Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is savedwhat will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.  1 Peter 4:12-19

Testing is a natural part of our journey with Christ.  The trials and suffering we face in this life test the genuineness of our faith.  It is one thing to claim to love Jesus and follow Him, it is whole different thing to truly endure and follow Jesus every step of the way.  The trials we face test the human heart to see if it truly stands with the Lord alone.  There are those who have compromised the gospel and have preached a health and wealth gospel, preaching that once you come to Jesus it is one easy day after another.  But this does not align with God’s word.

In this life we may suffer for the name of Jesus, but there is coming a day when we shall share in His glory.  This world is not our home and this life upon the earth is but a breath compared to eternity.  Some day we shall rule and reign with Christ in His kingdom.  As we suffer on this earth and experience trials of different kinds our eyes must always be focused upon Jesus Christ.

If we are reviled, if we are persecuted, if we are falsely accused for the name of Christ it is of the highest honor and blessing.  To those who don’t know Christ or walk according to the flesh that would sound like foolishness.  But for those who know Jesus and follow Him intimately, they understand the honor to suffer for the name of Jesus.  There is great rewards in God’s kingdom for those who are willing to suffer for the name of Jesus.

We are not called to suffer as one who has broken the law or lived according to the sinful nature.  We are called to live according to the Spirit and that means we may be called to suffer for the Lord and His name.  If we are called to suffer we should take great honor in the opportunity to suffer for the name of Jesus.  The Lord will strengthen us and sustain us through everything we will face upon the earth.

Each one of us who calls upon the name of Jesus and follows the Lord will stand before Him in judgement some day for our faithfulness as wise stewards of the gifts we were given during our time upon the earth.  But for those who reject Christ and His kingdom, they will spend all eternity separated from God.

This Christian journey is not an easy one and it was designed that way.  If it were easy we would rely on our own strength and in our pride would separate ourselves from the Lord.  But the Lord has so designed our journey so that we will rely upon Him for every breath and every step.  This journey is one of submission to the Lord and to His will.  Jesus is not called simply to be Savior, He is called to be Savior and Lord.  For Jesus to be Lord means we are willing to lay down our lives and our will and the will of God must become the driving force and priority in our lives.

 

The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer

The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.  1 Peter 4:7-11

The apostles during their day and lifetime believed the return of Jesus was very near.  Believers throughout the church age have all felt the imminent return of the Lord.  A mark of walking closely with Christ and pursuing Him is the reality that His return could happen at any moment.  We are called to live with diligence and fervently seek the Lord.  We are called to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

We are called to fervently love one another.  When we truly love one another as the Lord commands it will enable us to walk in unity.  Division exist when love is not present.  When we begin to focus on things that don’t matter is when we are taken captive by the schemes of the enemy.  The number one scheme of the enemy is to bring division in the body of Christ.  When we as a people walk in love and unity, we become an unstoppable force on the earth for God and His kingdom.

Hospitality is lost in many churches today.  During the first century church hospitality was a huge part of the church growing as a body.  The body of Christ is made up of many different members from many different socioeconomic levels.  We must do all things according to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  When we find a brother or sister who is struggling and in need of a place to live and stay, we must be willing to open our hearts and our homes to them.  God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others.

All of us who are in Christ have been given gifts by the Holy Spirit.  The gifts of the Holy Spirit have been dispersed according to God’s will.  All we need is found within the body of Christ.  God has so gifted His sons and daughters to accomplish His will upon the earth.  The only way we truly come to discover who we are in Christ and the gifts we have been given is by walking closely with the Lord on a daily basis.  To find our why you have been created is to come to intimately know the one who has created you.

When we speak, when we teach, when we preach we must do so as if we are speaking forth the utterance of God.  Everything we do must be in accord with the leading of the Holy Spirit. The more we fellowship with the Lord the more our minds and hearts become one with His.

When we have the opportunity to serve we are to do so in the strength of the Lord.  In ourselves we are weak and unable to accomplish the purposes of God.  But when we operate in the strength of the Lord all things are possible.  We are temples of the Holy Spirit and it is the Holy Spirit who lives within us and works through us to accomplish the purposes of God.

