The Book of I PETER
James J. Barker
THE END OF ALL THINGS IS AT HAND
- I have entitled
this evening's message, "The End of All Things is at Hand" (I Peter
- How much time
do we have left?
- For some of us,
there is very little time.
- For others,
there may be plenty of time.
I say "may" because the Lord could return very soon. And besides, some times young people die
- None of us
should take our days for granted.
- Those of you
who are young, let me remind you that time does move quickly, though you may not
recognize it now.
- There is an
interesting statement found in I Peter 4:2, "That he no longer should live the
rest of his time in the flesh..."
- FB Meyer said,
"Who can tell how long that may be for any one of us? Shorter to some of us than
we think; but, in a sense, short to all. The sands run swiftly through life's
hour-glass. The shadow hastens to go down upon the dial. The waves eat away so
quickly the dwindling shoal of land which crumbles beneath us. And the years,
with inexorable pressure, lay their hands on us, and urge us to flee towards the
goal. Such thoughts were much in the Apostle's mind. In the next Epistle, he
says, "Knowing that shortly I must put off this my
tabernacle" (II Peter
- With the
brevity of life in mind, let us move forward in our study of this great epistle.
LET US CEASE FROM SIN
- The word
"Forasmuch" (4:1) connects our text with the previous verses in chapter 3,
particularly 3:18 -- "For Christ also hath once suffered for
- The exhortation
in chapter 4 is linked to the sufferings of Christ. Christ suffered, and therefore His
followers also suffer (3:14, 17; 4:1).
- But one of the
benefits of suffering is, "he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from
- God uses
suffering to keep us from sin. When
a Christian suffers because he refuses to yield to sin, he is no longer
controlled by the power of sin.
In this sense, he has "ceased from sin."
- When we deny
our desires and the temptations that come upon us, we inevitably suffer, like
Joseph when he was put in prison for rejecting Potiphar's wife's advances.
- But by
overcoming, we learn to "cease from sin" (I Peter 4:1).
many Christians struggle with sin because they are not willing to deny
self. Self is more important to
them than God.
- Our Lord said,
"If any man will come after me, let him deny
himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matt.
- But many
Christians are not willing to do this.
In fact, many of these professed Christians have never been genuinely
- We have been saved from the power of sin, but many
Christians do not seem to understand this.
We need to "arm" ourselves with the mind of Christ. Christ hates sin and so must
- Using a military term, "arm yourselves," indicates we
are at war with the world, the flesh, and the devil.
- We cannot take this lightly.
LET US DO THE WILL OF GOD
- God's will may
at times mean suffering. And
I Peter 4:4 reminds us that often we suffer because of persecution from wicked
men (cf. 3:14, 17).
- The apostle
Paul said, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II Tim.
- Our Lord said,
"Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his
lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have
kept my saying, they will keep yours also" (John
- God will surely
judge the wicked (I Peter 4:5).
- But we must be
desirous of doing the will of God.
One preacher put it this way, "His will is our law, His Word our rule,
His Son's life our example, His Spirit...the guide of our actions" (Lancelot
Andrews, cited by D. Edmond Hiebert, I Peter).
- You can say
'Amen" to that?
- There is a
contrast here in verses 2 and 3 -- "the will of God" (4:2), and "the will of the
Gentiles (heathen)" (4:3).
- In I Peter 4:3,
Peter says that in "the time past" (before we were saved) we spent our time in
doing "the will of the Gentiles." That was time not well
- We wasted our time in worldly and sinful activities --
"when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings,
banquetings, and abominable idolatries" (4:3).
- D. Edmond Hiebert said, "The memory of that sinful past
was to serve as a sharp goad against any tendency to relapse into that kind of
living" (I Peter)
- This verse reminds us that before they were saved,
Peter's readers had been pagans, not Jews.
- Not long before I prepared this message I read a couple
of articles in the newspaper about the wild and crazy actor Charlie Sheen. His father, Martin Sheen (also a
left-wing actor), compared his son's drug addiction to
- He said, "The disease of addiction is a form of cancer,
and you have to have an equal measure of concern and love and lift them up, so
that's what we do for him."
- Another article had some interviews with a few so-called
"health care experts," all insisting Mr. Sheen needs to be put into a
- Of course, none of these articles dealt with the real
problem: sin (I Peter 4:3). Mr.
