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Summary: Christianity is much more than an academic exercise or an experiential happening – it is a lifestyle.

A LIFE OF PRAISE

1 Peter 4:1-11

Introduction:

1. How much commitment does it take to be a Christian?

Christianity is much more than an academic exercise

or an experiential happening – it is a lifestyle. There is clear teaching in the New Testament thatGod wants more than rote obedience, he desires our Hearts

Many cruise on minimum – hoping that it’s just enough. Classes, assemblies, activities – if you are committed to the cause, where is the evidence?

2. Look at the commitment of Christ! (1-2)Jesus was willing to suffer the cross. He did not seek a comfortable, nice, carefree life – his life brought glory to God and it was one that challenged the traditional religion of the day. He upset every applecart! He showed by his own righteousness how unrighteous even the most righteous were. No matter the cost.

3. Arm yourselves with that attitude – military imagery! Put on your armor – take up your weapons!

Our willingness to suffer for doing right is evidence of the fact that we are no longer interested in living a life of sin. What is the evidence in your life that you are committed to Christ? It is a life of praise.

Read Text. What does it mean to live a life of praise?

I. UNDERSTAND THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF SIN (3-7A)

A. PAST: There is a past-tense sense about sin. We could all be tempted to give up and go back to our old ways. Living by faith challenges our human thinking.

We live in a spiritual kingdom! We are called back

into our past because of human weakness. We have given Satan enough time with:

Debauchery – unbridled lusts and excesses.

Lust – a sinful passionate desire (not only sex)

Drunkeness

Orgies – a wild party – originally revelers parading the streets.

Carousing – drinking bouts perhaps connected with pagan religious rites.

Idolatry – worship of pagan idols which involved sexual immorality and drunkenness.

Living a life of praise recognizes such as a part of our past.

B. PRESENT: There is also a sense of struggle. (4)

Dissipation is wickedness or wild living. Christians live a counter-culture lifestyle! Pagans think it is strange that we do not partake in their depraved behavior!

C. FUTURE: There is a sense of accountability (5-7a)

One motive for overcoming these wicked influences is the judgement of God! We will all have to give an account – a time of reckoning. Both the dead and the living will be judged! The end is near!

D. To live a life of praise, we must understand the past, present, and future nature of sin. Also, we must

understand…

II. UNDERSTAND THE KEYS OF CHRISTIAN CHARACTER

(7-11)

A. We are a people of prayer (7). Clear your mind! Similar phrases in Peter: “prepare your minds for action” and “be self-controlled”. Peter is concerned with prayer: 3:7; 3:12. More than prayer ritual – prayer from the heart.

B. We are people of love! (8) We bring praise to God by loving our brothers. Above all! – in all of these things he is talking about, this is supreme! Deeply! – fervently – stretched out. The idea is that of a love that is extended to reach the one loved. It is the act of one who, instead of living a self-centered life, gives of himself to others. Love covers a multitude of sins – overlooks the offenses. Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirs up dissention, but love covers over all wrongs.”

Tolerance for the mistakes and struggles of others is hard for some – but it is incumbent upon us if we are going to live a life of praise.

C. We are a people of hospitality! (9) Offer hospitality! (9) “friendly to strangers” literally.

To be offered without grumbling – without giving vent

to expressions of displeasure either secretly or otherwise because of the responsibility involved.

D. We are a people of service! (10-11) Use your gifts

1 Corinthians 7:7 “… Each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” Romans 12:6-8 - read. You are administering God’s grace. Various Forms. Two forms represent them all: Speaking and serving. Speaking – speak God’s word / will. Anyone who speaks for God must take his or her task seriously.

We must be people of the Word. Serving – using God’s strength. It should be clear that the ultimate source of such activity is God. He provides the message to speak and the strength to serve.

Conclusion:

1. We need to:

Understand the past, present, and future nature of sin.

Understand the keys of Christian character.

Result – God is praised! This is a doxology – a brief

outburst of praise. These are common in both old and

New Testaments.

2. What we do in a worship service is praise God! We do, however, also praise God all week long! We live a life that brings praise to God when we follow these guidelines in our lives.

John Dobbs

Pascagoula, Mississippi

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