Let’s turn now to First Peter chapter three as we continue our journey through the Bible. First Peter chapter three.
Peter has turned to relationships and the Word of God has to be practical. It has to be something that can be practically worked out in our lives. Not just theories. Not just scattered ideas but our relationship with God should enhance every other relationship that we have. And so you always find that the Bible never just lays out principles and then lets it go at that but it shows the practical application of these in our own personal lives. And so with laying out certain truths, then we get the application and it’s not really practical if it can’t find application within our lives.
He began in the latter part of chapter two talking about one of the most common relationships in the Roman empire, and that was the relationship of a master with his slave. He deals with that relationship. But now the most important relationship that most of us will experience in life on the human level is the relationship in marriage, the husband and wife relationship. Now he’s beginning in chapter three dealing with an unfortunate kind of a relationship, and that is a believing wife with an unbelieving husband.
Paul dealt with that in his letter to the Corinthians. It was probably something that was quite common where the wife would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ but her husband caught up in the pagan culture did not necessarily follow her in her faith in Christ. And so Peter is dealing with that kind of a situation here, even as Paul did in his letter to the Corinthians.
It would be assumed that she came to a faith in Christ after they were married because there are scriptures that deal with a person should not marry a person if you are a believer and they are an unbeliever. “Be not unequally yoked together with the unbeliever” is the command of the scripture. “What fellowship or communion has light with darkness” (2 Corinthians 6:14)? There are many people who feel, I’m going to marry him and then lead him to the Lord. If you can’t lead him to the Lord while you’re going with him, you’ll never make it after you’re married to him.
The assumption is that the wife had come to a faith in Christ. Her husband did not come to that faith in Christ and so Peter is saying,
Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the manner of living of the wives (3:1);
In other words, that they might see in you the grace, the love of Jesus and they might be touched and won by that love.
Paul said to the Corinthians, You don’t really need letters of commendation for me because you are the living epistles, known and read of all men. You are my letters that people can read your life and see what you are. And so here the wives are told that without the word.
I think that in relationships, such as an unbelieving husband and a believing wife, that many times if you try to get pushy, you push him farther away. He is resisting, he is not interested. You put a scripture in his peanut butter sandwich that he carries to lunch and chomps down on it. There are all these little devices. But Paul said, Let your life just, he won’t read the Bible, but let him read your life! And how true that is of our relationship with the world. A lot of people who would never open the Bible are reading you. The idea is that my faith in Jesus Christ should so affect the way I live that people can see the benefits and the difference that Jesus Christ makes in a person’s life. So “the subjection to their husbands, that is, those that don’t obey in the word that they may without the word be won.”
While they behold your chaste manner of living coupled with reverence (3:2).
That you respect your husband and you have reverence towards him. But you live a pure, holy life.
Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of the braiding of your hair, the wearing of gold, the putting on of apparel (3:3);
The true beauty is not in the physical outward beauty. It isn’t in the plaiting of the hair. In Rome the fashion, of course, for the women and if you’ve seen any of the pictures of early Rome, the hair do’s of the women, they look much like what you sometimes see on Christian TV. Just greatly exaggerated. Oh, you’ve seen her, too. And Peter’s saying that isn’t the kind of beauty, that isn’t a true beauty. And your beauty shouldn’t be in the fancy hair do. Nor should it be in costly jewelry, the wearing of gold. And of course, in those days again the pearls and all that the women would wear to show off. And then also the apparel. There is an account in history by one of the historians of this one Roman emperor’s wife who had a dress and with the pearls and so forth. The estimated cost of it was about nine hundred thousand dollars. But that doesn’t make you beautiful. You can put a dress like that on a pig, it doesn’t make him beautiful.
But the beauty, let it be the inward beauty. There’s where true beauty exists, in the inward character. And seek to develop that inward beauty. I would think that if a person would spend as much time in seeking to develop the inward beauty as they often spend in trying to develop the outward beauty, you would have much greater benefits. The true beauty is the beauty of the heart.
