Armed and Suffering
1 Peter 4:1-6
I. Arm Youselves (1-2)
A. Our Reason
- Christ Suffered unjustly on the Cross refering back to 3:18.
B. Our Weapon
- arm = supply yourself with the same purpose.
- So, our purpose should be the same as our Lord's, to suffer any price to defeat sin. For Christ it was the price of His human life for the defeat of the whole world's sin and for us it is the price of dying to our evil desires for the defeat of sin in our lives.
C. Our Freedom
- Misunderstandings about this have led to people crucifying themselves on real crosses or giving up things that they enjoy for a short time, and even whipping themselves thinking that they can gain power over sin by harsh treatment of their bodies. Peter is not saying that if you just cause your body to suffer that you will magically stop sinning.
- During the fourth century, hundreds of ascetics sought to escape temptation and punish their bodies by living as hermits. The extremes to which they went in their attempts to deny gratification of “physical lusts” seem incredible. St. Ascepsimas wore so many chains that he had to crawl around on hands and knees. Besarion, a monk, would not even give in to his body’s desire for restful sleep—for forty years he would not lie down while sleeping. Macarius the Younger sat naked in a swamp for six months until mosquito bites made him look like a victim of leprosy. St. Maron spent eleven years in a hollowed-out tree trunk. Others lived in caves, dens of beasts, dry wells—even tombs. To suffer the discomfort of filth, stench, worms, and maggots was considered to be spiritually beneficial and a sign of victory over the body.
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- He is saying that suffering is a good indication that we have had a break wiith a sinful life that will endure.
- Romans 6:1-14
- Those who have been through this kind of testing know that living for the flesh is worthless and so are free to live only to please the Father. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
- Have you been tested in this way? Are you living to please your flesh or are you living to please your God?
- Philip Bray, executive director of Safehouse Outreach Ministries of Atlanta, understands the hard life. Despite growing up in a parsonage, he strayed from God. “I began drinking and drugging. Especially cocaine. I developed a $1,000-a-day habit, and I was in bad shape. I got involved with organized crime—the Dixie Mafia—to pay for my habit, and I was doing everything. I didn’t just go from bad to worse, I went from worse to worst.“One night I came home stoned after a party and turned on the television. There was my cousin, Billy Watson, on a religious program. I couldn’t believe it. I idolized Billy. He owned nightclubs across the country and was involved in a lot of the bad things, but he had a lot of money and was successful, and I admired him because of that. Well, here he was on television, telling how Christ had changed his life. Every time I’d ever seen him, he’d been high or drunk, but here he was, sober, sharing his testimony. I decided he was scamming, just doing it for the money. Then I learned Billy would be speaking at my dad’s church the following Sunday. I was furious, because I thought he was just trying to get money out of our people.”At his mom’s pleading, Philip decided to attend and hear Billy’s presentation. Philip was stoned when he took his seat on the back pew, and still angry. But that night Billy could hardly talk for crying. He kept saying, “I once was in bondage, but now I’m free. I tried getting off drugs and alcohol on my own, but I couldn’t. Jesus is the only way to freedom.”On the back row, a sobered Philip listened intently. His anger melted away and the message took hold of his heart. “I took him up on it,” said Philip. “That evening I gave my own heart to Jesus, and Jesus set me free.”—Adapted from Lean on Me, by Kirk Franklin, with Morgan, R. J./Nelson's annual preacher's sourcebook
II. Decide for Yourselves (3)
A. Not to Waste Time
- We have wasted enough time already haven't we?
- Gentiles = unbelievers
B. Not to Live Like an Unbeliever
- a pursuit (perfect tense) of sensuality = unbridled excess. Denying yourself no pleasure. Hedonism
- a pursuit of lusts = desires or cravings for what is evil
- a pursuit of drunkenness
- a pursuit of drunken festival. Party in honor of gods, usually Bacchus the god of wine.
- a pursuit of drinking parties. These were contests to see who could drink the most.
- a pursuit of idol worship that usually included sexual promiscuity of every kind as part of worshipping false gods.
III. Suffer the World's Insults (4-6)
A. Because you don't run with them.
- One Sunday afternoon in Chicago, a group of ballplayers entered a salon. When they emerged, they saw a group of people playing instruments, singing gospel hymns, and testifying of Christ’s power to save from sin.
Memories of a log cabin in Iowa, an old church, and a godly mother raced through the mind of one of the ballplayers. Tears came to his eyes. Presently he said, “Boys, I’m through! going to turn to Jesus Christ. We’ve come to the parting of the ways.” Some of his companions mocked him, but others were silent. Only one encouraged him. He turned from the group and entered the Pacific Garden Mission.
Later the ballplayer told what occurred. “I called upon God’s mercy. I staggered out of my sins into the outstretched arms of the Saviour. I became instantly a new creature in Him! The converted ballplayer was Billy Sunday, who became the world-renowned evangelist.
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B. Because you know their end
- Philippians 2:8-10
- The same proclomation that Jesus made to "the spirits now in prison" will be given to those who mock us for our faith.
C. Because you know your end
- Verse 6 refers to people who heard the gospel while alive but have since died.
- This is not teaching a second chance to hear the gospel after someone dies.
- They were judged while they were alive as men. They were lauphed at, mocked, and even put to death for Christ.
- Now their flesh is dead but they are alive more than they ever have been before!
- When you are amed with same purpose as Christ has you can have great hope. You know what will happen to you even if you die.
- Do you have this confidence? Have you been crucified with Christ? Has your faith been tested with suffering?