1 Peter - Part 26 - 4:3-6 - 8-20-2017
Enough is Enough
Enough is Enough
Last time we were together we began looking at 1 Peter chapter 4 and we saw that Peter is shifting back to teaching about instructions to Christians that apply to our every day lives. We talked about how we are to live lives that are transformed where our will is no longer simply our own twisted sinful human will. Rather if we are in Christ it has been transformed and is being transformed to coincide with the will of God. We is giving us new passions and purifying the old ones to be something utterly distinct from what came before. Peter’s going to continue along those lines this morning as we read God’s word given through him. And so Father as we dive into our passage this morning we pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit, that He would lead us into the truth, not only in the text but that He would show us the passions and sins in our lives that continue that we may be transformed, that we may repent, that we may be washed clean by the blood of Jesus worshipping Him in thanksgiving for what He’s done and giving glory to you our Heavenly Father. These things we pray in Jesus name - Amen.
For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even 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.
Peter says you’ve spent enough of your lives in sin already - stop it. You’ve wasted enough of your life, spent enough of your money, lost enough of your time - enough is enough. Stop. Don’t continue doing what you did before. And Peter gets pretty specific in calling out the sins that are common among the Gentiles. And you know what’s amazing to me? Nothing has changed in almost 2000 years. Sure our technology changes and the way we go about our sin is different, but its still all the same old sins as before - repackaged, re-branded, and re-presented. What specifically does Peter call out?
Sensuality - licentiousness, promiscuous sexuality, sex outside of God’s plan for it to be contained with the context of the marriage of one man and one woman. Sex is not a bad thing we should be ashamed of or frightened to talk about in church, God created it for both procreation and pleasure that we should enjoy it within marriage without shame. But sex is not something to be worshipped and idolized as the Greeks and Romans did or taken lightly as something that is casual like our own culture does. The Greeks and Romans were, much as our own culture, saturated with sexuality. It was depicted in art and in writing, in statuary and on pottery, in literature and drama, and even in currency and clothing. And I do mean literally in clothing. Clement of Alexandria who lived around 150-215 AD recorded that some women, presumably prostitutes would have nails driven into their sandals to create patterns depicting certain, as he worded it, “amorous embraces.” One depiction of a sandal also includes the word for follow me on it, which makes it sound like these sandals functioned as mobile advertising. Sounds very similar to how advertisements for prostitutes are handed out in Las Vegas doesn’t it?
passions - Passions is a word we addressed last week. It can mean lusts, desires, cravings. It can certainly pertain to sexuality, but it is not limited to sexuality. We can crave, desire, and lust after all kinds of possesions, experiences, and even power.
drunkenness and drinking parties - twice, really three times when we understand the text does the list Peter gives mention activities connected with alcohol. This is not because alcohol is itself evil and something we cannot enjoy, nor is it because Peter prohibits alcohol. It was normal and expected in the ancient world that you would consume alcohol. Peter makes no prohibition against it’s usage but rather says drunkenness is forbbiden. Don’t get drunk privately and don’t go to these parties where the expectation is that you will get drunk as the temptation to get drunk will be greater.
orgies - Peter mentions orgies on this list as well which could simply be drinking parties though many historians and scholars believe the reference is to specific types of drinking parties that involved public sexual acts that everyone was expected or invited to participate in. Orgies could also be related to religious celebrations and festivals where such drunkenness and sexual activity took place. Now we live in a very conservative part of the country so we don’t see a whole lot of this, but I promise you that these types of public festivals still take place, even in our culture. Especially in large cities which celebrate Gay-Pride festivals, there are often public displays of all manner of sexual perversions. Peter says, we are not to participate in such things.
lawless idolatry - Idolatry is forbidden - period. No little Buddhas or beckoning cat statues to bring you luck. No little Mary icons or candles to saints. No idols - period. Idolatry is forbidden, it is contrary to the law of God. Whereas alcohol was not forbidden on this list, we can see a stark contrast in Peter’s attitude towards idolatry. He says it’s lawless, it is out of bounds, no discussion, no debate, end of story.
After giving this list Peter then makes clear that if we abstain from these or other behaviors that culture engages in we are going to look very strange to people. They’re going to be surprised that we don’t join them in all the “fun.” But it’s because for us, it’s not fun anymore. Because of the Holy Spirit’s work in us our nature, our desires are changing. Not that we’re now perfect and don’t sin, but the fabric of who we are is being altered. The things we care about, the goals and objectives we have, who we love, how we love - everything changes for us. And the world won’t understand this change that takes place. They’re going to think it’s weird and bizarre. Not only are they going to think we’re strange but they are going to belittle us, denigrate us, even try to destroy us. Why? Because they want everyone to join them in their sin, to condone their sin, and to celebrate their sin because they are suppressing the truth and the more people that join them in doing so the easier they think it will be to do so. But my friends it doesn’t work. You can think that surrounding yourselves with a tribe of people who do as you do and celebrate your perversions and sins will make it easier, but it won’t. Just look at the evidence in our own culture. The tribe that is the LGBT is despite being very small, very powerful and well financed. Yet despite the prevalence of their message, the power behind their legislation, and the money they have to try to brainwash a new generation they are the group with one of the highest suicide rates. And they will try to say that is because of bullying and persecution, but that’s absolute nonsense. Our culture celebrates such deviant behavior - so why the higher suicide rate? Because they know deep down that something is terribly wrong. They have indulged every sexual flight of fancy, every desire, every perversion, every whim thinking that it will make them happy and give them what they are looking for. But when they go down that road, abusing, misusing, and even mutilating their own bodies in some cases to deny who and what they are they find that it brings them no satisfaction. And because of their dissatisfaction and their empty ideology they will in many cases no only continue down the road leading to destruction, but they will malign anyone who will not join them in their miserable self worship.
My friends be not afraid of their malice. They lash out irrationally from a place of emotional hopelessness, they hate us because they hate God and a part of them even hates themselves. We should love them enough not to allow their hate to make us hateful. We should treat with respect those even who disrespect us, not because they are deserving of our respect, but because we want God to be glorified through our every action, even in our response to our enemies. And our hope is that God will use us not only as instruments of mercy, but as witnesses of the Gospel that the Holy Spirit will go forth and transform people’s hearts. This should be our desire and we should have no fear for ourselves when it comes to this maligning we will received because as Peter says:
1 Peter 4:
but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
All of us will stand before God one day as He judges humanity. There will be no excuses for anyone - Romans says that we all know the truth about God, deep down in our soul but that we suppress the truth. We are all culpable. We will all either be declared righteous or unrighteous. And the determining factor will not be how good you lived, the number of gold stars beside your name on a Sunday School chart, or all the little things you did that you thought made you a good person. The determining factor will be are you one of Christ’s sheep or not? Are you one of His people or not? Are you washed in the blood of the lamb or not? Are you one of God’s elect or not? Will Christ say well done good and faithful servant or not? Will the Father look upon you and see Christ’s righteousness credited to you or not?
There’s only two possible outcomes at judgment - resurrection to eternal life with God or resurrection to eternal death in Hell.
My question is are you one of Christ’s sheep or not?
Today we’re going to have a time of invitation for you to appeal to Christ’s mercy, for you to throw yourself upon his grace, for you to confess your sin to Him and declare that He is your Lord. Today in you need to do that don’t wait - do so now as we stand and sing together.