18 Armed With A Purpose 1 Peter 4 1:6


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Armed With A Purpose 1 Peter 4:1-6, Clark Tanner http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/armed-with-a-purpose-clark-tanner-sermon-on-discipleship-101797.asp

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18 Armed With A Purpose 1 Peter 4 1:6

  1. 1. Armed With A Purpose 1 Peter 4:1-6<br />Clark Tanner<br />http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/armed-with-a-purpose-clark-tanner-sermon-on-discipleship-101797.asp<br />
  2. 2. 1 Peter 4:1 NET So, since Christ suffered in the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same attitude, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin, 2 in that he spends the rest of his time on earth concerned about the will of God and not human desires. 3 For the time that has passed was sufficient for you to do what the non-Christians desire. You lived then in debauchery, evil desires, drunkenness, carousing, drinking bouts, and wanton idolatries. <br />
  3. 3. 4 So they are astonished when you do not rush with them into the same flood of wickedness, and they vilify you. 5 They will face a reckoning before Jesus Christ who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 Now it was for this very purpose that the gospel was preached to those who are now dead, so that though they were judged in the flesh by human standards they may live spiritually by God's standards.<br />
  4. 4. Seven score and seven years ago, a wounded Wisconsin soldier stood his ground on the Gettysburg battlefield and made a valiant stand before he was felled by a Confederate bullet.<br />First Lt. Alonzo Cushing, a West Point graduate, and his men of the Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery were defending the Union position on Cemetery Ridge against Pickett's Charge, a major Confederate thrust that could have turned the tide in the war.<br />
  5. 5. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was planning an invasion of the North; both sides knew how important this engagement was.<br />Cushing commanded about 110 men and six cannons. His small force along with reinforcements stood their ground under artillery bombardment as nearly 13,000 Confederate infantrymen waited to advance.<br />
  6. 6. “Clap your hands as fast as you can — that's as fast as the shells are coming in,” said Scott Hartwig, a historian with the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. “They were under terrific fire.”<br />“The bombardment lasted two hours. Cushing was wounded in the shoulder and groin, and his battery was left with two guns and no long-range ammunition. <br />
  7. 7. His stricken battery should have been withdrawn and replaced with reserve forces,” Hartwig said, “but Cushing shouted that he would take his guns to the front lines.”<br />Hartwig tells us, "What that means is, 'While I've got a man left to fight, I'll fight.'“ Within minutes, he was killed by a Confederate bullet to the head. Confederate soldiers advanced into the Union fire, but finally retreated with massive casualties. The South never recovered from the defeat.<br />
  8. 8. The soldier's bravery so inspired one Civil War history buff that he took up Cushing's cause by launching a Facebook page titled "Give Alonzo Cushing the Medal of Honor." Phil Shapiro, a 27-year-old Air Force captain, said such heroism displayed in one of the nation's most pivotal battles deserved recognition, even at this late date.<br />147 years later, Wis. Civil War soldier gets medal<br />AP – First Lt. Alonzo Cushing, shown in an undated photo provided by the Wisconsin Historical Society,<br />By DINESH RAMDE, Associated Press Writer <br />Wed May 19, 6:55 am ET<br />
  9. 9. SUFFERING IN THE FLESH<br />What incentive could be more compelling, what conviction could be more focus-sharpening, than the belief that there is nothing to go back to, indeed no possibility of going back, and the only available and open path is the one that lies ahead, and that it must be taken whatever is to be found around the next bend?<br />
  10. 10. Can’t you hear in Paul’s writing the urgency in staying the course, pressing on, contending for the faith with every bit of strength we have?Philippians 3:13 NET Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, 14with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.<br />
  11. 11. Isn’t this the picture we get of the Lord’s Christ in the Messianic prophesy of Isaiah 50when he writes:Isaiah 50:6 NET I offered my back to those who attacked, my jaws to those who tore out my beard; I did not hide my face from insults and spitting. 7But the sovereign LORD helps me, so I am not humiliated. For that reason I am steadfastly resolved; I know I will not be put to shame.<br />
  12. 12. And in Luke’s Gospel we find; <br />Luke 9:51 NET Now when the days drew near for him to be taken up, Jesus set out resolutely to go to Jerusalem.<br />The word Luke used the NET translates ‘resolutely’ means: <br />1to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix <br />2 to strengthen, make firm<br />3 to render constant, confirm, one’s mind (Thayer’s Greek Definitions)<br />
  13. 13. He was going to Jerusalem with full knowledge of what would happen there and He would not be turned to the left or the right.<br />You may remember that in the account of the transfiguration on the mountain. <br />