Sheen needs to repent and turn from his wicked ways. He needs to get right with God. He needs to get saved.
- We are to do the will of God at all times. Our Lord said in Matthew 6:10 that we
are to always pray, "Thy will be
done in earth, as it is in heaven."
- James 4:14 says, "For that ye ought to say, If the Lord
will, we shall live, and do this, or that."
- God has a perfect will for us and we should never settle
for anything less than His perfect will.
- First Thessalonians 4:3 says, "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from
- The will of God is that we "should abstain from
- But the will of the Gentiles is to walk "in
lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable
idolatries" (I Peter 4:3).
- Americans are being brainwashed by rock music,
television, and Hollywood into accepting "lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine,
revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries."
- In fact, this filthy entertainment is shipped all over
- Too many churches are backing off from preaching against
this. Bro. Gillmore told me he was
criticized by a pastor for preaching against Hollywood movies.
- I say "thank God" for preachers like Bro.
- Homer Rodeheaver travelled for many years with Billy
Sunday as his songleader. Someone
once asked him, "What was the secret of Billy Sunday's successful
ministry?" Mr. Rodeheaver replied,
"He preached against sin, and he was always very specific when he did -- he
spelled it out."
- Let me "spell it out" (I Peter 4:3).
"Lasciviousness" refers to
shameful moral impurity, debauchery, lack of self-restraint, inordinate
indulgence of sensual appetites to the extent of violating a sense of public
"Lusts" refers to the
depraved cravings of a reprobate mind.
"Excess of wine" refers to
drunkenness (cf. Proverbs 23:29-35; 20:1).
"Revellings" refers to
orgies. Many of these revellings
and orgies were connected to pagan worship.
"Banquetings" refers to
wild drinking parties.
refers to the worship of false gods.
This was the "will of the Gentiles" (4:3), wild, wicked, filthy, depraved
worship of idols, accompanied by all sorts of
- "For this cause was the Gospel preached..." (I Peter
4:6). Peter soon had to stop
preaching. And the apostle
Paul. And millions of others down
through the years. Let us preach
the Gospel while we still have time.
- This is the will of God (cf. II Peter 3:9; I Tim.
- Those who were preached to are now dead (4:6). "For this cause" (4:6) refers to the
judgment of God (4:5).
- udged according
to men in the flesh" (4:6) means condemned by the ungodly in this life, but now
they "live according to God in the spirit," i.e., they are now enjoying
everlasting life in heaven.
- They suffered at the hands of wicked men in this life
(cf. 4:4, 12-16), but now their suffering is over.
LET US SERVE GOD WITH THE ABILITY HE GIVES
- Peter is not
only speaking here of preachers. He
says in I Peter 4:11, "if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability
which God giveth."
- This brings
glory to God (4:11b).
- Let us devote
ourselves to fervent prayer (4:7).
"Sober" means serious about the things of God.
- Let us
demonstrate the love of God (4:8).
- Proverbs 10:12
says, "Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all
- Let us be
hospitable (4:9). "Without grudging" (4:9). We lose our blessing if we gripe or
- Romans 12:13
says we should be "given to hospitality."
- One of the
requirements for a pastor is that he be "given to hospitality" (I Tim.
- Hebrews 13:2
says, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have
entertained angels unawares."
- Jesus said, "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he
that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name
of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous
man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto
one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple,
verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward" (Matthew
- We are to be good stewards (4:10). This refers to our time and our talents
as well as our money.
- We are to "speak as the oracles of God" (4:11). We must proclaim the Gospel in the power
of the Holy Spirit so that sinners will be converted, and so that believers will
- Our motivation
should be, "that God in all things may be glorified"
- The apostle
Paul said in I Corinthians 10:31, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or
whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
- This was the
motive which actuated our Lord. He
said to His adversaries, "I seek not mine own glory" (John 8:50).
- When our Lord
healed the sick, it was so that God would be glorified.
- When He raised
Lazarus from the dead it was so that God would be
- When He died on
the cross, God was glorified. Luke
23:47 says, "Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying,
Certainly this was a righteous man."
- In John 14:13,
our Lord said God is glorified when our prayers are answered.
- "And whatsoever
ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the