Our Crucified and Ascended Lord

1 Peter

Our Crucified and Ascended Lord

July 31st, 1960 @ 7:30 PM

1 Peter 3:18-22

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
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OUR CRUCIFIED AND ASCENDED LORD

Dr. W. A. Criswell

1 Peter 3:18-22

7-31-60    7:30 p.m.

 

This morning we left off preaching at the seventeenth verse of the third chapter of 1 Peter [1 Peter 3:17].  This evening we begin at the eighteenth verse and preach to the end of the chapter.  We will now all turn to 1 Peter, almost at the end of your Bible, 1 Peter chapter 3, verse 18, then all of us read the text together.  1 Peter 3:18 to the end of the chapter, verse 22.  Now everybody, let us read God’s Word together, 1 Peter 3:18:

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him.

[1 Peter 3:18-22]

One time I was in a group, and they asked, “How many is a few?”  Well, the fellow stammered and stuttered around.  He said, “Well, I don’t know how many a few is.”  “Well,” he said, “turn to 1 Peter 3:20, and he’ll tell you: ‘Wherein few, that is, eight…’ So a few persons is eight persons, according to the Book.”

Now people who read this passage, many, many times enter into recondite and abstruse and deep exegesis of this passage, when absolutely it has nothing in it at all except a very simple statement.  They say that when Jesus died He went down into hell, and He preached to those antediluvian spirits who were incarcerated down there.  There’s no intimation of that in the whole Word of God, and certainly not here.

All Simon Peter here is saying: that the Lord Jesus Christ, when He was crucified and buried [Matthew 27:32-66], He was raised from the dead by the Spirit of God [1 Peter 3:18].  And that was the Spirit by which Jesus Christ preached through Noah in the antediluvian days for a hundred twenty years [Genesis 6:3], pleading with those people to turn and to repent and to be saved [2 Peter 2:5].  And they refused, and they died [Genesis 7:21-22], and they’re in prison awaiting that final great judgment resurrection day of the damned [1 Peter 3:19-20].  That’s all he’s saying there, and then when he spoke of Noah that reminded him of the great deluge of water.  And eight of them were converted, eight of them were saved, eight of them were delivered: Noah and his wife, Shem, Ham, and Japheth and their wives; those eight were saved [Genesis 7:7, 23].  And he sees in that a figure of baptism [1 Peter 3:21]. 

Baptism, he says, is a figure of our salvation: that Christ died for our sins and was buried [1 Corinthians 15:3-4], and was raised for our justification [Romans 4:25]; and we are delivered, we are saved in the atoning sacrifice and the seal of the resurrection of the Son of God [John 14:19], and that is the figure you see, he says, in baptism: buried with our Lord in the likeness of His death that washes our sins away, and raised with our Lord in the likeness of the resurrection [Romans 6:4-5], that declares our justification before God and keeps us saved forever [Hebrews 10:14].  Then he concludes it with a marvelous tribute to our Lord: “Who is gone into heaven, who is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers,” the orders of the celestial hosts of glory, “being made subject unto Him” [1 Peter 3:22].  Now that’s the simple meaning of the passage.  Now this sermon tonight is an exegesis; it’s a message built upon the text that Simon Peter has written.  So we start with it.

In the eighteenth verse, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Holy Spirit” [1 Peter 3:18], raised up by the Holy Spirit.  This, says Simon Peter, our Lord Jesus did for us that “He might bring us to God” [1 Peter 3:18].  Then if the Lord Jesus brings us to God, by nature we are some other place; we are not with God, we are alienated from God, we are lost, we are not saved.  That’s what Simon Peter says: Jesus did these things that He might bring us to God [1 Peter 3:18].  Then by nature we are not with God; we are lost, we are not saved—cherished friends not saved, whole families not saved, fathers and mothers not saved, young people not saved, children not saved, boys and girls not saved, some of our own souls here tonight not saved.  I think of the lament of Jeremiah, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” [Jeremiah 8:20]; not ready to live, not ready to die, not ready for this world nor the world that is to come.  We are alienated from God, says Simon Peter, and Christ died that He might bring us to God [1 Peter 3:18].

