I Peter 3: 17-22
17It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20who disobeyed 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, 21and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
How do we measure our witness, as Christians, in the world? By numbers? By immediately visible impact? In this part of my preaching series on I Peter, I suggest that our witness, like that of Jesus, be measured by what it–and we–are up against. In his testimony, Jesus was up against "the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago, in the time of Noah (I Peter 3:19)." Just who those rebellious spirits were has long had saints and scholars scratching their heads. For one possible answer, and what it means to us (and to a conscientious objector in the former Yugoslavia) read the message delivered during worship at Emmanuel Mennonite Church on Sunday, November 4, 2007, by clicking on: Download Noahword.doc
Mathew Swora, pastor