Posts Tagged ‘Steve Bartman’

Sermon 08-06-17: “God Has Given Us This Life to Receive the Gospel”

August 22, 2017

This sermon is unusual for me because it’s about one verse, 1 Peter 4:6, which includes strange words about the gospel being “preached to those who are dead.” What does that mean? One thing it doesn’t mean, as I argue in this sermon, is that people get a second chance to hear and respond to the gospel even after they die. No, the time to receive God’s gift of salvation is now. 

Sermon Text: 1 Peter 4:6

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In one of the two sermons I preached last Sunday morning, when I was talking about verse 1 and the connection between suffering and “ceasing from sin,” I said, “This is one of two difficult verses in this passage.” I didn’t have time to talk about the second difficult verse in last Sunday’s sermon. So I want to talk about that verse now, and next week we’ll look at verses 7 through 11.

Verse 6 says the following: “For this is why the gospel was preached to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.” The gospel was preached to those who are dead. What does that mean?

Let me begin by taking about two things it doesn’t mean.

First, it doesn’t mean that Peter is talking about those who are spiritually dead. That has been one way of interpreting this verse over the years. While it’s true, of course, that apart from Christ, we are spiritually dead, Peter has just said, in the previous verse, that God is going to judge the “living and the dead.” He gives no indication that he’s switching gears and using the word “dead” in a figurative way. No, when he refers to “preaching to the dead,” he’s talking about people who are now physically dead. Read the rest of this entry »