29 Jul Your Worst Misery is for Your Best Ministry
1 Peter 3:13-17 – Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
When we are kids, we are often told to not get in trouble. This is, for the most part, good advice. However, there are some exceptions.
As a Christian, we know that there is a war between God and the world. We live in the middle of this battle, which means that no matter what we believe or how we behave, we will get in trouble in one of two ways:
- Doing what is wrong gets you in trouble with God but not the world
- Doing what is right gets you in trouble with the world but not God
The question is not so much “Will you get in trouble?”, but rather why you get in trouble and who your trouble is with. When we get in trouble with the world for the good reason that we are obedient to God, there are also two responses we can choose from:
- You allow “fear” of what they will do to us cause us to be “troubled” which can lead to cowardice and compromise.
- You decide that “in your hearts”, no matter what, you will “honor Christ the Lord” which makes you courageous.
The great Christian reformer Martin Luther got in a lot of trouble for doing good and had to fight fear with faith in God. He once said, “Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved…and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.” 
When Peter speaks about giving a “defense” of Christianity, the word is the same one that we get “apologetics” from. The Christian is to live their faith publicly, and then defend it lovingly. The following are four lessons we learn about apologetics from Peter:
- Your worst misery is for your best ministry. We learn the most about God, ourselves, and life in the most difficult circumstances. These troubled times are actually training times to help us help others more effectively.
- Your Christian convictions will be tested in life’s battles. What you really believe will come at a high price and when you pay that price you are proving the value you place on your Christian convictions.
- If you act like Jesus, some people will ask you about Jesus. If you suffer well, love your enemies, and suffer nobly like Jesus Christ, those who know you and see you will be more inclined to ask you the secret to your strength – and the answer is always Jesus.
- Let the message of Christ be offensive, not the messenger. To speak the truth of Christian faith with “gentleness” and “respect” does not mean that the gospel is not offensive as Paul promised. To tell someone that they are a sinner and the biggest problem in their life and not the solution is offensive. The goal is that the message would remain offensive, but not the messenger, so that if the person rejects Christ, it is not because of the rudeness of the Christian.
Who do you know that you need to be available to discuss Jesus with and answer questions for? Francis A. Schaeffer, The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview, vol. 4 (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1982), 333.
To download the free e-book ODD LIFE: Good God which is a study in 1 Peter for individuals, groups, and families from Pastor Mark click HERE. To listen to Pastor Mark’s 9 sermons on 1 Peter preached in the summer of 2020, click HERE. These and other resources are made possible by our ministry partners who support Real Faith as a Bible teaching ministry of Mark Driscoll Ministries to whom we say THANK YOU!