There’s also in that text a very plain and patent contradiction of this modern, pusillanimous, easygoing, milquetoast theology, whose cry and slogan is this: the universal fatherhood of God, that we are all children of God by nature, by birth, by natural birth.  That’s not so.  There’s not an intimation in the whole Word of God that such a thing is so.  If we are with God already, and if we are the children of God now, why should Christ have died to bring us to God [1 Peter 3:18], if we’re there already?  We are not with God by nature, by natural birth; and Christ died that He might bring us to God.  I have said that is the most patent thing that you will find in the Bible: that by nature, as Paul says in Ephesians 2:3, by nature, by birth, we are children of wrath and face an inevitable judgment and damnation.  We are not with God until we are brought there by a power that is able in Christ to present us to Him [1 Peter 3:18].

For example:

  • In the first chapter of John and the eleventh, and the twelfth verses, that blessed apostle writes, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.  But as many as received Him, to them gave He the right, the power, to become the children of God, even to them that believe on His name” [John 1:11-12].  If we’re already children of God, isn’t that a strange thing that God should give us the power to become the children of God?
  • By nature we are the children of damnation, we are the children of wrath, we are the children of sin, we are the children of judgment, we are the children of perdition, by nature [Ephesians 2:3].
  • And there has to be given us a power whereby we can become the sons of God.  He is not our Father by nature.  We become the sons of God by the action of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and in our souls [Romans 8:15].

Take again, in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew:

  • Our Lord says in the parable of the tares, “The tares are the children of the wicked one” [Matthew 13:38]; they are not the children of God.
  • By birth and by nature you’re not a child of God; you have to be born again to be become a child of God [John 3:3, 7].  And in this parable Jesus says, “These lost of the world are children of the wicked one” [Matthew 13:38].
  • Over here in the eighth chapter of the Book of John, speaking to those people around Him who disbelieve, Jesus said, “Ye are of your father the devil” [John 8:44].  We’re not all the children of God.  “Ye are of your father the devil.”
  • Over here in the fourth chapter of the Book of Galatians [Galatians 4:5], as in the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans [Romans 8:2], Paul says that Jesus came into the world to redeem us from the curse of the law [Galatians 3:13].
  • By nature we are cursed and damned and in sin.  “To redeem us who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons, and become the children of God, even as God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son in our hearts, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” [Romans 8:15].
  • Isn’t that a funny thing?  If we’re already the children of God, why does a man need to adopt his own children?  You don’t adopt children who are already your own; you adopt children who are not your children.  So it is with God: God hath adopted us in Christ, we who have “received the Spirit of His Son in our hearts, whereby we cry, Abba, our Father” [Romans 8:14-17].  We are by nature not the children of God.
  • And if you’ve never been born again [John 3:3, 7], you’re a child of damnation and perdition; you are in the judgment of your sins, and to die in unforgiven sin is to fall into the abyss of hell!  We are by nature the children of wrath, and we are adopted into the family of God [Ephesians 2:3-5].

So I return to this text here where Simon Peter says that Jesus died “that He might bring us to God” [1 Peter 3:18].  Now there are three ways that God might have dealt with us who are sinners, you and me and all of us in this audience tonight, and the whole lost world.  There are three ways in which God might have dealt with us.  One, He might have dealt with us in stern justice and in judgment.  “The soul that sins shall die” [Ezekiel 18:4], and the whole human race He could have condemned into perdition and flame and fire.  That’s one way God could have dealt with us: in stern justice.

