1 1 Peter 4:1 11// Arm Yurself/Stp Sinning; Start Leveraging // I am an Alien Yu knw hw there are sme places yu tune in t and expect t hear a really predictable messages? Talk radi is like that (if I ever turn n Sean Hannity r Rush Limbaugh I pretty much knw what I m ging t get never expect t hear them talking abut hw brilliant Obama is, r what a gd idea he s had; r, n the ther side, yu I never turn n MSNBC and expect t hear Keith Olbermann r Rachel Maddw talking abut the virtues f the Tea Party; hw they re misunderstd. N, it s predictable. The reasn I say that is because I feel like the message Peter gives in 1 Peter 4:1-11i kind f predictable. Peter has tw main pints: in the first 7 verses: stp sinning; in the last 4, start serving Gd. That s kind f the message yu expect when yu cme t church, right? (Nne f yu are like, h didn t see that ne cming! Better write that dwn). But the reasns Peter gives fr thse are prfund! S, first 7 verses, he tells us t stp sinning. And he gives yu 3 things t remember t help yu with that. 1. Remember the resurrectin; 2. Remember eternity; 3. Remember that bth these things are imminent 1. Remember the resurrectin [4:1] Since therefre Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yurselves with the same way f thinking, fr whever has suffered in the flesh has ceased frm sin, Since therefre Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yurselves with the same way f thinking Christ suffered t the pint f crucifixin. It lked like things were ut f cntrl, and the bad guys wn, but the resurrectin was the last wrd. In the same way, many f yu are in the midst f suffering, and it lks like things are ut f cntrl, and it desn t always seem like the gd guys are winning. S yu need t remember the resurrectin, t arm yurselves with the same way f thinking, s that yu can resist the temptatin t quit fllwing Christ and fall back int sin. That s yur secnd phrase: fr whever has suffered in the flesh has ceased frm sin, The idea here is that there are 2 paths t fllw. The path f bedience, and the path f sin. Fllwing Christ always means a level f suffering. Because t fllw Jesus means yu take up the crss. Smetimes, like it is fr Peter s audience, it is because yu are being persecuted Smetimes it is because yu sacrifice yur mney t be generus. Giving up creature cmfrts Weariness in serving Gd Temptatin t quit being generus; start being selfish. The fact that yu wuld willingly chse suffering prves the genuineness f yur faith. That yu have ceased frm sin because rather than ceasing t fllw Jesus, yu chse t suffer. A lt f times suffering prvides us the temptatin t medicate with sin. Deal with ur suffering thrugh alchl, r prngraphy, r an affair. Suffering tempts us t relcate ur hpe away frm Gd and nt sin. But if yu chse t nt d that, t refuse t medicate thrugh sin, that prves yur hpe is really in Gd! Many f us will never make it thrugh this test. (parable f the seeds). Shws ur faith isn t genuine. Peter says, arm yurselves with the same way f thinking that He had. Think f it like a weapn yu wield in battle. Yu are in the midst f suffering and yu say, Christ suffered. He faced what lked like defeat, what lked like Gd had frsaken Him. But lk what happened. Gd resurrected Him. That s why the Apstles in the first days f Christianity were s indmitable! Nthing yu threatened them with culd scare them.