He’s not saying don’t fix up yourself. A lot of times preachers will take off on this and they will really speak against wearing make up. No, he’s not saying that. Just know that the true beauty though isn’t in the make up. It isn’t in the outward, physical appearance. The true beauty is in the heart and in the character of an individual. So recognize that the real beauty isn’t in the outward adorning of your body but the inward.
Let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible (3:4),
Talking about the outward beauty, that passes away.
but the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is very valuable. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands (3:4,5):
This was the kind of beauty that the women of the Old Testament had. Esther was no doubt a very beautiful woman. She was chosen by the king out of the beauty contest because of her beauty. But as we read the story of Esther, we realize that it wasn’t just physical beauty only, there was a beautiful inward beauty in this young girl.
Physically, Sara must have really been a knockout. From physical beauty when he went down to Egypt, he said, Do me a favor. Tell everybody you’re my sister because you’re so beautiful that they’ll kill me to take you. Now that’s quite a compliment for a husband to give his wife. Honey, you’re so beautiful. I’m afraid that the men around here, they’ll kill me just to get you because you are so beautiful.
The interesting thing, this happened the second time in Abraham’s life. And the interesting thing is the second time it happened with Abraham, Sara was in her eighties. Still retaining physical beauty. That’s amazing. Like my wife. Now she’s not in her eighties but she’s retained her beauty and I’m not going to tell you how old she is.
But you know, it’s amazing to me how your relationship with the Lord affects your whole being. And I believe even your countenance, the inward beauty shows in an outward beauty also. There’s just something about the relationship with Jesus that it just becomes apparent. A life that is lived in purity and holiness, it leaves marks of beauty on a person’s countenance.
Whereas a person who has lived a very desolate life, that also leaves its mark in time upon a person’s countenance. I look at these one-time glamour girls today. You see them on biography and things of that nature. And oh, where they once were the pin-ups and so forth, how the life that is lived after the worldly manner begins to leave its mark in the later years. How did I get into this? “After this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves.” That is, with that inward beauty being in subjection to their own husbands.
Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters you are, as long as you do well, and you do not fear with any terror (3:6).
Interesting, yes, Sara did call Abraham lord but when she became upset with Hagar and her son Ishmael, Sara said to Abraham, You get rid of that bondwoman. And the Lord spoke to Abraham and He said, Listen to your wife Sara. So when we talk about her being in subjection, it doesn’t mean that she didn’t have any personality or she didn’t have any say so or she didn’t have any kind of independent autonomy. But God has made the relationships so that in the marriage relationship, there is that submission one to another but when it comes right down to the wire on issues, the wife is to submit herself unto her own husband being in subjection to your own husband.
That doesn’t mean that the husband is to lord over the wife. That is a wrong concept. The Bible tells us that the husband is to be in subjection unto Jesus Christ. And the wife is to be in subjection to her husband, that is, as he is in subjection to the Lord. Turning from the women, he says,
Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge (3:7),
The knowledge of what? The knowledge of the fact that she is the weaker vessel. This business of trying to develop a unisex, women having body building contests. Lifting weights and trying to develop a muscular physique. What is uglier than a woman with rippling muscles? I’m not interested in any woman that can out arm wrestle me. That’s really not what you’re looking for. So recognizing that they are the weaker vessel, “dwell with them according to the knowledge,”
giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, because you are heirs together in the grace of life (3:7);
We are heirs together in the kingdom of God, in the things of the Lord. We share and are heirs together. And then Peter mentions how that this is important,
that your prayers are not hindered (3:7).
If our relationship with our wife is in a kind of a, what would you say, I don’t want the word precarious but if it is in a constant state of turmoil, then it will have an effect upon your prayer life. Our prayers will be hindered. So it’s an interesting statement here and the purpose of dwelling together as heirs of the grace of life is that our prayer life will not be hindered by the problems that we’re having within our relationship.
Finally, be of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be full of pity, and be courteous (3:8):
Just good, practical application of Christianity. My relationship with Jesus should enhance my relationship with my wife. We need to have a unity of mind and compassion for each other. Loving one another, having pity and being courteous.
Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing (3:9):
That’s easy to do, isn’t it? If someone does something evil to you, what do you want to do? What does your old natural nature want to do? You want to render evil for evil. If someone rails on you, you want to rail back on them.
but contrariwise blessing; knowing that you’re called thereunto, that you might inherit a blessing (3:9).
