1 Peter 3:14-17
But and if you suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are you: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;…
I. THAT IF WE ARE TRUE CHRISTIANS, THERE IS A HOPE THAT IS IN US. If we are true Christians, Christ is in us the hope of glory.
1. This hope may be distinguished from the hypocrite's hope by its objects. It regulates all its expectations by the Word of God.
2. This hope may be farther distinguished by its basis. This is the inviolable truth of God's promises, made to sinners through Christ.
3. This hope may be farther distinguished by its effects. It purifies the heart.
II. THAT THERE IS A REASON FOR THIS HOPE. It is a reason for this hope, that the Word of God, written by the inspiration of His own Spirit, correctly defines its objects. A true Christian can also give a reason for the ground of his hope. It is Christ. There is a reason for the hope that is in us, in the effects which we are conscious it has produced upon us. It has a holy tendency.
III. THAT WE ARE TO EXPECT THAT MEN WILL ASK US A REASON OF THIS HOPE. Some may ask a reason of the hope that is in us, from a sincere desire to know and to embrace the truth. But others may ask us a reason of the hope that is in us, from a wish to weaken our confidence, or to tear us away from the hope of the gospel.
IV. THAT WE ARE TO BE PREPARED TO GIVE AN ACCOUNT TO THOSE WHO THUS ASK, A REASON OF THE HOPE. THAT IS IN US. Have I searched the Scriptures with becoming diligence, so as to know the evidence on which my faith rests? Have I been so convinced of the truth and power of the gospel by the Spirit of God, that I am prepared to defend it as the wisdom of God and the power of God?
V. THAT WE ARE TO BE SO PREPARED AS TO BE ABLE TO DO THIS WITH MEEKNESS AND FEAR.
1. With meekness. We are to defend the gospel in the spirit of the gospel.
2. With fear. Not terror, but reverence.
1. If you are disposed to question the reality of the religion of the heart, it is not because there can be no proof given of it, but from an indisposition to believe it.
2. Be sure that nothing but a "lively hope" implanted within you will avail to the good of your soul, and that all profession without it will be ineffectual to your salvation.
3. Dread being the subject of a delusive hope.
4. If you have reason to fear that hitherto your hope has been a deceptive one, seek and pray to be made the subject of a good hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, that abandoning all other dependence, you may be led to Christ for salvation, on whose merits and righteousness you shall not depend in vain.
Parallel VersesKJV: But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;