2 We ll beat yu. I am cnvinced that the sufferings f this wrld are nt wrthy t be cmpared t the glry that shall be revealed. We ll kill yu. T live is Christ; t die is gain. We ll destry yur message by murdering yu and all f yur fllwers. That s what yu did t Jesus. Hw d that wrk ut fr yu? Well then, we ll just shut yu up in prisn. Awesme. We ve gt sme writing we wanted t d anyway. Arm yurself with the knwledge that Christ had, because f the resurrectin, that Gd uses pain and suffering t accmplish His wrk n earth, and ultimately ur pain, ur defeat, will be swallwed up in victry, like Christ s was. 24 illustratin: Ging back thrugh 24. It s great. I can t remember what happens. Every episde, Jack nearly escapes death. I think, Nw hw des he get ut f this ne? Recently I was in the middle f seasn 3, and I was all caught up in it Jack narrwly escapes by a hair s deth. But then I think, yu knw I ve seen all the way thrugh seasn 9. I knw what happens. I knw Jack makes it. But I ve gt 174 mre episdes which means 174 mre brink f death experiences fr Jack. S, tw things I knw: (1) I knw that whatever happens, Jack Bauer will make it. (2) I knw there s a lt f bad stuff ahead. Same thing here. Christ suffered in the flesh, and was resurrected. Arm yurselves with the same thught pattern. (KS had n idea he wuld becme such a messianic figure fr us all).  s as t live fr the rest f the time in the flesh n lnger fr human passins but fr the will f Gd.  Fr the time that is past suffices fr ding what the Gentiles want t d, living in sensuality, passins, (Gr: epithumia: cravings fr varius things) drunkenness, rgies, drinking parties, and lawless idlatry.  With respect t this they are surprised when yu d nt jin them in the same fld f debauchery, and they malign yu; They can t understand why yu wuldn t d these things. They dn t have a hpe that ges beynd this wrld; s naturally, they are ging t try t get the mst ut f this wrld: Feel gd. Make the mst f what yu have. Chase yur dreams. D what yu want. Spend all yur mney n yurself and yur children. Make a bucket list. What else is there but earthly happiness? When yu dn t live that way, it disturbs them, because it tells them the whle basis f their life is ff. And they will malign yu. They ll start a shw n TLC called The Virgin Diaries, where they say, What s wrng with these peple? Wh wuld wait t have sex befre marriage? And they find the dumbest, mst ill adjusted peple t represent ur side s they can make fun f them. I ll tell yu wh waits t have sex befre marriage! Peple wh believe there is a Gd in heaven wh makes the rules and t whm they have t answer t! Wh wuld g t live in a UPG? Wh wuld give away their mney? Peple wh believe that there is a reality beynd this wrld, and a Gd we have t answer t.  but they will give accunt t him wh is ready t judge the living and the dead. He s like, they dn t have the last wrd. Gd des. Keep yur eyes n that. Yu re abut t g int eternity which lasts frever! Which, if yu dn t knw hw lng frever is, it s much lnger than nw. The Apstle James says that this life is like the mist n a mirrr caused by yur breath. Just there fr a minute. 2. Remember eternity (vs. 5 6) The resurrectin shuld cause yu t live in a way, t d things with yur mney that is baffling. Is that happening? If nt, yu re nt living as a fllwer f Jesus. Yu re mre likely a cultural Christian wh has added a little Gd t yur life. Little mre mral. Give a little bit f mney. Eternity, and the resurrectin, redefines everything! Peter develps this:  Fr this is why the gspel was preached even t thse wh are dead, that thugh judged in the flesh the way peple are, they might live in the spirit the way Gd des.
3 Cnfusing, right? First, let me tell yu what this desn t mean. This verse des nt mean that smene went and preached the gspel t peple after they were dead and they all gt a secnd chance. That wuld be against the whle pint f this passage! Peter s whle pint is t tell these peple nt t indulge the lusts f the flesh. He s nt telling them Dn t wrry; if yu d sin a bunch, yu ll have a secnd chance after yu die. N, Scripture is clear. It is appinted unt man nce t die, and after that the judgment. There is n secnd chance. The pint f this passage is the gspel was preached t peple wh are nw dead when they were alive. The gspel was preached t them when they were live, but they are dead nw. And even thugh they died, ften in pverty and under extreme persecutin, like Jesus did, they nw live like Gd did. Peter says, D yu think they are glad nw that they lived that way? Kind f a dumb questin. Of curse. Nbdy in eternity says, I shuld have given up less and indulged sin mre. He s telling them t hink abut peple that are dead and live in light f that. Psalm 90:12, S teach us t number ur days that we may apply ur hearts t learn wisdm! One f ML s favrite texts. Stats n death: Saw an article n PBS estimating that a ttal f 107 billin peple have been brn n earth. 