1 Peter 3:18, The Death of Christ

Main Point: Christ suffered for our sin and rose again to restore us to God.


Thank you, God for gospel opportunities this week in our homes, at school, and at work.

Please cause the truth we have shared to lead people to repent and believe the gospel. Draw our neighbors to Christ. Cause our neighbors to be born again. Use us.

As we look to the week ahead, give us courage.

As we look into your Word, give us joy in the faith. Help us to grow and mature and gain strength. We know it is true that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. We want to glory in Christ and what he has done. We come to You now through Him.

Unite us as the church. Give us clarity so that we are of one mind striving side by side for the sake of the gospel.

Unite us in one mind so that we know one another and care for one another. Everywhere we look there are things that tempt us to fear. Be with us so that we do not fear suffering. Be with us so that we are refreshed and know how to respond to each situation.

Member and Missionary Prayer

Church- guide us as we consider Jay Collier as an elder. Help each member understand the responsibility to affirm and support godly undershepherds, pastors who care for souls. Give us unity and wisdom for this decision we will make next week.

Speak O Lord. Let your church arise. Amen


We are over half way through our six part sermon series on how to share the gospel. I hope you are gaining courage as we go. We start with creation and Revelation 4:11, “Worthy are you our Lord and God to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” God is worthy of honor and obedience because he is wonderful and all that he has created is wonderful. The problem is we turned away from God and ruined every wonderful thing. Sin is explained in Romans 3:10-11 with the words, “None is righteous, no not one. No one understands, no one seeks for God, all have turned aside.”

And God is not going to let his world, the world he created, stay on this path. Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that face judgment.” There are two options on judgment day. One, you can trust your self and your good works. Or two, you can trust Christ and his good work. We want to find ways to communicate the fact that sinful people cannot make themselves righteous. You can’t make dirty stained hands clean by rubbing them together. Purification comes from an outside source. We are a people who trust Christ. He has made us clean.

This sermon from 1 Peter 3 and next week’s sermon from 1 Peter 1 explain what Jesus has done and why he is able to make us clean. These sermons are meant to clarify the power of Christ and why he is able to restore us to God. Let’s read this simple and glorious verse, 1 Peter 3:18…

I. The gospel of Jesus Christ

The gospel is the good news that Christ has suffered for our sin and rose again to restore us to God.

  • Christ

Now, when you are sharing the gospel you need to try to figure out how much your friend knows about Jesus. The more a person knows, the more I am willing to emphasize from the Bible. So, if a person has a basic understanding of the Bible and Old Testament history, it would be beneficial to talk with them about how Isaiah describes the Christ, the Messiah, as a suffering servant.

Who is the Christ of 1 Peter 3:18? He is the suffering servant of Isaiah 52 and 53. The background of 1 Peter 3:18 is the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. Peter wrote to a biblically informed people. He built on what they already knew. Bring in these complimentary passages if they will help and not distract your friend.

If a person has little to no understanding of the Bible, you may simply turn to 1 Peter 1:1 and show him that Peter is talking about Jesus when he talks about the Christ. Peter is an apostle of Jesus Christ. The point is, when talking about Jesus, work to understand where the person you are talking with is coming from. Don’t assume too much and don’t complicate ideas. After sharing 1 Peter 3:18 you can ask, ‘Do you know who the Christ is?” And then respond according to their answer.

In our progression we are talking about the Christ who is Jesus, the Son of God, and the suffering servant promised by Isaiah the prophet. Jesus is the Christ who suffered.

  • Christ suffered

The commentary for what it means to suffer is given to us in several Bible translations. Some translations have the word “died”. Christ suffered once for sins. Christ died once for sins. This is a reference to the cross of Christ. The end of 1 Peter 3:18 tells us that the Christ was put to death in the flesh. The suffering recorded in this verse is a reference to the abuse and torment endured by Jesus with its climax in his death on the cross.

Christ suffered. So what?

