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1 Peter 4
Led to be a Marvelous Light by a Merciful God
(Forgetting what is behind)
Chapter Four Outline
Dead to Sin
VERSE 1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.
"Suffered in the flesh"
Christ suffered in his physical flesh which for fallen man is the place of lusts that pull our heart and mind toward the various 'idols' that invade our senses from the world. But, because He who knew no sin became sin for us as He suffered on the cross, God can now circumcise the flesh that surrounds the heart of fallen man so our heart and mind might walk toward God and not the world,
until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering...Acts 1:2-3
Question: Why does Peter say " Christ has suffered in the flesh"? Why not just say "Christ has died"?
For the same reason that 'blood' is used through out the bible to convey the efficacy of Christ's atoning death for our sins; The ripping and beating of Christ's flesh at Calvary underscores the suffering Jesus underwent to defeat the grip that the flesh has over the heart of man. The flesh no longer 'entombs' the heart---it has been 'circumcised' at Calvary.
"Be of sin a double cure, free us from its guilt and power" - Rock of Ages
Blood - The stain of our sins has been washed away by the blood of the Lamb.."Take drink, this is my blood poured out for you..."
Suffering in Flesh - Shows how the power of the flesh has been utterly destroyed in Christ..."Take eat, this is my body broken for you..."
"arm yourself with the same purpose"
"arm yourselves also with the same attitude" (NIV)
"arm yourselves likewise with the same mind" (KJV)
We are to arm our mind with the truth of what it means to be baptized into the death of Christ because we are in a battle with spiritual wickedness that seeks to derail and ensnare believers, through enticement of the flesh, back into the ways of the world.
Question: If believers have ceased to sin, isn't the war over? why do we need to be armed?
The war is over. Christ has conquered hell and death, but he has not yet put his enemies under his feet. And as long as believers exist in the flesh, they are susceptible to its lusts and weakness. In the mean time, God has given us spiritual armor to wear daily, so our minds can be dead to the lusts of the flesh even as the Holy Spirit changes us to the likeness of Christ.
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set our mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Col 1:1-4
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1Jn 3:2-3
Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Rom 7:
Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Rom 6:11
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. Rom.13:12-13
"because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin"
This is double imagery whereby death results in a body of flesh no longer responsive to the temptations of the world.
and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Phil 3:9-11 [the more we are dead to the world through the flesh, the more we can be fruitful in Christ---the more we weed the garden, the more it flowers]
Q: What is it like to have our minds conformed to His death?
To be dead to the world's poking at our heart through the lusts of the flesh, like a body lying in a coffin---dead to the world. In fact more than unresponsive---the response that used to entice now repulses.
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, Phil 3:8 [things of the world---in particular the pride of life---once had a hold on Paul. But as his heart became circumcised and free in Christ, all those things he found to be worthless]
Dead to The Lusts of Flesh
VERSE 2-3 (2)so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. (3)For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.
The unconverted are entombed in dead flesh and unresponsive to God's living word. Their hearts are pulled through the lusts of the flesh toward lurking idolatries that promise to gratify those lusts. But believers are have been made free and equipped to turn from the ways of the flesh to God's ways.
"so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men"
When we become saved we become new creatures in Christ . Our hearts are translated into the land of God's life where we thirst for righteousness, and not things of the world.
The old way
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. [those outside of Christ have no choice but to walk in the various lusts of the flesh----they entombed by it and sitting ducks for the lies of Satan that tell them what they want to hear, and so confirming them in their flesh walk]
The new way
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, Phil 3:12-13 [Paul presses on down a road with outstretched love toward Christ---by loving those in Christ---the same way Christ loved him, although nowhere near as 'fervently' as Christ reached out towards him]
"desire of the Gentiles"
The ways of those who don't know God are made of lies based on desires of the flesh
Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. 1Peter 2:12 [The term 'Gentiles' usually refers to all non Jews, but Peter uses the term in 2:12 and 4:3 to refer to the unconverted]
"but for the will of God"
God's will is expressed to man in His word. A quest in search of God's will for our life is not necessary, we just need to believe and keep God's word.
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1Tim 1:5 [this verse sums up the will of God---love and holiness. How do we know what that will is?---by being instructed in God's word]
Dead to the Judged World
VERSE 4-5 (4)In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you.(5)but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
God sees the unconverted as an unruly mob energized by the lusts of their flesh as they plunge headlong into the waters of the world's idolatries. In that darkness, believers shine as God's lights... In that emptiness, God's people spread their life as salt in the earth. But the spiritually dead revile the spiritually alive as 'strange' and the truth revealed by them as scornful.
"In all this, they are surprised"
"They think it strange" (NIV)
"They think it strange" (KJV)
All who don't set their hearts and minds along the course of the world through the flesh, they consider to be from a strange country. And spiritually speaking, they're right!
"run with them"
"plunge with them" (NIV)
There is much energy in pursuing the lusts of the flesh. Fallen man's heart runs, skips and plunges headlong towards the idols of its heart.
"into the same excess of dissipation"
"flood of dissipation" (NIV)
"excess of riot" (KJV)
"cesspool of sin" (SJP)
The heart of fallen man is engulfed by the flesh and drenched in its lusts
"they malign you"
The good words you speak and display with your actions they speak evil of.
Those who have received Christ by faith are spiritually alive in Him
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Col 3:1-3
If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. Rom.8:10
The unconverted---those who are not born again. They are physically alive and walking about but spititually dead and in need of resurrection life in Christ.
But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God." Luke 9:60
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Col.2:13
Alive to God
VERSE 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.