6 billin are alive right nw, which mans that 93.5% f all the peple wh have ever been brn nw are dead; and they are living in eternity. 1 All f their earthly accmplishments mean nthing; nly the Kingdm f Gd and what they did fr it matters nw. A few weeks ag I tld yu abut an interview I saw with Steve Jbs. As he apprached death, he was thinking abut it a lt because if all that happens when yu die is yu g int the grund, nthing he had accmplished wuld matter t him anymre. He is crrect. All that matters is where he stands with Jesus. 2 Fast frward yur life 100 years and live frm that vantage pint. What will yu wish yu had dne with yur life in 100 years? Live fr that nw! The glry f Gd. The missin f Jesus. The suls f peple. Vs. 7: 3 rd mtivatin t stp sinning:  The end f all things is at hand; therefre be self-cntrlled and sber-minded 3. Remember that bth these things are imminent (vs. 7) Nw, death culd cme at any mment. But this verse means mre than yur death, it s talking abut the return f Christ. The return f Christ is imminent; it s sn, and it culd happen at any minute, and that shuld change hw yu live. If yu knew Jesus was cming back tnight, what wuld yu d? Nw, yu say, Wait a minute! Wasn t this written almst 2K years ag! Hw culd Peter have thught Jesus return was imminent if we ve been waiting 2000 years and He s still nt cme back yet like He prmised! And it is true, sme peple have used a verse like this ne t say that Peter and Paul and thers mistakenly predicted that Jesus was cming back in their lifetime. They scff and they say, See, the Apstles were wrng. Jesus is nt cming back! But Peter desn t ever predict Jesus is cming back. He tells them t live like Jesus is cming back, because he desn t knw when Jesus is cming back and neither d we, and it culd be at any minute Le Tlsty, Cnfessin, Smething strange began t happen t me at age 50. I had a wife wh lved me and whm I lved; I had a large estate which, withut much effrt n my part, increased; my name was respected, I enjyed physical strength, and yet I culd nt live because f death. The questin, which brught me t the verge f suicide, sught an answer withut which ne cannt live. (Here it is) Is there any meaning in life that my inevitable death des nt destry? Tday r tmrrw death will cme t thse I lve, and then t me. Sn nt nly I will nt exist and but eventually n ne will exist will remember anything I have written r dne. Why then g n with the effrt? What is all fr? What des it all lead t? What difference des it make whether r nt I d this thing r that thing r nthing at all? S I culd give n ratinal meaning t any single actin r even t my whle life. But what was s surprising was hw we can fail t see this. Fr a time it is pssible t live intxicated with life but as sn as ne is sber, it is impssible nt t see that life in the face f death is a fraud, and a stupid fraud. Hw ften I have been tld, h yu cannt understand the meaning f life s dn t think abut it, just live. But I n lnger can d that.i am indebted t Tim Keller s sermn n Heb 2, Brther, Captain, King here.
4 The end refers t the final act f Gd s wrk in histry. That s the next thing n Gd s agenda. Think f it this way: Gd s wrk in histry has had several acts: the prmises t Abraham; the Msaic cvenant; the cming f Jesus; the building f the church. The nly ne left is the return f Jesus. We re in the last act. We have n idea when this ne is ging t be ver, and we are t live like we culd see Jesus at any minute. Example: I m sitting in my car waiting n my wife wh is putting the finishing tuches n her face my kids and I are in the car. One f my kids says, My kids have had t d this befre. S they knw we have an undisclsed amunt f time, but n ne knws when she cmes thrught the garage dr While we are waiting n mm, let s run up t Dunkin Dnuts. It s a 5-minute trip, tps. But if we d that, and Vernica cmes ut and we re n lnger there, prblem. Nw, I knw that based n past experience we culd likely get up t Dunkin Dnuts and back 3 times by the time she cmes ut. But n, I have t remain there like she s cming at any mment. I lve that phrase, Be sber. The end is cming, s be sber! We think f peple as crazy Peter says if yu think this yu will be sber-minded. Part 1 f Peter s message. Dn t give yur life t sin. It s just nt wrth it. Think abut hw lng eternity is and that Jesus culd cme back at any minute! Dn t numb yurself with sin like everybdy else des! I ve explained this befre, but many f us numb urselves frm the questins f eternity with incessant little distractins. Barreling tward a cliff; distracting yurself with scenery rather than reflecting n the reality that the cliff is cming. Pascal said that the prblem is nt