  14. 14. Luke 9:30 NET Then two men, Moses and Elijah, began talking with him. 31They appeared in glorious splendor and spoke about his departure that he was about to carry out at Jerusalem. <br />This was His task to perform and He was the one in full control; <br />no one else.<br />In Peter’s statements previous to this - the reason he begins with the word, ‘So’ is he has established that Christ won the ultimate victory on the cross of Calvary.<br />
  15. 15. He died, says Peter, once for all so that He might take us to God, and then He went to the most evil of the demonic spirits that rebelled in Heaven who had attempted to corrupt the God-ordained provision of marriage and through that corrupting <br />the future generations of mankind, spirits now kept in prison awaiting their destruction. <br />
  16. 16. He proclaimed to them His triumph over death and the grave and Satan and evil for all time and eternity, through going down into death to set men free from sin.<br />Peter then draws that thought to a conclusion by announcing that as a result of that victory Christ has been granted a place at the right hand of the Father, far above all angels and spiritual authorities and powers.<br />
  17. 17. Jesus Himself said this to His disciples after His resurrection when He commissioned them to spread the Gospel. He began with, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matthew 28:18b NET <br />Now Peter goes on, in what we call chapter 4, to remind his readers that this great victory was won as a result of suffering and dying. He used the term, ‘suffered in the flesh’, which means He died.<br />
  18. 18. We have to be very clear on that. It does not mean simply that He had it rough down here. It doesn’t mean He was mocked and ridiculed. It means He suffered to the point of dying, and let’s not forget that unlike we, He did not deserve to taste of death, since He was without sin and entirely pleasing to the Father.<br />
  19. 19. We have to be clear on that point because of what Peter says next. “…you also arm yourselves with the same attitude…”<br />Gee, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to just dance the wide step around this one?<br />
  20. 20. THE MAGNIFICENT PURPOSE OF CHRIST<br />Referring back to our previous installment in this series, and my comments a minute ago, we remember that Jesus went and proclaimed His triumph to the evil spirits now held in prison, who had committed the most heinous and perverted acts in an attempt to thwart God’s plan of salvation.<br />
  21. 21. When we fail to study this part of theology, or more specifically, angelology and the work and destiny of angels, we miss a large part of the significance of the purpose and plan of redemption.<br />While it is accurate for us to say that Christ died to pay for our sins and purchase us back for the Father, and that He rose again from the tomb to give us life, it is ultimately not ‘all about us’, as we in our audacious pride tend to think of it.<br />
  22. 22. Yes, we are important to God and He loved us so much that He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.<br />John 3:16b,c NET <br />And we know also that God does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. <br />2 Peter 3:9c NET<br />
  23. 23. And we know also that while we were still helpless, sinful enemies of God Christ died for us.Romans 5:8 NET But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.<br />
  24. 24. But on the entirely spiritual side of the equation was a rebellious Lucifer and his host of fallen angels waging a demonic war against the purposes of a Holy God and challenging His authority and power. The Prince of Peace went out to make peace between God and men, but more importantly He went out to bring Glory to the Father and crush the rebellion for eternity.<br />
  25. 25. When we are conscious of these things it adds a whole other dimension to His steadfast determination to go to Jerusalem and carry out the Father’s will.<br />And doesn’t it give fuller meaning to the words of Jesus in His High Priestly prayer in John 17:4 NET I glorified you on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me at your side with the glory I had with you before the world was created.<br />
  26. 26. It was all for the glory of God. His coming to earth through the virgin womb, living among men a life of absolute sinless devotion to His Father, shedding His blood in atonement for sin and purchasing our redemption, rising bodily from the tomb so that we too might have everlasting life, ascending back to Heaven and entering into His glory…it was all for the glory of God.<br />
  27. 27. SHUNNING THE DESIRE OF PAGANS<br />Peter has presented his readers, us, with a startling challenge in this portion and in response to the accomplishment of Christ. But before we talk about that, let’s look at this middle part in verses 3-5.<br />3For the time that has passed was sufficient for you to do what the non-Christians desire. You lived then in debauchery, evil desires, drunkenness, carousing, drinking bouts, and wanton idolatries.<br />
  28. 28. 4So they are astonished when you do not rush with them into the same flood of wickedness, and they vilify you. 5 They will face a reckoning before Jesus Christ who stands ready to judge the living and the dead.<br />It’s almost humorous, the way he puts this admonition to us. ‘Haven’t you had your fill? Aren’t the past years before you knew Christ enough time to have gotten in all the partying and debauchery you sought after?’<br />
