Name: Jeff Sandberg
Class: The Way Connection Group Topic: 1 Peter 4:1-8
Last week, we unpacked the greatest “work” a Christian can do. Peter reminds his readers, “[It] is better, if it is the will of God, that you suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” The good he spoke of? “[Giving] an answer to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and reverence.” The example that Christ gives us suffering in order that He might bring us back to God.
This week, we focus in on 1 Peter 4:1-8. As Christ suffered as a human for our sakes, we are to prepare our minds as Peter tells us in chapter 3. Christian suffering first begins with a willingness to cease from sin. We are not to live in that world any longer. Peter says we’ve wasted enough time in our former life pleasing others like us in our depraved state. Because of this, when sinful man turns from sin to serve their living Savior, Gentiles think it odd and even go so far as to persecute and even act out violently against us. Our great hope in this is that, one day, all will see the truth. They, Peter states, “will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” In light of this revelation, that’s why we preach the Gospel of the Grace of God so they might “live according to the Spirit.” To that end, may we be alert, looking for opportunities as we approach the throne of God in prayer.
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind, because, he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
1 Peter 3:18. Once for sins…
Arm…same mind. Phil. 2:5. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” “We have the mind of Christ.” Eph. 6:13-17. 17 “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
He who suffered…ceased from sin. Romans 6:7. “For he that is dead is freed from sin.”
Col. 3:3-5 [READER]. 4 “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
He no longer lives in the flesh, but now (LIVES) for the will of God, as if he never did. This is interesting. Did Christ ever “live…in the flesh for the lusts of men?” This sounds more like Peter’s recounting of Lot’s life in 2 Peter. 2 Peter 2:7-8. 7 “who was oppressed with the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (because, that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds).”
Others suggest, like Spurgeon and MacArthur, that this passage is really not about as much about Jesus as it is about our response, that “we” no longer should live the rest of “our” time in the flesh…but for the will of God.
Matthew 7:21 [READER]. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven."
3 Because, we spent enough of our former life in doing the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lustfulness, desires, drunkenness, partying, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries,
Acts 17:30. “And, these times of such ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,”
Romans 8:12-13. “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. Because, if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if through the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
Titus 3:3-7 [READER]. “Because, we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
4 in concerning these things they think it is strange that you do not run with them in the same excessive wastefulness, speaking evil of you,
“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Father, please give us desires to please you and not ourselves. Let us not be like those spoken of in 2 Peter 2:22 - “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
Spurgeon adds, “How strange this world is! It speaks evil of men because they will not do evil. Yet it has always been so. Those of whom “the world was not worthy” (Heb. 11:38) have been the people of whom the worldly have said, “it is not fit that he should live”(Acts 22:22). The world’s verdict concerning Christians is of little value.”
Speaking evil. We certainly see this with the apostle Paul in Acts 13:45 and 18:6.
So, are the holiness movements more right than wrong? You must yourselves be convinced. Peter seems to think we’ve spent enough time walking in those ways. As the great theologian Carlos Santana once said, “You’ve got to change your evil ways, baby!”
Paul makes clear in Ephesians 4 after spending 3 chapters reminding the believers at Ephesus of the grace found in Jesus to “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.” He uses several action words to describe our walk. “Walk worthy,” lowly and meek, “bearing with one another,” endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit. So, grace is not a gurney where we passively allow things to happen. We who believe have been given God’s Holy Spirit to put love into action.
5 who will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
2 Corinthians 5:10. “Because, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether it is good or bad.”
Matt. 12:36. “But I say to you that every idle word that men will speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”
Jude 1:14-15. “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, also prophesied about these men, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly manner, and of all their harsh words which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."”
Eccl. 12:14 [READER]. “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
6 Because, for this reason was the gospel also preached to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
So, the Bible interprets itself, eh? Once again, just let the Bible speak. “Jesus preached to those who are dead that they might live according to God in the spirit.” So, it IS talking about dead old-testament saints who just had no clue.
