The Book of  I PETER
James J. Barker


Lesson 13
THE END OF ALL THINGS IS AT HAND

Text: I PETER 4:1-11


INTRODUCTION:


  1. I have entitled this evening's message, "The End of All Things is at Hand" (I Peter 4:7).
  2. How much time do we have left?
  3. For some of us, there is very little time.
  4. 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 unexpectedly.
  5. None of us should take our days for granted.
  6. Those of you who are young, let me remind you that time does move quickly, though you may not recognize it now.
  7. 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..."
  8. 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 1:14).
  9. With the brevity of life in mind, let us move forward in our study of this great epistle.

 

I. LET US CEASE FROM SIN (4:1)

  1. 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 sins..."
  2. 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).
  3. But one of the benefits of suffering is, "he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin" (4:1).
  4. 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."
  5. 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.
  6. But by overcoming, we learn to "cease from sin" (I Peter 4:1).
  7. Regrettably, many Christians struggle with sin because they are not willing to deny self.  Self is more important to them than God.
  8. Our Lord said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matt. 16:24).
  9. But many Christians are not willing to do this.  In fact, many of these professed Christians have never been genuinely saved.
  10. 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 we.
  11. Using a military term, "arm yourselves," indicates we are at war with the world, the flesh, and the devil.
  12. We cannot take this lightly.

 

II. LET US DO THE WILL OF GOD (4:2)

  1. 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).
  2. The apostle Paul said, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II Tim. 3:12).
  3. 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 15:20).
  4. God will surely judge the wicked (I Peter 4:5).
  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).
  6. You can say 'Amen" to that?
  7. 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).
  8. 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 spent.
  9. 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).
  10. 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)
  11. This verse reminds us that before they were saved, Peter's readers had been pagans, not Jews.
  12. 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 cancer.
  13. 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."
  14. Another article had some interviews with a few so-called "health care experts," all insisting Mr. Sheen needs to be put into a psychiatric hospital.
  15. 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.
  16. 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."
  17. James 4:14 says, "For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that."
  18. God has a perfect will for us and we should never settle for anything less than His perfect will.
  19. First Thessalonians 4:3 says, "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication."
  20. The will of God is that we "should abstain from fornication."
  21. But the will of the Gentiles is to walk "in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries" (I Peter 4:3).
  22. Americans are being brainwashed by rock music, television, and Hollywood into accepting "lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries."
  23. In fact, this filthy entertainment is shipped all over the world.
  24. 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.
  25. I say "thank God" for preachers like Bro. Gillmore.
  26. 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."
  27. 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 decency.

            "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.

            "Abominable idolatries" 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 immorality.

  28. "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.
  29. This is the will of God (cf. II Peter 3:9; I Tim. 2:4).
  30. Those who were preached to are now dead (4:6).  "For this cause" (4:6) refers to the judgment of God (4:5).
  31. 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.
  32. They suffered at the hands of wicked men in this life (cf. 4:4, 12-16), but now their suffering is over.

 

III. LET US SERVE GOD WITH THE ABILITY HE GIVES US

  1. 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."
  2. This brings glory to God (4:11b).
  3. Let us devote ourselves to fervent prayer (4:7).  "Sober" means serious about the things of God.
  4. Let us demonstrate the love of God (4:8).
  5. Proverbs 10:12 says, "Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins."
  6. Let us be hospitable (4:9). "Without grudging" (4:9).  We lose our blessing if we gripe or complain.
  7. Romans 12:13 says we should be "given to hospitality."
  8. One of the requirements for a pastor is that he be "given to hospitality" (I Tim. 3:2).
  9. Hebrews 13:2 says, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
  10. 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 10:40-42).
  11. We are to be good stewards (4:10).  This refers to our time and our talents as well as our money.
  12. 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 be encouraged.

 

CONCLUSION:

  1. Our motivation should be, "that God in all things may be glorified" (4:11).
  2. 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."
  3. This was the motive which actuated our Lord.  He said to His adversaries, "I seek not mine own glory" (John 8:50).
  4. When our Lord healed the sick, it was so that God would be glorified.
  5. When He raised Lazarus from the dead it was so that God would be glorified.
  6. 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."
  7. In John 14:13, our Lord said God is glorified when our prayers are answered.
  8. "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."


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