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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 11 - VICTORY AND SERVICE (1 PETER 4:1-11)

INTRODUCTION: THIS WEEK OUR LESSON COVERS 1 PETER 4:1-11. LAST WEEK
OUR TEXT FINISHED UP WITH 1 PETER 3:18-22.  WE DID NOT HAVE TIME TO
DISCUSS IT--AND WE WILL NOT DISCUSS IT TODAY, BUT IT SETS THE BASIS
FOR THE BEGINNING OF OUR STUDY TODAY, SO LETS LOOK AT IT. LETS READ
IT STARTING WITH v. 18 AND THEN SKIPPING OVER TO THE LAST LINE OF
v. 21, "IT [WATER OF BAPTISM] SAVES YOU BY THE RESURRECTION OF
JESUS CHRIST, WHO HAS GONE INTO HEAVEN AND IS AT GOD'S RIGHT HAND--
WITH ANGELS, AUTHORITIES AND POWERS IN SUBMISSION TO HIM."

--WHAT A PROMISE!  WHAT A REMINDER!  SO THIS WEEK PETER STARTS OUT
WITH A "THEREFORE" THAT FOLLOWS THIS.  LETS LOOK AT IT.

I. DEATH TO SIN

     A. READ 1PET 4:1.

     B. HOW MUCH DID JESUS SUFFER? TO WHAT EXTENT DID HE SUFFER?
(TO DEATH)

     C. WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS FOR US TO ARM OURSELVES WITH THE
SAME MIND OR ATTITUDE? 
          1. TO BE WILLING TO SUFFER TO DEATH?

     D. NOW LETS LOOK AT THE LAST PHRASE:  
          1. DOES THIS MEAN THAT ANYONE WHO HAS SUFFERED
PERSECUTION, ESPECIALLY PHYSICAL HARM, NO LONGER SINS? 

          2. DOES IT MEAN THAT IF WE HAVE NOT SUFFERED WE STILL
SIN?

          3. DOES IT MEAN THAT IF WE THINK ABOUT WHAT CHRIST
SUFFERED BECAUSE OF OUR SINS, THAT WE WILL NO LONGER WANT TO SIN?

(I THINK THAT WHEN PETER SAID "HE WHO HAS SUFFERED IN HIS BODY IS
DONE WITH SIN" HE MEANT TO SAY THAT WHEN YOU ARE DEAD YOU WON'T BE
SINNING ANYMORE.  
          --DOES THAT GIVE YOU COMFORT?

THEN REMEMBER THAT PETER SAYS THAT BAPTISM SYMBOLIZES OUR
ACCEPTANCE OF JESUS' DEATH (3:21).  SO WHEN PETER SAYS HAVE THIS
ATTITUDE, HE MEANS THAT ATTITUDE THAT OUR BAPTISM MAKES US DEAD TO
SIN--JUST AS JESUS' DEATH MEANT THAT HE OVERCAME SIN--AND NOW LIVES
FOR US!)
     --SO THE VICTORY IS YOURS!

     E. READ v. 2-3.  WE MIGHT CONCLUDE FROM WHAT WE JUST DISCUSSED
THAT JESUS' VICTORY ON THE CROSS GIVES US VICTORY OVER SINS WITHOUT
ACTUALLY LEAVING THE SIN BEHIND.  
          1. WHAT DOES PETER SAY ABOUT THAT HERE?

          2. DO WE REALLY LEAVE THE SIN BEHIND?  AND IF SO, WHY?
          3. WHAT SHOULD BE THE FOCUS OF OUR LIFE? 
(I THINK HE TELLS US THAT WE SHOULD REALLY LEAVE THE SIN BEHIND FOR
A COUPLE OF REASONS.  FIRST, OUR DESIRE (OUR ATTITUDE) IS ON THE
WILL OF GOD AND NOT EVIL HUMAN DESIRES.  SECOND, HE SEEMS TO SAY WE
HAVE BEEN THROUGH THE EVIL HUMAN DESIRES ROUTINE AND SHOULD BE GLAD
TO GET OUT.)

          4. WHAT IF YOU HAVEN'T BEEN THROUGH THAT KIND OF STUFF? 
WHAT IF YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN IN THE CHURCH? (PETER IS TALKING TO
FORMER PAGANS.  IF WE ARE NOT FORMER PAGANS, WE SHOULD TAKE THEIR
WORD FOR IT, THAT IT IS NOT THE BEST ROUTE TO GO.)

II. REACTION OF THE WICKED

     A. READ v. 4-5.

     B. WHAT IS THE REACTION OF FORMER FRIENDS TO OUR CONVERSION?
(THEY THINK IT IS STRANGE. AND THEY HEAP ABUSE ON US.)

     C. HOW DO WE HANDLE THAT ABUSE?

     D. WHAT DOES PETER SUGGEST THAT WE KEEP IN MIND TO BE ABLE TO
WITHSTAND THIS ABUSE? 

(THE FORMER FRIENDS ARE JUDGING US, FINDING US "STRANGE" AND
PUNISHING US WITH ABUSE.  BUT WE NEED TO KEEP IN MIND THAT THERE IS
A GREATER JUDGE!)

     E. WE HEAR THE TERM, "VICTIMLESS CRIME" OR MORE POPULAR,
"CONSENTING ADULTS."  ARE THERE NO VICTIMS?  DOES CONSENT REALLY
MAKE IT "OK?" (THERE ARE VICTIMS.  THOSE WHO REFUSE TO DO THESE
THINGS ARE THE VICTIMS OF ABUSE!  THEY GIVE YOU A HARD TIME ABOUT
BEING HOLY.)

