In chapter 4 of this precious book of 1st Peter, the Big Lovable Fisherman is going to tell us a little more of what we can expect to encounter if we follow Christ and live the lifestyle befitting a servant of God.
And he speaks not only from the wisdom of understanding the Word of God, but with the wisdom obtained through experience itself, which we could call "street wise".
It is also remarkable how much Peter and Paul thought alike, i.e. were like minded.
But then it isn't remarkable because they were both scholars of the Word of God and therefore both had the like mind of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 4:1
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
Paul would say in Ephesians 6:11 to "Put on the whole armor of God" and in Philip. 2:5 to "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus".
Of course one never totally ceases from sinning as long as one is in the flesh, but if he follows Jesus Christ and arms himself with His mind, His word, then he will cease from his former sinful ways. (Oh, please! You ladies didn't think this just applied to men, did you?)
1 Peter 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
If you doubt this, then read the Book of Ecclesiastes and see what the wisest man who ever lived [other than Christ] had to say about it.
Peter says to do the "will of God".
Wouldn't you think you are going to have to know the will of God in order to do the will of God?
Well, it should come as no mystery [though it is to some] that the will of God is contained in His oracles, His word.
So open the "little book" and read what God would have you do rather than listening to men.
You see, men are going to want you to come to church every week and tithe to them.
And for your faithful service to them [which they will say is to God] they will give you some baby formula, along with melba toast and some morsels and crumbs of truth, and you'll never grow up to be a mature Christian.
And so the words of the apostle Paul will come to pass once again for the umpteenth time.
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
1 Pet. 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
(You seem like such a nice person to me. I can hardly believe you did all those things! You say you drank your lifetime supply of beer early, before age 26? Amazing!)
What did all your "friends" say when you stopped the revellings, and parties, and the excess of wine, and chasing other party animals?
1 Pet. 4:4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:
But remember one thing from our previous studies.
They may speak evil of you, but they will notice your change, and your new behavior in Christ will have planted a seed in their minds, without saying a word!
 Who shall give account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
Let the gospel armor do it's thing, and know that they will have to give account to Him.
 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
For the cause of judging, i.e. for the cause of salvation the gospel was preached also to them that are "dead".
Remember 1 Pet. 3:19-20?
Where was Christ during the 3 days and 3 nights following His crucifixion?
He was preaching to the "dead", those who have lived and died in the flesh, but are certainly alive in their spiritual bodies.
Let's talk about "dead", for there is much misunderstanding concerning this subject.
We discovered that NO ONE is dead in the sense that they do not exist in either a flesh body or a spiritual body.
Even Satan himself is alive and well and living in heaven, behind Jesus (Mat. 16:13, Mk. 8:33, Lk. 4:8), in a location where he is restrained by Michael.
So Satan is not dead.
There are 2 deaths, you know, or didn't you KNOW?
There is the first death, which is the passing away of the flesh body.
This happens to everyone as it is written in Hebrews.
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
The death of the soul is the second death and as we already documented, all who will experience the second death will do so at the same time when they march into the lake of fire to perish for ever and ever.
It is the second death that you need to be concerned with.
It is reconciliation to God and salvation from the second death that is what the Bible is all about!
Here are words of Jesus Christ Himself:
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
And the good news is: If you are one of God's elect and are part of the first resurrection [raising to or granting of eternal life] then you are exempt from the second death.
The first resurrection occurs at Christ's second coming.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
1 Thes. 4:17 talks about the "dead in Christ".
Who are they?
They are simply people who have died a flesh death and who believed in Jesus Christ.
Paul goes to great length in 1 Thes. 4:13-18 to show where they are.
They are alive and well and living with Jesus Christ in their spiritual bodies and will come with Him when He returns.
That's comforting to know, as Paul says in verse 18. So the "dead in Christ" aren't even "dead", are they?
They just died the first death, The shadow death we learned about in the 23rd Psalm, i.e. the death of our flesh and blood bodies.
They will not die the second one.
But it says in verse 17 that the "dead in Christ" will "rise" first?
