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Bible Commentaries
1 Peter 4

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-19

  1. INTRO:
    1. A Rose crushed under foot, is fragrance released;
      Sycamore Fruit must be cut or punctured, for it to be ripen w/sweetness;
      Gold must be placed into the furnace, to reach full value & purity;
      An Old Log must be laid on the fire, before its imprisoned music is set free;
      We as Saints must be laid low, before we will look high;
      We must know His Smiting, before we know His smiling;
      Our Hearts must be broken, before their richest contents can leak out to bless others.
    2. Outline: Suffering For His Glory; Serving For His Glory; Sharing In His Glory.
    1. Some experts state that approximately 200 million Christians worldwide face the continual threat of harassment, torture, & even death because of their faith in Jesus Christ. It is believed that more followers of Christ were martyred in the 20th cent than in the previous 19 centuries combined. (John MacArthur; pg.33.)
      1. In good times the church seems to become stagnant & complacent; In hard times, the church seems to grow & be strengthened. Why is that?
      2. Peter doesn’t share mushy words of condolences, not even sympathy, instead powerful promises from God’s word!
        1. 1] This world isn’t all there is Christian. 2] This world isn’t your home believer. 3] There is a guaranteed future too wonderful for words. 4] And you have a unique opportunity to introduce others to the Savior.
      3. Peter gives encouragement for endurance. Practical instruction based on Christ’s example in dealing w/suffering.
    1. 4 reminders of our new condition:
    2. #1 Sin Is No Longer Our Master! (1)
    3. (1) Therefore – refers back to vs.18.
    4. Arm yourselves with the same mind - Arm yourselves w/Jesus’ same mind, insight, & thought toward suffering…which is the will of God!
    5. Ceased from sin – this refers to a break w/a sinful life (listed in vs.3)
      1. Rom.6:6,7 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. (or declared righteous)
    6. #2 Desires/Lusts Are No Longer Our Master! (2a)
    7. Do you realize your lusts are the exact opposite of the will of God.
    8. #3 We Can Now Live For The Will Of God! (2b)
    9. Note: It’s either the will of God or the will of the Gentiles...choose this day whom you’ll serve!
    10. #4 We No Longer Have To Live For The Will Of The Gentiles! (3)
    11. (3) Peter says there MUST be a break from our old ways!
      1. You should not allow the old life to control you.
      2. Life is too short to waste it on godless living.
        1. Eph.5:13-18(NLT) So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.
      3. Q: Has your break from your old ways been noticeable?
      4. Q: If you could break off one more thing what would that be?
      5. Q: What must you do to accomplish it? What holds you back?
    12. 4 reminders of our new condition: Sin is no longer your master; Lusts/Desires are no longer your master; We can now live for the will of God; We no longer have to live for the will of the Gentiles.
    1. 4 marching orders for spiritual Soldiers:
    2. #1 Have Serious & Watchful Prayers! (7)
    3. Serious – sound in mind. “Keeping a cool head & having a balanced mind to exercise self-control or moderation.” (LKGNT)
    4. Watchful – sober, to keep a clear head.
      1. So, to be serious & watchful in prayer is to have a cool head & a clear head.
      2. Attach these to prayer & you get...clear, reasonable, & sober communication with God!
    5. #2 Have Fervent Love! (8)
    6. Fervent love? – Love each other deeply.
      1. Fervent = stretched or strained. “Like the taut muscles of an athlete who strains to win a race.” (The Knowledge Bible Commentary.)
      2. Love that seeks the good of others first & w/o concern for cost.
    7. Cover = will hide. This strenuous love is not blind but sees & accepts the faults of others
      1. Prov.10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.
      2. Covers = overwhelms, “love overwhelms all sins.”
      3. The idea is to practice forgiveness & overlook insults and unkindness.
    8. #3 Be Hospitable! (9)
    9. Hospitable w/o grumbling – lack of hotels caused people to be ready to provide board & lodging for friends/strangers at any time. This was a very highly esteemed ministry in that day.
      1. If Hospitality means friendly & welcoming
      2. Q: What would biblical hospitality look like in your life?
      3. Q: Who do you know that is a good example of this?
      4. Q: What 1 step in that direction can you take today?
    10. #4 Serve One Another! (10,11)
    11. Each gift is to be used to serve or minister to others! [i.e. Keep serving one another]
      1. Every believer has something to contribute.
      2. We did not determine our gift, deserve it, or earn it. [cuz it’s a gift!]
      3. This isn’t a gifting to make you feel better about yourself, to boost your ego, or to serve your own interests. Rather, these are investments God has made in various members of His body, & He expects a return on that investment.
