Thank You For The Cross
1 Peter 4:1-6
4 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. 5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh but live according to God in the spirit.
If you look in your Bible’s, this opening text would have the Title, “Christ Example To Be Followed” or “Living For God” or “Stewards Of Gods Grace”. But whatever title you have in your bible, God is making a point when it comes to our salvation. Why is the sinner called? What is the purpose of this calling?
If you have been saved/called, you are a new person. You were lost and now you are found... You have gone from death unto life... You were a sinner and now you are a saint... You were condemned now you have been set free. And this is possible because of the finished work of Jesus Christ at Calvary. I would like to walk through these verses and consider the thought "Thank You For The Cross". The first thing I would like for us to examine is…
1 Peter 4:1
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.
Peter says that we should "arm ourselves with the mind” as Christ. We are to continually focus on Him. And we are to follow Him each and every day of our lives. Even if this means that we will face some suffering. Christ suffered the cruelty of the cross of Calvary for us. We should be willing to suffer for Him if that is God's will.
The Christian life is a constant battle. Here Peter uses terminology that Peter that refers to that battle - "Arm yourself". Before we will reach a place of willingness to suffer for Christ. We must put Him in His proper place...as our number 1 priority.
There was a time in Peter's life where he professed that he was willing to suffer for Christ. In fact, he was so bold as to say that he would die for Christ. But peter failed, he denied Christ 3 times in one night. But that was not the end for Peter. Jesus did a great work in his life and Peter did suffer greatly and he did so willingly. Even as he wrote these words, he knew that there would come a day when he would die for the cause of Christ.
Jesus told him in John 21 that there would come a day when he would be killed for his faith. Knowing what he knew and enduring the suffering that he had endured Peter still faithfully followed his Savior.
Peter was called to be an Apostle. And if you are saved you have been called to follow Jesus. Your life is not the same as it was before Christ. Your plans, purposes and priorities should be different. Are you faithfully following Jesus each day? Are you willing to continue to follow Him even if it brings suffering and pain? Remember this... the worst that can happen to you is death. And when you look at what is waiting for you on the other side, it is also the best thing that could happen to you!
We are called to follow the Savior and along with this is the fact that:
2. As Christians We Are Called To Forsake Sin…
1 Peter 4:2
2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
We have been changed by Jesus and we have been cleansed by His blood. We are not to return or to continue in the sin that we have been delivered from. We are to pursue the Holy will of God. This is not possible if we still follow after the desires of the flesh! As I mentioned, Jesus is not only Savior He is Lord. When Jesus is Lord of our life, we are controlled by His Spirit. We cannot forsake sin on our own, but it is possible through Christ! Paul said in - Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for
Thanks to Jesus' work at Calvary you have the opportunity for a different life. Do not waste your time pursuing the lusts of the flesh and the pleasures of this world. From last weeks message, we are reminded from, 1 John 2:15-16 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
Our life before Christ was empty and meaningless. Now that we are saved, we have a purpose. We have been called to be a part of something special. And this is possible thanks to Calvary. You are saved and you have been called to Follow The Savior and to Forsake Sin! As we move further, I would like to say…
3. Because Of Calvary We Possess A Different Character…
1 Peter 4:3
3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.
Here, Peter describes the life of the believer before their conversion. It was a life of sin. Their actions were marked by evil and wickedness. These are the same actions we see in the lost man today. "Immorality, lust, drunkenness, wild parties and idol worship" – Keep in mind, “What you value the most, Can, may and will be what you will worship”. Many of Peter’s readers had been involved in such sins before salvation. Here they are told that they must never return to this lifestyle. All of the sins mentioned are results of following the lust of the flesh. Christians must separate ourselves from this type of lifestyle. We are told in Galatians 5 (to) Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
As many of us who has been in church, for how ever long since we have been saved, we have seen the power of Jesus change people’s lives. We have seen alcoholics walk away from the bottle. W have seen addicts turn from their addiction. We have seen angry hateful men/women become loving. We have seen marriages restored. We have seen neglectful parents become wonderful parents. There is no limit to what Jesus can do in our life. And when He saves you, you will possess a new character.
Not only is there a different calling and a different Character since we met Jesus, As believers we can also testify that. Because Of the cross, We run with a different crowd. In the past I ran with different crowds of people. By the world's standards some of them would be labelled as "bad" people. And we were more than acquaintances, we were close friends. But when I fully surrendered to the Lord, things changed. There were things that I did that I quit doing. There were places I went that I quit going to.
My conduct changed... My conversation changed... My interests changed. Thankfully the Lord brought a new crowd into my life. The people that I spend the majority of my time with now are born again. And now we have a friendship that is closer than ever before. So close that it called a family. But there are some of those old friends who just don't understand our new life. Consider if you will… The confusion of the old crowd when Crist has changed our lives…
1 Peter 4:4
4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.
Peter says, “they think it strange”. The old crowd does not understand the change that Jesus has brought into our lives. They may become offended or resentful when we refuse to do what we used to do. When we are no longer interested in the wicked pleasures of this world the old crowd may become confused. Not only do they not understand our new life, they may attack us because of it. Notice if you will, the contention of the old crowd - "speaking evil of you'.
These people who you thought were your friends may begin to slander you. Some will mock you. They will watch you and wait for you to fail, then they will quickly point out your faults. When you refuse to partake in their sinful acts, they will call you self-righteous. When you do falter, they will call you a hypocrite. And this hurts! These actions may come from people who you have known your entire life. But Peter gives us some encouragement down in Vs 14 “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”
When we live as faithful Christians in front of our lost friends and acquaintances it will convict them! The question we must ask ourselves is, are we living in such a way? Whether we realize it or not, our example leaves an impression on others. We should live as examples in front of the old crowd and we must be concerned about their spiritual condition. Consider for a moment the condition of the crowd…
1 Peter 4:5
5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
Those who are not saved... those who are guilty of walking in the wickedness that is descried in verse 3 will one day stand before the Great White Throne. Jesus Christ will preside at that judgment. There they will "give an account to Him". And it is there that they will be condemned to the Lake Of Fire.
That old crowd may mock you for your faith, They may blaspheme the name of Jesus but on that day they will bow before Him! This should motivate us to live as examples in front of the old crowd.
There are many things that are different thanks to the cross. We have seen some of them so far, but before we close, I would like to give you one more. Our last verse for the night…
In closing…Because Of Calvary We Are On A Different Course.
1 Peter 4:6
6 For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh but live according to God in the spirit.
"those that are dead" in this verse refers to those who had been saved while they were alive but had died before Peter wrote this epistle. - Though they were dead physically, they were alive in their spirits. These people heard the preaching of the Gospel and trusted in Christ as Savior. And those of us who have heard the preaching of the Gospel and have been born again, can live this life with the same hope that they possessed. Because of Calvary, we walk a different path, we are on a different course. We have a different future and eternal destiny. We possess eternal life through Jesus Christ! “Thank You For The Cross”
Pastor Richard Santos
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