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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

April 17, 2013

1 Peter 4:7-19

  1. Verses 7-11. We touched on theses verses a little bit last week, so let us recap for a moment. Peter was speaking about concerning our motivation to do "good" in spite of the opposition we might face as believers and the persecution that we may have to endure. One thing that we need to keep in mind is that our suffering for Christ will only be momentary in the scheme of eternity and momentary in light of the fact that the Lord’s return is near. So believers must not allow the trials of life to make them anxious or worried.

    1. Peter tells the church to be clear-minded and self-controlled so they could pray. Clear minded and self-controlled are closely related to each other and to prayer. Sound judgment is the opposite of insanity. To have sound judgment is to think sanely, realistically, to make judgments based upon truth and reality rather than on falsehood and how things appear. We must walk by faith and not by sight. Peter, along with our Lord and the rest of the apostles, taught that the last days would be characterized by increasing persecution and suffering for the saints (see, for example, 1 Peter 4:12-19; 2 Timothy 3:1-12, 4:1-8). In such times, our prayers will be for the grace to stand under fire, for boldness in our witness and other saints’ witness, and for the soon return of our Lord accompanied by the establishment of His kingdom on earth. In these trying times, we must constantly turn to God for strength and perseverance. We must persist in prayer, but our prayers can be easily become selfish and not kingdom minded. We cannot get so caught up in asking for worldly things that we forget to pray being led by the Spirit of God and not our flesh.

    2. With the idea that the Lord will return, every believer should not allow the trials of this life to get them off track of their mission while in the life. Our mission while alive is to represent the love of God to one another, forgive one another, be kind and hospitable, and to use our gifts and talents for the glory of God. As we live we should remember that we represent the Lord at all times in our speech and action. We live like this so that in all things God might get the glory and the honor. Our mission is to bring gory to God. Peter really admonishes the believers to live like Jesus would return any day.

  2. Verses 12-16. Once again the apostle brings us back to the unpleasant nature of trials and tribulations, but he reminds us that those same pains are not inconsistent with our spiritual pilgrimage.

    1. Suffering should not take the Christian by surprise. Old Testament saints such as Job and Joseph suffered, and virtually all the Old Testament prophets suffered (Matthew 5:12; Acts 7:51-53). Jesus taught that His followers would suffer (Matthew 5:10-12; 10:22, 24-25; Mark 13:9-13; Luke 6:40; 21:12-19; John 15:18-21; 16:1-4), and He Himself suffered, setting an example for us to follow (1 Peter 2:21-25). The apostles and many in the early church suffered, and they taught that we too should expect suffering (Acts 4 and 5; 9:16; 14:22; 2 Corinthians 1:5-7; Philippians 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 3:12; Hebrews 10:32-34; James 1:1-4; 1 John 3:13).

    2. Unfortunately, a number of true believers also fail to grasp the future dimensions of the blessings brought about by the sacrificial work of Christ. They believe that because Christ suffered in their place, they no longer need to suffer. They are told that if they but have the faith, they may live in a constant state of blessing, experiencing many of heaven’s blessings now. The televangelists’ prosperity movement is only one manifestation of this error. Such thinking fails to understand our Lord’s teaching on discipleship (see Luke 9:23-26, 57-62; John 15:18-21) and the apost1es’ teaching (see Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 2:12; 3:12). They do not understand that Christ is still rejected by the world (1 Peter 2:7-8) and that we share in His suffering and rejection (see Philippians 1:29-30; 3:10; Colossians 1:24). Discipleship is not about self-actualization or self-indulgence; it is about self-denia1 (see 1 Corinthians 9:24-27). Our present experience is not the "crown" but the "cross."

    3. The trials we face as believers are designed to add to us the things of Christ and strip us of anything that is not like him. The hope of this is that when the Lord returns, believers will see that it was worth it to be identified with Christ in his sufferings so that they could be identified with him in his glory. The writer declares that if we are insulted because of Christ we are blessed, and we should praise God that we bear the name of the Lord. Our suffering should not happen because we are sinners, but because we are saints. The saints of God should find comfort in knowing that those who persecute them will have to give an account to the one who Judges all. So in spite of persecution, believers should continue to do good.

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