170521 1 Peter 3:15

Last Updated on Sunday, 21 May 2017 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: 1 Peter 3:15
Theme: Are You Prepared?

I am going to guess that there is a lot of preparing that is going on at this time of year. I am thinking especially of students: students who either spent a lot of time or are spending a lot of time preparing to take their final tests of the year; or those students who graduate this year, and the preparing that is taking place as you look forward to hosting a Graduation party; or, as you graduate, you are preparing for the "next step", whether that is the next level of schooling or entering the work force and starting a new job.

To all of us who are students of God's Word, I have a question for you: Are you prepared? Are you prepared to do those things we just sang about in our hymn: "to serve the best I'm able, whate'er the call may be", or "from door to door I witness, to share my Savior's plea"? Are you prepared? For an answer to that question, I invite you to listen again to one verse taken from the Second Lesson that Pastor read earlier for us. It is in 1 Peter chapter three, that we read this in verse 15 of the chapter:

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

Are you prepared? As you consider your answer to that question, first remember the place that your Savior-God wants in your life. We read, "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord." Your one and only Savior, Jesus Christ, says you are prepared when you make him the most important part of your life. But, are you prepared to do that? There are many things and many people of this world that Satan will use to tempt you and me to push Christ out of that #1 position in our hearts. And if we are honest, you and I will confess that far too often we give in to the temptation, and we allow other things to take the #1 position in our lives. When you and I do this, God's Word is clear that what we deserve for pushing Christ aside is to have him push you and me aside; to throw you and me into the pit and flames of hell to suffer forever.

But the Good News is that this is not what our Savior does to you and me. Instead, when you and I come with sorrow over our sin of pushing him aside, when you and I come with a repentant heart begging for our forgiveness of not making him #1 in our lives, our one and only Savior reminds us of what his love accomplished for you and me. A few verses later in 1 Peter chapter 3 we read this Good News, "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God." At the time of your Baptism, the forgiveness of sins that Jesus Christ won for all people, became your very own gift to enjoy. Again from 1 Peter chapter 3 we read that "baptism now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him." Rejoicing in the Good News of forgiveness through the living and ascended Lord, you and I desire to make him #1 in our lives, so that all that we say, all that we do, even all that we think gives him the praise and glory only our Lord deserves.

Are you prepared? Are you prepared "to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." Are you and I ALWAYS "prepared to give an answer to everyone"? Are you and I ALWAYS eager and willing to tell people about Jesus or to show others that we are Christians? Again, taking an honest look at ourselves, you and I will confess that we are guilty of not taking advantage of EVERY opportunity we have "to give an answer to everyone." Why is that? Maybe we feel peer pressure to simply go along with the crowd. Maybe we feel embarrassed. Maybe we are afraid of the reaction of the other person we are talking with. But, you and I know that all these reasons for not talking about Jesus with others are simply excuses. And the Lord Jesus doesn't want to hear your excuses or mine. Instead, he wants to hear our confession. He wants you and me to admit our guilt and then our Savior wants you and me to hear the Good News of the full and free forgiveness of all of our sins that he won for us.

After filling our hearts with this wonderful Good News, our Savior then sends you and me out with that same Good News to share with others. Allow me to offer a challenge to each one of us here this morning: This coming week, speak with a family member, a friend, a co-worker, a fellow student and "give the reason for the hope that you have." Share the Word of God with them. Find someone and show them their sins and their need for the Savior. Find someone and share with them the Good News of the Gospel that proclaims the forgiveness of all sins through the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Are you prepared? There are many people in our world today who are not prepared. They are searching for hope and a future. I am reminded of the words that the President of Martin Luther College, Pastor Mark Zarling, shared with the graduates and with all of us who were there this past Saturday. He said, "God's Word found us! How can we not go searching for others?!" Today, you and I hear the same encouragement to go searching for others from the Lord's disciple Peter, as God the Holy Spirit led him to write: "In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." May the gracious Lord bless all your faithful efforts! Amen.

 

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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Oconomowoc, WI 53066
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