  • Christ suffered as our sufficient sacrifice

Look at the words, “Christ also suffered once for sins.” We’re camping out on the phrase, “suffered once.” This word once is emphatic. It means once and never to be repeated; once and never again. On the cross Jesus finished, once and for all time, the payment required by his Father for our sin. God said, “It is finished.”

The sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross was not a temporary fix or a hopeful solution. It is blasphemous to think God was just giving it his best shot and hoping it works out. The cross of Christ is the sufficient, perfect, final, full, adequate, competent, ample, plenteous sacrifice. The Father is pleased to accept Jesus’ sacrifice and we are pleased to receive Jesus’ sacrifice.

Now, what if the person you are talking with doesn’t believe Jesus is the sufficient sacrifice for our sins? Where do you go? Work through the gospel of Mark and point out the proofs that Jesus is God. He has authority over creation, sickness, demons, and death. Go to Colossians 1 or Hebrews 1 and work to help your friend understand the person and work of Jesus so that your friend can see and enjoy the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice for sins. Christ is our sufficient sacrifice because he is God. As God,

  • Christ suffered as our sacrifice for sins

We’re just quoting 1 Peter 3:18 now, “For Christ also suffered once for sins.” There was a deliberate end in mind when the Triune God ordained the cross. The purpose of the cross was to provide a sufficient sacrifice for sins.

Ask your friend, “have you ever sinned?” Talking about Romans 3:10-11 may have trigged a bit of confession on his part. If there is no understanding of personal sin you can go 10 commando on them. Use Jesus’ use of the 10 commandments to help your friend come to realize his sin. Have you ever told a lie or stolen something? Have you ever been angry? Jesus said anger is the equivalent to murder. Have you ever lusted after a woman? Jesus said lust is the same as adultery. With the compassion of a doctor looking for symptoms in order to provide the perfect remedy, you are looking for an awareness of sin in order to apply the gospel. We see Jesus more clearly when we see our sin.

Christ suffered once for our sin. Christ suffered once for sins. Christ did not suffer for his own sin. Christ, the just one suffered in the place of the unjust. Christ, the righteous one, suffered in the place of the unrighteous ones. Here is the glorious promise of a substitute. The Father planned the substitute. The Son planned to be the substitute. The Spirit planned the substitute. Rest in this, God not only devised the sure means of your redemption, he also did everything necessary to secure your redemption.

Look at your hands. These hands of have done we wish we hadn’t done. We are stained by sin. What must we do to be clean? Put your hand in the nail-scarred hand. Believe Jesus died in your place for your sin. Since Jesus died and rose again, if you will confess your sin, God is faithful and just, he will forgive you of all your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. I cannot remove the stain, but Christ can. Christ provided the full and final payment and then he rose again.

  • Christ suffered as our sacrifice for sin and rose again

We get the resurrection of Jesus from history and from the end of 1 Peter 3:18. I think the best understanding of “put to death in the flesh and made alive in the spirit” is death and resurrection. Jesus, who had a physical body, died and then he was raised with a glorified or spiritual body. He died in the flesh and then was raised three days later in the spirit. You may disagree with my understanding of “in the spirit” but ultimately you cannot believe the bible and disagree with the fact that Jesus died and then rose again on the third day.

Lord willing, we get to focus on the resurrection next week, so I won’t spend a great deal of time on the resurrection here. But, it is necessary that we affirm the fact that Jesus rose. 1 Peter 3:21 puts the resurrection on center stage. A good conscience, a purified conscience, is the product of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus died and was raised so that you and I can enjoy forgiveness.

And forgiveness is not an end in itself. Forgiveness is glorious and wonderful and liberating. Forgiveness from Jesus before God helps us sleep at night and go seek restoration with our friends, family, neighbors, teammates, and coworkers. Forgiveness is awesome, and forgiveness is a means to an end.

  • Christ suffered as our sacrifice for sin and rose again to restore us to God

1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.”

