The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans 16:16)


1.  In this lesson, we want to show what the "good life" really is,
            a.    and how it may be enjoyed
            b.    while we are living on this earth.
2.  We hope to do this by looking at God's formula
            a.     as given to us by a Spirit-guided apostle,
            b.     borrowed from another Spirit-led man from a millennium earlier. 

1. From creation until now,
            a.     the unending quest of the human spirit
            b.     has been to seek and savor the "good life."
2. Searching, longing and crying after that
            a.      which can bring tranquility to a despairing existence,
            b.      is the consuming occupation of many.
                1.  As you are well aware, we are bombarded daily
                 2.  by formulas for "the good life."
3.  Commercials promise glamour, success, and sex appeal
            a.      through the use of their products.
            b.      Many seek the good life through money or financial success.
                 1. Millions spend billions in their frantic search
                 2. for that special life-style.
4. Some look for it in the acquisition of power,
            a.    while others expect to find it in unbridled pleasure.
            b.    However, none of these deliver what is promised.
5. Let us then, search the Scriptures
            a.       to find the "good life,"
            b.       because millions need to know and must know.

1. Why do we live by the principles stated in God's Word?
             a.       Perhaps the most basic reason is simply the fact that God said to.
             b.      "God said it, and that settles it" (Amen).
2. But the Book of Deuteronomy gives us a second reason.
             a.      We obey God's Word because it is for our own good to do so (READ Deut 6:24-25).
             b.      The Bible gives many examples of this principle at work.
3. The apostle Paul says in 1 Cor 6:18, "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin
                              that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits
                               sexual immorality sins against his own body."
              a.      This teaches that sin is not only wrong,
              b.      but it is destructive.
4. What does Paul mean when he affirms that "every other sin is outside the
                        body, but the immoral person sins against her own body?"
5. When one realizes that the meaning of "body"
              a.        is really "the total personality,"
              b.        it becomes clear that the apostle
                     1. is warning the sexual immoral person
                     2. that his or her conduct actually damages his personality,
               c.       that is, his or her ability to relate to another human being
                     1. at the deeply intimate level
                     2. of the beautiful sexual union of the marriage relationship.
6. The same principle can be applied to any sin.
              a.       The liar damages himself
              b.       by blurring the distinction between truth and falsehood
              c.       as well as hardening his own conscience.
7. The selfish individual injures himself
              a.       by distorting reality as he convinces himself
              b.       that the world revolves around him.
8. The other side of the coin is the fact
              a        that the individual following the positive principles
              b.       of God's revelation benefits himself.
9. This is the point we want to stress this morning;
              a.     to live the good life,
              b.     we must follow God's formula. 

                                         I.  The Abundant Life

1. In the context of Jesus describing Himself as the "door of the sheep,"
              a.       and as the "good shepherd,"
                     1. He makes a remarkable promise to His disciples.
                     2. He says, "I have come that they may have life,
                            and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
              b.      The abundant life is characterized by the gentle combination
              c.      of the ups and downs of life.
2.  It is the blending of the tears of joy with the tears of sadness.
              a.       In other words, this life is graciously infused
              b.      with God's promise in Romans 8:28, to cause all things to
                         "work together for good to those who love God, to those
                         who are the called according to His purpose."
3.  In Matthews 22, Jesus was under fire from the Pharisees.
              a.      They asked Jesus a very pointed question, "Teacher, which is the
                              great commandment in the law?" (Matt 22:36).
              b.     To this, Jesus responded that total love for God was paramount.
              c .    Then secondly, one was to love his neighbor even as himself.
                     1. It was on these two commandments
                     2. that the whole Law and Prophets depended (Matt 22:37-40).
5. What a joy it should have been
              a.     for these Jews to see their whole economy
              b.     boiled down to its essence;
              c.    an exact answer to their exact question.
                      1. Yet, because of impure motives,
                      2. they missed the significance of His statement. 

