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Genuine - Witness
1 Peter 3:13–22 (NIV)
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 19 After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
What does genuine sharing of faith in Jesus look like?
1. Doing good.
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1 Peter 2:12 (NIV)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)
2. Giving an answer.
Always be prepared to give an answer … for the hope that you have.
“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” Luke 12:11-12 (NIV)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3 (NIV)
- What events led to your coming to faith?
- Who has had an impact on your journey?
- What challenges have helped you grow closer to God?
- Where are you experiencing God at work in your life today?
3. Gentleness and respect.
But do this with gentleness and respect
Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 2 Timothy 2:25 (NIV)
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6 (NIV)
Small Group Questions
CONNECT WITH GOD (Select one of the below practices to begin your small group time this week or select a practice from a previous week. This week’s practices are from Everyday Connections Year A, ed. Heidi Haverkamp.)
Alone: Spend 10 minutes in quiet reflection and journaling, responding to the following prompts:
- Take a quiet moment, seek our God’s presence, and pray for the guidance of the Spirit.
- Consider the past week-recall specific moments and feelings that stand out to you.
- Choose one moment or feeling for deeper examination, thanksgiving, or repentance.
- Let go, breathe deeply, and invite Christ’s love to surround and fill you in preparation for the week ahead.
- End with the Lord’s Prayer.
Alone: Read 1 Peter 3:13-22 and underline a word or phrase that especially grabs your attention. Pray from that word or phrase and ask God to help you connect to its particular invitation for you this week.
CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER
Read 1 Peter 3:13-22
- Read the passage both alone and together.
- In pairs: Reflect and share using the prompts below as a guide (10 minutes)
- What does genuine sharing of faith in Jesus look like?
- How has your own life been a witness in ways you hadn’t imagined or even considered?
- Dig deeper: How does suffering relate to our witness? Or does it? What do you wrestle with when you consider 1 Peter 3:14?
“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.”
- Share in the larger group (5 minutes)
CONNECT WITH SCRIPTURE (Read the passages and review the sermon outline. Then select the best questions or customize the questions for your group.)
- Read the main points from the sermon outline.
- What do you think it means to be “eager to do good” in verse 13?
- Why do you think Peter makes the connection between Jesus’ suffering and the suffering of the churches to whom he is writing?
- What is the reason for the hope in you (v. 15)?
- In what ways does Peter tell them to share their faith? With what kind of attitude? (v. 15-17).
- What questions or observations do you have about 1 Peter 3:19-22? Why do you think it’s included here? Why is it important to the gospel’s witness to remember?
- Reflecting on the main points of the message, what are the themes you will continue to wrestle with in the coming days?
CONNECT WITH GOD’S MISSION IN THE WORLD
- How are you called to bear witness to Jesus in our world today? How are we bearing witness together as a church to the hope we have in Jesus?
Share with one another how the Holy Spirit has been nudging you to share your faith. Encourage, support, and bear with one another in the unique set of circumstances of your lives as you seek to bear witness to the love of Jesus. Pray for the Holy Spirit to equip, empower, and animate your life in witness to the love of Jesus.