In all that we do God must be glorified.  In everything we do as we operate in the power and might of the Holy Spirit the name of Jesus will be high and lifted up.  Abiding daily in the Lord is key to all things.  Without daily fellowship with Jesus we will struggle and fail in the world that we live in.  When we fail to fellowship with the Lord and abide in Him we will be overcome by the schemes of the enemy.  But when we abide in the Lord the enemy will be overcome by the power and might of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin

Therefore, since Christ has [a]suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has [b]suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, [c]having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and [d]abominable idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For the gospel has for this purpose been [e]preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.  1 Peter 4:1-6

Suffering for the Lord has a way of transforming the way we live our lives.  When we suffer for the Lord and His kingdom we don’t have a desire to live for the lust of the flesh.  The more we suffer, the more we understand the value of God’s kingdom.  The more we suffer we see how worthless this world and its desires are.  We must have the same attitude that Christ had in which He came to this earth to lay down His life.  He knew the price that had to be paid and it was because of His love that He choose to go to the cross.

In the past before we came to Christ we had every opportunity to purse the lust of the flesh.  The lust of the flesh is the desires of the sinful nature.  Because we pursued these things before we came to Christ, we should no longer pursue them.  Our pursuit should be Christ and His kingdom.  We are called to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness.  The more we seek the Lord, the more we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Those we use to know before we come to Christ will be surprised at our desire not to run after the desires of the world anymore.  Those who are still lost and seeking after the world will stand before Christ some day and give an account of their lives.  We who are in Christ shall stand before Christ some day but give an account of our faithfulness of the gifts given to us by God.  Again if we have come to Christ we should no longer have anything to do with the world and its desires.  If we continue to live for the world and its ways than we truly have not given our hearts to Jesus Christ.

The gospel is preached to those who are dead simply means those who are spiritual dead.  Before we come to Christ we are spiritual dead from God.  We are separated from Him because of sin that we are born with.  All of us are born into sin because of the sin of Adam and Eve.  Every one born to the line of Adam is born into sin and the only solution for sin is the precious blood of Jesus.  All will stand before God in judgement.  Believers will stand before Jesus at the Bemaseat judgment while unbelievers will stand judgement at the white throne judgement.  But the only thing that separates those who will spend all eternity in heaven and those who will not is faith in Jesus Christ alone.

 

 

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us[e] to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited[f] in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.  1 Peter 3:18-22

Jesus went to the cross and died for our sins so that our relationship with God the Father can be restored.  In the Garden of Eden the relationship between man and God was destroyed because of sin.  It is only the precious blood of Jesus that removes the curse of sin and death.  It is only the precious blood of Jesus that permanently washes away our sin.  Jesus came in the flesh and died and was brought back to life by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Today He sits at the right hand of the Father and has been given all dominion and all authority.

Jesus once He died upon the cross descended into Hell and declared to those placed in prison that the curse of sin and death has been destroyed.  Jesus took all authority the enemy had.  Satan today has no authority.  He deceives the world and leads all into death and destruction.  But for those who trust in Jesus Christ are saved from being eternally separated from God.

It was God who saved Noah and his family through the ark.  God led Noah to build the ark and Noah faithfully followed the Lord.  Day in and day out those around Noah watched him build and ark.  They thought him a foolish man until Noah and his family were locked inside the ark and the flood waters came.

Jesus is a type of ark for us.  He has saved us from the flood of judgment that has come on humanity for its wickedness and its sin.  People cannot save themselves.  In there pride and arrogance they see no need for a savior.  For all who reject salvation found in Jesus Christ they will be eternally lost and separated from God.  But for us who have placed our faith and trust in Jesus Christ we have been saved.  When we are water baptized it is a public declaration with the world that we have died with Christ and have been raised to new life again with Him.

All things are subject to Jesus Christ.  Sitting at the right hand is the seat of authority.  Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and has been given all authority and dominion.  Jesus has given us His authority and has told us whatever we bind on earth is bound in heaven and whatever we loose on earth is loosed in heaven.  We have been given authority and we must understand the authority we have.  All we need is found in Christ alone.  May we fix our eyes upon Jesus and continue to press on toward the high call in Christ Jesus.

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed

13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.”[c] 15 But sanctify the Lord God[d] in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:13-17

Suffering is a real part of the Christian journey.  As followers of Jesus Christ we have a target placed upon us by the enemy.  Many times we will suffer even though we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and do the right thing, we may still face suffering.  But through it all the Lord is fulfilling His plans and purposes for our lives.  The Lord works through our every circumstance and our eyes must stay fixed upon Jesus and His soon return.

