Sermons

Summary: A problem arises when the followers of Jesus try to conform to their culture rather than allowing the power of Jesus to transform them. In America, everyone wants to “fit in” w/ the crowd. There’s a powerful force called “peer pressure” that works to mold and shape us to be like everyone else.

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also w/ the same attitude, b/c he who has suffered in his body is done w/ sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 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. They think it strange that you do not plunge w/ them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 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. The end of all things is near. Therefore, be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply; b/c love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another w/out grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it w/ 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.

In 1993, Harvard Professor Samuel Huntington wrote a controversial foreign policy paper entitled “Clash of Civilizations.” In it, he wrote: The fault lines b/w civilizations will be the battle lines of the future. (Samuel Huntington, “Clash of Civilizations”, Summer 1993, v72, n3, p. 22, Council on Foreign Relations, Inc.)

W/ the fall of the Iron Curtain, Professor Huntington predicted that next world conflict wouldn’t be b/w nations or economies but b/w cultural entities. An example of a cultural entity would be Muslim peoples living inside of nations where their religion was predominant. His prediction included a tension that might induce a spirit of jihad as has been declared against America. Another example would be the clash of ideas/values among generations w/in the modern church. Many churches around the world have been splintered b/c Christians from differing generations cannot see eye-to-eye on how to do church.

Yet long before Professor Huntingdon presented his theory, Jesus told His followers they would always experience clashes within their culture. But for Christians, it’s not a military clash, but a clash of values/truth. The amazing thing about the Christian faith is that it’s trans-cultural. In other words, there are Christians in every culture. Christianity isn’t an American faith, a European faith, an Asian faith, or an African faith – it’s a message for all people no matter their age, ethnicity, or gender. Jesus is an equal opportunity Savior.

As we’ve seen in our study of 1st Peter, the good news of Jesus applies to every culture b/c it transforms people into better citizens, better children, better parents, better husbands/wives, and better workers. However, a problem arises when the followers of Jesus try to conform to their culture rather than allowing the power of Jesus to transform them. In America, everyone wants to “fit in” w/ the crowd. There’s a powerful force called “peer pressure” that works to mold and shape us to be like everyone else.

As we turn our attentions to ch. 4 of 1st Peter, the brash apostle attempts to set the record straight w/ regard to our mandate and mission as followers of Christ – we are to have Jesus’ attitude.

I B/c JESUS DIED FOR YOU

Every single detail and responsibility w/in Christianity rest on the fact that Jesus died for sin to set men free from its consequences and into an intimate relationship w/ Him where our lives and wills are surrendered to a cause greater than ourselves. Essential to becoming a growing and fervent follower of Christ a believer must settle (4) issues – attitude, appetite, ambition, and assistance.

A Arm Your ATTITUDE

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also w/ the same attitude, b/c he who has suffered in his body is done w/ sin.

B/c Christ willingly suffered death on a cross to set us free from sin, we should be willing to suffer to bring others to the same grace we have experienced in salvation.

arm (hoplizo) to arm yourself w/ weapons/armor. It’s a picture of preparing for battle. If a person is going to follow Christ then they’d better get ready to rumble – b/c the battle they will be engaged in is spiritual and for the souls of men – and the devil isn’t going down w/out a gallant, fight to the death. The key to overcoming is having the same attitude as Christ.

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