Thanks To Calvary
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.
We just had just finished our studies in the letters of Peter, so this will be a great reminder of what we had learned. Tonight, we will be examining the change that the believer goes through, thanks to the work of Christ in Calvary.
On August of 2004 everything in my life changed. Of-course it didn’t happen all at once or instantly. That was the day I met the real Jesus of the Bible. The day I was drawn to Christ. I am far from perfect, you have been around me long enough to notice that. Nor did I ever claim to be. I have my weaknesses, and reach failures from time to time, just like everyone else. Any type of victory in my life is all because of Christ. I knew who I was before Jesus came into my life. That is something that I cannot deny. A SINNER SAVED BY GRACE!!!
The Apostle Paul puts it clearly when he said…
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
If you have been saved, then you are a new person. You were lost and now you are found... You have gone from death unto life... You were a sinner now you are a named 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 "Thanks To Calvary”, things are different. The first thing I would like to examine is…
1: Because Of Calvary We Have A Different Calling.
The Christian life begins with a calling. The Holy Spirit calls us unto repentance. Jesus gives us an invitation to salvation! This calling does not end with our conversion. It is not enough to trust Jesus as Savior we must make Him Lord of our lives.
Notice if you will, as Christians we are called to follow the Savior…
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 of 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 sort suffering from time to time. 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 the terminology that Peter refers to that battle - "Arm yourselves". 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 penned these words, he knew that there would come a day when he would die for the cause of Christ. Jesus told him 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 should not be 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 and 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!
“Death for the Christian is to fall asleep in the arms of Jesus and waking up and finding out that youre home”.
We are called to follow the Savior… as Christians, we called to forsake/fight 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 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 it clearly, when he said…
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
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.
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”.
2: 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" - 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 ever again. All of the sins mentioned are results of following the lust of the flesh. Christians must separate from this type of lifestyle.
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Because of Calvary we run with a different crowd. In the past I ran with a different crowd of people. By the world's standards they were "bad" people. And so was I. And we were more than acquaintances, we were close friends.
But when I fully surrendered to the Lord these things changed. There were things that I did that I quit doing. There were places that 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. I don’t call them friends, but my family. The people that I spend the majority of my time with now are born again believers. Ones with the same interests…to follow Christ.
But there are some of those old friends who just don't understand our new life. Consider if you will, why we avoid our old selves, our old crowds…
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 in 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.
“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 a few verses down.
1 Peter 4:14 (NIV)
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? Do we offend the old crowd because we follow Christ? Or, do we still belong to the old crowd, because we never really followed Christ?
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 old 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…FOREVER!!!
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, and not join them. Or else we too, will face the same judgement!
“Thanks to 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 who are dead", in this verse refers to those who had been saved while they were alive but had died before Peter penned 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! Jesus spoke of this in…
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Those who are saved are on the path that leads to eternal life. And this is only possible because of Jesus' work at Calvary.
Some Deacons were questioning young boy who wanted to join church and was asked about his salvation. How'd you get saved? He said, "Well, I done my part & God done His part." When asked about what he meant, he said, "My part was the sinning. God's part was the saving".
That is true for each of us. who are saved, And all thanks to Christ's finished work at Calvary!!!
Pastor Richard Santos
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