Yes, the word "rise" means to "appear" first, not come up out of the ground or some other silly explanation.
Paul is talking about we who are still in flesh bodies when Christ returns with the saints [the dead in Christ who are with Him].
As he explains in 1 Cor. 15 when the last trump [the 7th one] sounds we who are alive and remain will not experience death [sleep] in the same manner as is common to men, but we will instantly be changed into our "breath of life" bodies, our "air bodies", i.e. our spiritual bodies.
The saints coming with Christ are all ready in their spiritual bodies, so we can't precede them in being raised to a spiritual body, can we?
It only makes perfect common sense or shall we say!
The other common use of "dead" in the Bible is in referring to those who are subject to judgment whereby the sentence could be the second death.
Therefore, they are spiritually "dead", which means they have no life [eternal], i.e. they still have a mortal soul which could die the second death.
So in Rev. 20:12 when the "dead" stand before God for judgment, they are alive and well and living in spiritual bodies, and so can "stand".
But they have no "life" eternal unless God grants it to them at that time.
Note: For further study and enlightenment on the subject of "dead", refer to appendix 139 in the Companion Bible, or do an independent study on the Greek word "nekros".
1 Peter 4:7
But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
Therefore, be sober minded and watch unto prayer, for the events of this final generation are quickly coming to a close.
Paul also tells us to watch and be sober:
1 Thes. 5:6
Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
Watch, watchmen, watch!
The Book of Peter was written to God's elect, even the watchmen of the final generation, some of whom get so busy "watching" they forget something of great importance.
Peter has just told us that because "the end of all things is at hand" we need to get our act together and be sober, sober minded, and watchful unto prayer, but then for goodness sakes, above all things, be kind and gentle and love another.
The word translated "charity" is: agape, Greek #26: love, i.e. affection or benevolence, and is most often rendered "love" except in 1 Cor. and the books of Peter and Timothy where it is usually rendered "charity".1 Pet. 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
Personal Note: I always force my mind to convert the word "charity" to "love" in the New Testament because my concept of charity has been corrupted by The United Way. Please don't be offended if you're a big contributor. It's not that they don't do some good things, like provide a $400,000 per year benefits package to their head honcho, but asking businesses to give "pep talks" and then solicit payroll deduction charitable contributions somehow loses the concept of what charity is all about, which is "giving" not "taking". (Maybe it's just me!)
Nevertheless, we all know that flesh is sinful, don't we?
Well, Peter is saying that if a person has a lot of love in his or her heart, that love will overshadow many of the sins and weaknesses of the flesh.
And the same applies to a group or a church, such as the body of Christ.
Where there is the love of Christ, there is patience and sacrifice and understanding, which is why Love is a commandment [precept] of Jesus Christ for each one of us.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Where there is love there is voluntary compliance to the natural laws of God!
If you love your spouse you will not cheat on him or her.
Because you DON'T WANT TO be unfaithful.
If you love your boss you won't steal from him or her or from the company.
Again, because you don't want to cause harm or injury to your boss or company!
Can you force people to obey the command not to steal from the company?
Yes you can.
You can have cameras and security measures in place to force compliance.
But if it is not in a person's heart not to steal, you must always have the cameras turned on, because when you turn them off, there goes a three-hole punch or maybe a laptop computer.
Now, since love is far more powerful than law and the enforcement of law, it cannot therefore be brought into subjection by either of the lesser two.
In other words, you cannot make a law that says you will love your boss and by that decree make it so, nor can you force someone to love you.
Love must come from within a person and be generated from their "free will", their "own" desire to love.
Now you know the problem our Father has with His children who were all created with "free will".
He can't [read "won't" if you have a problem with "can't", though "can't" is correct] force His children to love Him anymore than you can force your children or your employees to love you.
If you understand that and think about it, you can begin the see the purpose and the incredible wisdom of this flesh age whereby in sinful vessels that do sin we can experience the love and grace of our Father and grow to love Him ever so much that our hearts cannot contain the pouring out.
And so it is that there is nothing so important and powerful and wonderful as love.
