers facing hostility from their neighbors. Four principles that transcend time stand out here; these will encourage us and empower us as we seek to influence our world for Christ and leave a lasting impression.
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    1/12/2014
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    The World's Hardest Activity
    1 Peter 2:13-17
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    Some people are just gifted at music or naturally talented with their hands. Others find that sports come easy, while others can perform math functions with total ease. But there is something that practically everyone finds difficult and that is submission. To abdicate our will to that of another, even for the sake of order and peace, is extremely tough. But there are higher goals and loftier purposes for believers to live submissive lives.
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    1/19/2014
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    Take This Job and Love It
    1 Peter 2:18-21
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    I want to make you a promise today: If you can learn and master the four principles in our text, your job will never be the same. The tedium, tension, and labor will give way to a higher motive that will bring authentic joy and deep satisfaction. As Peter addresses slaves in the ancient Roman world, let?s apply it to a much more modern and humane situation?your place of employment.
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    1/26/2014
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    You Remind Me of Someone!
    1 Peter 2:21-25
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    Whom do you remind people of? At work or in society at large, is it evident that you are a Christ-follower? Jesus is always our supreme example for how to live a godly life in an ungodly world. Peter told us that we should submit to government as well as to management, and now he tells us why we should—because Jesus did and He's the one we follow.
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    2/9/2014
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    The Four-Sided Fortress of a Husband's Love
    1 Peter 3:7
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    If life is to be rock solid, then family relationships—especially marriage—must be rock solid. No wonder Peter speaks to husbands after addressing wives. In his directive toward submission, he addresses citizens (and not government officials); he addresses servants (and not their masters). But when it comes to the home, he addresses both wives and husbands. Let's consider how a husband's love can make a woman feel firmly secure.
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    2/16/2014
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    How to Attract Flies
    1 Peter 3:8-12
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    The old saying "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar" fits perfectly with Peter's letter. He's been telling Christians how to live in plain view of the unbelieving world. Now he goes into the church and tells us how to treat each other. It's his hope that an exhibition of real, Christian love will provide a base of satisfying fellowship for us and attract unbelievers. But how?
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    2/23/2014
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    When Holiness Meets Hostility
    1 Peter 3:13-17
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    Faith is not neutral. It’s a powerful and dynamic force that changes behavior (if it is genuine faith). Unbelief is also a powerful force, and when believers try to live out their faith in an unbelieving environment, there are some predictable and unavoidable results. Let’s consider four truths from Peter’s pen that will be helpful when God’s holy people meet up with a hostile world.
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    3/2/2014
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    A Reason for Every "Ouch!"
    1 Peter 3:18-22
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    Perhaps the most common word in our language is the tiny word, "Ouch!" Every day, it's repeatedly expressed in variant forms around the world. It's a word that conveys pain and suffering. Peter’s audience knew all about suffering, but they didn't always know how it could actually be used for anything good. Christ's own sufferings provide the best example of both the power and usefulness of suffering.
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    3/9/2014
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    The Invisible War
    1 Peter 3:18-22
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    In every war, strategy plays a role. Each side plans and makes movements in accordance to what it learns about the other side’s tactics. If information is leaked, a counteroffensive can be launched. This can be seen in the grand and most profound war of the universe: The Invisible War. In this battle, Satan and his minions wage war against God, His angels, and His people. We’ll consider it by looking again at one of the most enigmatic texts in the New Testament. Let’s unravel it.
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    3/16/2014
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    Should I Get Soaking Wet?
    1 Peter 3:20-21
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    So what's the deal with baptism? Why do Christians practice it? What does it have to do with my relationship to God? Peter raised the issue of baptism in this letter, but he tied it into what happened during the time of Noah and the great flood. What on earth could one have to do with the other? Let's unravel these verses and then relate them to our current understanding of Christian baptism. Does this really save a person?
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    3/23/2014
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    Just Counting Time or Making Time Count?
    1 Peter 4:1-6
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    There is a certain amount of time allotted to us all, and we all decide how we are going to spend it. But none of us knows exactly how much of it we have left. So a huge question for all of us is: What will you do with the time you have left? Some never face that issue honestly, thinking that they'll always have plenty of time. Today, let's consider four solid principles that will make the time you have left really count.
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    5/4/2014
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    Living Like There's No Tomorrow
    1 Peter 4:7-11
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    People have been predicting the end of the world since the beginning of the world. But Scripture declares there will be an end. For some, their world could end this week or this year when death pays them a visit. But with whatever time we have left, we should live with a sense of imminence and anticipation that God's kingdom is around the corner. What elements can make our lives stronger as we await the end of the age?
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    5/11/2014
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    The Dos and Don'ts of Suffering
    1 Peter 4:12-19
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    Pain and suffering dominate our world. To some, that poses an insurmountable roadblock to faith in a good and loving God. How can a loving God let such unlovely things happen all around the globe every day for millennia? Not only is this a deal breaker for unbelievers, but it presents a quandary for believers who want to make sense out of everything in life. The apostle Peter weighed in on these issues in a very personal way to his fellow Christians.
