The Rest of Your Life

Bible Book: 1 Peter  4 : 1-6
Subject: Christian Living
Introduction

1 Peter 4:1-6

Peter makes four statements 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.

I. A Challenge For The Rest Of Our Life 1-2

A. Our Example 1a

"therefore" - in light of the triumphant suffering and death of Christ, Peter should also be willing to suffer in the flesh, knowing that it potentially produces the greatest triumph. (1 Peter 2:21)

B. Our Enabler 1B

"arm yourself" --Ephesians 6:13, "Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Armed - this terminology realizes a battle; the Christian is to be armed with the same thought that was manifested in the suffering of Christ,   namely that one can be triumphant in suffering, even the suffering of death. In other words, the Christian should voluntarily accept the potential of death as a part of the Christian life. Peter would have his opportunity to live this principle himself when he faced martyrdom.

C. Our Encouragement 1c

"for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin" - Peter did not say that suffering in itself would cause a person to stop sinning. Suffering, plus Christ in our lives, can help us have victory over sin. The declaration that these have ceased from sin suggests not sinless perfection, but rather an escape from the dominion and slavery of sin. "Ceased" - means to rest; one who is willing to endure suffering as a part of his faith has rest from the domination of sin in his life. The central idea here seems to be the same truth taught in Romans 6.

We are identified with Christ in His suffering and death and, therefore, can have victory over sin. As we yield ourselves to God, and have the same attitude toward sin that Jesus had, we can overcome the old life and manifest the new life. Romans 6:7, "For he who has died has been freed from sin."

Another Great Thought - The worst thing that can happen to a believer suffering unjustly is death, but  it is also the best that can happen because death means the complete and final end of all sins. If the Christian is armed with the goal of being delivered from sin, and that goal is achieved through his death, the threat and experience of death is precious. Moreover, the greatest weapon that the enemy has against the Christian, the threat of death, is not effective.

D. Our Enjoyment 2

This verse compares the "wishes of man" with the "will of the Master." Three distinct aspects in the life of the believer:

1. No Longer

This points to a moment of specific conversion, the gateway to a life whose major concern is the will of God.

2. In The Flesh

"rest of the time" - A limited span of time.

3. The Will Of God

Which will ultimately give way to the eternal blessedness promised by the Lord. Romans 6:11, "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:14, "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:4, "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."

II. A Consciousness Of The Rearview Mirror Of Life 3

(It is better the further we get away from it.) Believers look back in light of Calvary, viewing his past conduct, and he sees it as inappropriate for a child of God. This is a renunciation of former sinful behavior.

Paul had the same view - Ephesians 2:1-3, "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others." Ephesians 4:17-20, "This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ."

Peter says, "we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentile..." - a sufficient amount of time has been squandered so that no more waste can be afforded.

1. Lewdness

(lasciviousness, license); that which shocks public decency, indicates violence; idea of open debauchery; placed in text indicating repeated acts of license.

2. Lusts

Compelling, evil desires

3. Drunkenness

An uninterrupted flow of wine.

4. Revelries

Means wild feasting or carousing; word was used to describe the victory celebrations after wars; encompasses everything from merry-making to orgies.

5. Drinking Parties

(Banquetings) - means drinking-bouts; difference in this word and "drunkenness" is its public nture. The former word might represent a relatively private affair.

6. Abominable Idolatries

Indicates unlawful idolatries; speaks of objects which become the focus of ultimate concern for a man. Verse 3 reminds us that in light of our change on the way we will live the rest of our life, we are to demonstrate the uniqueness of our faith by separating ourselves from all such indulgences.

III. A Clear Word About The Resentfulness Of Friends In Life 4

The former friends are surprised, offended, and resentful because of the Christian's lack of interest in ungodly pleasures. Unsaved people do not understand the radical change that their friends experience when they trust Christ and become children of God.

Note: They do not think it strange when people wreck their bodies, destroy their homes, and ruin their lives by running from one sin to another. But, let a drunkard become sober, or an immoral person become pure, and the family thinks he has lost his mind!

Festus and Paul. Example - Acts 26:24, "Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, 'Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!'"

Example of Jesus and His Miracles - Mark 3:21, "But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, 'He is out of His mind.'"

"Strange" - to be staggered with surprise.

"flood of dissipation" - literally a pouring out; waste.

It is the life-style of the prodigal son that Jesus depicted; undisciplined. Because Christians do not reach to such unrestrained excess, others speak evil of them. We read in 1 Peter 3:16, "having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed."

Four Statements:

The Christian's behavior makes him fail to fit the mold; therefore you are strange (odd).

Those who live in unrestrained excess intuitively know that this is wrong. Proverbs 29:18, "Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law." Some disregard the Word, some disbelieve the Word.

Those who do not run to the same evils constitute a viable and provoking rebuke. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16, "Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?"

The speaking evil (blasphemy) becomes a method of redirecting attention and hopefully escaping the judgment which is felt.

IV. A Commitment About The Reckoning For This Life 5-6

We must give an account.

A. Judgment 5

The unsaved may judge us, but one day God will judge them. The ones mentioned in v. 3 & 4 are amassing a debt to God which they will spend all eternity paying back.

B. Justice 6

"that are now dead" While we are in these human bodies (in the flesh), we are judged by human standards. One day, we shall be with the Lord (in the spirit) and receive the true and final judgment.