8/14/11 1 Peter 4:1-8
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
MAKE YOUR TIME HERE COUNT.
1 Peter 4:1-8
Peter had a lot to say about time (1:5, 11, 17, 20; 4:2–3, 17; 5:6). He knew he didn’t have a lot of it left in this world. Jesus had predicted Peter would not die a peaceful death (John 21:18–19; 2 Peter 1:12-14). When we realize we have a limited shelf-life, we’ll try hard to make the best use of our time here. If we know Jesus is coming, we’ll want to be ready. Whether Jesus arrives first, or death comes first, we want to make our time count for eternity.
How does suffering help us be “done with sin” (4:1; Romans 6:5-7)?
If we do what God wants, we’ll invest the time we have left here in satisfying activities that will show benefits through eternity. If we give in to society’s priorities, we’ll waste the time we have left here and regret it when we stand before Jesus.
What is “debauchery” (4:3)?
The things God wants from us don’t suck all the fun out of life. God has loaded what He wants with blessings. When we do what He wants, our lives are attractive to outsiders. God wants unselfishness and generosity that sacrifices. When we do that, we’ll really be helping a lot of people.
Why do nonbelievers think it’s strange that we don’t join in with them (4:4)?
Unsaved people don’t think it’s strange when people wreck their bodies, destroy their homes, and ruin their lives by pursuing one sinful pastime after another.
Why do people without Jesus verbally abuse Christians for not fitting in (4:4)?
We have to be patient with people who don’t know about Jesus. We don’t have to agree with their lifestyles or take part in them. These people have limited perspective (2 Corinthians 4:3–4). They can’t appreciate what Jesus has to offer (Ephesians 2:1). Our contact with them is important. We have what they need. When they abuse us, we can explain the truth to them (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
How does our limited “shelf-life” here lend a sense of urgency (4:5)?
“Those who are now dead” means people who had heard the news about Jesus before they died. They may have been Christians that court systems in this life “judged” and executed. While their bodies have died, the Spirit reverses their sentence. He keeps their souls alive even through death. He brings all His people back to life one day, if the wording means the same as in 3:18. God wants us to only reach out to the living. Once people die, their chances to depend on Jesus are over (Hebrews 9:27).
Who are “those who are now dead” (4:6)?
m People from the afterlife that Jesus went and preached to after He
m People who are spiritually “dead in sin”
m People who heard and believed the gospel but has since died
m People who died without hearing and believing the gospel
“Keep your minds clear so you can pray” (4:7) had to have special meaning to Peter. He went to sleep when Jesus asked him to stay awake and pray (Mark 14:37). Christians for the first 100 years after Jesus expected Him to return in their lifetimes (Romans 13:12; 1 John 2:18). The fact that He didn’t return doesn’t invalidate His promise (2 Peter 3; Revelation 22:20).
How could Peter say “the end of all things is near” (4:7)?
Christian love (4:8) is something we have to work at, just the way an athlete works to be better. Christian love is not about loving feelings, though that may be part of it. It’s a decision we make to do considerate, unwarranted things. Christians work to love people they don’t like. Jesus’ kind of love doesn’t condone sin. If we love somebody, it makes us sad to see them involved in sin and hurt themselves and others. Rather, real love covers sin, Peter says. That means we don’t use the sensitive information we know about other people as fuel for gossip. We work to help that person in private (James 5:20).
How does love cover sins (4:8)?
No matter how exemplary our conduct, it won’t exempt us from have enemies of Jesus pick on us. We can still bring honor to Jesus. Suffering tends to focus us on the important things in life, like being thoughtful people who pray for those with real needs and for the Lord’s Work.
1. Give some examples of how suffering helps to make our sinful habits and binges look less attractive?
2. How do we balance humble honesty about our sin and naïve transparency to the general public about our failings?
3. How does this section connect to Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43? What’s the connection to Joel 3:12-16?