  29. 29. The storming of the Bastille was a key event in the French Revolution. This prison fortress held many French prisoners, and when revolutionaries took the prison they began freeing prisoners.<br />One man, who had been held in the Bastille for many years, begged to be taken back to his cell. It had been so long since he had seen the sunlight that he could not stand the brightness. He preferred to return to his dungeon cell to die.<br />
  30. 30. How many men and women refuse the light of God's love, preferring to live and die in the dark bondage of sin?<br />Anyone calling themselves a Christian and continuing to find an interest in engaging in any of these things needs to reassess their commitment to Christ and in the light of the Biblical definition of a Christian, consider whether they really fit the bill at all.<br />
  31. 31. Debauchery means engaging in vices that give immediate although temporary gratification to the flesh. Evil desires are the inner desires that lure us to those acts of sensuality. <br />Drunkenness, carousing and drinking bouts are terms that are pretty self-explanatory. wanton idolatries would have to do with debauched worship of false gods. <br />
  32. 32. However let’s not get too boxed in here. This is a very short list of the vices of pagans, and it would be too easy for us to say ‘well, I don’t do those things so I’m ok’, when we might be far from ok.<br />Here’s the point, believer. Peter is talking about seriously, steadfastly, following the footsteps of Christ. <br />
  33. 33. So the bottom line is that anything, any person, any activity, any attitude, any interest, any pursuit that turns us from that course or slows us in our forward momentum needs to be a thing of the past!<br />And what he says next is the thing we can use as a sort of spiritual litmus test to show us where we stand in relation to our pagan friends around us.<br />
  34. 34. 4So they are astonished when you do not rush with them into the same flood of wickedness, and they vilify you. Do your peers malign you; that is, do they speak evil of you and even tell lies about you out of envy because you do not run with them into evil things?<br />Is there enough of a difference between you and them that they notice and respond badly? Or do you talk their talk and walk their walk because you don’t want to be uncomfortable or left out?<br />
  35. 35. I ask you to think about these things because Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit says, 5They will face a reckoning before Jesus Christ who stands ready to judge the living and the dead.And friend, if you are like them, then you are among those Peter is talking about in verse 5 rather than those he was talking about in verse 2.<br />Peter says to shun those desires, and live the rest of the time in your flesh as one who has died and ceased to be mastered by sin, and live for the will of God.<br />
  36. 36. This is what Paul was calling for in Romans 6:8 NET Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that since Christ has been raised from the dead, he is never going to die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 For the death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. <br />
  37. 37. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires,<br />So now we go back to Peter’s startling challenge. I chose my words carefully. Do you know the dictionary definition of ‘startling’? It means to cause provoking surprise, fright, wonder, or alarm. <br />(Encarta Dictionary)<br />THE PURPOSE OF THE TRUE BELIEVER<br />
  38. 38. And due to the fact that we pretty much live our lives avoiding trouble, popping medications at the first indication of physical malady or pain, being careful what we say so that we do not incur the anger of those who might disagree with us, it is a startling thing, it is an astonishing prospect, to be told that we are expected to willingly put ourselves in the position to suffer and to bear it patiently.<br />
  39. 39. But Peter’s words indicate more than a submission to persecution or a reconciliation of the mind to the fact and presence of suffering. He says “you also arm yourselves with the same attitude”.<br />Now there is just no avoiding this. I know our minds want to tell us that this must be a misinterpretation somewhere along the line. <br />
  40. 40. Peter must be saying, ‘you also arm yourselves with the same attitude’ and then somewhere in the following verses he gets to what this purpose is and it’s nothing as dreadful or threatening as suffering; especially to the point of death!<br />Nope. That’s exactly what he means so let’s deal with it.<br />The calling of the Holy Spirit to the Christian is to arm themselves with a willingness to die. <br />
  41. 41. The people who read Peter’s letter when he sent it out knew exactly what he meant by that, and it wasn’t taken by them as a symbol of self-depreciation or an attitude of humility. He meant that they were to be willing to physically suffer and die, many of them in just the same way Christ did, on a cross, which many of them did.That term ‘armed’ means exactly what it implies; to take up a weapon.<br />
  42. 42. As a weapon against the lure of the flesh, against the desire of the heathen, against a silly, senseless lifestyle that mimics the spirit of this world and abandons Godliness, arm yourself with the mindset that Christ had when He set His face like flint for Jerusalem.Why? Because ‘he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin’<br />
