13-14: "Can anyone really harm you for being eager to do good deeds? 14Even if you have to suffer for doing good things, God will bless you. So stop being afraid and don't worry about what people might do." - God raises us up over the storms of life in order to do good things without fear or worry of the consequences.
15: "Honor Christ and let Him be the Lord of your life. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope." - Being ready is the key aspect for our life in Christ. We must "be ready" to share our life in Christ at any time. God will bring people into our lives who need to hear a message of hope.
18: "Christ died once for our sins. An innocent person died for those who are guilty. Christ did this to bring you to God, when His body was put to death and His spirit was made alive." - His Spirit is alive and living in our hearts so that we can be empowered to bring others to God.
21b: "But baptism is more than just washing your body. It means turning to God with a clear conscience, because Jesus Christ was raised from death." - We are not only cleansed through the forgiveness of our sins but we are destined to perform the duties of Christ in the building of the kingdom of heaven.
Points to Contemplate:
Can you stop being afraid?
Can you set your worries aside? Is Peter saying that when you respond to God's calling in your life you will be safe from persecution or harm? Or is He stating that in spite of the suffering you will face, you will still be blessed? How does this message provide hope in your life? Does it enable you to move out into ministry without fear? Are you willing to spread the news of Christ in spite of what others might think or say? Can you teach, preach, and sing of the Good News of Christ without worry or fear? Have you experienced God's blessings in your life when you have eagerly done His good deeds?
Are you ready? When God sends someone to you in search of hope, do you set everything aside and respond to their needs? Do you willingly share how Christ has changed your life in order that they too, may experience the love and grace of God? Do you see how you honor God when you do this? Do you see how pleased He will be when you choose to step out in ministry to help others? Do you pray for opportunities to serve God in this way? Are you seeking ways to share the love of Christ to the world? Are you ready?
Is Christ alive in you?
Let's say you get it…you recognize that Christ died for your sins and you are forgiven. You know what grace means and how you have been saved by His love. If you choose to do nothing with this blessing, if you hold back and keep this good news to your self, then is Christ alive in you or are you keeping His spirit in a stagnant state? Do you see that your baptism means more than a simple cleansing? Are you turning to God and willingly following Him into the ministry He has in store for you? Promises of the Gospel:
Christ did not die in vain. His death has meaning and purpose. As Christians we have been cleansed of our sins and made holy so that we can be with God for eternity. This is great news but it is only part of the story. Christ comes alive when we respond to ministry. He lives when we set our fears and worries aside and tell others of His love. We have nothing to fear because He is with us. God will bless us in amazing ways as we seek opportunities to serve others. When we are ready for every opportunity that comes our way and when we earnestly pray to be used by God we become the blessing we are called to be. Chris Rice's song, "Untitled Hymn1" outlines this amazing truth: "Some times the way is lonely and steeped and filled with pain, so if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then cry to Jesus… and live. When the love spills over and music fills the night and when you can't contain your joy inside then dance for Jesus… and live." Peter says to us to allow Christ to come alive today and to step into the ministry God has in store for our lives. When we do God's blessings will flow.
1"Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus)" by Chris Rice, Rocketown Records, www.chrisrice-online.com