Real Witness - 1 Peter 3:13-17
July 3, 2023, 9:00 AM

13. Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14. But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." 15. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16. keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

Peter prepares his readers for suffering. It may come in various forms and sources. It may be from Satan that seeks to discourage or discredit our testimony for Christ. It may come to us from God to discipline us, teach us, strengthen us, or cause us to be witnesses.

Philip Yancey wrote an article, "Praying with the KGB". He addressed the religious changes going on in Russia in the 90’s. Some evangelical leaders were invited to Moscow to advise the government on rebuilding moral values of Christianity. Yancey accompanied them. They were invited to the headquarters of the KGB who oversaw the vast network of prisons and were responsible for up to seventy million deaths under communism.

The Vice President of the KGB stood to speak. Among other things he said, "Political questions cannot be decided until there is sincere repentance, a return to faith by the people. That is the cross I must bear. In the study of scientific atheism, there was the idea that religion divides people. Now we see the opposite: love for God can only unite. Somehow, we must learn to put together the missionary role - absolutely critical for us now - and also learn from Marx that man can't appreciate life if he is hungry. "

Alex Leonovich. was one of the visitors. He had escaped during Stalin's reign of terror and immigrated to the US 46 years earlier. He had been broadcasting Russian Christian programs by shortwave radio for a number of years. The Soviet government made it illegal to listen to his broadcasts and tried to jam the reception. For him to be received by the high officials of the KGB was incomprehensible. They were saying that repentance was needed before rebuilding was possible.

Alex epitomized the old guard of warriors who have prayed, sometimes believing and sometimes not, for more than fifty years that change might come to the nation. He said, "General, many members of my family suffered because of this organization. I myself had to leave the land that I loved. My uncle, who was very dear to me, went to a labor camp in Siberia and never returned. General, you say that you repent. Christ taught us how to respond. On behalf of my family, on behalf of my uncle, who died in the gulag, I forgive you." He reached over to the vice chairman and gave him a great Russian bear hug.

The General whispered, "Only two times in my life have I cried. Once when my mother died and the other is tonight."

Many Christian Soviets still questioned if this was only a cover-up by the officials. The editor in chief of Pravda the communistic publication said, "Morality is the worst crises, worse than the economic and political problems. Christian values may be the only thing to keep our country from falling apart."

Mikhail Gorbachev himself addressed the group, “ Ignoring religious experience has meant great losses for society and I must acknowledge that Christians are doing much better than our political leaders on the important questions facing us. We welcome your help, especially when it is accompanied by deeds." Unfortunately, openness gave way to more oppressive restrictions when it comes to faith matters under Vladimir Putin's control. Russia has returned to hard times again.

Application: What type of witness does a commitment to Jesus Christ leave for those watching us? What does the lordship of Jesus Christ mean for us? What does it mean of the people of USSR? How important is a little religion in one's life? How important is complete and total dedication to Christ because He is God and there is none like Him.

The Lordship of Jesus affects all areas of life if we are to be a real witness for Christ.