Dealing With Inner Anxiety
Book of 1 Peter Chapter 3:13-22
It can be said that “anxiety” is the state of mind when we are so concerned about someone or something, to our own harm.
1) This could be a genuine concern:
The Apostle Paul writing about his concern for the church at Philippi.
Php 2:20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.
Php 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.
The Apostle Paul writing about his anxiety for all the “Body of Christ”.
2Co 11:28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
2) This could be concern about the distorted perspectives of life:
The Lord Jesus Christ speaking of His concerns of teaching the Word of God.
Mar 4:18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
Mar 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
The Lord Jesus Christ did not prohibit genuine concern for one another nor for the Church!
The Lord Jesus Christ did teach us to keep all these things in perspective!
Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Mat 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Listen as we see how Peter tries to help the persecuted church.
*1Pe 3:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
The primary sense of these words is “if we are inoffensive in our Christian behavior” the world will be less likely to injure us.
If we are anxious to do good, we are less likely to suffer from doing evil.
God does not teach us how to handle our troubles received from sinful behavior!
God does teach us how to handle our troubles that come about from our righteous behavior.
Neither is Peter speaking of troubles that are just part of life itself, even though godly principles will work in all situations in life or they would not be godly principles.
As Christians we are all going to suffer persecution, some much more and much worse than others!
So how can we be assured that we will stand up under persecution and still be counted faithful?
How can we be sure we will endure and still keep the hope of eternal life and still live with the Lord forever?
There is only one way! We must take our stand on the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter what is going on in our life!
We must be followers of that which is good!
The only good we can be sure of, is those things that are according to the revealed will of God!
This means “for it is written” or, “thus sayeth the Lord” or, “for I the Lord” and other phrases had better be adhered to, when we take the Word of God in the context that it is written!
Sometimes, the only relief for those who are suffering persecution is when he or she remembers the promises of God that cannot fail, and remember at death we go immediately home to be with the Lord.
2Co 5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
2Co 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
2Co 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
2Co 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
One of the biggest faults of the church today is that we walk by sight and not by “faith”!
How did the Apostle Paul put it?
Act 21:13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
Let’s continue to learn from the Holy Spirit.
*1Pe 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1Pe 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
Some would say “how is it possible to be happy with any sort of suffering”? The truth is when we are focused on Jesus Christ and the works, that He did to cause us to be saved, then suffering in this world does not really feel like suffering. It just feels like we have joined our Savior in His suffering!
This is the key to our own relief of mind!
If we have done some good and then suffer because of it, we have just become aware of a world that calls evil good and righteousness bad!
One of the greatest truths in the Scriptures should keep us on the right path.
Rom 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Doing good and being righteous are both conforming to the standard God has set for us!
2Co 4:11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
The Lord Jesus had no fear for what the world could do to Him, because He had come to this earth to do whatever it would take, that you and I and all who would believe upon Him would be linked once more to the Father of life, and that life eternal. Meaning once again joined to our Father in Heaven, in His place, even in His home with nothing in this world that could cause this to not be true!
Really only one thing is needed! We must sanctify the Lord God Jehovah in our hearts!
To be sanctified is to be set apart for God’s use and if we suffer because of this, then we are being more like His So, the Lord Jesus Christ!
Notice Jesus was always prepared to give an answer but at the same time, not all people deserve an answer to certain questions!
Not all, but many will see our hope in the Lord, and they will ask about this hope seeking it for themselves, and this is what witnessing is all about!
Others, who see this as something evil will never understand until they see the true Christian and one day, they too will be ashamed of their actions.
Today the world sees the make believe Christian and it is so easy to see they are hypocrites.
Then the world will say anything bad about them, using them as an example of the Church to downgrade the Church founded by Christ Jesus.
The word church is does not mean every group of people with religion, it means only the “Body of Christ”.
Religion is not the answer, “faith” in the work of Jesus Christ is the only answer!
When the world sees the true Christian, who gives them nothing to speak bad things about, they get mad and their hatred boils because the true Christian puts them to shame!
Tit 2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
Tit 2:8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
It is far better to suffer for being a true Christian than to suffer for being a make-believe Christian.
It takes much more than being the child of Christian parents, or attending a Christian Church, or raising your hand in a Sunday School Class or Vacation Bible School. You must sincerely ask the Lord Jesus Christ to come into your heart. Even this does not build perfection except in the eyes of God.
It is the Holy Spirit who will build perfection for the world to see all your days as a Christian, until “perfection reaches glory” when we come face to face with Jesus!
This is much better!
*1Pe 3:17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
We could say, what is the will of God for our lives? That we follow in the ways of Jesus.
This is the will of God for all people. There are not many ways to serve God but only one and this is through His Son, Christ Jesus!
When we become too afraid to go out into the world, just because we may suffer just for doing so, and stay at home, we have gone against the providence of God.
For instance, God supplies the little birds their food, but they still have to go out and hunt for it.
We must go out into this world with the Word of God to reap the benefits of Christianity, even if we have to suffer for it!
It is not the will of God that we suffer!
It is the will of God that we be more like His Son and He suffered just so we can be saved and like the prodigal son, we are returned to the Father!
The world may not punish us for evil doing or it may, but God will certainly punish us for evil!
Jas 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
Jas 3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
Jas 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
Jas 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Why did the Lord suffer to begin with?
