1 Peter 4a
Peter had a great deal to say about time (1 Peter 1:5, 11, 17, 20; 4:2–3, 17; 5:6). Certainly the awareness of his own impending martyrdom had something to do with this emphasis (John 21:15–19; 2 Peter 1:12ff). If a person really believes in eternity, then he will make the best use of time. If we are convinced that Jesus is coming, then we will want to live prepared lives. Whether Jesus comes first, or death comes first, we want to make “the rest of the time” count for eternity.
And we can! Peter described four attitudes that a Christian can cultivate in his lifetime (“the rest of his time”) if he desires to make his life all that God wants it to be.
Last week we wrapped up chapter 3 talking about the good work of suffering for doing right.
In the last part of that chapter, Peter looked back to Christ as our example.
We could broaden the scope and say that Peter has covered general principles, specific application of those principles, and guidelines for those enduring suffering.
Last week in our study of the second half of chapter 3, Peter encouraged the Christians to remain faithful to their tasks in light of the coming vindication of God.
As Christians, we are at times faced with suffering that is due to our faith, and we are tempted to give in to our fears and make the wrong decisions.
We start with a “therefore” … and when we see that word, we should consider what it is “There For.”
It calls us to look back because the author is looking back.
But look at 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,
When we are saved, we are sanctified as belonging to God.
We are separated out from the world and the judgment it is under for sin and we are separated to God.
So … now for the 2nd part of verse 1 … “He who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.”
Peter did not mean that suffering of itself would cause a person to stop sinning.
Jesus lived His life for the will of the Father.
The will of God comes from the heart of God and is an expression of the love of God.
Now, remember from a few weeks back we took a look at many ways in which the word Gentile is used in scripture.
Here, in verse 3, it is not speaking of ethnicity (that is, anyone who is not a Jew.)
Israel was supposed to be a light to the other nations, teaching them to love God.
But instead, they were influenced by the other nations and acted as they did … lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.
In the back half of verse 3, Peter, speaking to believers says, “When we walked.”
There are times when looking back at your past life would be wrong, because Satan could use those memories to discourage you or try to pull you back into sinful activities of the past.
The people to whom Peter was writing were believers living in 5 Roman provinces.
There, they would have stood out … not just in what they did, but in what they did not do … such as participating in pagan idolatry.
Paul encountered this on both sides.
Instead of arguing with unbelievers, we should hold to our testimony and pray for them, knowing that the final judgment is with God.
Now look at verse 6.
Remember last week I told you that we should not understand those tricky couple of verses from the end of chapter 3 outside of Peter’s intent.
There is a doctrine … a very important doctrine known as the doctrine of immanency.
It refers to Jesus’ immanent return.
The fact that He has not yet returned does not invalidate His promise.
In fact, Peter wrote in the 3rd chapter of his 2nd Epistle that the Lord is going to keep His promise, but is being long-suffering toward us.
So then, we are back to verse 7 … “The end of all things is at hand; therefore …”
First, Peter says “be serious.”
The opposite of “be sober-minded” is “frenzy, madness.”
Another benefit is that we will face things realistically and be free from delusions.
Of course, lets not leave out the next part of the phrase, which is “watchful in your prayers.”
They go together … If we are sober-minded, we will be “watchful in [our] prayers.”
prayer based on knowledge and mature evaluation of a situation is more effective prayer