Isn’t that what Jesus told us in the sermon on the mount? Bless those that curse you, do good unto those who despitefully use you. Peter will have more to say on this a little later.
For he that will love life (3:10),
He’s going to lay out the rules for the good life. Basically he’s already started with it. The good life comes by following these rules. He’s going to quote now from Psalm 34 where David said, “Come, my children, hearken unto me. And I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is he that loveth life?
and would see good years or many years, long years (3:10),
And then David lays out the rules for the good life. For he said and Peter is quoting him, “Refrain your tongue from evil.” The evil there is slander, from speaking slanderously about people. A common fault, a common evil, even within the church is speaking slander about someone. You say, But it’s true. You’re still not to speak it. The Bible tells us that love covers a multitude of sins. To speak slanderously about someone is only going to lead to strife.
Let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile (3:10):
The deception that we often seek to employ in our speech. I want you to not really know the truth and so I try to couch it in words. Say things whereby I hide the truth rather than reveal the truth. Trying to deceive people through my speech. That’s what guile is all about. Deceptive speaking.
Let him avoid or shun evil, and let him do good (3:11);
As we mentioned this morning, it isn’t just the shunning of evil, there’s the positive side of it, it is the doing good. There are a lot of people that shun evil but they don’t do any good. And it is important that there be the positive side of our Christian experience. It’s more than just not speaking slanderously, not speaking evil and not doing evil but it is the positive side of doing good, and
seeking peace, and pursuing it (3:11).
Paul tells us, “Live peaceably with all men as much as is possible, as much as lieth in you,” pursue peace (Romans 12:18). Seek to create peace. This is the good life. The good life isn’t having constant strife. It isn’t constantly bickering and having animosities. That’s not the good life. The good life is a life that is marked by peace, joy, happiness.
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, his ears are open to their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil (3:12).
The prophet Isaiah said, “God’s hand is not short, that He cannot save; His ear is not heavy, that He cannot hear.” The prophet is saying that God isn’t deaf. The problem isn’t on God’s side. The problem is on our side. He said, “It is your sin that has separated you from God” (Isaiah 59:1,2). It is our sin that has hindered our prayers. The problem isn’t with God, the problem is with me. “His ears are open to their cry.” Whose? The cry of the righteous. “The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous. But the face of the Lord is against or turned from them that are doing evil” (Psalm 34:15,16).
And who is he that will harm you, if you are followers of that which is good? But and if you suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye (3:13,14):
If you suffer reproach because you’re a Christian, because of your witness, He said, “Happy are ye.” Jesus said that, “Blessed are ye,”—and the word blessed is happy—“when men persecute you, and revile you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, Jesus said, be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you” (Matthew 5:11,12). We’ll be getting that in the Sermon on the Mount as we move towards the end of the Beatitudes. So “if you suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye.”
We remember that when Peter was brought before the council on the second occasion, he had already been warned that he was not to speak any more in the name of Jesus or to speak of Jesus, but he went right back out and began to preach Christ again. So he was arrested again, brought before the council. Did we not strictly tell you not to speak any more in His name? And Peter, We must obey God rather than men. But they beat Peter and then turned him free. It says that Peter and John and James, they went their way rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer the beating for Christ’s sake! For Peter tells you, If you suffer for righteousness’ sake, you should rejoice. Happy are ye.
and don’t be afraid of their terror, and neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts (3:14,15):
That is, give Him that place, exclusive place in your heart that no one else intrudes into. The word sanctify is to set apart for God. So set your heart apart for God. “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.”
and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and with reverence (3:15):
So here you are, great. You are here in order to know and to understand the word of God and as we are here studying the word of God together, the Holy Spirit is preparing our hearts that we might be able to give a reason to anybody that comes along and asks us about this hope that we have. How can you be so optimistic when the world is in such a total mess? How can you have such a hope? And you should be able to give to every man the reason for the hope that we have in Christ Jesus, the kingdom of God that is going to come, the better world that He is going to establish here on earth. So the importance of really studying and knowing, not just what I believe but why I believe it.
Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as evildoers, they may be ashamed those that falsely accuse your good manner of living in Christ (3:16).
When they see the way you’re living, they find fault with it. What do you do for fun? That’s a question people ask. You don’t go to bars, you don’t get drunk, you don’t go to shows, you don’t do all these worldly, what do you do for fun? If they only knew the joy that is ours in this relationship with Jesus. What greater joy than walking in fellowship with the Lord? What greater joy than just seeing Him paint a beautiful sunset? And to see His creation. Looking at it through what you might call sanctified eyes. Seeing it as His handiwork. You see the beautiful red sunset, you don’t say, Oh man, look at what the smog does. Makes the sun turn orange. No, you just enjoy it.
The joy that we have in the things of the Lord and in the fellowship of the believers. How rich and beautiful it is.
So it is better, if the will of God be so, that you suffer for well doing, than for evil doing (3:17).
Of course, that’s very plain and logical, isn’t it? I mean if you’re going to suffer, better to suffer that you’ve done something good than you’ve done something bad.
For Christ also has 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 (3:18):
Or made alive by the Spirit. Jesus the just One suffered for sin, not His, ours. The just for the unjust. And the purpose is that He might bring us to God. When God created man, the purpose of God was fellowship. He wanted to live in fellowship with man, in communion with man. And that was the purpose of this creation. That there might develop between man and God a beautiful fellowship or relationship. Communion. But sin marred the relationship. The Bible says, “ Your sins have separated you from God.” And that is always the effect of sin, it is separating you from God.
But in being separated from God, the very purpose of your existence is now thwarted. So your life is of necessity, empty and meaningless. And as you read the book of Ecclesiastes and as you read Solomon’s musing concerning life and his pursuit for the good life, he didn’t find it in the many things in which he sought to find it. In the wealth, in the building projects, in the many relationships. It wasn’t there. And he ended up cynical and frustrated. A feeling of emptiness. Why? Because he had lost his fellowship with God.
And so a man who doesn’t live in fellowship with God is not answering to the very basic purpose of his existence. And thus your life is doomed to frustration and a feeling of emptiness. Because God created you for Himself and it is not until you come into fellowship with God that you are now fulfilling the very purpose of your being. And so Christ suffered for our sins that He might bring us to God. And it is through Jesus Christ that fellowship with God is now possible because He took our sins, the just for the unjust. He suffered for our sins. “God laid on Him the iniquities of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). But in so doing, He can now bring us to God. Being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit.
By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water (3:19,20).
Difficult passage but as I look at the Scriptures and try to compare Scriptures with Scriptures, in Luke’s gospel chapter sixteen Jesus told not a parable but the story of a certain rich man who fared sumptuously everyday. And in contrast, there was a poor man by the name of Lazarus that was brought daily by his friends and he laid there by the gate of the rich man’s house and he was surviving off of the crumbs that came from the rich man’s table. But in time the poor man died. And Jesus said he was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. Moreover also, Jesus said, the rich man died. And in hell he lifted up his eyes being in torment, and seeing Abraham afar off and Lazarus being comforted in Abraham’s bosom, he cried and he said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me. I pray that you’ll send Lazarus to me that he might bring some water. Touch my tongue. I’m tormented in this heat. And Abraham said unto him, Son, remember in your lifetime you had the good things and Lazarus the evil? Now he is comforted while you are tormented. And beside this, there is a gulf that is fixed between these two places so that it is impossible for those that are here to come over there or those that are there to come over here. The rich man said, I pray thee then, if he cannot come to me, please send him back that he might warn my brothers. I don’t want them to come to this horrible place. Abraham said, They have the law and the prophets. If they will not believe them, neither will they believe if one should come back from the dead (Luke 16:20-31).
Jesus is describing what the Old Testament called Sheol, which in the New Testament was called Hades. Translated, hell or translated also the grave. All men when they died went into the grave. But Jesus definitely shows that when a man went into the grave, the spirit went into Hades, Sheol, which was divided into the two compartments greatly contrasted. One was a place of torment, of heat. The other was a place of comfort. Lazarus, comforted in Abraham’s bosom.