  43. 43. Now let’s be clear; Peter is not saying that by His own death Christ rested from sin. Peter talks about Christ suffering in the flesh, dying, then he turns to the believer and says that the person of flesh who has died has ceased from sin. Pretty straightforward in meaning, isn’t it? <br />If you’re dead you can’t sin.<br />
  44. 44. Now let’s be clear about another thing. It doesn’t mean that if you are a believer you will never sin. <br />We know that from 1 John. <br />We know that because we know ourselves. Peter did not mean that we will not sin again; he meant that we will not live a life of sin.<br />
  45. 45. That’s not enough though. We’ve armed ourselves with a purpose and that purpose cannot simply be to not sin as much. The purpose of the true believer must be much higher, much nobler than keeping his nose clean.It is not only to live the rest of our time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men. It is also, praise the Lord, so that we might live for the will of God.<br />
  46. 46. So let’s tie these thoughts together. We are to arm ourselves to do the will of God. We are to arm ourselves with the purpose with which Christ was armed; to do the will of God. We are to arm ourselves with the purpose of a willingness to die, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.<br />
  47. 47. So can it be God’s will that we suffer? YES! When that next joker challenges you with the old, ‘A loving God wouldn’t allow anyone to suffer’ line, you tell them that He would indeed, BECAUSE He is a loving God.<br />Because suffering in the flesh removes us from sin, and even suffering to death is easier on us than sin ever was. <br />
  48. 48. Sin is a hard taskmaster, my friend, and the same one who rejects God because he doesn’t think a loving God would allow suffering is the same one who even as he says it, is suffering sin’s wage and is headed toward sin’s goal, which is an eternity of unthinkable suffering.<br />It is a loving God who calls us to arm ourselves with the one weapon that defeats sin and accomplishes God’s perfect plan; a willingness, a mindset, a steadfast purpose, to suffer in the flesh.<br />
  49. 49. Martin Luther is quoted. <br />I couldn’t locate the source. “If we consider the greatness and the glory of the life we shall have when we have risen from the dead, it would not be difficult at all for us to bear the concerns of this world. If I believe the Word, I shall on the Last Day, after the sentence has been pronounced, not only gladly have suffered ordinary temptations, insults, and imprisonment, but I shall also say:<br />
  50. 50. ‘O, that I did not throw myself under the feet of all the godless for the sake of the great glory which I now see revealed and which has come to me through the merit of Christ!’”<br />
  51. 51. A FINAL ASSURANCE<br />Well finally, there is verse 6Now it was for this very purpose that the gospel was preached to those who are now dead, so that though they were judged in the flesh by human standards they may live spiritually by God's standards.<br />There are two ways in which this verse can be taken; <br />either one an encouragement.<br />
  52. 52. One is that Peter is referring to those Christians who have already died under persecution. That as an encouragement to his readers, many of them friends and family of the unjustly killed, he wants them to know that they had the gospel preached to them beforehand so that even though they were unjustly judged by men and put to death, yet they are alive in the spirit and with God. That is true and it is not a wrong way to apply these statements.<br />
  53. 53. The second way to apply what Peter has said is that in keeping with the theme of suffering and in continuation of what he has just said in verse 5, that He, Jesus Christ…stands ready to judge the living and the dead, the gospel therefore goes out to those who are spiritually dead for this purpose, that though their flesh must be judged, through the obedience of faith they may live in the spirit, <br />and this is God’s will.<br />
  54. 54. Believers in Christ, we have been called to take up Christ’s magnificent purpose. Though He was maligned and abused and rejected and crucified, He was obedient to the Father’s will, even to the point of death on a cross as Paul says to the saints in Philippi He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross!Philippians 2:8 NET <br />
  55. 55. And as a result of His willingness and the accomplishment of the Father’s will that He suffer, many sons have been brought to glory and the minions of the enemy have been triumphed over through Him.<br />Even so, we are called to be so changed, and so different from the spiritually dead around us that many of them will be moved to malign and abuse and ridicule and reject us.<br />
  56. 56. Because they do not understand spiritual things and So they are astonished when you do not rush with them into the same flood of wickedness, and silly, sinful living.<br />Why? <br />So that the magnificent purposes of God can be accomplished in our lives.<br />
  57. 57. Christians, even while they are doing the maligning and ridiculing we need to be telling them the gospel. Because like we, they live in fleshly bodies that are under the curse and the judgment against sin and must die. But some of them, if we are willing to suffer and are faithful to tell them the good news, after being judged in the flesh as men, will yet live in the spirit.<br />And this is the will of God.<br />
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