        1. Don’t weaken the Lords work, nor grieve his heart; by not using your gift for the body of Christ!
    12. Stewards – those who served as house managers, who had no wealth of their own, but distributed his master’s wealth according to his Master’s will & direction.
      1. Thus, these gifts are on loan from God!
      2. Q: Are you using the gifts God has given you to serve/build up the body of Christ?
      3. Gifts are always given to build up the body not to enhance your own position or prestige.
    13. Manifold – many colored, variegated, rich in variety.
      1. The Grace of God is like a diamond, multifaceted, rich in color, shining forth w/many prisms of light, throwing radiance on all those in His presence!
    14. (11b) And the ultimate military objective? The ultimate mission? That…[Doxology]
    15. (11) Peter divides Christian service into 2 categories:
      1. Those who Speak; those who Serve. {often overlap}
      2. This distinction is also found in Acts 6:2&4 It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables…but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.
    16. At the mention of Christ’s name Peter busts forth w/a doxology here!
      1. Q: Does hearing His precious name ever have that impact on you?
    17. God may be glorified – Q: How should the “glory of God” figure into a believers daily activities & schedule? (100%) The goal of everything!
      1. Q: What are some practical & simple changes you could make today so as to live more fully for the glory of God?
    18. So, the 4 marching orders for spiritual Soldiers are: Have serious & watchful pray; Have Fervent love; Be Hospitable; & Serve one another!
  4. IV. SHARING IN HIS GLORY! (12-19) esp.14b the spirit of glory & of God rests upon you.
    1. Expect Trials! Use Trials! Glorify God with Trials!
    2. Expect Trials! (12)
    3. For most of the last 2000 yrs., Christians have had to endure suffering & persecution as a way of life. It has been a recent phenomenon (generally only in “Christian” cultures) that suffering for the faith has become the exception rather then the rule!
    4. Think it strange – be surprised, be amazed.
    5. Fiery Trial – “the among you burning”(Metaphorical or historical reality?).
      1. 2 Tim.3:12 all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
    6. Happened – to fall by chance. Persecution isn’t an accident. God allows it & even designs it for the believers testing, purging, & cleansing.
      1. Q: What form of Christian persecution are you experiencing? At home/work?
      2. Q: How can you provide encouragement this week to a Christian brother or sister who is suffering because of his or her faith?
    7. Use Trials! (13,14)
    8. Anything that we suffer for the sake of Christ is a privilege, not a penalty!
      1. Persecution quickly burns away chaff in the church.
      2. Those who have made only a superficial profession of Christ have no new nature to motivate them to suffer for Christ, & no divine power to enable them to endure it if they wanted to.
      3. Nothing is more spiritually purifying & strengthening than persecution.
      4. Successful Christians & Churches will make waves, & inevitably provoke a hostile reaction from either the world or the satanic realm,…or both!
    9. Glorify God with Trials! (16-19)
    10. Christian – only used 3 x’s in NT (here & in Acts 11:26; 26:28) Originally a term of scorn.
    11. (17) This verse should be the most sobering for us saints.
      1. He will purge us for 2 reasons: So we will be a good witness & a good warning to the lost.
      2. If He judges His own kids, how much more will He judge lost sinners?
    12. (18) Peter quotes the Septuagint’s rendering of Prov.11:31 here.
      1. Peter’s not teaching salvation is earned, but simply that those who are saved are not exempt from temporal disciplinary judgments which are the natural consequences of sin.
    13. (19) Commit their souls to Him – a banking term meaning, to deposit for safe keeping.
      1. Remember, you have been deposited into the FCB (Faithful Creator Bank) for safe keeping. Therefore, know you not only are “Federally Insured” but also, Eternally Secured!
    14. Suffer according to the will of God –
      1. Choosing to suffer means that there must be something wrong with you, but choosing God’s will, even if it means you’ll suffer, is something very different.
      2. No normal, healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he simply chooses God’s will, just as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not.
    15. Expect Trials! Use Trials! Glorify God with Trials!
    16. End: Christ with me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
    17. St. Patrick (390-461)

If good people barely make it, What’s in store for the bad?
So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll keep on doing it.

Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Peter 4". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/1-peter-4.html. 2017.
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