There is blessing and high honor in suffering for the name of Jesus.  And even if people should threaten our very lives we have nothing to fear.  Our walk with the Lord is one of trust and faith.  We believe what we cannot see and we believe in every circumstance that our Father will work all things together for our good.

We are called to always be ready to give a defense for the hope that we have.  This is why it is so important for us to be in God’s word daily.  As we daily study God’s word the Holy Spirit will transform our hearts and will fill us with all knowledge and understanding.  In that moment in which we need an answer, it is the Holy Spirit who shall give us the words.  We are called to answer in meekness and fear.  This simply means that we are not to attack those who ask for an answer but in the love of Christ we are called to give an answer.  Everything we do and say should be done in love.  In all we do we must simply honor the Lord.

There will be those who defile our good conduct because we stand for Jesus Christ.  But the way we live our lives can never be impacted by those who defame us and falsely accuse us.  Even though they falsely accuse us, our right conduct in time will prove true.  The darkness of the world cannot stop the light and the glory of God.  In the end God always has His way and His righteousness and justice shall shine forth.

If it is God’s will for us to suffer according to His purposes then we must have the attitude that Jesus had in the Garden of Gethsemane and the cry of our heart must be “not my will, but thy will be done”.  This Christian journey is one of submitting to God on a daily basis.  We will face many trials in this life but the question is, will we trust God in all that we go through.  In every place of suffering will we simply trust Him?  We know that His grace is sufficient for all things and His strength made perfect in our weakness.  This simply means that no matter what we face the Lord will lead and carry us through.  Let our eyes be fixed upon Jesus the author and perfector of our faith.

All of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;[a] not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For

“He who would love life
And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips from speaking deceit.
11 Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”  1 Peter 3:8-12

We are called to love one another in the body of Christ.  If we are truly walking according to the Spirit and abiding in the Lord daily, His nature and character will be evident in our lives.  We will see our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as the Lord sees them.  Division, dissension, hatred, or infighting should have no place in the body of Christ.  Let us be led by love in all things and walk in humility.  Humility will guard our heart from pride.  It is pride that is at the foundation of every issue that exist in the body of Christ.

If we are offended or wrong by another member of the body of Christ let us remember that all of us are saved by the grace and mercy of God.  None of us are perfect.  Too many times we allow offenses to cause division and they are simply the tactics the enemy uses to find inroads into God’s camp and bring division.  Let us do all things according to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

The life God has given us is a gift.  We are saved by the grace and mercy of God.  We should not use the gifts that God has given us to pursue the wickedness of this world.  When we come to Christ we are a brand new creation.  We are called to abide in Him on a daily basis.  As we abide in Him we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Let us remove every idol and hindrance that would stand between us and the Lord.  Let us simply seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness.  He is returning very soon.

That your prayers may not be hindered

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.  1 Peter 3:7

The way a man treats his wife has a profound effect on their relationship with the Lord.  Husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church.  For far too long people have emphasized wives submitting to their husbands without speaking about the responsibility of the husband to love his wife and serve her.

Christ came as the ultimate servant and laid down His life for the church.  The husband is called to do the same.  If we desire God’s blessing to rest upon our marriage and our home, then as husbands we must love our wives as Christ loved the church.

When it speaks of the wife as the weaker vessel that simply points to the physical fact that a woman is weaker than a man.  We live in a culture where the world decries women are equal to men, but his is nonsense.  When you look at the physical make up of a man and a woman as God designed, the woman is the weaker partner.  This is mostly due to the levels of testosterone and estrogen that exist in men and women.  We have a world that loves to try to confuse and bring chaos to God’s natural created order.  But if we are living by truth then God through His creation has made things clear.

If a man fails to treat his wife with the respect she deserves and love her as God has commanded it can actually hinder one’s prayer life.  If we believe we can rule our homes like a tyrant and still draw near to God and enjoy the plans He has for us, we are sadly mistaken.  If are to walk in every promise God has for us, our family, and our marriage it requires we walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit and God’s word.  If you are falling short in this area today, repent of your sin and turn to the Lord and begin to walk in obedience.