Summary: Exposition of 1 Peter 4:1-6
Text: 1 Peter 4:1-6
Title: A Call to Arms
Date/Place: LSCC, 2/12/06, AM
A. Opening illustration: 9/11 changed the course of history. After a few days of our heads spinning, we were all on board that the people who did this would pay. So when President Bush used language of going to war, we were not all that surprised, and the large majority of the country thought it was a good idea. But just before the bombing in Afghanistan, he called us to war, and outlined the sacrifice and needs of the hour…
B. Background to passage: the major section of Peter’s letter ends at 4:11. The main focus in these verses is suffering. Peter refers back to 3:18 and the life of Christ and his sufferings that he endured. And he tells these suffering believers to arm themselves—a military term meaning to prepare for a fight, win the battle, and reap the rewards. This reminds us that we are at war in our lives all the time. The Christian life is not a playground, a hobby, a crutch, a necessary hardship; it is WAR!
C. Main thought: Peter gives us six “D’s” to accomplish in our lives
A. Devote yourselves to preparation for war (v. 1)
1. Peter says be just like Jesus. He says to arm yourself (reflexive verb) with the same attitude of determination, the same drive to complete the sufferings laid out for you, not because you want to avoid pain, but because you want to honor God.
2. Col 3: putting on Christ,
3. Illustration: We are told that when John Huss was arrested and informed that he would be burned to death for his faith, he purposely practiced holding his hand over fire to prepare for his final test. He burned himself in preparation. He wanted to be faithful to the end, Fighter Verses at Bethlehem Baptist Church,
4. Prepare yourself through prayer like Jesus did. Memorize scripture. This means that you will have to put forth some effort in your Christian life. Gird up your loins like a man. Be trained in witnessing. Exercise your faith to strengthen it. Increase your knowledge of God and his word.
B. Dedicate life to will of God (v. 2)
1. Peter next tells them to make a clean break with sin (perfect tense verb). Turning from sin and self to Christ. Renouncing sin, selfish desires, and Satan in every way. Make a conscious decision that will affect all other decisions to always search for the will of God in your life. Commit not to listen to feelings, which are subject to change. This may cost you financially, pleasurably, occupationally, emotionally, but we must.
2. Jer 17:9,
3. Illustration: “Feelings come and feelings go and feelings are deceiving; my warrant is the Word of God, naught else is worth believing”–Luther, sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a lifestyle…and the consequences that come with it, One day, however, she was seen tossing the stick up several times. “Why do you toss the stick more than once?” someone asked. “Because,” replied the woman, “it keeps pointing to the left, and I want to take the road on the right.” She then dutifully kept throwing the stick into the air until it pointed the way she wanted to go!
4. The bottom line is that IT is not about your feelings, or your priorities, or your desires, or you at all. Life is about him. Your heart is deceitful; don’t listen to it. It will deceive you, and try to convince you that divorce is OK in your situation; or that premarital sex is OK for you just this once; or that it is really not important to go to church today, because I don’t feel like it; or its OK for me not to love my wife/husband today, because they didn’t perform or meet my needs; or its OK to snap at family or coworkers because I feel unloved, depressed, or frustrated; or that life is unfair, and you deserve better. If we allow those thoughts to continually parade through our minds, we will believe them and begin to act accordingly. Some days you don’t feel saved, don’t feel loving, don’t feel like witnessing or doing anything in God’s will. When you consistently choose to do God’s will in the face of suffering you are strengthened
C. Determine that your sin is enough (v. 3)
1. Peter says here that their past sin is “more than enough.” He says that they have behaved like the pagan nations around them for long enough. He uses terms here relating to sexual sin, drunkenness, and idolatry, all of which are present in the lives of church members. These things ought not be. Peter says, if there is a quota, you exceeded it. No more allowed.