1 Corinthians 11:31-32. In speaking of eating the Lord’s supper unworthily, Paul writes, “Because if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.” Who is Paul talking to? Christians! Believers! Though I don’t like discipline, the loving but firm discipline of my heavenly Father goes a long way to further me along in my walk towards holiness in Christ.
Dr. MacArthur notes, “The preaching of the gospel not only offers a rich life (3:10), a ceasing from sin (4:1), and a good conscience (3:21), but also an escape from final judgment. Peter had in mind believers who had heard and accepted the gospel of Christ when they were still alive, but who had died by the time Peter wrote this letter. Some of them, perhaps, had been martyred for their faith. Though these were dead physically, they were triumphantly alive in their spirits (cf. Heb. 12:23 ). All their judgment had been fully accomplished while they were alive in this world (“in the flesh”), so they will live forever in God’s presence.
To those who have responded to the Gospel (and I’m defining responding to the Gospel as confessing faith, as opposed to rejecting the gospel, which, I suppose, is a response of sorts…), Romans 8:2 applies: Because, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
However, according to Ray Comfort in his sermon, Hell’s Best Kept Secret :(READ BELOW)
7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be sober and watchful in prayer.
Do you hear, both, the apostle Paul’s and Ray Comfort’s urgency for Biblically-evangelism? In other words, evangelism at all, AND evangelism that’s steeped in Scripture? Jesus is coming back. Therefore, be alert and seek opportunities in prayer. Oh, Father, help me to take the opportunity by the horns to reach the lost with the good news of Jesus!
8 And above all things have fervent love among yourselves, because "love will cover the multitude of sins."
Then, taking another note from Paul in Galatians 6:10, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, especially to those who are of the household of faith,” Peter says ABOVE ALL THINGS. He uses phrases like this frequently.
How many times do we hear in 2 Peter, “Knowing this first…”? Having the same mind, we are to love and worship our creator God, and have fervent love among ourselves. Fervent is an adjective that literally means “to be hot, to boil, or to glow.” Webster’s 1828 dictionary properly defines it as “Ardent; very warm; earnest; excited; animated; glowing; as fervent zeal; fervent piety. Fervent in spirit.”
Webster even links Romans 12 (verses 10-13). 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
SUMMARY: Write 4 or more statements describing specific learning from these notes.
[The] tragedy of modern evangelism is because around the turn of the century when it forsook the law in its capacity to convert the soul, to drive sinners to Christ, modern evangelism had to, therefore, find another reason for sinners to respond to the gospel. And the issue that modern evangelism chose to attract sinners was the issue of “life enhancement”. The gospel degenerated into “Jesus Christ will give you peace, joy, love, fulfillment, and lasting happiness.” Now to illustrate the unscriptural nature of this very popular teaching, I’d like you to listen very carefully to this following anecdote, because the essence of what I’m saying pivots on this particular illustration; so please listen carefully.
Two men are seated in a plane. The first is given a parachute and told to put is on as it would improve his flight. He’s a little skeptical at first because he can’t see how wearing a parachute in a plane could possibly improve the flight. After a time he decides to experiment and see if the claim is true. As he puts it on he notices the weight of it upon his shoulders and he finds that he has difficulty in sitting upright. However, he consoles himself with the fact that he was told the parachute would improve the flight. So, he decides to give the thing a little time. As he waits he notices that some of the other passengers are laughing at him, because he’s wearing a parachute in a plane. He begins to feel somewhat humiliated. As they begin to point and laugh at him and he can stand it no longer, he slinks in his seat, unstraps the parachute, and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness fill his heart, because, as far as he was concerned, he was told an outright lie. The second man is given a parachute, but listen to what he’s told. He’s told to put it on because at any moment he’d be jumping 25,000 feet out of the plane. He gratefully puts the parachute on; he doesn’t notice the weight of it upon his shoulders, nor that he can’t sit upright. His mind is consumed with the thought of what would happen to him if he jumped without that parachute.
