Lesson 10
I Peter 4:1-11

E-Mail - Henry Mahan

(Vs. 1) "Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh." The eternal, holy, Son of God took upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh and suffered reproach, indignities, the curse of the law, the wrath of God, and even death for us.

"Arm yourselves with the same mind." As He suffered for you, be prepared to suffer whatever persecution, reproaches, and self-denials you may be called upon to suffer for righteousness sake, for the sake of Him and His gospel.

"He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin." Two true implications are given here.

(Vs. 2) We are sons of God, saved by His grace; but we are still in this world, and we have A TIME LEFT TO SPEND HERE. However, we are not going to spend the remaining days of our natural lives dominated by fleshly appetites and desires; but we will live our days here ruled by the will of God. We desire to live righteously, soberly, and godly in this world, motivated and constrained by the love of God.

(Vs. 3) Before we met Christ and were born of His Spirit, we lived as heathens and pagans (Eph. 2:1-5). The things that we now hate, we once loved; the things that are now shame to us were once our delight. We have no cause to judge and condemn those who exploit the flesh, for we ourselves were in the same darkness (Titus 3:2-3).

(Vs. 4) The people of the world do not understand you. They think it strange that you do not enjoy and take part in their evil. How can you NOT find sin a pleasure and a delight? How can you enjoy godliness and religion? They don't. They call you fools, fanatics, and do-gooders. They don't understand you; but you understand them, for you were once like them.

(Vs. 5) They shall one day have to give an account to Christ, Who is ready to Judge the living (when He comes) and the dead (Rev. 20:11-15). To those who are in Christ there is no judgment, but all who die in their sins shall be judged justly and fairly according to their works (Rom. 8:1.)

(Vs. 6) This is the reason the gospel of Christ was preached to those who are now dead (such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and all of the Old Testament believers) that, though they were still men in the flesh, subject to like passions, chastened of God, hated and misunderstood by natural men, they lived then and now live for the glory of God in the Spirit. They lived by faith then, walking in the Spirit; and they live eternally now by God's grace! The same gospel of Christ quickened them that now makes us live in the Spirit (Rom. 1:1-3; John 5:46; John 8:56.)

(Vs. 7) The end of your life is near; we are sure of that, but also the end of the world is near. Christ is coming, and the day of His wrath is at the door. Therefore, be serious, be solemn, and call upon God in prayer for His mercy in Christ for yourselves, your children, and your kinsmen according to the flesh (Rom. 10:1).

(Vs. 8) Above all things have a genuine and unfailing love for one another; for real love will overlook, disregard, and forgive the infirmities, failures, and sins of others (Prov. 10:12). If you remember what you were (except for God's grace), what you could be, and really care for the welfare of others, you will forgive and overlook their infirmities (Matt. 6:14-15.)

(Vs. 9) Generosity and hospitality are marks of grace, not only to our friends and families but to strangers, the poor who come our way, and all whom it is in our power to help. We must learn to share what God has given us and deal in mercy with others without murmuring, doing it with a cheerful spirit as representing Christ (Eph. 4:32).

(Vs. 10) There is nothing which we have in nature or grace that is not THE GIFT OF GOD (I Cot. 4:7). As each of you have received a particular talent, divine endowment, or certain power in certain areas (whether physical, material, or spiritual), employ that talent as a faithful steward of the many-sided grace of God. God did not bring us into His body for our comfort and satisfaction alone, but for His glory and the good of the whole body of Christ.

(Vs. 11) Whoever preaches or teaches, let him declare the Word of God according to the Scriptures. Whoever renders service, let him do it according to the strength and ability God has given him. Whoever prays, sings, gives, witnesses, waits on tables, relieves the sick and poor, visits the widows and orphans, or in any way makes a contribution to the kingdom of God, let him do it without complaining, with strength of purpose, out of gratitude and love to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ–to Whom be praise and glory forever and ever!

Henry Mahan is pastor of
Thirteenth Street Baptist Church
Ashland, Ky.