Consider the perspective in which the apostle Paul placed it, in what has come to be known as the "love chapter" in 1 Cor. 13.
1 Cor. 13:1-4
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
1 Cor. 13:13
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Charity [love] does not expect anything in return, neither gain nor recognition.
Would you like to test your gift of charity?
Do something "good" for someone [other than yourself] for each of the next 7 days.
That's not too difficult, is it?
But here's the catch: DO NOT under any circumstances let anyone, including the recipient of your kindness, know about it! Got it?
That means NEVER! (Few can pass this test.)
Let's return to Peter's wise instructions concerning our attitudes.
1 Pet. 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
They are the same as whiners.
Peter says DON'T DO IT!
 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
We all have different gifts, abilities and talents, etc.
Nevertheless, let's put our own gifts, the things we know we are good at, to good use as our Father would have us do.
After all, He gave them to us.
James 1:17 says "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
Here's an example of how to use a gift from God as a good steward.
1 Pet. 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Most of the preachers in Christianity today teach the traditions of men which people perceive as truth, when they are not even close!
Thus the many are deceived.
My opinion, you say?
No, it is the #1 sign of the times, the first warning given by Jesus Christ when asked by His followers what will it be like just prior to His second advent.
Read it for yourself:
Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?
 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:
 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
They come in His name, as representatives of Jesus Christ, saying that Jesus is Lord, Jesus is the Messiah, but then they teach for doctrine the traditional commandments of men and NOT the oracles of God!
And how does Jesus view their churchianity?
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Of course not!
They believe it's the truth.
That's what deception is!
Again, it is the many, the multitudes, who follow traditional churchianity.
I know this is hard for some to understand concerning their traditions, but even when Christ confronts them at His return, here's is what He says:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
We prophesied about your return and condemned immorality and boycotted Disney products and took up collections for this missionary and that missionary and had bake sales and gave non-perishable food items to the shelters for the homeless.
How can you say those things are bad?
 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Whenever people hear from a true servant of God who teaches the oracles of God, they are astonished, just as they were at Christ's doctrine!
They've never heard the oracles of God.
Remember what we just read?
Those who claim to represent Him teach for doctrine the commandments of men.
Ever hear of the rapture theory?
How about Easter sunrise services?
How about the wicked are going to be tortured with fire for ever and ever?
How about Adam and Eve ate an apple?
How about everyone but a Jew is a gentile?
How about the law was done away with?
How about the mark of the beast is a tattoo or a computer chip?
How about you need to be baptized in this name or that name?
And on and on it goes!
All traditions of men without any oracles of God to back them up!
Here is what Jesus said to some main stream religious leaders who had just ask Him a question any preacher should be able to answer: Do angels marry?
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
They were too busy having church services and collecting tithes to find time to study and teach the scriptures!
So Christ gave them the simple, direct answer from the oracles of God, right in front of the multitudes who were astonished at His doctrine!
And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.
You mean there are no female angels?"
Finally, Peter directs us to remember that whether we are preaching the oracles of God or serving in any other capacity to give all the glory and the credit to Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever, because it is He who has made all things possible!
Amen.1 Pet. 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
We were instructed that if we are to teach the Word of God it had better be directly from the oracles [scriptures] of God and not from the traditions of men.
Furthermore, if we are going to follow Christ then we will certainly suffer persecutions, and trials, and tribulations, which in reality are tests of our faith.
Peter explains that we should expect to be tried.
1 Peter 4:12
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
They pray and study and plow the field and plant seeds and then all of a sudden... Wham, bam, their little world is shattered by some unforeseen event and they come "unglued", or they find themselves in the midst of a major fiery trial.
And what is the first thing they do?
They say to themselves, "Wait a minute, am I not one of God's elect?
How can this be happening to me?"
And so they immediately develop JS, which is the "Job Syndrome", which is a state of mind where an inflicted saint walks around mumbling "Woe is me"!
But Peter, who witnessed the sufferings of Jesus Christ, is saying don't think it is an unusual thing to be tried or even tossed into a fiery furnace.
Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?
Life was good for them.
