Our text is 1 Pet 4:1-11. Peter said “Live the rest of your time in the flesh… to the will of God [1 Pet 4:2]. To do this you must:
Cease from sin – 1 Pet 4:1-4 – 1 “arm yourselves with the same mind.” In Rom 6:11 this is called dead reckoning. “He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” Rom 6:6-13 we are crucified with him. Rom 8:13 through the Spirit we mortify the deeds of the body. Col 3:3, 5 ye are dead, mortify therefore your members. So this suffering in the flesh isn’t that you have had enough hangovers, for instance. It is the same mind as Christ. That is, you have suffered the painful death of the cross. You have mortified the deeds of the body. When you do that, you are done with those sins. You have “ceased from sin.”
1 Pet 4:2 “no longer” – there is a day of repentance that puts a sin behind you once and for all. 2 Cor 7:10 says “godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of.” That is, a person doesn’t turn back to the sin from which God saved him after he has repented of it. Instead, he “should live the rest of his time in the flesh… to the will of God.” 2 Pet 2:20 has a doctrinal application that we will study when we get there. Yet, practically speaking, when a person has turned from a certain sin through Jesus, if he goes back to it again, he’s going to have a worse time dealing with that sin than he did the first time he repented.
1 Pet 4:3 “the time past of our life” – again Peter states that you keep the sin that you did in the past. It should never come up again. You can never undo the past, but you can walk away from it.
“May suffice us” – (may) if we have a past, what we did in the past was enough for us.
“The will of the Gentiles” – Eph 4:17-19 shows you how Gentiles walk in the vanity of their mind. Their understanding is darkened, they are alienated from the life of God, they are ignorant, their hearts are blind, they are past feeling, they are given over to lasciviousness. Some of us were there.
We “walked in lasciviousness, lusts, …” Eph 5:5-12 but today you are to walk as children of light and leave that stuff alone. Eph 5:12 it’s a “shame to even speak of those things,” which is exactly what you’re being exposed to on social media. The will of the Gentiles is on full display there and you delight in it. You ought to be ashamed.
1 Pet 4:4 “they think it strange that ye run not with them” – your old buddies can’t figure out why your aren’t hanging out with them any more. Joel Haynes said that when he returned from youth camp, where God really got ahold of his heart, his old buddies said, “They didn’t get to you did they?” He said, “Yes, they did.” Years later, when he returned from Bible college and was preaching, one of his old friends said, “Joel, we should have all followed you.” The hard part for you when you break off with the sinners of your past is that they will speak “evil of you.” Don’t take it personally. Their reaction is as common as mosquitoes after rain [Prov 29:27].
Answer to God – 1 Pet 4:5-6 – 5 “who shall give account… judge quick and the dead.” Acts 10:42. We all have to give account to Jesus; he’s the judge. So, it doesn’t make any difference that “they” speak evil of you. God is the judge and he will judge both them and us.
1 Pet 4:6 “For for this cause” – that is, Jesus will judge the quick, those who have been quickened [Eph 2:1, 1 Pet 3:18], and the dead, those who have not been quickened. 2 Tim 4:1 says that Jesus shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom. He will judge the quick at his appearing [Rom 14:10] and he will judge the dead at his kingdom [Jn 5:28-29; Dan 12:2].
Therefore “was the gospel preached also to them that are dead” – in 1 Pet 3:19, while Jesus was in the lower parts of the earth, he preached to the spirits in prison. These spirits were in hell. The dead to whom he also preached were the righteous, according to their judgment in the flesh (they had done good), who were held in Abraham’s bosom. Jesus preached the gospel to them because they were about to be raised up to heaven with him [Eph 4:8-10], where they now live according to God in the spirit.
Watch unto prayer – 1 Pet 4:7 – “the end… is at hand.” Peter expected, like Paul, that the Lord would return very soon. He didn’t. Yet, this phrase alerts us that there are some tribulation applications in the doctrine of Peter’s epistles. Therefore, he exhorted them to be sober and to watch unto prayer [Lk 21:36]. Prayer is vital to your walk with God.
Have fervent charity – 1 Pet 4:8 – “have fervent charity.” Jn 13:34; Col 3:14. “Charity shall cover the multitude of sins” – Prov 10:12; 17:9; sin is covered when we don’t tell others about the transgression. And the sins are covered when we lovingly try to convert the sinner from the error of his ways [Jas 5:20]. Charity does not annul the need for church discipline.
Use hospitality – 1 Pet 4:9 – “use hospitality… without grudging.” Hospitality is warm, hearty friendliness, and favor toward others; and it’s your generous treatment and reception of guests. To use hospitality without grudging means you are not unwilling, reluctant, or sparing in your hospitality. In other words, you are looking for opportunities to be hospitable. Rom 12:13 puts it this way. We are to be “given to hospitality.”
Minister your gift to others – 1 Pet 4:10 – “every man hath… the gift… grace.” Rom 12:4-8 by the grace of God we are each given a gift. We are to minister our gifts to one another as stewards of the manifold (exhibited or appearing in divers times or in various ways) grace of God. We are not to keep our gift to ourselves; we are to be joined in the body [Eph 4:11-16] and supply others as others supply us.
Speak as the oracles of God – 1 Pet 4:11 – “oracles.” Find out what God says and answer with that, not with your opinion or feeing or view on the matter. God will show you specifically what the answer is to the question or to the concern. You can’t go wrong with that.
“Minister” with the ability that God giveth. The temptation for most men is to minister above the ability which God giveth, for their own glory. The temptation for others is to minister at less than the ability which God giveth, so they don’t have to commit. When you minister as of the ability which God giveth, God gets the glory. Plus, if you do it with his ability then you will do it exactly like he wants. See Bezaleel and Aholiab in Ex 31:1-11.
Conclusion: Peter gives these simple instructions to help you understand how to live the rest of your life to the will of God. If you will follow these instructions, you will fulfill his will for your life and be rewarded well at your judgment before Christ.