Suffering for God
1 Peter 4:1-2 – Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 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.
Jesus suffered a lot during His ministry, especially near the end. The reason that He suffered was because He stood up for what was righteous and godly, and would not be persuaded by the world or its views.
We need to understand that we are not only to stand up for what is godly and righteous in the first place but expect that because we do we will encounter resistance and persecution.
Imagine that the world and its views are a moving river, and Christians are a rock that stands out above the water, not moved by it. The water constantly rushing past causes damage, erosion and the force of the water can even break off pieces of the rock and then what happens? The rock travels down stream with the current.
We need to be strong, no matter how much the world wants us to follow their current, or how much we get pushed or encounter resistance. We need to stay standing strong.
“for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin”
Peter was not saying that if you are encountering persecution then you have conquered sin. It’s saying that if you come to the point where you are standing up for what is right enough that the world lashes out at you, then it is likely that you are living a life that is uncompromising in your position to the world.
Also a person who suffers greatly for Christ is likely to have such an impact on their life that they come to the point of hating sin. Persecution tends to give one the desire to serve God even more!
1 Peter 4:3-5 – For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles – when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.
In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.
They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
We spent too much time living like the rest of the world, we don’t need it anymore. Now our main focus needs to be on serving Christ, not any desire of this world. The people in this world are doing things purposely against God; we need to stay far from it. We all used to do the same stuff, trapped in the same sins, but Jesus Christ freed us. We were once lost in this dark world but thank the Lord that he turned on the light for us and showed us the way.
After all of that, why would we want to go back into the darkness? The world will think that we are weird because we do not do what they do. They will make fun of you and make it seem like you are just wasting your time, it’s no big deal if you go to a club with some friends, it’s no harm to just joke around about sex and use crude language. But it is a big deal and God will deal with each and every person one day.
When you are tempted, or someone is making it seem like you are just being silly because of your belief, they may get you to think that it’s no big deal, but it is!!! Don’t give in. Stand up for righteousness, and you will be rewarded in a lot better way than getting a buzz from drinking or from temporary physical pleasures from pornography or adultery.
1 Peter 4:6 – For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
After Jesus died on the cross, but before the resurrection, Jesus went to Hades to preach to the people that were there. There are two compartments in Hades, one was the place of torture, the other is called Abraham’s bosom. Jesus preached to both compartments, one he preached judgment (Peter mentions it earlier in his letter) the other He preaches the gospel. Even though they (and us now) were judged by men for what they did, because they lived to follow God they were rewarded by God!
Verses 7-11 go slightly off subject before it gets back on track, so I’m going to move on to verse 12 right now. Be sure you go back and read it when we are done though!
1 peter 4:12-13 – Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when his glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
We all know that it’s nothing strange when we are tested or tempted. We go through trials all the time and we need to be prepared for it. Instead of complaining or worrying about it, we need to be glad that we are going down the same road that our Lord did. No matter how hard of a time we have with situations, we do rejoice once we see the glory of God coming through in a situation. No matter how tough we have it, as long as God is receiving Glory then we can rejoice!
1 Peter 4:14 – If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
We are glorified when we suffer for Christ. Peter even gives a blessing to those who suffer for Him! God’s blessings are so great, aren’t they? By suffering for God, we show that we have the Spirit of God in us.
1 Peter 4:15-16 – But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
What good is it to suffer for doing wrong? If you are being punished because you murdered someone then you are just like anybody else from the world. But we stand out from the world, we are not like everyone else, we suffer not because we do something wrong, but because we are dedicated to following Christ!
1 Peter 4:17-18 – For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
Now “if the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
Just because someone goes to church doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make them a Christian. Here we have a warning that there will be judgment among the church. Those who live righteous lives, but don’t follow Christ or abide in Him, those who never put their faith IN Jesus, they will be judged. How much more will the ungodly and those not in churches be judged?
When you think of those being judged, remember that they are spending eternity in Hell! An eternity separated from God. What are you doing to minimize the amount of people that die without God? Are you living comfortably, or living a busy life only to gain wealth for yourself? Or are you doing things to make an impact on the kingdom of God?
1 Peter 4:19 – Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
Commit yourself fully to the Lord, no matter what those around you think! You will not regret it. I have never heard a Christian say that they are glad they waited so long before they came to Christ. It’s like putting away money for savings, you can never start too early and when you do start, you wish you would have started years before.
We have such a faithful Creator, commit yourself fully to serving Him. No matter how much the world stands in the way or tries to distract you. This will not only help you, but bring Glory to God almighty!