The second way God could have dealt with us was without law and without order at all; just let us sin, just let us go on, face no accountability, face no judgment.  In that event the whole universe would have turned into chaos.  Can you imagine the chaotic condition of our anarchy in our government and in our national life if there were no laws and no penalty for murder, and for wrong, and for thievery, and for arson?  The whole universe is kept together by the moral order of God: that a man is accountable.  And without that our universe would fly into pieces.  God could have destroyed the universe had He dealt with us without law and without justice.

Then the third way God could deal with us is the way that He has.  He could deal with us by way of substitution, by the sin-bearer, Jesus Christ.  God could vindicate His law; He could vindicate His justice in our Savior, God’s Son [Hebrews 10:5-14].  And He could pay our debt.  If I owe a debt and cannot pay it, and somebody comes and pays it for me, I am free.  That’s what God has done for us!  We had a debt to pay in our sins that we owe, a lack, a shortcoming before God, a debt sometimes it’s called; we had a debt, an obligation, an owing to God we could never meet.  And our Lord came and paid it for us, and He is our great substitute and advocate and sin-bearer.  “He has suffered for our sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us unto God” [1 Peter 3:18].

When Spurgeon lay dying, somebody who was there, a friend, said, “Spurgeon, now that you’re dying, what is your gospel?”  And he answered sweetly four little words: “Jesus died for me.”  Jesus is no Socrates, He is no Seneca; Jesus is no Lee or Lincoln; He is no just great man; Jesus is the appointed Savior of the world, and He is our great sin-bearer and substitute [1 Peter 2:24].  Jesus turned the raging torrent of death, by which all mankind was being carried down and down and down over the great abyss into the fiery damnation of sin and judgment, and He lifted us up, and He lifted us out, and He set our feet on a rock, and He washed us clean in His own blood [Revelation 1:5], and He gave His life for us [1 Corinthians 15:3], and He was raised for our justification that He might bring us to God [Romans 4:25].  “Christ also hath once suffered for sins [1 Peter 3:18], the just in behalf of, huper,  in behalf of the unjust” [1 Peter 3:18].  Christ suffered for our sins [1 Peter 3:18].  He who was perfect for us who are imperfect, He who was lovely for us who are unlovely, He who was righteous for us who are unrighteous, He who was just for us who are unjust.  He suffered for our sins; He paid the penalty for every sin of our lives [Hebrews 10:4-14; 1 Peter 2:24].

Some of His sufferings were known.  I read in an encyclopedia this week that the man that died by crucifixion died not one death but a thousand deaths.  He suffered an agony for our sins.  But oh, there are the unknown sufferings of Christ into which no finite mind or soul could ever enter.  At high noon when the sun was in its meridian strength, God blotted out the light of the world, and God turned His face away, and He shrouded and covered the unknown sufferings of our divine Lord [Matthew 27:45-46].  And the sufferings of our Lord in that darkness no mind can ever know, and no soul human could ever enter into.  According to the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, “God made His soul an offering for sin; and God shall look upon the travail of His soul and be satisfied” [Isaiah 53:10-11].  I don’t know what that means.  When God hid His face and turned His back, and the light of the sun refused to shine, and the whole earth fell into darkness and night [Matthew 27:45-46], I cannot enter into the gloom of that awful suffering unknown but unto God.  “Christ suffered for our sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” [1 Peter 3:18].  And the efficacy, the merit, the atoning virtue of the death of Christ is beyond what any man could say: it is inconceivably infinite and meritorious.  It reaches for all the human race.  And after two thousand years it still reaches down to you into your heart here tonight, as you listen to this preacher preach of the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus; Jesus who died for our sins, the just for the unjust [1 Peter 3:18].