that mst peple dn t believe in Gd, it s that they dn t think abut Gd! What happens when they clse yur eyes and yu are standing befre Gd and everything yu bsessed abut and wrried abut is just nt imprtant anymre! Yur bank statements: meaningless Yur reputatin: insignificant! Yur spt n the rg chart: meaningless! Whether yu had gtten married: nt imprtant! Yu are standing befre Gd. That is as sure a future fr yu as any that yu have! Are yu ready? Hw much time we have left? That s what t stp. 4 verses nw (4 ½), telling yu what t start:  therefre be self-cntrlled and sber-minded fr the sake f yur prayers. Fr the sake f yur prayers. As Gd s peple, yu have a crucial rle n the earth. Remember, when we studied 1 Peter 2, I explained t yu that yu are priests, and priests are peple wh release Gd s pwer int situatins and we talked abut intercessry faith? Yu have a vital rle. Yu are the cnduit f Gd s pwer. Jhn Wesley. Gd des nthing n earth except in answer t prayer. All Gd s pwer n earth is bund up in yu. That is an verstatement, but it is getting at smething the Bible des talk abut. Yu have a vital rle, smething nly yu can d. Summit, if we as Gd s peple dn t pray fr this city that it find Jesus, wh will? I knw we re nt the nly church, but if we, Gd s peple aren t praying fr ur city, wh will? We need yu t be sber-minded and alert. On guard, ready t intercede.  Abve all, keep lving ne anther earnestly, since lve cvers a multitude f sins. Our lve fr ther has a way f curing them f sin. This cvers desn t mean hides it, but cvers here means takes it away. Kindness and lve fr thers is the single greatest frce fr helping smene t stp sin. When they see hw yu frgive. Hw generus yu are. Hw we treat ur spuses and children. When we are empathetic with ne anther s pain and excited in ne anther s jys; when we care fr ne anther s needs. This is the great secret f the church. Our lve fr each ther is the pwer f Gd that wakes peple up frm sin.
5 Rmans 2:4 says that Gd s kindness leads us t repentance. Same with us: ur kindness t each ther leads them t repentance.  Shw hspitality t ne anther withut grumbling. Again, we are extravagantly generus with ne anther and we dn t cmplain abut it. CMO, we give t the pr Vernica and I feel like ur first respnsibility is the pr in this church. We have peple in ur church wh are struggling. The bk f Acts says that in the first church there were n pr amng them. When that happened, it says, Gd added t their number daily (Acts 2:47). If there were n pr amng us, if we were meeting ne anther s needs, that wuld be the greatest testimny in ur wrld.  As each has received a gift, use it t serve ne anther, as gd stewards f Gd's varied grace: Each has received a gift: Yu all have a gift. Gd s grace t His church that He gives t His church thrugh His church. Analgy with the bdy if yu dn t d it. We have itches in ur bdy because there are deadbeat fingers.  whever speaks, as ne wh speaks racles f Gd; Oracles f Gd: this speaks f the the gravity and imprtance f ur ministry: Gd speaking thrugh us (hw serius I take what I d: the racles f Gd). BTW, speaking This applies t me, but nt nly t me. Whever. Yu speak t ne anther. Why small grups and relatinships are imprtant: exhrting ne anther. Yu speak the racles f Gd t each ther. Smething ur church needs mre f is peple speaking the wrds f Gd t each ther. 1 Cr 14:25 gives a visin f a church: In small grups and in church services. Nt giving advice; speaking the wrd f Gd, the prmises f Gd t each ther. Speaking Gd s wrds. Smetimes that is remind smene f a prmise. Rmans 8:28. Smetimes it is when yu feel a specific wrd fr smene: Yu are highly favred f Gd. Yu are cherished. As high as the heavens are abve the earth I feel what Gd feels. The racles f Gd (nt that I claim t be Gd, I always say it sensitively); Gd is using my muth. whever serves, as ne wh serves by the strength that Gd supplies Serving. Serving thrugh us. It s an awesme thing t knw that Gd is using yu Himself. Have yu felt that? in rder that in everything Gd may be glrified thrugh Jesus Christ. Serving like Jesus by the pwer f Jesus fr the glry f Jesus! T him belng glry and dminin frever and ever. Amen. It s all abut Him! The whle pint f what we re ding in the church, in all things, is t give glry t Gd. Illustratin fr ur staff: Bride illustratin. In the same way, when yu use yur talents t direct peple s attentin t yu, yu are stealing a glry that belngs t Jesus. He is the Gd wh came t save us, withut whm we wuld lst frever, and wh this whle thing is abut s we fcus all f ur effrt n giving glry t Him. In all we d in pain... with ur prsperity We direct peple t the glry f Jesus. Is that the agenda f yur life? Are yu living that way? We are t stp sinning; but that s nt all; we are t start leveraging ur lives t bring glry t Jesus!
