1 Peter Chapter 4

May 15, 2014

This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on 1 Peter. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.

You can listen to the study by clicking here

The reality we must face and embrace is that we live in a fallen world on a broken planet. Everything is broken here, including us.

If we are focused on living for ourselves, then we take every reminder of the brokenness personally. It is like an attack on our plans of trying to make everything work. Why does this happen to ME? We often even get mad at or blame God, or think we are being punished for something. But, this isn’t heaven, everything is broken, and sin is the cause of the brokenness. If you want to get mad at someone, get mad at the evil one. He deceived us into thinking that we could be like God, he got us kicked out of paradise, and now he tries to deceive us into blaming God for the brokenness and to continue sinning by trying to be like God and fix everything in our own strength or fill the emptiness with empty things.

Every tragedy, every broken thing, every failure, should just be a reminder that this temporary life will never be perfect, but, in His mercy and grace, God has made a way for us to get back into the relationship we had before the fall. This is not as good as it gets and you don’t need to make it your life’s purpose to try and fix it. We need to learn that we can trust God in any circumstance.

1 Peter 4:1-19 (NIV)
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do–living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. 7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

1 Peter 4:1-6

We live in a fallen world on a broken planet. Things are not perfect. God created them perfect, but sin entered the world and messed it all up. And that is not God’s fault. It is ours. God wanted people to be able to choose to worship and love Him, so he gave us free will. And with that free will, we have all chosen to sin, just like Adam and Eve who had utopia and still wanted more.

We want to live pain free, white picket fence lives now and yet pain free is not one of the right now promises. It is a future promise in Revelation 21:4.

Why do bad things happen? Sin entered the world. Our fault, not God’s.

How does a God who claims to be good allow so much evil in the world? The free will He gave us to choose cannot be suspended.

Why doesn’t he do something? He has. He went to the cross.

1 Peter 4:7-12

The end of all things is near

1 Peter 4:7a (NIV)
7 The end of all things is near.

That is an interesting verse. I think how you feel about that is rather revealing. It is a statement that causes a lot of people to freak out, like the sky is falling, the sky is falling. And I think when you are going through a really difficult situation, your response is more like hallelujah, let it come. But in the context of radical living, it is a concept to help us get our priorities right. There is only so much time, what really matters? Should we waste time pursuing selfish things? Or should we get focused on living lives that impact not only us but the world around us.

With this idea in mind, Peter gives us some leading in the elements of a radical life. Remember, I use the word radical to express life in a way different than what the culture expects.

Prayer

1 Peter 4:7b (NIV)
7 Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.

Prayer is such a powerful and important part of life, and yet it is often neglected in the life of Christians in our culture. Why? I think we start to think we can get a long without it. Unlike some places in the world where every meal is a matter of prayer, our situation is different, and we often wait for crises to get praying, and even then it is often more about us than it should be. Not that it is wrong to pray for our life and situation, because the model prayer includes “Give us today our daily bread”. But we can’t forget the importance of connecting with God, confessing our sins, forgiving others, etc. We talked about the importance of “Getting Connected” with God in a series some months ago that took us trough the Lord’s prayer as a model for daily prayer. You might want to review it and challenge yourself to living a life that includes radical prayer.

Loving extravagantly

1 Peter 4:8 (NIV)
8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Love covers a multitude of sins. Love covers. I don’t know if you remember the story of Noah after he got off the ark. He grew some grapes, made some wine, got drunk, and passed out naked in his tent. This is not the way we teach about Noah in children’s church, but it is the truth. Look for yourselves in Genesis 9:20-23. One of Noah’s sons, named Ham, saw his father’s condition and went and told his brothers. He didn’t cover his fathers nakedness, he gossiped about it. These two brothers, on hearing the news, took a garment, laid it across their shoulders, walked into the tent backwards, so that they would not see their fathers nakedness, and they covered him. Love covers. It doesn’t enable but it covers.

Hospitality

1 Peter 4:9 (NIV)
9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

We have talked much about the importance of hospitality,. We are to be concerned about the comfort of people. It is about extending mercy and grace like we talked about some weeks ago in the parable of the good Samaritan. It is part of loving others well.

Generosity

1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

This is an amazing concept. Each person should use whatever gifts they have received to serve others.

Sharing the good news

1 Peter 4:11 (NIV)
11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.

Remember, that we are the broadcasters of the greatest news in the universe. Our radical message points people to an everlasting life, a radical life. The message is that Christ died for the sins of everyone, He was buried, and He rose again on the third day, a fact that was witnessed by hundreds of people. His actions on the cross have made it possible for us to be reconciled to God now and forever and that is where real life is found.

1 Peter 4:13-19

No matter what we are experiencing in life we need to trust God.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

In this life you have to be ready to change what you can and to accept what you can’t change. This is about contentment. We struggle so hard sometimes to try and control uncontrollable situations, and all it does is cause us stress and worry. There is only one thing that works in the situations that you can’t change. Acceptance. Learning to be content.

Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Contentment is trusting God even when things seem out of control.

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