That is God’s great expiation.  It is God’s great washing away.  It is God’s great fountain of cleansing [Zechariah 13:1], and it touches our hearts and our souls; and in Christ we have forgiveness of sins [Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14].  I cannot calculate, nor could the greatest computer man could ever make calculate the infinite worth and the infinite value of the suffering of Christ, God’s Son, perfect, holy, and pure, for us who are defiled and unclean.  Suffering, the just for the unjust, suffering for you, for us, that we might be saved [1 Peter 3:18].  The cross is the great dividing line between hope and despair, between God and the devil, between life and death, between salvation and damnation, between heaven and hell.  The cross is God’s lifeline flung out to a dying and perishing humanity.  We are saved in the sufferings of Jesus our Lord on the cross, “that He might bring us to God” [1 Peter 3:18].  For the stream of our human life and our human race was in the destruction and in the damnation and into the night and into death; and Christ turned the whole stream of humanity away from the abyss and into the glorious courts of heaven that He might bring us to God.  He stooped down that He might lift us up.  He became incarnate in our flesh [Matthew 1:20-25; John 1:1, 14] that we might ascend to heaven in His resurrection [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17].  He put on the robes of poverty that we might have the robes of righteousness.  He stooped that we might be exalted.  He was humiliated that we might have ascendancy [2 Corinthians 5:21].  He came down that we might be saved [Hebrews 10:4-14].  “Christ suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” [1 Peter 3:18].

“The like figure,” he says, “wherein baptism also doth now save us” [1 Peter 3:21].  That is, not the washing in the water that has nothing to do, Peter says, with our salvation, but it is a sign, a figure of our salvation, “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” [1 Peter 3:21].  Had He stayed dead, had He stayed dead in the tomb, we would still be lost in our sins [1 Corinthians 15:17].  But the resurrection of Christ sealed our forgiveness [Romans 4:25].  He was declared the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead by the Holy Spirit that raised Him up [Romans 1:4].  As surely as He died for our sins [1 Corinthians 15:3], just so surely was He raised for our justification [Romans 4:25].  As the sea monster could not hold Jonah after the third day [Jonah 1:17], so the awful monster of death could not hold Christ after the third day [Matthew 28:1-7; Luke 24:1-8].  But on the third day He was raised from the dead by the power of the Spirit of God [Romans 1:4].  The face, the limp body that breathed out the ghost of His life [Matthew 27:50], was quickened by the same living Spirit of God, and He rose to stand upon the earth [Romans 1:4].  And for forty days there was confirmation of His resurrection from the dead [Acts 1:3].  There’s no fact in history so thoroughly established and authenticated as the fact of the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.  He appeared to ones [John 20:11-18; Luke 24:34], He appeared to twos [Luke 24:13-32], He appeared to threes, He appeared to tens, He appeared to eleven [John 20:19-29], He appeared to over five hundred brethren at one time [Matthew 28:16-20; 1 Corinthians 15:6].  And they handled Him, and looked upon Him, and saw the scars, and heard Him speak [Luke 24:39; John 20:27].  It was the same Jesus whom they saw die on the cross [Matthew 27:32-50], whom they saw buried in the tomb [Matthew 27:59-60], who was raised from the dead [Matthew 28:5-7].  Despite the stone, and the seal, and the guard [Matthew 27:66], and the clammy cold clay hands of death, He was raised up to live on the earth and in our sight [Acts 1:3], our risen and ascended Lord [Acts 1:9-10].