Things were going great that morning when they got up and went to work in metropolitan Babylon.
All of sudden... Wham, bam, they were tossed into a literal fiery furnace.
And their handling of their fiery trial has got to be one of the all time greatest displays of faith of God's servants ever recorded, and there was not the slightest hint of a "woe is me" in their discourse with Nebuchanezzar, the king of Babylon, who was about to give them each a bad hair day.
Here is what they said right after Nebo the Great told them of their sizzling fate:
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
Do you know who you are dealing with here?
We're God's kids!
And He's certainly able to deliver us out of your puny oven!"
Now notice that while they were right in the midst of their trial, standing in the fire, that Nebuchadnezzar and his counselors NOTICED THAT CHRIST WAS WITH THEM!
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
And they walked about in the midst of the fire, singing hymns to God and blessing the Lord. Azariah [Abednego] stood still and uttered this prayer; in the midst of the fire he opened his mouth and said,
"Blessed are you, Lord God of our forefathers, and worthy of praise!"
So what do we learn from this example?
Exactly what Peter has told us in this book!
Those around us will notice that Christ is with us when we are joyous and happy singing while suffering persecutions and trials and the world around us is aflame with fire.
They will say "How is it that you can be so positive?"
Tell them that although you are taking a test [being tried] you have been given the Book with all the answers in it, and so there is no way you can fail and not come through it!
Do you think Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be rewarded for passing their fiery test of faith?
Oh, how precious it is to our Father, and how encouraging it is to us in these last days.
Remember what Peter said back in chapter 1?
1 Peter 1:7
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
And so will you!
So if you've developed JS, just stop saying "Woe is me" and start saying "Thank you Jesus". Peter says it in the very next verse.
Rejoice in your sufferings!
1 Pet. 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
Here's what happened to me... and then I looked that sucker right in the eye and took the two-edged sword and slit that ole dragon's throat right through his lying Adam's Apple and said, 'Thank you Jesus'!"
You see, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had on "coats that were not affected by the fire", which is symbolic of what the apostle Paul would later call the "armor of God", which of course is the Holy Spirit.
And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Can you pay for it by pledging $30 per month to some ministry, or by regularly attending church services or mass?
There is only one way to get the shield of faith.
Study the Word of God!
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
1 Pet. 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
And people will see that the spirit of God rests upon you... even though they will speak evil of you and of God.
You are doing the will of God.
And you know something?
Nebuchadnezzar, yes the one who threw Shadrach and company into the fiery furnace, was eventually converted!
And don't think for one minute that seeing the "behavior", the displays of faith, of Daniel and his friends didn't help bring about that conversion.
1 Pet. 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.
 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
Just so we are clear on who the "house of God" is: For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1 Tim. 3:15
But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Then you are one of those "living stones" which make up the temple of God, of which Christ is the Chief Cornerstone, and so you are part of the "house of God"!
So Peter says that means you're first in line for judgment!
And what about those who "obey not" the gospel of God?
Remember back in chapter 2, verses 7 & 8, who the "disobedient" are?
They are those who stumble at the Word of God and follow the traditions of men instead of the oracles of God.
So what shall be their end?
They will go to the end of the line, which means they will go through the Millennium and be judged last at the great white throne judgment.
1 Pet.4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
It can get a little hot!
In fact, Nebuchadnezzar had the furnace stoked 7 times hotter than normal, so be aware that it can get "7 times hotter" for Christians than for others.
So Peter now says that if the righteous scarcely [meaning with difficulty] be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
At the end of the line!
1 Pet. 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
Are you committed to Him in well doing [doing well]?
He is faithful in all His promises to us!
And He has rewards waiting for us that we cannot even begin to imagine with our flesh brains.
It is no accident that Peter started this book with a reminder of those rewards so that when we got to the tough stuff, the realization that we are going to suffer persecutions, etc., that we can see past our current afflictions all the way to the victory at His coming!
1 Peter 1:4
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,  Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
If you do, it is by your choice!
Take the advice from the Big Fisherman and stop it now!
Thank you Lord!
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