1 Peter 4:1-11

1 Peter 4:1-11

“Attitude, Ascension, Administer”

 

Today’s message is taken from 1 Peter 4:1-11. If you’ve been following along in this series, you know that this was written to believers in various churches in what is now Turkey about 64AD, just a few years before Peter’s crucifixion. It was written to encourage the readers during difficult times to endure and live lives that were worthy of the name of Christ.

Earlier, Peter wrote about how we need to submit to whomever God has placed in positions of authority: government, employers, husband. Peter said we need to love and live holy. He also said that all Christians need to “live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing.”

Peter reminded us that We need to always be ready to give an answer for our hope: we are saved through faith in the resurrection of Christ, and we are baptized as a symbol of accepting what Christ has done for us.

 

1Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude,

Matthew 26:36-44. BECAUSE of what Christ has done, BECAUSE Christ not only was ready to suffer for our sins, but also because Christ DID suffer in his body for our sins, we need to have the same attitude. 1 Peter 1:13. We need to be prepared. We need to ready ourselves. Ephesians 6:10-18. We need to be prepared for battle! The battle is not with other believers . The battle is with the enemy! We need to arm ourselves with the same attitude that Christ had.

 

because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.

Romans 6:6-7. Christ was crucified, when we believed in Him, we too were crucified with Him. The idea is that though we may suffer doubt or not want to do what God has in mind for us, we need to be faithful. We need to battle our bodies if it comes to that, and do what God has called us to do. We need to remember that we have been crucified with Christ! If we remember that, then we can remember that we no longer NEED to sin. We have the ABILITY, through the Holy Spirit, to live as though we are dead to sin. We need to live like it.

 

2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires,

Romans 8:5-10. A Christian MUST not live the rest of his life here on earth driven by the urges of the world. We must NOT be distracted by television, by radio, by what we read – unless it is the BIBLE. We must NOT be living like we used to live, or even like we might sometimes want to live. We need to live like Christ lived!

 

 

 

but rather for the will of God.

John 6:40; Romans 12:2. The main thing God wants is for people to believe in what He has done! The fact that God loves us so much that he sent his son to die for us so that people who believe could have eternal life with HIM shows what God’s main ‘will’ is.

But the other major will of God is that we not stay like we were. We need to be transformed! We need to be changed! And the way we are changed is NOT by just going to Church on holidays or even once or twice or seven times a week. No – we are changed by learning about God – who he is, what he has done, what he will do, what he expects. We are changed by being in a relationship with Christ, by walking with Christ daily. We are changed by praying day and night – hour by hour – minute by minute. We are changed by being with other maturing Christians who will challenge us to not be stuck where we are. We are changed by reading the Bible and letting the Word of God change us.

 

3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.

Debauchery is defined by the dictionary as “extreme indulgence in sensuality“. Lust is defined as “an intense longing or craving”. Drunkenness is obvious – drinking to excess. Orgies is defined as “a sexual encounter involving many people”. [1] In the New Testament times, sometimes going to pagan temples involved drunken orgies. Carousing is going to parties of drunkenness. Detestable idolatry is putting ANYTHING in the place where GOD should be in your life. Don’t be like the world! BE like Christ!

Turn to Galatians 5:19-21. When we focus on the things that used to interest us, that used to drive us, we are not focusing on God. We need to remember that GOD did it, and we need to move past the things that the world does, or that we used to do, or that we still do. We need to not do things that keep us from God, instead we need to focus on God.

 

4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.

The word for ‘abuse’ is literally, blaspheme[2]. The people who did not believe lied about those who did. The believers Peter wrote to suffered shame and abuse at the hands of unbelievers, because of what they did. BECAUSE the believers would not participate in what was normal life for so many unbelievers, they were ridiculed. The same is true today. Often we get funny looks or snide comments for not living like people who do not know Christ. But you know what, if what those people say is true, change so that its not. If its not true, then ignore it, count it a blessing, and serve the Lord.

 

5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Turn to Matthew 12:36; 2 Timothy 4:1; John. 5:24. God will judge the world, through Christ. If we have Christ, then when we are examined, we will not pay the ultimate price – because Christ already paid it. We will not be condemned. However, if you do NOT claim Christ as your savior, then you will be condemned to hell. Its real. Its final. It may sound harsh – but its not. It doesn’t have to be that way for you. If you do not know Christ, then accept what he has done for you. If you accept that you are not perfect (that you’re a sinner) and that you can’t get into heaven on your own merits or works, that you need what Christ has done – if you believe that Christ is the only way to heaven and that he died for your sins so that you could be with him in his Father’s house in heaven, then you are saved and will not be condemned.

 

6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead,

Romans 1:18-23; Acts 17:26-27; 2 Peter 2:5. The Holy Spirit preached to the people around Noah in those times. The prophets preached to the people of Israel. People can see evidence of God in the world.

I’ve heard a story from a missionary who was delivering the the “Jesus” video in remote parts of the Ukraine. After showing the video, one old woman came forward weeping, and she related a story of how she had dreamed three nights before of a man coming to her telling her that she would learn the way to be with God – and it was the image of the same man who was the actor who played Jesus. She accepted Christ fully then and there!

People always have an opportunity to know God. But they have to WANT to know Him.