6 Cnclusin: Once again, I ll clse by pinting ut that this is all built n the truth f the resurrectin Peter really believed it! The resurrectin shuld be the hpe that pervades yur every thught: evangelicals give it nly a passing glance. In this letter, Peter builds every dimensin f the Christian life n the resurrectin. Make sure yu talk abut the ress at Easter. It shuld be in almst every sermn. If I were ging t subtitle this epistle I d call it the epistle f the resurrectin. D yu believe it? Have yu based yur whle life and hpe n it? It is the pwer f change. The pwer that brught Jesus up ut f the grave is the pwer that transfrms yur life. The nly way yu ll stp sinning is by believing in the resurrectin f Jesus; the nly way yu ll start leveraging yur life fr the glry f Jesus is by really believing in the resurrectin. D yu believe? The gspel is Have yu ever yielded yur life fr the glry f Jesus. Saying t Him: N mre is my life ging t be abut me anymre. I dedicate my talents; my mney; my pain, my prsperity. All f it t yu! Yu may nt knw what He wants yu t d with it yet, and that s fine. He ll tell yu. But, right nw, can yu lay it n His altar and just ask, say, Gd, it s yurs. I ll d what yu want me t d with it as Yu direct me? Bullpen: They can t understand why Surprised. Thurs night in Frat Curt. And Tues night. They think f yu like yu are an alien. And they malign yu because yur life is a cndemnatin t them. But yu say, Well, I ve gt this figured ut. I g as a witness, as a DD. If yu are a believer wh ges t these things Be hnest. Yu re flirting with temptatin nt pimping fr Jesus. (2 fld mtive fr giving glry t Gd: It s His by right f creatin, and His by right f redemptin). The 2 nd idea at wrk here is that suffering has a purifying effect n us. Suffering helps us cease frm sin. Shwing yu hw fragile the flesh is, and hw quickly things can be taken away. Suffering prvides a test fr yu. Will yu turn t sins fr cmfrt: Alchl. Prngraphy. Cmprmise. Apathy. Giving up the missin. And there is yur first thing that helps yu stp sinning: 1. Suffering (vs. 1). Suffering can help break yu f the hpe yu put in the flesh. Mst f us think, If the flesh is happy, I ll be happy. If I m well taken care f; if I ve gtten everything I need; Gd cmes alng and shatters all f that, and yu say, Maybe the flesh is nt a gd thing t build my life n, s yu start t value Gd mre than the flesh. Puts yu flat n yur back Suffering (vs. 1): shws yu hw fragile yu are. Gd puts yu flat n yur back Reflectin n eternity (vs. 6): peple are dead nw; all their accmplishments mean nthing, and the resurrectin is all that matters nw. A few weeks ag I brught up Steve Jbs bigraphy. Nthing that he accmplished, which was substantial, really matters t him anymre (and he realized that befre he died I shwed yu that). All that matters is where he stands with Jesus. Hw lng eternity is? The imminence f Jesus return (vs. 7)
7 If yu understand Christ s resurrectin, yu dn t let wrldly status, accmplishments, acquisitins, r creature cmfrt becme measure f yur life. Yu are less cncerned with thse things. Tw distinct ways t live: In the flesh: Hw much d yu have? Are yu cmfrtable? Are yu btaining what yu want t btain? Fr the will f Gd: am I ding Gd s will? Is Gd using me in His purpses. S fcus n the church! Devte yurself t the church; experience Gd s pwer in the church Be salt and light Shw hspitality This church exists fr Gd s glry. Whse glry d yu live fr? It s all built n the resurrectin It s nt a ftnte Yu see, there are tw very wrng reactins we naturally in suffering: 1. Gd has frsaken me. Peter says Gd s lve was given t us as a gift in Christ, and we stand abslutely assured f it, s we have n dubts, even in ur pain, that Gd lves us and is wrking fr ur gd. We knw that even Christ suffered, and s Gd is using even ur pain fr His gd purpses. 2. It s nt wrth it. S avid suffering at whatever csts. Avid serving Gd; give up sacrificial living. Think like Christ did abut these things. Trust that Gd is wrking in yur suffering. Knw that Gd s apprval, His prmises in eternity, are wrth it.