Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 4
1 Peter 2:11-12
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;12 Having your conversation honest [beautiful] among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation
Strangers—sojourners, foreigner, non-citizen. Pilgrims—a foreigner residing in a foreign country. A citizen of heaven on earth. War against soul—unregenerate things warring against the regenerate part of us. Flesh lusts against spirit.
Conversation—behavior, conduct, manner of life. Honest—honorable, becoming, beautiful, Evildoers—since we’re not living according to earthly customs we get accused of being the bad guys. Good behavior shoots this attack down. Perhaps our good works will lead them to God’s offer of mercy.
1 Peter 2:13-16
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke [covering] of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
Being citizen of another country does not lead us to be rebels here. Ordinance—secular power or institution. Silence--muzzle. Doing good silences ignorant people. Free—not citizens of this country yet living still subject.
1) Doing Good silences ignorant fools!
1 Peter 3:13-17
And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers [zealous] of that which is good?14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy [blessed] are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
If the exception happens, here’s how you act: be happy, don’t fear, nor troubled: afraid, agitated. Not afraid of their terror--Don’t fear what the heathen fear.
Sanctify Lord—have a holy fear that fully trusts His provision. Asketh you—only to those who enquire about your hope-filled life. A reason—a reasonable question, it is sincere. Meekness—mild and gentle. A good life lets you answer questions. A bad life will not lead anyone to ask a question. Readiness does not imply arrogance or bluster.
Good conscience—right profession carries little weight without right behavior. If you’re going to suffer, there is value in suffering for doing what is right.
2) Doing good makes suffering more bearable, at least it’s for a good cause--effective evangelism!
1 Peter 4:12-14
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
Strange—a foreign experience, Christ did it, everyone in Hebrews 11 did it, you’ll do it too. Suffering for Christ will result in more glory for you, so have exultant joy! A promise of the Spirit’s resting on us during such trials. Rest—quiet, calm, refreshed. Spirit is refreshed by you! Is satisfied and relaxed with you.
3) Doing well bring us into fellowship with Christ and the Spirit.
1 Peter 4:15-19
But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
Suffering embarrasses the world, but is glory to the Christian. Present suffering is a purifying judgment of God’s Church. Imagine what He’ll do to those who reject His Gospel? Suffering for doing well gets us ready for eternity by learning to grow in faith. Suffering for unbelievers is trying to get their attention to wake them up. Commit—into your hands I commend my spirit. To deposit.
4) gets us ready for the Day of Judgment.