Those forty days that He appeared in this earth [Acts 1:3], resurrected and alive, quickened by the Holy Spirit of God [1 Peter 3:18], had two other marvelous things for us.  One, it shows Christ’s victory over the powers of darkness, over Satan, over all of the demons and devils of hell [Colossians 2:15].  Did you ever notice in those forty days how they never molest our Lord, they never attack our Lord?  Did you ever read in the Bible when our Lord began His ministry here in the flesh, in the days of His flesh, did you ever read in the Bible when He began His ministry how the Spirit drove Him out into the wilderness, and there He was tried by the devil forty days and forty nights? [Matthew 4:1-11]. You don’t read anything about that from His resurrection from the dead.  When Jesus stands by the Sea of Galilee, and there on a breakfast coals of fire, fish and bread laid thereon [John 21:9], why didn’t Satan attack Him?  And when the Lord appeared to five hundred brethren above at one time, on an appointed mountain in Galilee [Matthew 28:16-20; 1 Corinthians 15:6]; why didn’t Satan attack Him?  And when our Lord ascended back into glory from the Mount of Olives, to which mount He is coming back again, when He was going up into heaven [Acts 1:9-11], why didn’t the powers of darkness attack him?  Simply because they are confused, and they are conquered, and they are baffled!  Our Savior has overcome Satan, overcome death, overcome the grave [1 Corinthians 15:55-57], overcome the powers of darkness, overcome hell, overcome all of the devils and demons that follow in the great host and chain and train of our great archenemy, of our adversary, that old serpent, the devil.  And they don’t attack Him anymore; He is triumphant and victorious, having led captivity captive [Ephesians 4:8-10], right up to the gates of glory.

And a second thing about those forty days [Acts 1:3]: they are a picture, they are an earnest, they are an adumbration, they are a figure of those halcyon days that are yet to come, when He comes and reigns here King of kings and Lord of lords [Revelation 19:11-16], and all the kingdoms of the earth are the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ [Revelation 11:15].  In those forty days there was no one to attack.  The scribes never said anything, the Pharisees never accosted Him; all of those forty days were filled with glory, and light, and happiness, and gladness.  And that is a picture and adumbration of those glorious final days when our Lord shall be in our presence, raised and resurrected in His immortal body, and we are raised and resurrected and changed like unto His own glorious body [1 Corinthians 15:44-49]; and the dove of peace, and gladness, and holiness, and purity, and love, and grace, and mercy shall brood over this whole world and there won’t be a ripple on the sea, nor a wind to disturb the calm of the glory and the beauty of God’s kingdom when He comes.  That’s an adumbration of the glorious days that are yet to come.

“By the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, Jesus who is gone into heaven” [1 Peter 3:22].  Joseph is no more in the land; it is time for God’s people to move hence.  Our Lord is in heaven [Acts 1:9-10], and we are strangers here in the earth [Hebrews 11:10, 13].  Our home [Philippians 3:20], and our inheritance is on the other side of the waters, it’s on the other side of the river of death, it’s on the other side of the flowing Jordan.  Our Lord is in heaven, and our inheritance is in heaven, and our lot and our glory is in heaven.  Did you ever notice when the Lord ascended into glory, not a disciple wept?  There was no depression, there was no bereavement, there was no sorrow.  Did you ever notice that?  Their souls were filled with joy and gladness, and they were daily in the temple praising God, though their Lord had ascended into heaven [Luke 24:49-53].  That’s our great, great, great assurance, that our inheritance someday will be ours.  He is there to hold it for us [Acts 26:18], and His Spirit is here to keep us in His love and in His mercy and in His grace [Romans 15:13]; and please God, someday we shall have the inheritance holy, undefiled, reserved in heaven for those who trust in His name [1 Peter 1:3-4].

“Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God” [1 Peter 3:22].  As it says elsewhere in the Book, “And He sat down on the right hand of God” [Hebrews 1:3].  Who is that on the right hand of God?  Who is that in the throne of the universe?  It is our Brother, it is this same Jesus.  He took His humanity with Him when He ascended into glory.  And that One, that glorious One who is on the throne of the Almighty [Revelation 3:21], He is our elder Brother.  Why, it’s inconceivable that a man made of the dust of the ground should be God of all creation!  One can hardly conceive of it.  That head that wore the crown of thorns on the cross [Matthew 27:29], is now crowned with the diadems of glory [Revelation 17:14], and that bruised body we saw suffer on the cross [Matthew 27:32-50], is now an immortal body seated on the throne of God [Revelation 3:21].  And amidst the angels that acclaim Him, the same Lord Jesus over whom the women wept in Jerusalem [Luke 26:27], our blessed Lord—why you can’t think of it without being brought to the verge of tears and weeping.  Lord, could it be, could it be that the humble, lowly Lord Jesus who walked in our midst in our flesh [John 1:1, 14], in our house of clay, could it be that dust and ashes is exalted to the throne of God? [Revelation 3:21]. Could it be that a man is the King and the Lord and the God of all the universe? [Revelation 17:14] The distance between God and the highest seraph is immeasurable.  And the difference between the highest seraph and a man is beyond computation, and conception, and conceiving, and thinking, and description.  And yet it’s our elder Brother who is in heaven, seated at the right hand of God [Hebrews 8:1], the place of honor, the place of glory, the place of communion, and the place of counsel.  He is there, the earnest of our coming to be seated at the marriage supper of the Lamb [Revelation 19:6-9], and to rejoice in all of the things He has in store for His children, His brothers and His sisters who are down here in this weary world.  Think of it, man, our Lord at the right hand of God! [1 Peter 3:22].

“Angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him” [1 Peter 3:22]; all of the seraphim bow down before our Master, and all of the cherubim worship in the presence of our Lord: a man like you, with flesh and bone like you, Jesus our Savior, the God of the universe; “angels and principalities and powers being made subject unto Him” [1 Peter 3:22].  Our High Priest is gone into the inner sanctuary, and in the glory of that light and in the wonder of that holy place we are inclined to withdraw in fear and in dread and in terror.  Oh no! with hands raised in benediction He bids us come, in hope that we might receive grace in time of need [Hebrews 4:16].  If we went to David when he was in the cave, let us now go to Him that He is King, the same Lord Jesus.  Oh, how could a man describe it, and how could a man say it?  I always say to these little children when they come to me and say, “I give my heart to Jesus,” I say to them, “And do you pray to Jesus?  And do you ask Him to help you and to forgive you?”  And a little child who is faithfully taught will always reply, “Yes, pastor.  I pray to Jesus every day.  I say my prayers to the Lord Jesus every night.  And we say grace at the table thanking Jesus.”  And the family bows, looking in faith and humble, yielded submission to Jesus.  Think of it, that God, that God should be a man and that our human flesh should be exalted to the throne of glory, and that He is our brother who bids us come and pour into His ear all of the troubles and sorrows of our lives.  “Come,” He says, “come boldly” [Hebrews 4:16].

“Seated at the right hand of God, angels and powers being made subject unto him” [1 Peter 3:22].  I read where the old theologians used to say that the reason Satan rebelled in heaven [Isaiah 14:12-14] was because he heard the whisper that a man someday should rule the universe, and that a man someday should be God.  Well, I don’t know whether that ever happened or not, but it’s an intriguing thought.  Satan who is the archangel of glory, who walked in all of the glitter of the diamonds and gems of his beauty [Ezekiel 28:12-14], when he heard that a man was going to rule God’s universe and that a man should be God Himself, it was more than Satan could accept.  And it’s more than my finite mind can conceive.  And think of it someday; someday, some final and triumphant day, we’re going to live in His presence, and He is going to be our King, and we shall see His face [Revelation 22:3-4], and we shall be like Him, seeing Him as He is.  Monarchs crumble, and kingdoms and empires fade away, but our Lord shall reign forever [Revelation 11:15].

And what is the song they sing unto Him in the Revelation?  “Unto Him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood,” and hath made us kings and priests unto God [Revelation 1:5-6], and we shall reign upon the earth [Revelation 5:9-10].  Ah, think of it.  “He suffered for our sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God [1 Peter 3:18], saved by His resurrection [Romans 4:25], our Lord who is gone into heaven, who is seated on the right hand of the Majesty on High, principalities and powers being made subject unto Him” [Ephesians 1:20-21; 1 Peter 3:21-22].  And to us who are friends to Him now, He is our Friend in the world that is yet to come [John 14:3].  Oh, blessed somebody you, to kiss His feet, to bow in His presence, to look up into His face, to own Him as Lord and Savior, that’s the gladdest proclamation that a minister could ever say or announce: that a man, sinner men like us, could be joint-heirs with Christ in the kingdom of His Father [Romans 8:17].  And it is ours for the having; it is ours for the taking, ours for the receiving, ours for the asking.  Just come in faith [Ephesians 2:8], and bow in His presence.  Look up into His face, ask the forgiveness of our sins [1 John 2:9], and devote in gladness and glory our soul and life and destiny to Jesus [Romans 10:9-10].  Would you do it with us?  Would you?  Would you join us in our pilgrimage to heaven?  Would you do it?

