How to Live in an Ungodly World
1 Pet. 4:1-6
Christ “hath suffered” from the evil opposition of an evil world. Christians must be equipped for spiritual warfare and suffering while in the body. Since our citizenship is in heaven, the earth is really not our home. Here in our text today the apostle Peter gives us some marching orders while we live our lives as pilgrims or sojourners on this foreign land. Always remember that people around us is watching. As heavenly citizen, our behaviour should attract them to our home which is called heaven, otherwise, they will be repelled and it would be hard to bring them to Christ.
I. Arm yourself (1 Pet. 4:1)
A. “Arm” means to put on not only armour but also weapons.
B. In Greek it was used to describe a heavy armed foot soldier who carries a large shield and a javelin.
C. Christians needs the heaviest armour so they can withstand the attacks of the enemies of their soul.
D. The overall picture here is that there is a battle which is spiritual. We are soldiers. The danger is real and we have a tough enemy.
E. Christ died not only to gain victory over sin but to equip us so we can resist and be victorious also against sin.
F. We arm ourselves with the mind of Christ so that we can be victorious or triumphant in the midst of suffering.
II. Be transformed – the amazing difference in the Christian life
A. Ceased from sin – “Cease” means to stop, to make an end.
B. When we think like Jesus, our sinful thinking comes to an end. This verse does not say that the Christian has stopped completely from sinning for that would be sinless perfection.
C. No Christian can reach a stage of sinless perfection, but can come to a place of victory over sin.
D. God freed us from the slavery and power of sin when we received Christ as Savior.
E. Note the two wills here:
1. The will of God (1 Pet. 4:2) – the holy will of God revealed to us in his law, (which is the rule by which we are to walk), in opposition to the lusts of men; we are to live not as men would have us, but as God commands us. (Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible)
2. The will of the Gentiles (1 Pet. 4:3)
a. Lasciviousness, lusts; which belong to the head of uncleanness, and take in all kinds of it; as fornication, adultery, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts:
b. Excess of wine, revellings, banquetings; which refer to intemperance of every sort, by eating or drinking: as gluttony, drunkenness, and all luxurious feasts and entertainments, attended with riotings, revellings, and obscene songs; which lead to lasciviousness, and every unclean lust:
c. Abominable idolatries – The worship of false gods.
F. When a person receive Christ as his personal saviour, Jesus makes him a new man (2 Cor. 5:17) that he will not do again the sins he has been committing before.
G. This is why Christians are different from the world.
III. Separation – Angry reaction from the unsaved world (1 Pet. 4:4)
A. It is “strange” to the former circles of crowd or former friends that the Christian broke away from them.
B. The fact that the Christian chooses values opposite to theirs is a big question to them which they cannot answer.
C. They think you are crazy for leaving such a life. They wonder at this as something unusual.
D. The common reaction is they will slander you and lie about you. They will try to do anything to ruin your testimony.
E. Those crowd or former friends are in reality are the “devil’s crowd”
F. The Devil’s crowd will one day give an account to the Lord for what they have done to you. (1 Pet. 4:5)
G. None of them will flee accountability for their wrong conduct. God will ask them to give an explanation of their behavior.
H. “To judge” is in the future tense. Non-Christians will face the Great White Throne Judgment one day.
I. Death is bad enough, but to face the judgment of Almighty God is worse.
Illustration: Separation from the Unclean Thing
The doctrine of separation from “the unclean thing” is neglected today by professing Christians, but it is still here in God’s Word. The context indicates that Paul is warning against Christians being “unequally yoked together with unbelievers” and urging us to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (II Cor. 6:14, 7:1).Such separation does not mean having no contact at all with unbelievers, “for then must ye needs go out of the world” (I Cor. 5:10), whereas Jesus commanded: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). He also prayed to the Father “not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil” (John 17:15).
He does demand, however, that we not compromise with unbelief or with the unclean thing. We are “born again” into the family of God through simple faith in the person and saving work of Christ, but the full manifestation and fellowship of our relation with the heavenly Father as His spiritual sons and daughters is evidently, in this passage, conditioned on the vital principle of separation from all unbelief and filthiness of the flesh, with Jesus as our example (Heb. 7:16).
We are specially warned to “turn away” from those who, “having a form of godliness,” yet attempt to accommodate the naturalistic viewpoint of modern scientism within the Scriptures, thus “denying the power thereof” (II Tim. 3.5). “Be ye separate, saith the Lord.” (Source unknown)
IV. Result – Gospel preached to them that are dead (1 Pet. 4:6)
A. “To them that are dead” refer to believers who had passed away or died.
B. The gospel had been preached to them and they were converted, they had become Christian.
C. As a consequence they had been charged according to men in the flesh. This judgment was in the form of persecution because of their faithful Christian testimony, many of them as martyrs.
We Christians can live a life in this ungodly world. Will you arm yourself with the mind of Christ? Will you separate yourself from the devil’s crowd and obey God’s will