When Jesus died on the cross, His Spirit went into Hades or Sheol. One day the Pharisees asked Jesus to show them a sign that He was the Messiah. He said, A wicked and an adulterous generation seeks after a sign but there will no sign be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:38-40).
On the day of Pentecost when thousands of Jews were attracted on the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit and Peter stood up to address them, he preached to them concerning Jesus Christ. How that He was “proved to be of God, by the signs and the miracles that He did. But according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, they had crucified Him, put Him to death. But, Peter said, God raised Him from the dead: because it was not possible for Him to be held by death.” And then Peter began to quote to them out of the psalms. The psalm where God promised, For thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, Hades, neither will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption” (Acts 2:22-24, 27). So Peter said, God did not leave His soul in hell, neither did He allow the Holy One to see corruption. But this same Jesus hath God raised from the dead. And he preached to them the resurrection of Jesus from the grave, from Hades.
Now Peter is telling us that by His Spirit, He went and preached unto the spirits that were in prison. There is an interesting prophecy concerning the Messiah in Isaiah 61 and it is the prophecy that Jesus first read when He began His public ministry.
You remember Jesus came to the city of Nazareth, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and they handed Him the scriptures and He turned in the scriptures. He turned in the scroll to this passage in Isaiah where Isaiah prophesying of the Messiah said, “The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those that are bound; And to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” (Isaiah 61:1,2). And He closed the scroll and He looked at them and He said, “This day this scripture is fulfilled before you” (Luke 4:16-21).
They knew that He was making the claim of being the Messiah. They thought that was blasphemous. They took Him out to the precipice there at the edge of Nazareth and were going to push Him over. But Jesus is saying, I’m the Messiah. This day this scripture concerning the Messiah is fulfilled. But notice, He was to open the prison to those that were bound. Peter said, He went and He preached to those souls in prison.
Before Jesus’ death on the cross, the sins of those in the Old Testament were not totally wiped away, they were only covered. Throughout the law and the sin offerings and so forth, “And so shall He make a covering for the sin. The kophar, a covering. But in the book of Hebrews, we are told, “It is not possible for the blood of bulls or goats to put away sin. Therefore, there was the covering for sin and God reckoned their faith in His promises of the coming Messiah for righteousness. So when God promised to Abraham that through his seed all of the nations of the earth will be blessed, Abraham believed God and he was accounted for righteousness. He believed God for what? That his seed, the Messiah that would come from him, would bring salvation. And God accounted Abraham’s faith for righteousness. And so with those of the Old Testament. They all died in faith, we are told in Hebrews chapter eleven, without having received the promise. That is, of heaven, redemption, the kingdom. They were all searching for it. They all claimed, we’re strangers and pilgrims here. We’re searching for a city, which hath foundation, whose maker and builder is God. We’re looking for the city of God, the kingdom of God. But they died in faith not having received the promise. God having reserved something better for us. That they apart from us could not enter into the perfected state. That is, apart from the finished work of Jesus.
There’s an interesting passage of scripture in Matthew 27 that tells us that the graves, when Jesus rose from the dead, the graves of many of the saints were opened and they were seen walking in the streets in Jerusalem after His resurrection from the dead (Matthew 27:52,53). The prison had been opened. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4, “He who has ascended is the same One who first of all descended into the lower parts of the earth. But when He ascended, He led the captives from their captivity. And He gave gifts unto men, some apostles, some prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers and all; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:9-12).
So my understanding putting these passages together. It’s sort of like a composite when you’ve been a witness to a crime and they take you to the police artist and he begins to show you pictures of different facial structures, different noses, different eyes and shapes of eyes, different hairstyles and all, and you pick out. Well yeah, he has a nose like this, has a cheek like this, has a chin like this, has a mouth like this, has eyes like that, has eyebrows like this one and you put the whole thing together and the artist begins to draw it out and he gets what they call the composite. Putting together the pieces, you begin to get the picture of what the guy looks like.