Let’s analyze the motive and the result of each passenger’s experience. The first man’s motive for putting the parachute on was solely to improve his flight. The result of his experience was that he was humiliated by the passengers; he was disillusioned and somewhat embittered against those who gave him the parachute. As far as he’s concerned it’ll be a long time before anyone gets one of those things on his back again. The second man put the parachute on solely to escape the jump to come, and because of his knowledge of what would happen to him without it, he has a deep-rooted joy and peace in his heart knowing that he’s saved from sure death. This knowledge gives him the ability to withstand the mockery of the other passengers. His attitude towards those who gave him the parachute is one of heart-felt gratitude.
Now listen to what the modern gospel says. It says, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. He’ll give you love, joy, peace, fulfillment, and lasting happiness.” In other words, “Jesus will improve your flight.” So the sinner responds, and in an experimental fashion, puts on the Savior to see if the claims are true. And what does he get? The promised temptation, tribulation, and persecution. The other passengers mock him. So what does he do? He takes off the Lord Jesus Christ, he’s offended for the word’s sake (Mark 4:17), he’s disillusioned and somewhat embittered, and quite rightly so. He was promised peace, joy, love, fulfillment, and lasting happiness, and all he got were trials and humiliation. His bitterness is directed toward those who gave him the so-called “good news”. His latter end becomes worse than the first: another inoculated and bitter backslider.
Saints, instead of preaching that Jesus improves the flight, we should be warning the passengers they’re going have to jump out of the plane. That it’s “appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). And when a sinner understands the horrific consequences of breaking God’s law, then he will flee to the Savior solely to escape the wrath that’s to come. And if we’re true and faithful witnesses, that’s what we’ll be preaching. That there is wrath to come; that God “commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Why? “Because He has appointed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness” (vs. 31). You see, the issue isn’t one of happiness, but one of righteousness. It doesn’t matter how happy a sinner is, how much he’s enjoying “the pleasures of sin for a season” (Heb. 11:25). Without the righteousness of Christ, he’ll perish on the day of wrath. “Riches profit not on the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death” (Prov. 11:4). Peace and joy are legitimate fruits of salvation, but it’s not legitimate to use these fruits as a draw card for salvation. If we continue to do so, sinners will respond with an impure motive lacking repentance.
Now, can you remember why the second passenger had joy and peace in his heart? It was because he knew that parachute was going to save him from sure death. And as a believer, I have, as Paul says, “joy and peace in believing” (Rom. 15:13), because I know that the righteousness of Christ is going to deliver me from the wrath that’s to come.
Now with that thought in mind, let’s take a close look at an incident on board the plane. We have a brand new stewardess. She’s carrying a tray of boiling hot coffee. It’s her first day; she wants to leave an impression on the passengers, and she certainly does. Because as she’s walking down the aisle, she trips over someone’s foot and slops that boiling hot coffee all over the lap of our second passenger. Now what’s his reaction as that boiling liquid hits his tender flesh? Does he go, “Ssssfffff! Man that hurt”? Mmm-hhh. He feels the pain. But then does he rip the parachute from his shoulders, throw it to the floor and say, “The stupid parachute!”? No. Why should he? He didn’t put the parachute on for a better flight. He put it on to save him from the jump to come. If anything, the hot coffee incident causes him to cling tighter to the parachute and even look forward to the jump.
Now if you and I have put on the Lord Jesus Christ for the right motive, to flee from the wrath that’s to come, when tribulation strikes, when the flight gets bumpy, we won’t get angry at God; we won’t lose our joy and peace. Why should we? We didn’t come to Jesus for a happy lifestyle: we came to flee from the wrath that’s to come. And if anything, tribulation drives the true believer closer to the Savior. And sadly we have literally multitudes of professing Christians who lose their joy and peace when the flight gets bumpy. Why? They’re the product of a man-centered gospel. They came lacking repentance, without which you can’t be saved.
excerpt from "Hell's Best Kept Secret" by Ray Comfort