 

so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body,

            People WILL be judged based upon the choices they make in THIS life. If you choose Christ, then you will not be condemned. But if you choose to NOT accept Christ, if you put it off until you die, then it will be too late, and you will in fact be condemned to the lake of fire.

 

but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

But once you’ve accepted Christ, you need to live according to the Word of God. You need to live with the Holy Spirit guiding you. You need to have the right inside to match the outside. Going to church will not save you. Being the child or parent of someone who claims Christ will not save you. You need to be saved through faith in Christ. At the instant that you have this faith, you are saved. And once you are saved, you need to LIVE like it! You need to not be jealous, or spiteful, or wanting revenge, or trying to “get yours”. You need to be humble, meek, loving, kind, respectful, honest.

 

 

7 The end of all things is near.

Mark 13:31-33. Christ is going to return soon – we do not know if it will happen in a minute, or a day, or a year, or when it will happen. But the end of all things is near. We need to live like it. We need to keep our eyes on Christ and the future we will have – not be bogged down with pain and suffering and worry in this life. The end of all things is near.

 

Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.

Because the end of all things is near, we need to be sober minded – clear headed. And we need to be in control of ourselves. We need to not be driven by fear. We need to not be driven by greed. We need to not be driven by jealousy. We need to not be driven by lust. We need to not be driven by anything other than the love of Christ. If we do that, then we will be able to pray and pray effectively.

 

8 Above all, love each other deeply,

1 Corinthians 13:4-7. love = agape (same word, both passages). Self-sacrificing love – where one CHOOSES to love rather than has an emotion of love. This is the type of love where one chooses to do what is right for someone else, in this case other believers.

1 John 3:10-13. You should be identified by love. You need to be identified by the love you are supposed to have within you – the love of Christ. If you do not FEEL love, that’s ok. Sometimes we need do the action before the emotion comes. Sometimes we need to feel the emotion before the actions come. But you need to pray to God to help you love your brothers and sisters in Christ. You need to live according to the Spirit of GOD.

 

because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Are you someone who gets easily angered or frustrated by others? Are you someone who wants to TEACH everyone the RIGHT way? Do you need to talk about the weaknesses or failures of others, or their children? Turn to Proverbs 10:11-12; Proverbs17:9. We need to be people who love each other. We need to express that love by NOT stirring up dissention. Is what you have to say said in an attitude of love? Is what you have to say said in private, to the person who needs to hear it, rather than to your “friend” or “the pastor” (before you have gone to the person you have an issue with)? I’m not saying you should never go to someone else when someone is in sin, but there is a process for that. Have you followed that process? Do you know that process? If not, I suggest you find out and then follow it. But the first thing to do is PRAY for that person and that situation and yourself.  Be sure you are acting in love, not out of any other motivation. Love one another – for THAT is the will of God.

 

9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Turn to Matthew 25:40-46; Matthew 10:41; Luke 14:12-14. Love of and for Christ involved helping those who need help, especially believers. Does a pastor need a place to stay? Does a missionary need a place to sleep? Does a believer need a place to stay? Hospitality would be you making an offer to put him up, either at your place or to pay for a motel room.

 

10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Corinthians 12:4–11, 29–31; Romans 12:6–8 (more concrete example: Matthew 25:15-30; Luke 19:13–26). Each of us is different. Each of us have different gifts from God. We have different interests, talents, and spiritual gifts. Love for Christ and others involves you using what God has given you for the good of the church universal and the local church. If you love Christ, you will seek out the gifts God has given you and use them for the glory of God. Using your gifts for God’s purposes is the will of God. Administer God’s grace in the ways that God has given, or is giving, you.

 

11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.

A preacher should teach the word of God. A Bible teacher should teach the word of God. A prophet should preach the word of God – and any prophecy of the future MUST be tested by what the Bible says and whether or not the prophecy comes true (once a false prophet, always a false prophet). A believer should talk to people about God, using the word of God. All of us, who open our mouths, need to speak the very words of God! And we need to not be apologetic about it, we need to be bold about it, so that people recognize the power of God. I’m not saying be ‘in your face’, or rude, but be strong and sure of what you say.

 

If anyone serves,

he should do it with the strength God provides,

Acts 6:2-4 division of labor. Again, when we serve God, which is supposed to be daily, we need to rely on HIS power, not our own. Whether we serve tables, or clean the church, or print bulletins, or preach, or teach, or call people, or pray for others, or visit others, we need to do it in GOD’s power. When we do it in our own strength, we will tire and weaken and our attitudes will suffer and we will not be up to the task. But when we pray, and rely upon God, it is amazing how before we start, we might not have any energy, but somehow there’s always enough for God’s work.

 

so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.

Everything you do needs to bring God praise through Jesus Christ. People need to look at your life and praise God. They need to look at your volunteerism and praise Christ. They need to look at your attitude and praise Christ. They need to hear your words and praise Christ. They need to look at your private life and praise God.

 

To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. [3]

Always remember, the praise and glory always go to God. His is the power that lasts eternally. He is the one who created everything. He is the one who sustains everything. He is the one who gives what we need. He is the one who works all things for the good of those who love Him. He is the one who loves us all. We need to remember, even when things are hard or difficult or bad, God is good. We need to thank him and praise him and let others know where our faith lies.


[1] Merriam-Webster Online.  Available 4/17/2005 [http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=debauchery&x=0&y=0]

[2]Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (1 Pe 4:1). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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