     F. READ v. 6. IS PETER TELLING US TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE
DEAD? (IT WAS PREACHED TO THEM WHEN THEY WERE ALIVE.)

     G. WHY DOES PETER PUT THIS IN HERE AND WHY DOES HE SPEAK OF
THE JUDGMENT OF MEN "IN REGARD TO THE BODY?" (I THINK HIS POINT IS
TWOFOLD:
          1. THAT THERE WILL BE A JUDGMENT BEYOUND THIS LIFE;

          2. THAT EVEN IF WE DIE--AND OUR PAGAN FRIENDS HAVE BEEN
GIVING US A HARD TIME BECAUSE OF OUR CHANGE OF HEART, THAT THE FACT
OF DEATH DOES NOT SEPARATE US FROM THE HOPE OF LIFE ETERNAL. THE
FACT THAT WE DIED-EVEN WHILE BEING ABUSED BY THEM-DOESN'T MEAN THAT
THEY ARE RIGHT THAT IT IS JUST THIS LIFE THAT YOU HAVE TO BE
CONCERNED ABOUT.)

     H. LETS FINISH UP THIS IDEA BY READING v. 7.
          1. WHY, OF ALL THINGS, DO YOU THINK PETER MENTIONS OUR
PRAYERS? (HE IS INDICATING THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS CONNECTION TO
GOD.  THE END OF THINGS IS NEAR, KEEP YOUR LINE OF COMMUNICATION TO
GOD CLEAR.)

III. HOW WE TREAT OTHERS

     A. READ v. 8-9. "AGAPE" IS THE GREEK WORD USED HERE FOR LOVE.
LOVE EACH OTHER FERVENTLY, CONSTANTLY. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
     
          1. HOW DOES THIS ATTITUDE "COVER A MULTITUDE OF SINS?"
          
          2. HAVE YOU EVER HAD ANY EXPERIENCE WITH THIS? 
               (a.IF YOU DO NOT KNOW SOMEONE VERY WELL, YOU ARE
MORE APT TO TAKE OFFENSE.  BUT IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE WELL, OR KNOW
THAT THEIR ATTITUDE TOWARDS YOU IS LOVING, YOU KNOW THAT THEY WOULD
NOT BE TRYING TO HURT YOU.
               b. IF YOU LOVE SOMEONE, YOU WILL NOT DELIGHT IN
EXPOSING THEIR FAULTS AND THEIR SINS.)

     B. HOW IS IT THAT PETER CAN TELL US TO LOVE EACH OTHER?  WOULD
THIS WORK IN ANY OTHER CONTEXT?  I JUST FIND ANOTHER PERSON AND SAY
TO YOU, "LOVE HIM?" (THE KEY TO THIS GOES BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF
OUR LESSON.  BECAUSE JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS--DIED FOR US--KEEPING
THAT ATTITUDE IN MIND NATURALLY CREATES THIS CARE FOR OTHERS.)

     C. IN v.9 HE TELLS US TO BE HOSPITABLE TO OTHERS WITHOUT
GRUMBLING.  CAN YOU BE HOSPITABLE AND GRUMBLE TOO?

     D. READ v. 10.  THE KJV AND NKJV USE THE TERM "STEWARDS" THAT
WE ARE STEWARDS OF THESE GIFTS OF GRACE.

     E. WHAT DO YOU THINK THESE "GIFTS" COULD BE? (BY THE WAY, THE
WORD "GIFT" IS TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK WORD "CHARISMA.") (A
SPIRITUAL ENDOWMENT.)
          1. DOES THIS MEAN THAT EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE GIFT?
          2. DOES THAT THEN MEAN THAT EACH ONE OF US SHOULD BE
LOOKING TO USE THAT GIFT TO HELP OTHERS IN THE CHURCH?

          3. IS THAT A CALL FOR EVERYONE IN THE CHURCH TO BE
WORKING TO HELP EACH OTHER?

     F. LAST, LET READ v. 11.
          1. DO YOU THINK THIS IS REFERRING TO EVERYDAY SPEECH?
(NO. THIS IS TEACHING OR PREACHING THE WORD OF GOD.)

          2. WHAT DOES IT MEAN "HE SHOULD DO IT AS ONE SPEAKING THE
VERY WORDS OF GOD?" (1) IT SEEMS THAT THEY SHOULD STICK TO THE
BIBLE, AND NOT HUMAN OPINION AND 2) THEY SHOULD SEEK THE AID OF THE
HS TO ENSURE THAT GOD'S WORDS ARE SPOKEN.)

          3. IF WE SERVE--USING THE GIFT(S) THAT WE HAVE--HOW DO WE
DO IT WITH THE STRENGTH GOD PROVIDES? (WE DON'T JUST ROLL UP OUR
SLEEVES AND DO IT.  WE FIRST LOOK TO THE LORD FOR GUIDANCE FROM THE
VERY BEGINNING OF THE MINISTRY.)

          4. AND WHAT IS THE RESULT OF ENSURING THAT THE TEACHING
IS BASED ON THE WORDS OF GOD AND LOOKING TO THE LORD FOR GUIDANCE
IN WHAT WE DO? (THAT GOD GETS THE GLORY FOR IT.  THAT HE IS
PRAISED!)

IV. NEXT WEEK: 1PETER 4:12-19 "SUFFERING AND THE CHRISTIAN."
DANCE IN WHAT WE DO? (THAT GOD GETS THE GLORY FOR IT. THAT HE IS PRAISED!) IV. NEXT WEEK: 1PETER 4:12-19 "SUFFERING AND THE CHRISTIAN."