                                         II.  Introduction to 1 Peter 3:8-12

1. The apostle Peter also makes an appealing offer
              a.       as to how we may love life
              b.       and see good days (Please read with me 1 Pet 3:8-12).
2. The word "finally" here
              a.       does not mean the conclusion of this epistle.
              b.       Peter is only about half way through
              c.        his inspired material at this point.
3. But he does near the conclusion
              a.       of specific instructions he had given servants,
              b.       wives, husbands and now all members
              c.       in their interpersonal relationships.
4. Peter enjoins unity upon these scattered saints
              a.       or a likeness of mind and heart.
              b.       If all Christians are following the Book, the Bible,
                     1. there is no justification for discord
                     2. and disharmony among them.
               c.    Why should there be?
5. Next, he enjoins compassion
               a.       or a spirit of genuine sympathy.
               b.       When this spirit dominates, saints will "rejoice with those who
                              rejoice, and weep with those who weep" (Rom 12:15).
                 "And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one
                    member is honored, all the members rejoice with it" (1 Cor 12:26).
6. A genuine feeling of sympathetic concern
               a.       will permeate the whole body of Christ
               b.       just as a spirit of sympathetic concern
                     1. permeates the physical body
                     2. when it is functioning properly.
7.  Also, all will be "brother lovers."
               a.       Christians have the same parentage
               b.       and thus are brothers and sisters in the Father's family (Eph. 3:14-15).
8.  There will be a feeling of pity
               a.       or tenderhearted concern for all other Christians.
               b.       There won't be any room for harshness,
                      1. pride and arrogance;
                      2. however, we will be courteous to one another,
                      3. counting the other person better than our self (Phil 2:3).
9.  Regardless of how much we suffer,
                a.        Peter forbids that we give back similar treatment.
                b.        We are not to pay back evil with evil
                c.        or railing with railing.
10. Peter herein breathes the very spirit
                 a.        of the Sermon on the Mount.
                 b.        There Jesus said (READ Matt 5:39).
 11. Instead of retaliating,
                 a.         Peter counsels that we continually
                 b.        give a blessing instead.
                      1. Again this echoes what the Master said
                      2. in Matthew 5:43-45 (READ).
 12. As Christians we are a blessed people
                 a.        and must be a people that blesses others.
                 b.        Retaliation for evil done us
                        1. operates to deprive us of the blessing
                        2. to which we, as Christians, have been called.

                                                     III.  Psalm 34:12-16

1. The Biblical formula
                a.       "for living the good life" here in 1 Peter 3
                b.       brings good credentials for our consideration.
                c.       It is time-tested over 1,000 years.
2. Peter quotes David from Psalm 34:12-16 in these verses.
                a.       Therefore, this formula was true in David's day,
                b.       in Peter's day, and we can be sure
                c.       it is still true in our day, 2,000+ years later.
3. From Peter's quote of Psalm 34,
                a.       we know that this formula is approved for Christians.
                b.       You see, not everything in the Old Testament
                        1.  is approved for Christians;
                        2.  for example, dancing, incense, animal sacrifices,
                        3.  and instrumental music in worship to God.
4. All those things were merely external and ceremonial,
                a.        and ended with Christ to whom they pointed.
                b.        However, all in the Old Testament
                        1. that was inherently valuable
                        2. and spiritual in nature was eternal,
                        3.  and remains true today.
5. We should never make the mistake of neglecting
               a.        the Old Testament Scriptures,
               b.       for the things therein "were written for our learning" (Rom 15:4).
6. Particularly the Psalms are rich for the Christian,
               a.        for they reveal intimately the heart of the man
               b.       who was "a man after God's own heart" (Acts 13:22).

