1 Pet 4:17-19
INTRO: It seems to come as a surprise to some that being a faithful Christian is not an easy road! And no one ever said it would be easy. There are several things one might do when he comes into a situation of difficulty which arises because he is a Christian. He might just decide being a Christian is not worth the effort (many have). He might try to water down his conviction in such a way that the cause of the conflict is thus resolved. He might begin trying to hide the fact that he is a Christian. Or, he might commit the outcome of his faith and conviction into Gods hands and continue his faithful life. In any case, we need to remember that being a disciple of Christ may bring crosses into our own lives!
I. PETER MENTIONS TWO IDEAS TO CONSIDER CONCERNING SUCH CROSSES
A. Trial is coming (4:17a)
1. trial was probably Roman attack on Judaism
2. it would engulf church because Roman leaders considered Christianity just another Jewish sect
3. it would spread throughout the Roman world
4. it would be so easy to disavow any connection to avoid the Roman wrath but listen: Mt 10:28-33
B. The righteous will have difficulty (4:18a)
1. this verse is not saying Christians will barely be saved. note 2 Pet 1:11
2. the word scarcely denotes that which is accomplished with great difficulty thus, Peters affirming that discipleship was not, is not, and will not be easy
3. Mk 8:34 take up his cross, and follow me
4. difficulty in being misunderstood; in being labeled because of conviction; in personal struggles between desire and conviction; in keeping priorities straight
II. BUT WHAT REAL HOPE IS THERE WITHOUT GOD?
A. The house of God, the righteous are having sore trials
1. and God loves, cares for them 1 Pet 5:7
2. God will permit this (only to a point) for its chastening, strengthening, purifying value
3. but even so two questions:
B. What of the end of those who do not obey gospel? (4:17b)
1. what assurances do they have? none!
2. Eph 2:11,12 having no hope
3. Christians - in trial - have the promise of the Lords help through it (Heb 13:5b,6) and the assurance of eternal joy in their enduring (Mt 10:22 and Lk 21:16-19)
C. Where - in final outcome - will the ungodly appear? (4:18b)
1. if only with great difficulty disciples make their way through this life, can those who have made no effort toward godliness expect any favors from God?
2. where shall ungodly and sinner appear? Mt 25:41
3. righteous have promise of salvation; ungodly have nothing but a bleak eternity to anticipate!
III. A WELL PLACED TRUST, THEN (4:19)
A. Things are not as out of kilter as they may seem
1. we may begin to have that feeling
2. perhaps thats a very human frailty which takes its toll on our peace of mind
3. remember Mk 9:24 ... could we not be in the same kind of faith dilemma at times?
4. Peter refers his troubled readers to God!
B. We can commit our souls to Him as a faithful Creator
1. of faithful? Ps 77:9-12 ... in verse 9 Psalmist begins to think negative thoughts but he reverses himself to remember God s years of faithful blessing!
2. of Creator? Isa 49:14,15 ... verse 14 is the question of doubts but God (the Creator) answers in a very special way
3. God will not desert us!
C. So, we should confidently commit our souls to Him
1. now, Peter stipulates manner of that commitment
2. he says, ... in well-doing Peter links holiness of life to/with this trusting
3. if we fall back, however, we cannot expect the Lord to own us in the final judgment (Lam 3:25)
CLOSE: I firmly believe it will become progressively more difficult to live a life of faith and conviction. We will, then, more and more find ourselves having to lean on the Lords promises and assurances.
Cecil A. Hutson
03 February 2002
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)