Somebody you, give his heart to the Lord [Romans 10:9-10]; a family you, coming into the fellowship of our precious church; if you’re in the balcony, coming down one of these stairways—here’s one and there, there’s one and here—if you’re in the balcony, on that top row, and tonight you give your heart in faith and trust to Jesus [Acts 16:30-31], come down that balcony stairway.  Come up here to the front, say to the preacher, “Pastor I give you my hand, I’ve given my heart to God; here I come, here I am.”  On this lower floor, is there a family to come, every member of the family, father, mother, children, all of you?  Is there a youth or a child?  As the Spirit of God shall say the word and lead the way, would you make it now?  Would you make it tonight, while we stand and while we sing?

OUR CRUCIFIED AND ASCENDED LORD

Dr. W. A. Criswell

1 Peter 3:18-22

7-31-60

I.          Introduction

A.  Simon Peter is saying that when Christ was crucified and buried, He was raised by the Spirit of God

1. It was the Spirit by which Jesus preached through Noah

2. Speaking of Noah reminded Peter of the eight who were saved from the flood, the water – a figure of baptism

B. Baptism a figure of our salvation

C. Passage closes with marvelous tribute to our Lord (1 Peter 3:22)

II.         “That He might bring us to God”(1 Peter 3:18)

A.  Startling and tragic statement

1. We were away from God, someplace else, lost(Jeremiah 8:20, 9:1)

2. Statement runs counter to cheap, shallow, modern theology

a. No such thing in Bible as the universal fatherhood of God

b. We are lost and we need to be redeemed (Ephesians 2:3, John 1:11-13, 3:3, 7, 8:44,Matthew 13:38, Galatians 4:4-6, Romans 8:2, 14-17)

III.        “Suffered for our sins”(1 Peter 3:18)

A.  Three ways which God could have dealt with us in our sins

1.  Stern, inexorable justice(Ezekiel 18:4)

2. Without regard to law, righteousness

3.  He chose atonement, substitution

B.  Our sin atoned for, expiated

1.  His known sufferings

2. His unknown sufferings (Isaiah 53:10-11)

C. The efficacy, the atoning virtue of the death of Christ is inconceivable

IV.       “By the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21)

A.  Had He stayed dead, we would still be lost in our sins(Romans 1:4, 4:25)

B.  No fact in history more sure than the raising of Christ from the dead

C.  He appeared to His disciples for a period of forty days(Acts 1:3)

1.  Demonstratesthat the powers of darkness, Satan are forever destroyed(Mark 1:12-13, John 21:9, Matthew 4:1-11, 28:16-20, 1 Corinthians 15:6)

2. A harbinger, anticipation of the millennial reign of our Lord(Revelation 11:14, 19:16)

V.        “Gone into heaven” (1 Peter 3:22)

A.  Our home is not this earth, it is in heaven

B.  The ascension filled the disciples with hope(Luke 24:-53)

VI.       “The right hand of God”(1 Peter 3:22)

A.  As victor He sits at the place of honor(Hebrews 1:3)

B. This same Jesus – the God Man

VII.      “Angels…made subject unto Him”(1 Peter 3:22)

A.  Our High Priest bids us come (Hebrews 4:16)

B.  Some triumphant day we’re going to live in His presence(Revelation 1:5-6, 22:4)