                                                IV.  A Brief but Careful look at 1 Pet. 3:10-11

1. This formula for the good life is versatile,
               a.        in that it fits all people the same.
               b.        It worked for David, a shepherd and king.
                     1.  It worked for Peter, a fisherman and apostle.
                     2.  It will also work for you,
                     3.  regardless of who you are, or where you might live.
 2.  Let's now look carefully
               a.       at this successful formula for the good life
               b.       (READ 1 Pet 3:10-11).
 3. The Holy Spirit speaking through Peter
               a.        does not deceive us as to what he is really offering.
               b.        He gives us complete disclosure.
 4.  He says, "He that will love life,"
              a.         not simply "enjoy" living,
              b.        but "love life" with intelligence and purpose.
5. To love life requires that a proper evaluation be placed upon it.
              a.        He's talking about a life that will stand scrutiny
              b.        and reflection in later years
              c.        and will still be loved for its true merit.
 6. Then he says, "He that will see good days,"
              a.       that is, days that are filled with profit and value,
              b.      days of usefulness and happiness,
              c.       not mere fancy and foolishness.
                     1. Unfortunately the world does not know
                     2. the true meaning of either "love" or "good."
7. To have this "good life,"
              a.        we are first told to abstain from evil speech.
              b.        God has called us to be "holy in all conduct" (1 Pet 1:15).
              c.        So even when we are unfairly treated by those in authority,
              d.        we should follow the example of Jesus.
              e.        The Bible says (READ 1 Pet 2:21-23).
8. If you are trying to win your unbelieving mate to Christ,
              a.        you must guard your speech.
              b.       1 Peter 3:1-2 says (READ).
9. If you want to have a happy marriage
              a.       which is pleasing in God's sight,
              b.       the Bible says (READ 1 Pet 3:3-4). Expand
10. Never render evil for evil, or railing for railing,
              a.      but conduct your speech in a manner
              b.      so as to be a blessing to others.
              c.      And then you will inherit a blessing (1 Pet 3:9).

1. Next we are told to turn from evil and do good (vs 11).
              a.      No one can truly love life and see good days
              b.      who fails to obey this injunction.
2. Negatively, the Christian life
              a.       is a turning aside from everything that is evil;
              b.       positively, it is the doing of everything that is good.
3. We are to "cling to what is good" (Rom 12:9),
              a.       thus promoting the welfare of one's fellow man
              b.       in any and every way.
4. Remember, you are  "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
                      His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of him
                     who hath called you out of darkness into his  marvelous light (1 Pet 2:9).
              a.      Therefore, you must have
                          "your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when
                         they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your
                         good works which they observe, glorify God in the day
                         of visitation" (1 Pet 2:12).
              b.      This means that your good works will turn
              c.      your enemies' criticism into praise of God.

1.  Finally, we are told to seek peace
             a.       and actively work for it (1 Pet 3:11).
             b.       Peter is repeating what Jesus said in Matthew 5:9,
                     "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."
2. A good life comes as a result of making peace,
              a.      or comes to those who follow and practice peace.
              b.      Paul said (READ Rom 14:19).
3.  In seeking peace, we must first seek peace with God.
4.  A lack of peace with God
             a.       brings vividly to mind the lives of those
             b.       who groan under the burden of guilt;
                    1. those who know a void in their lives
                    2. that they can't quite put their finger on;
                          a.       those who know no power in their lives
                          b.      other than their consistently failing strength.
                                   1. It is in such despairing lives
                                   2. that being at peace with God is so vital.
5. We have peace with God by being obedient
             a.       to the faith of Jesus Christ (Rom 5:1),
             b.       then giving our lives over to the Gospel of peace (Eph 6:15).
             c.      Then our song will be (READ Eph 1:3).