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    5/18/2014
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    Profile of a Good Shepherd
    1 Peter 5:1-4
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    "The church needs leaders who serve and servants who lead." So said one notable pastor. Peter doesn't address just the suffering flock of believers in this letter; he also has encouragement for the leaders of the flock—the pastors. What are the characteristics of a shepherd who serves among God's flock? What are his responsibilities, and how can a church flourish under such leadership? Here, Peter places himself and fellow shepherds under the microscope.
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    5/25/2014
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    The Upright Walk of a Bowed-Down Man
    1 Peter 5:5-7
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    One website I came across recently stated that "the more in control you are of your life, the more assured and confident you'll become." The same website warned readers to not trust others. That is, unfortunately, the by-product of our proud world. But walking among others means we sometimes need to bend low in humility for the sake of solidarity and unity. Peter's words on this are timeless.
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    6/1/2014
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    Lion Alert!
    1 Peter 5:8-9
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    Just think what would happen if a lion from our local zoo escaped and was wandering around the park, looking for a fresh kill. Can you imagine the pandemonium that would erupt if such a misfortune occurred? Imagine no more! Our Enemy is far more dangerous and formidable and is on the prowl to destroy the spiritual lives of the residents of planet Earth, especially those who belong to Christ. Let's consider the battle and the potential outcome.
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    6/29/2014
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    A Rock-Solid Finish
    1 Peter 5:10-14
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    Peter ended his letter with a few nuggets of distilled truth. In just a couple of verses, he concentrated everything he had already said. To his suffering audience, Peter offered assurance of God’s perfect plan that began when they trusted in Christ and wouldn’t end until they were firmly secure in the glories of heaven. Though pain is part of the process of perfection, the finish line is worth it!
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    10/12/2014
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    Building a Forever Faith
    2 Peter 1:1-11
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    To build a home or a commercial building requires having the right people and the right materials in place. There is a critical path for the work to follow. And there are blueprints and building codes for the builders to follow. It's the same when it comes to building a spiritual life. As Peter began his second letter, he spoke to the need of spiritual growth. To build a "forever faith," Peter shared four important principles to build successfully.
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    10/19/2014
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    How to Live and Die Well
    2 Peter 1:12-15
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    Peter lived his life knowing the brevity of it. Here, he wrote as an older man in his seventies. Realizing there was more road behind him than ahead of him, he gave a model for us. Essentially we have here an excellent example of how to live well and how to die well. Let's answer the question How can I live and die well? by considering four keys passed along by Peter himself.
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    10/26/2014
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    Is It True? How Can I Know?
    2 Peter 1:16-21
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    Truth is a slippery word. Definitions get assigned to it that are contradictory, purely individual, and without any validation. Peter wanted his readers to know things. He was giving them truth that was both personally familiar and prophetically verifiable. How can we today know that what we believe in and hope for is actually true?
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    11/2/2014
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    Watch Out for Fakes!
    2 Peter 2:1-14
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    Counterfeiting has become a multibillion-dollar industry that extends all around the world. Fake jewelry, fake purses, fake paintings, and, yes, even fake medicines are sold as if they’re the genuine articles, when they are cheap (though amazingly real-looking) imitations. It’s the same when it comes to truth. What makes a false teacher of false teaching? Peter gave three recommendations in dealing with such counterfeits.
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    11/9/2014
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    Caution: Ruts Ahead!
    2 Peter 2:15-22
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    The quality, comfort, and success of a journey depend largely on the conditions of the road, the company you keep, and the destination you’re heading for. False teachers and their devotees guarantee a perilous voyage and a bad finish! Today we are challenged to live cautiously as we make progress in our journey of faith and to watch out for ruts.
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    11/16/2014
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    Look, Jesus Is Coming!
    2 Peter 3:1-10
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    The second coming of Jesus Christ will be the greatest day in humankind’s history. The promise of His return to rule the world He created has been what believers have longed for the last 2,000 years. Jesus’ return will be the solution to every social, moral, political, and spiritual issue and problem. But what do other people (besides Christian believers) think about such a notion? And, as we wait for His return, what should we look for, and where ought we to be looking?
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    11/23/2014
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    Breaking Up Camp and Moving On
    2 Peter 3:10-18
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    We have studied both letters of Peter and have seen how anyone whose life would otherwise be weak, wobbly, and failure ridden can become Rock Solid through Christ. This is vital since life in this world is dynamic, shifting, and transitory. This world is passing; its glory is fading. Thus, anyone who places all their energy and hope in this life alone will be disappointed. Today, as we end our series, we consider where we are eventually headed and how to arrive safely.
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    There are 35 additional messages in this series.