Encouraged as Sojourners: Peter's 'Wait, What?' Gospel for God's Embattled Do-Gooders

Brian Mahon - 4/25/2021


Call to worship: Psalm 110

Text: 1 Peter 3:18-22

Sermon Outline:

  1. The unique purpose of Christ's suffering, 3:18.
  2. The unusual proclamation of it's achievement, 3:19-20a.
  3. The unexpected prefigurement of its achievement, 3:20b-d.
  4. The undeniable picture of its achievement, 3:21.
  5. The unrivaled power of Christ's sovereignty, 3:22.
  6. Putting it all together.



  1. Read 1 Peter 3:18-22. It is a beautifully bewildering text. Study it. Ask God to give light upon it. Pray for us as we seek to open it in service.
  2. In 1 Peter 3:18 (a clear part of the text), how does Christ's suffering connect to our own (3:17)? How is it distinct or unique? What truths does Peter teach concerning the purpose and achievement of Christ's suffering and death on the cross?
  3. In 1 Peter 3:19-20a, we're told that Jesus, having died (and perhaps been raised?), went and proclaimed something to 'spirits in prison' 'who formerly did not obey.' Who are these spirits (compare with 3:22; also Gen 6:1-5, 2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6)? Why are they in prison? What's meant by prison? What did Christ proclaim to them? Why to them?
  4. In 1 Peter 3:20b-21, Peter takes us back in time to the days of Noah. He then brings up baptism? What might be his aim? What was similar between Noah's days and the present day of Peter's audience? What encouragement is found for them in this historical preview? As for baptism, neither we, nor Peter believe the act of baptism saves us. How do we know that? And based on that, how does this text teach believer's baptism? Why is baptism important for us when suffering for the faith? What does it remind of?
  5. In 1 Peter 3:22, Peter picks up where he left off in 3:18. The suffering Christ is now the exalted Lord of all! What encouragement is there in this for a people called to suffer for the sake of Christ, not only in following Him where only He leads, but in entrusting ourselves to His will along the way? If He is Lord, and He is, what will be our eternal end as we are in Him?
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