We have the passage from Luke here, we have the passage from Ephesians here, we have the passage from Acts here, from First Peter here, and you start putting the pieces together and you begin to get the picture of what happened when Jesus died. “Put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit. By which He went down and He preached to those souls that were in prison; Who at one time were disobedient.” And, of course, that’s all of us. But who had put their trust and their faith in the promises of God and thus, when He ascended, He led the captives from their captivity.
So that for the child of God today, there isn’t a purgatory. There isn’t a place of purging or cleansing. There isn’t a place of waiting. “For to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). And so Jesus our forerunner. Led the way. And as the old song used to go, Jesus Christ the Lord opened up the way. The way to heaven’s gates. When He died on the cross to redeem all the lost, He prepared a road that leads to His abode. It’s a road marked by blood but it leads us home to God.
And that is why Paul the apostle said, “I have mixed emotions because I desire to depart and to be with Christ which is far better. Yet I feel this drawing because of your need” (Philippians 1:23,24). And thus I would rather be with the Lord but I’ve got to stick around for a while that I can impart more understanding and knowledge to you of God’s plans and of His word.
So Peter tells us that Jesus by the Spirit preached to the spirits in prison which “sometimes were disobedient when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” So showing the longsuffering of God in giving men opportunity after opportunity to surrender his life unto God. But then he said,
In like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save (3:21).
There are a lot of people that teach baptismal regeneration. There is a branch of the Church of Christ. They started in Boston, they have a work in Los Angeles and they’re extremely aggressive. It is one of those mind control types of groups and they are very aggressive in their evangelistic endeavors. And one of the things that they hit Christians with is the idea of baptismal regeneration. And this is one of the scriptures that they often point out. “In like manner, or like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save.” You’re not saved, they assert, until you’ve been baptized in water. But if they would just read on in the very same scripture, Peter clarifies it. He says,
(not the putting away of the filth of the flesh (3:21),
In other words, it isn’t the outward ritual of being put in water, immersed in water.
but it is the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (3:21):
The true baptism is not a ritual, the true baptism is a work of the Spirit of God within my heart. Baptism is only the symbol of what has taken place inside. The old life I reckon to be dead, crucified with Christ. Being dead I bury it. And even in the same manner as Christ came up out of the water, so we are risen in Christ to live now a new life after the Spirit. The old life of the flesh reckoned to be dead and now to live a new life after the Spirit. And so again, speaking of the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
Who is gone into heaven, and is at the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him (3:22).
He’s there ruling with the Father. But the beautiful thing is you read His messages to the church and as He addresses that group of overcomers within the church, I will grant to sit with Me on My throne even as I sit on My Father’s throne. So Jesus died for our sins, the just for the unjust. He descended into hell. There He preached to the souls, which were in prison. I believe that He went to that side where Abraham was comforting Lazarus and all of the others who had died in the Old Testament period. Died in faith in the Messiah. And I think He went there and I think it was a time when there was the greatest rejoicing you could ever believe as He showed that He was the Messiah. Showed His victory, His death on the cross. That is, the sacrifice for the sin is now complete. Sin is now put away. The door to heaven is now open! And when He ascended, He led the captives from their captivity. And they were able to ascend. I think it was a time of great rejoicing as He preached to those souls in prison the victory that had been wrought over sin by His death.
And now there in heaven at the right hand of God and all of the angels, the authorities, the powers, those are rankings of spirit beings, are made subject unto Him. But then Jesus said to His church, I give to you authority and power. The disciples, you remember, came back rejoicing that even the devils were subject unto them through the name of Jesus. Jesus reigns! And we shall live and reign with Him! The glorious hope and we ought to be able to give to every man a reason for that hope that we have!
Father, we thank You for Your word. And now, Lord, just plant it deep in the fertile soil of our heart that it might bring forth life, fruit, wonderful fruit, Lord, for Your glory. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
May the Lord bless you and may He fill you with His Spirit and may He just manifest Himself to you in just a special way. As we begin this new year together, may we do so in the glorious hope and anticipation of His kingdom when it shall come and when that day when His will will be done here on earth, even as it is in heaven. When He takes the authority and the power that is His, and He begins His reign.
Transcribed from “The Word For Today”, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #8226, (KJ Version)