*1Pe 3:18 For Christ also hath 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:
Jesus Christ came to our world to get His Father’s children, and He had to suffer to do this thing to be obedient to His Father.
The Holy Father of all creation would never ask His Son to do this a second time!
It is the “Blood of Jesus” that made atonement for our souls! There was enough of that blood to save all in this world!
God has given this one chance to every to every human being that has ever lived, all the way back to Adam and Eve!
What did Enoch say?
Heb_11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Jud_1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
How do we please God? We accept His plan of salvation! There is no other way. This is what our “faith” must be based upon!
We accept that we are sinners in need of salvation. The “just” for the “unjust”. “Dead in sin, alive by the Holy Spirit”!
How did God preach unto the spirits in prison? By Jesus in power the Holy Spirit, who has all the character and the traits of God, because He is God!
Act 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
Act 5:4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
The Holy Spirit is also God!
*1Pe 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
1Pe 3:20 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.
Many believe that the body of Jesus lie in that grave for 3 days and 3 nights because it is the truth and it is but God the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of Jesus” was very busy and one of the things that He felt the need to tell us was that He went to Hell and spoke to those who rejected Noah.
Here is another thing that the Holy Spirit did not have to tell us.
Did He go to give them another opportunity to get to Heaven? NO!
He went to meet with the man on the cross beside Him, He had made a promise to.
He went to gather all the Saints of God in Paradise and take them to Heaven.
He went to get the keys to Hell.
He went to preach to all those in Hell, much as Abraham spoke to the rich man, telling them their days of torment would never cease. After all this is a part of what Hell is all about. An eternity of misery with no opportunity to escape!
You see while Jesus was busy about the things that needed to be done as promised, He also proclaimed His victory over death to all those who were now believers, but they had waited too long! They could only bow at the feet of Jesus.
Luk 3:6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
One thing of Catholic Doctrine needs to be cleared up. Christ Jesus did not offer those in Hell a second opportunity because that would have violated the truth of the Scriptures. There is no way to leave Hell once you get there! There is not enough money in this world that can change God’s mind about His plan of salvation!
Luk 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
Luk 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
Luk 16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
Luk 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
Luk 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luk 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
Luk 16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
*Luk 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Luk 16:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
Luk 16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Luk 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
Luk 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
Luk 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
This may be a terrible truth to those whose loved ones rejected the truth of God, but it is still the truth.
We need to concentrate on those around us who are still living!
While we are living, we may get many opportunities to come to the Lord or we may get only one opportunity.
Everyone will get at least one opportunity and most many opportunities!
At death all opportunities cease and they all will be like the rich man in this story of Lazarus the beggar!
In Noah’s day there were 8 souls saved by water because they trusted in the words of Noah given to Him by the Holy Spirit!
What we realize is, the worldwide flood of that day was an example of being baptized after having that faith in the Word of God!
We also see the wrath of God to those who rejected the truth of God!
*1Pe 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
We began our lesson talking about anxiety and in the end, we see our minds are cleared with a good conscience toward God that can come only by the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
You see we are saved by washing in water of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, who cannot do His work until we have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and begin our personal relationship with Him.
Jehovah God is not a faraway God who cares very little about His creation, but is an up-close and personal God who treats each one of us as His child!
We are not saved by ceremonies because ceremonies cannot affect our conscience toward God through Jesus Christ!
How is our conscience cleared by the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Our conscience is clear, because if God the Father, raised God the Son up from the dead, by the power of God the Holy Spirit, it means God is able to save us from our sin and cause us to be “Born Again”.
We can be delivered from all our offenses if we accept the work of the Son, the Messiah!
Rom 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
God has made this thing to be so simple if we only have “faith” in what He says!
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
There is no one else we can call on and be saved except the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
So who are we saved from?
We are saved from all who live under the authority of God the Father!
This means there is nothing upon this earth and nothing in Heaven who has more power than our God!
*1Pe 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
Where is the Lord Jesus Christ right now? Jesus is in Heaven.
How did the Apostle Paul say it?
1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
We must clearly understand that our conduct upon this earth must be based upon our knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ!
We must also clearly understand that that most of this world have a conscience that is not of God and their conduct will never be of God!
1Co 8:7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.
Tit 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
1Ti 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
We must clearly understand that there are many people in this world who try to do some things good, but because they possess no goodness, they cannot understand the goodness of God.
At the same time they have a witness of goodness that will not get them closer to salvation, but is recognized by the world as greater than Christian goodness. We live in an upsidedown world!
For instance a certain rich man has spent much money to provide water to places who had only polluted water. On the surface this looks like a good thing and it could have been. In the end water companies were formed that provides water only to those who can afford to pay for it. Those poor who died without water before still die without water afterwards.
It would have been good had it been free drinking water for all, but this is the way of the world!
Does this have anything to do with our lesson? No, but it does show the “conscience” of the saved versus the conscience of the lost.
I believe next week we will see the mind of Christ and it will give us a better understanding.
For our minds to be on Christ, we must know that there is no authority here on earth, nor in Heaven, that can overcome the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ!!!
When the Lord in Spirit went to Paradise, He openly showed He was in control of all power even the power of “resurrection” to new life, a life they would never know because they had rejected this life.
Was the Lord rubbing it in (so to speak) on those who were already in misery. No not really, but Hell is a place of misery with nowhere to go to get away from it!
Those who think they have the power to overcome the Lord Jesus Christ already live in a dream world that cannot be true!