Forgiveness is like a backstage pass. Forgiveness is clearance to get in. You and I aren’t worthy to be in the presence of God. We have turned aside. We have traded God for weak and temporary trinkets. Our hands are stained with sin. We don’t get in. But Jesus gives us his credentials. Jesus gives us his pass. Jesus, by his righteousness, gets us in. Jesus restores us to God.

But too often we live life with our back stages passes stuck in our back pockets. Church, restoration to God is a present reality meant to be enjoyed.

Hebrews 10:19, “Therefore brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Jesus didn’t die and rise again so that you can limp around this life weighed down by the memory of your sins and failures. Jesus didn’t die and rise again so you can pretend your sin and failure didn’t happen. Jesus died and rose again so that you can humbly admit your sin before God and, having received his forgiveness, go and seek reconciliation with those you have wronged.

Jesus died and was raised so that you can confidently draw near to God in prayer anytime anywhere and get the mercy and grace for your time of need (Heb 4:16).

Jesus died and rose again because we can’t make it on our own. I can’t do one thing on my own. Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing (John 15:5). With Jesus I have the forgiveness and righteousness I need to be restored to God. With God I have everything I need to do life and be godly.

Yes, Jesus will save us on judgment day. Yes, Jesus will stand with us as we give an account to God. Yes, what Jesus started he will bring to completion. Jesus is trustworthy. But let’s not sell Jesus short. Jesus is what we need for the next life and for this life.

In evangelism we are explaining why Jesus is necessary for us to do life the way we are doing it. In evangelism you need to put words of explanation onto your life of joy.

Look up a couple of verses to 1 Peter 3:15, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

The right use of Christ, honoring Christ as holy in your heart, produces joy because Jesus provides access to God. It is there, doing all of life in the presence of God, that hope is fueled and people begin to wonder. Why do you treat mean people with such kindness? Why do you not give up? Why are you at peace when everyone else is freaking out? Give me a reason for the hope that is in you. The reason is Christ crucified and raised to restore me to God.

II. Two important questions

  • Are you doing the work of an ambassador?

2 Corinthians 5 tells us that Jesus reconciled us Christians to God and then gave us the ministry of reconciliation. God saved you so that through your words the gospel can be shared with others and they too can be restored to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

For some of you this is new, for some of you this is a good reminder. The reason you have children is so that you can be Christ’s ambassador to them. The reason we have neighbors is so that we can be Christ’s ambassadors to them. The reason we have coworkers and teammates is so that we can be Christ’s ambassadors to them. The reason we have clients and customers is so that we can be can be Christ’s ambassadors to them. God’s design is for you to love the people around you, share the gospel with them, and implore them to be reconciled to God. Invite them to taste the joy that you have found. Are you doing the work of an ambassador? You can, with Christ you have all you need to be a bold witness.

Last question

  • Have you trusted Christ to restore you to God?

Your Creator has set the day of judgment and you will be judged for your sin. Its your choice. You can continue on the path you are on. You can keep running away from God. You can keep doing things your own way. You can keep trying hard to take care of yourself. You can do that. Or, you can stop running and stop hiding. Stop running away from your sin and weakness. Stop hiding from God. Stop trying to be the one who has it all together. Stop trying to be the one who is strong. Step into the light. Confess your sin. Confess your weakness. Believe in Jesus. He died and rose again to restore you to God. Jesus died and rose again so that you can do life with the love, acceptance, and power of God. Are you struggling? There is power for you through Christ. Have you trusted Christ to restore you to God?

You can today. Pray. Pray to God because Jesus died for your sin. Pray to God because Jesus was raised from the grave. Pray to God because Jesus did all of this to bring you right now to God. Pray and then come and tell us so we can celebrate with you. Come and confess your faith in Jesus Christ. Come and ask to be baptized.

The love of Jesus is deep. Your sins cannot plumb the depths of Jesus’ love. The love of Jesus is strong. Your weak hands are no match for his sovereign power. Let’s pray to the God who loves us and then let’s sing to the God who loves us.



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