"For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead"
The gospel is the key of escape from hell and death into to God's kingdom. If anyone who is spiritually dead receives the gospel by faith, he is translated in Christ from the kingdom of death and darkness into the kingdom of light and life.
"that they may live in the Spirit according to the will of God"
God's will as expressed in his word (see verse 2) is written on our hearts by the Spirit of God---this describes how the new covenant works---being made new in Christ.
being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2Cor. 3:3 [God's will comes alive in the heart of a sinner only when His word and Spirit come alive in blood drenched hearts---this is the new covenant]
The Battle Ready Mind
VERSE 7-8a The end of all things is near therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer above all
"The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray"(NIV )
"But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer"(KJV)
1 Peter 4:7
Romans 13: 11-14
"The end of all things is near therefore"
<---the motivation --->
Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed The night is almost gone, and the day is near.
"be of sound judgment"
Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
"purpose of prayer above all"
Our battle ready minds should include prayers that cover all the saints.
"Above all" seems to fit better at the end of verse seven than at the beginning of verse eight where most translations place it. The Textus Receptus includes the Greek word 'de' ('but') which serves as a break between the defensive mindset against the flesh and the fervent love for the brethren.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints Eph 6:18 [the spiritual armor of the preceding verses in Eph 6 should be complimented with prayer for all saints, at all times]
And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. Mk. 14:37-38 (KJV) [watching and praying is necessary for us to have a fighting chance against the temptations that target our vulnerable flesh]
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man." Luke 21:33-36 [praying at all times compliments being alert against evil]
God's Love in a Believer
VERSE 8b keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
"keep fervent in your love for one another"
'but the among yourselves love fervent having" (transliteration of original Greek - Textus Receptus and majority text)
"have a constant mutual charity among yourselves" (Darby)
"have fervent charity among yourselves" (KJV )
"don't let your love stretching toward others die on the vine just because you are wronged by someone" (SJP)
The fervent love stretches out and then continues to stretch out.
"because love covers a multitude of sins"
Both Peter and James quote Proverbs when describing how love spreads out to cover, and keep covering, sins
let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:20
Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions. Prov 10:12
Gifts for God's Glory
VERSE 9-11 (9)Be hospitable to one another without complaint. (10)As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (11)Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
(9)"Be hospitable to one another without complaint"
To be effective, believers must be fellowshipping together, that is why hospitality is so important. Those with the gift of hospitality should realize how key that gift is for the building up of the body of Christ---Peter did.
(10)"As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God"
Our fervent love is to stretch out toward the saints---supporting them and building them up through our spiritual gifts.
(11)"Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies"
Peter summarizes the two main categories of gift ministries which were introduced to the church in Acts chapter six:
So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word." Acts 6: 2-4 [There are two general types of gifts; 1) speaking gifts such as teaching, exhorting and pastoring, and 2) serving gifts such as helps, administering and giving. Speaking gifts are for the ministering of God's word while serving gifts are primarily to help those with the speaking gifts]
Two General Categories of Spiritual Gifts
Speaking Gifts ("ministering the word")
Serving Gifts ("serving the tables")
Note: The above categorizes the non-foundational gifts listed in Romans 12 and Ephesians 4 as either speaking or serving gifts.
Can someone with the gift of teaching also have the gift of mercy? Yes, God gives the gifts as He sees fit.
"so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever"
God is glorified when his purposes are accomplished and return to him in praise. To the extent we faithfully serve Jesus by obeying His command to minister to others---evangelizing to unbelievers and building up His Body through our spiritual gifts---we contribute to the glory of God.
Preparation for Persecution
VERSE 12-16 (12)Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; (13)but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. (14)If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. (15)Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; (16) but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. (17)For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?(18) AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? (19) Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
Jesus, our shepherd, leads us through a world where we will be persecuted for who we have become in Christ, just as He was persecuted, because the world only loves its own. Persecution is a fire that burns away the dross in our heart and mind that holds an attraction to the world. Persecution causes us to more fully trust our Shepherd, resulting in joy and heavenly rewards.
Eight things every believer should know about persecution
1) Those who follow Jesus should expect persecution
(12a)Beloved, do not be surprised
"Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also." Jn 17:20
2) Persecution tests our faith like a furnace tests gold ---burning away the impurities
(12b)at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing
"After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you." 1 Peter 5:10
3) Persecution of believers by the world is the norm because the world loves its own and hates 'strangers from heaven'.
(12c)as though some strange thing were happening to you
"If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you." Jn 15:19
4) We have the priviledge to share in His conflicts with unrighteousness.
(13a)but to the degree that you share the sufferings of
"If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you". Jn. 15:18 15:18
5) Two kinds of persecution
a) Rejection by those who know us (ex friends, neighbors, relatives etc)
b) Persecution by those with authority over us, who normally only deal harshly with those who break moral laws.
6) The reality of persecution should be a reminder that God's holy judgment on sin requires the pruning of chastisement of His children, but also the eternal banishment from God for those who have not accepted the gospel of Jesus. This should doubly motivate us to become lights on a hill---that we might not be lead into times of chastisement and that we would lead others to Christ by our saltiness.
(17)For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God what will be the
outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
7) Great joy and rewards follow those who are persecuted for following Jesus.
(13b)keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation
"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great..." Matt 5: 11-12
8) Jesus, who created us, remains our faithful caring shepherd so we should remain faithful to Him.
(19)Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing
what is right. [God created us so He must know what he's doing by leading us to and through persecution]
"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." Jn. 16:33
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