Summary: Know why and commit to living the Christian life!
We have been studying the first letter by the apostle Peter meant for all Christians. We are now in Chapter 4. So far we have noted that we have a good God because He has given us Jesus Christ who was righteous but suffered and died for us unrighteous people. Christians are those who believe in this Christ.
And because He is a good God, all Christians are called to be good! But because Christians still have a sinful nature, Christians are called to turn away from evil and grow (mature) in their salvation. Christians are not to be complacent, just sitting in the church pews; Christians are called to action and the first action to be taken always is to revere Jesus Christ as holy Lord in the heart, then turn away from evil!
Before reading our text, let us again pause for prayer; place a hand by your heart and make a commitment for Christ to take control of your life. Pray for a moment quietly right where you are……
Open your Bibles to 1 Peter 4…. We will focus on v1-7 today….
Let us start with verse 7 which actually gives us key thoughts as we learn and commit to what God wants us to do. We see the word “therefore” which tells us there is a truth and an appropriate response.
Verse 7 tells us that the end of all things is near! What does this mean? God is speaking through Peter to Christians who are still alive when the letter was first written; and so basically God is telling Christians, the end of life on earth will soon end (either by death or judgment of God). This of course is much truer for us today!
And what is to be the response of the Christian to this truth? – From v7 alone, there are actually 3 things to do: to be clear minded, be self-controlled, and to pray! What do those mean? All we have to do is think of the opposites! Christians are not to have minds full of clutter (how much junk do we put into our minds on a daily basis especially today with all our technologies?); we are not be out of control (are there things we allow in our lives which gets us out of control?), and we are not be silent with God (at the end of the day we should ask ourselves, “How much time did I really spend in talking to God today?”)
v7: because life on earth will soon end, Christians are to be clear minded, self-controlled, and to pray always.
And as we look back to v1-3, God tells Christians to live a certain way. And yes, Christians are to live a certain way because life on earth will end soon, but God gives a few more reasons.
Christians are to live a certain way because (v1-3):
1. God Jesus Christ paid the price for this life for Christians
(Our earthly lives and eternal lives are given to us to enjoy from a God who really didn’t have to give!)
2. are to live godly not evil (do we really want to live with the demons)
3. to live God’s real intent for life on earth
(the only meaningful way to live is to live God’s way)
4. enough wasted life living like pagans!
5. life on earth will soon end (v7)
Christians are to live the way God intended them to live as detailed in God’s Word. And does the Christian need anything else from God to live that way? Let us memorize 2 Peter 1:3 - His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
And so based on 1 Peter 4:1-7, how are Christians to live?
v1: an attitude like Christ
What was Christ attitude for suffering and dying for people?? – Agape love!
Jesus willingly suffered and died for the benefit of others!
Agape love…. is thinking of the betterment of the other person, not one’s self!
v1-3: live God’s will and be done with sin! (note the list)
v7: be clear minded, self-controlled, and to pray always.
Now, as the Christian lives according to God’s will, how will the world react? Before we look at v4, let us not forget what God told us in the previous chapters of 1 Peter. As the Christian live good godly lives:
- will mature with God
- the home will be positively influenced
- will be blessed by God
- will have power in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ
And so we noted the great things which will happen as Christians live good godly lives. But here in 1 Peter 4:4 we need to note what else can happen to Christians living God’s will: