1 Pet 4:4-6
INTRO: Among Biblical expositors and writers, these verses - particularly verse 6 - are conceded to be among the most difficult in the New Testament. And I must simply and honestly agree. However, there are practical lessons here which can be accurately drawn in the light of context. It is with those practical lessons that I want us to occupy ourselves this evening. As I look at the three verses together, it seems Peter is saying, Hold on til the judgment. To him the judgment was something for Christians to happily anticipate. From the verses we have read let me share three major thoughts with you.
I. THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM
A. Former friends thought new Christians foolish (4:4)
1. their whole perspective was earthly, earthy
2. Phil 3:19 and Eph 4:17-19 describe them well
3. to them, then, it seemed their old friends had made a very foolish choice!
4. look at what Festus observed Acts 26:24
B. And persecuted Christians might have cause to wonder
1. reassurance is certainly an emphasis of the context
2. here is how new Christians might reason: I gave up my old friends, haunts and habits Now, Im being made fun of by them The government is against me - My family has turned away from me Jesus seems to be so far away Is it worth it?
3. Heb 10:38 so, some no doubt drew back
4. at times we may truly wonder
II. ACCEPT JESUS AS YOUR SAVIOR, BECAUSE YOU MUST FACE HIM AS YOUR JUDGE
A. Now, here is the way things really are (4:5)
1. earth bound, earth centered people are the ones making the grave mistake!
2. their old friends who have been converted to Christ and who have put away their Gentile ways are not foolish or mad!
3. theyve made only reasonable choice (Acts 26:25)
B. Because the Lord will judge all!
1. Heb 9:27 .. Rom 2:1-3
2. and note Rom 2:6-11
3. those who choose not to accept Christs offer of salvation and Lordship have every reason to fear dying
C. But Christians should have no such fears
1. Rev 20:6 the status of a faithful Christian
2. the beautiful example of Stephen Acts 7:59,60
3. the fear in dying I think must be that fear of the unknown .. but the Lord promises to help us through even that
III. THE GOSPELS PERPETUAL PURPOSE (4:6)
A. It is not to remove us from suffering, pain, problem
1. this is obvious from New Testament biographies
2. prison, beatings, stonings, ridicule death ... all of these things happened to Christians
3. 2 Tim 2:3 endure hardness!
B. It is to equip us to live abundantly now
1. Jno 10:10 the abundant life is Christs promise
2. true, we must realize that human definitions, understandings must give way to an understanding God supplies
3.with the mind of Christ we are equipped to deal with suffering, pain, problems ... to deal with life successfully and constructively
C. And it is to secure us for eternity
1. Jno 3:16 there is what God hopes for each of us
2. and the gospel is the word by which God makes this message known ... and the power by which salvation becomes a reality to us (Rom 1:16)
3. so what, if we die for Christ? we have secured our eternity!
CLOSE: So, Peter is sure enough saying to us, Hold on til the judgment. There is not one thing foolish about your choosing to live as Christ wants you to live!
Cecil A. Hutson
16 December 2001
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)