Read 1 Peter 4: 1-11
General idea: Are you chasing your desires or our Lord? The answer to this question will determine what direction in life you go as well as if, when, and how sin will entice you to fall! Sin is coming; we can either draw near to God to stay clear, or draw near to sin and thus away from God and His best for us. The great news is that Christ gives us the ability to stand firm in Him. The key is, we need to want to! Peter's people were being slandered and taken advantage of, and they were becoming disillusioned. Peter's call was to stand firm in faith and not worry what others do as long as we look to Christ wholeheartedly (1 Pet. 2:12,15, 23; 3:9, 16; 4:4,14). Thus, the best defense is the offense of righteousness and demonstrating the good life in Christ!
The challenge to this call is the world's ways. Sin is so enticing we can easily slip off God's path. Thus, we need to be willing to suffer so sin does not entice us. We become more guarded against sin because a bigger picture is in our sight-Christ, His example, and our willingness and commitment to follow. When we see Him and not our personal viewpoints and desires, we will grow, mature, and be prepared for anything!
Look over these key words and ask how do they relate to you?
- Therefore is a parenthetical term that refers to a conclusion from the previous chapter, 3:18-22, and is now presenting us an application. We are in union with other Christians as we are all bonded to Christ and we may suffer unfairly when we do good. Suffering also bonds and helps form us deeper in Him. It is not to be seen as shame. Rather, it is an honor to serve our King (Rom. 6:1-14; Phil. 2:5-11; 1 Pet. 3:21).
- Christ suffered. Our Lord withstood the full brunt of all human temptations needlessly, yet purposely (Mark 1:12-13, Heb. 2:12; 4:15). He was a man, subject to the power and enticement of sin. He did not need to do this, but for our sake He did. He was fully man and identified with us. He remained sinless and took our sins upon Himself. Now, sin has no power over Him or us other than what we allow on ourselves (Rom. 6:1-10; 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 5:14; 1 Pet. 2:22)!
- Arm yourselves refers to as soldiers train and prepare for battle, we are to be trained and are to be prepared with Christ's attitude, outlook, knowledge, and experience. We are to prepare for injustice and suffering!
- God's will is the determining factor in life! It all comes down to this; will you follow His will, or yours and the world's? Which one do you think brings the most blessings and contentment?
- Time in the past refers to sin and its power to weigh us down so it defines who we are and traps us in the past. We all have past mistakes and wrong choices, but Christ freed us so we no longer need to be weighed down by them! Peter's congregation had a pagan background that was very alluring; he is telling them (and us) not to let it draw them or become a part of their new life (Rom. 1:12:13; 6:1-14, 19; Gal. 5:19-21)!
- Debauchery means unrestrained indulgence, seeking sinful, physical gratification, or giving into one's desires. This leads to being merciless and unscrupulous in one's dealings with others! When we fight against one another, especially in the church, it is hurtful and even pathetic in God's eyes (Gen. 4:8; Duet. 25:17-19; Joshua 7; Matt. 21: 1-17; Luke 9:54; Rom. 13:13; 2 Cor. 12:21; Eph. 4:19).
- Lust refers to sexual immorality, meaning evil desires that trap us and bring down others who are around us-the very opposite of God's call for us.
- Orgies refers to great excess, such as over-eating and Bulimia, sex, and multiple partners. This was considered common practice to the Greeks. They used the rationale that they were pleasing their gods, yet it ended their civilization and led to the Dark Ages!
- Carousing refers to wild parties, over-drinking of alcohol, and general excess.
- For this reason. Peter is strengthening his position, referring to the power of the Gospel and our responsibility to heed it. These early Christians were seeing their friends, families, and neighbors in sin and were confused about their role. This is also a heads up for judgment that is coming! There will be no occasion for people to be saved after they die (John 5:24; Heb. 9:27).
- Preached to those who are dead probably refers to the people who had died since Peter's church was started and the arrival of this Epistle. This may also refer to 1 Peter 3:19-20 (see last study). The definitive reason for us to proclaim the Gospel is so that God's elect in a wicked world may see faith demonstrated and explained, to see the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation, and to have eternal life.
- Be judged refers to that we will all die and be held accountable for what we have done with Jesus' dying for us. Also, we have to realize that the world will not understand Christ; therefore, it will not understand you (Acts 2:22-24, 36; 3:13-15; 5:30-32; 7:51-53).
- Regard to the Spirit. We now have spiritual renewal and assurance because Christ has obtained for us victory and triumph over death and sin (Rom. 6:5-9; 1 Cor. 15:25-26).
Does Love cover you? Do you use it to cover others? We are to be fueled and empowered by love in all situations. Christian love is the turning of our backs on our self-concerns and facing our neighbors. It is the surrender of our will to His. If love does not take us beyond our self-interests, then we have only lust and pride, not real love! God's love must be our model for life. It must flow into us from Christ, and in return, flow out from us to those around us. God's love is the ultimate power for the Christian. Love is more than a feeling; it has segments and characters to it. Love is also a choice, a decision that must be perused and worked on (John 13:1; 15:13; 1 Corinthians 13:3; 1 John)!
The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive Bible Study):
1. What does this passage say?
2. What does this passage mean?
3. What is God telling me?
4. How am I encouraged and strengthened?
5. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
6. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?
7. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?
8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
9. What can I model and teach?
10. What does God want me to share with someone?
- What tends to hinder your prayer life and spiritual growth?
- What does it mean to wholeheartedly look to Christ? How can you better implement this in your life? What would your life look like with this mindset at full blast?
- Does Love cover you? Do you use it to cover others?
- How can you be better fueled and empowered by love in all situations?
- How have you seen Christian love taking us away from our setbacks and self-concerns and facing our neighbors?
- What does it mean to you that our growth in Christ requires the surrender of our will to His?
- If love does not take us beyond our self-interests what will you have left?
- How does lust and pride conceal God's love? How can God's love be our model for life?
- How can you allow His love to flow into you from Christ, and in return, flow out from you to those around you?
- How is God's love the ultimate power for the Christian? How can it be more so for you and your church? .
- What can you do to be on guard against the sins and enticements of others? If you are not, how do you suppose the sins of your heart would break you down and take you over? What can you do about it?
- What has caused people you know to become disillusioned?
© 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Discipleship Tools http://www.discipleshiptools.org/