1. Then, we are to have peace with self;
            a.        a calmness and serenity of mind,
            b.        not allowing the passions
            c.        of hatred and strife to consume us.
2. An absence of peace with oneself
            a.        pictures some awful scenes.
            b.        It is there that we see the failure to make it as a person;
            c.        as a human being.
3. Young and old alike crumble under the daily crunch of failures;
            a.        the feelings of inferiority.
            b.       Inferiority is felt from the young girl who is taller than all the guys,
                    1. to the old lady who because of her aging appearance,
                    2. dresses in "mod" clothes.
5.  Inferiority is felt from the first grader
            a.       who can't learn to read as quickly as his peers,
            b.       to the man who pumps gas
            c.       into the cars of doctors and lawyers.
6. Inferiority is felt from the young girl
            a.       who must wear one of three dresses to school,
            b.       to the man who must rent
            c.       an inadequately sized apartment for his family.
7. These feelings hurt, and in most cases they hurt every day.
8. But to this the Bible says,
                "let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which
                also you were called in one body; and be thankful" (Col 3:15).
9. With God's peace in our heart we can love ourselves.
             a.       Beauty, intelligence, and wealth
             b.       no longer reign supreme as standards
             c.       by which we accept or reject ourselves.
10. In a time when one must meet
           a.       these rigid standards to be "somebody,
           b.       isn't it refreshing to relax
           c.       and be happy about being "me?"
                1. This is not to say that we will cease striving to be more like Christ.
                2.  God forbid!
11. However, it is to say, that as we grow and mature in Christ,
           a.      we will not carry feeling of doubt,
           b.      inferiority, and ashamedness.
12. We will walk through life with our head held high,
           a.      not in cockiness, haughtiness, and pride,
           b.      but in confidence and assurance.
13. For now, our worth in life as an individual
          a.       is not determined by the judgments and values of the crowd,
          b.       but rather it's "by the grace of God I am what I am...
                           yet not I, but the grace of God with me" (1 Cor 15:10).
14. Our worth is measured
          a.       by the priceless value of Christ's sacrifice,
          b.       for as Paul said (Quote Gal 2:20; “For I have been...)

1. Then, we are to have peace with others.
          a.       The hurt and pain that comes in view,
          b.       when we think of those who know the chilling despair of loneliness;
                 1.  those who stagger from the blow of being ostracized;
                 2.  those small ones who cry in fear of a drunken parent
                 3.  with an uncontrollable temper;
           c.       those spouses who falter under the pressure
                  1.  of persistent insults and attacks
                  2.  from those who are suppose to love them;
                           a.     the loss of such needful virtues as trust,
                           b.     loyalty, kindness, and gentleness.
2. Oh, how we do hurt when we see the barriers of hate,
          a.     lust, revenge, greed, and prejudice
          b.     separate and destroy a relationship.
3. Paul makes a pertinent comment on this aspect of the good life.
           a.     He says, "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live
                          peaceably with all men" (Rom 12:18).
           b.       Paul knew that it would be impossible to live peaceably with some,
           c.       but we are to strive to live in peace.
          d.       We must simply do our best to maintain a degree of harmony.
                  1. We must never let another's failings
                  2. retard our spiritual resolve!
4.  Any relationship involves both giving and receiving,
                therefore "be at peace among yourselves" (1 Thess. 5:13).
5. To sum it all up, the good life comes
          a.      by refraining from evil and doing good.
          b.      It comes by being at peace with God
          c.      and thus enjoying all the spiritual blessing found in Christ;
6.  It comes by being at peace with others
          a.      and thus basking in the blessing
          b.      of harmonious co-existence.
7.  And it comes by being at peace with myself
          a.      and thus knowing the blessings
          b.      of self-acceptance and self-esteem.
1.  We'll conclude this lesson by quickly looking at the results
          a.      of living the good life (READ 1 Pet 3:12-14a).
          b.      God's eyes are indeed on all His creation,
              1. but His eyes are upon the righteous for their good.
              2. Not only are God's eyes over the righteous,
              3. but His ears are open to their prayers.
2. Loved Ones, we have the right to go to our loving heavenly Father
          a.      and pour out our burdens and desires to Him.
          b.      We can cast all our care on him, for He cares for us (1 Pet 5:7).
3. If we earnestly follow and remain devoted to what is good,
          a.       then no one can harm us,
          b       because God is on our side.
4. We are talking about real and permanent harm here.
5. I know that, "all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim 3:12).
           a.       But remember, God will be watching over us!
           b.       The world will be opposing us,
                  1. and might even do some bodily damage,
                  2. yet this is not real harm.
                           a.    Real harm is that which affects the soul,
                           b.   as taught by Jesus in Matthew 10:28.
6. Therefore, even if the world takes our life,
          a.      they cannot take our soul.
          b.      The true servant of God will always be victorious in the end,
                     for "we are more than conquers through him who loved us" (Rom 8:37).
7. Please remember, most problems in life come
          a.      because someone did not abide by one
          b.      or more parts of this "formula for the good life."
8. God wants us to be happy and to enjoy life now,
          a.      and His Word tells the secret for the truly good life.
          b.      Let us all put it into practice!

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