The 1st  Epistle of Peter

Chapter 4

     Chapter three focused on the relationship between a husband and a wife, how they are supposed to treat each other, according to the will of our Father, and not some human with a lot of capital letters after their name.

     Chapter four gives us instruction on how to live our individual lives, up to and including verse 6. From verse 7 to the end of the chapter, it deals with the coming end of time.

     Our Father’s main concern for us is that we lead good, clean, fulfilling lives, with His laws and commandments guiding us through it all. That we understand the truth of His Words, know why we’re here, and be armed with the spiritual tools that would keep us out of the grasp of Satan. Last but not least, know that the false messiah comes before the true Messiah.

     I truly believe that television and electronic communications have been the ruin of human society, although, with the incredible advancements in technology during the last 75 years, it has facilitated the Bible, the Word of our Father, to be spread completely around the world, which was one of the seven events that had to be accomplished before our Lord’s return.

     But television has brainwashed all of us to aspire to accumulate the things of the world. Advertising is what makes television free for all of us to watch, in most cases, and those advertisements not only encourage us to buy products that we really don’t need, it makes us feel inferior to those that can afford to buy everything that they want, thus breeding envy and jealousy in a lot of us.

     Some of us that can’t afford nice things, resort to crime and stealing and theft to get them, also helping us break the commandment of thou shall not steal.

     A hundred and fifty years ago, living out West on the prairie, about the only thing people had to do in the evening was to sit around and read the Bible or play parlor games or just sit and talk to each other.

     Am I trying to say that hardship and poverty enabled us to be closer to our Father? I guess I am. Today, television fills up all of our idle time, some of it good and a lot of it bad. Watching these mindless situation comedies and reality programs, where canned laughter is inserted to tell us when to and when not to laugh, because the dialog is so completely childish and stupid, is a complete waste of time that could be spent doing something a lot more productive.

     Soap opera’s every afternoon that do nothing but bring misery, catastrophe and illicit sexual encounters into our lives by people portraying wealthy, successful people that don’t even exist. Women watching at home, crying and wringing their hands together at some nonexistent tragedy happening to a group of  nonexistent people. And it’s all played out in almost real-time.

     Is this really how our Father envisioned us living our lives to please him? I certainly hope not. Father was disgusted with the fact that He had created humanity and in the book of James it’s written that anyone that loves the world more than the Lord is the Lord’s enemy:

     Ref: James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. KJV

     What a pickle we’ve gotten ourselves into and the depressing part is that there is no turning back. Our only salvation is to return to studying the Words of our Father and our Lord, to remind ourselves constantly of how we are supposed to be living our lives instead of how we are living our lives.

     1st 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;

     Our Lord didn’t just cheerfully say…

     “Hey, just go ahead and crucify Me, it’s all good.”

     No, He anguished over the thought of that happening. He pleaded with His Father that if there should be another way to do this, to empty that cup, to just do it but there wasn’t another way. His blood must be shed:

     Ref: Matthew 26:37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.

     Ref: Matthew 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

     Ref: Matthew 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. KJV

     He experienced pain almost beyond what the human mind is capable of handling. And it wasn’t just the physical pain, it was the crushing emotional burden of carrying the sins of billions and billions of people, committed over thousands and thousands of years.

     If people would commit just one less sin every day of their lives, would that have lessened the pain that He experienced? Probably not, and today He sits in glory, in a body that shines more brightly than a thousand suns, the Shekinah glory of His eternal existence, quietly beside the Father in heaven.

     And people are so pitifully weak, spiritually, mentally and physically, that they believe the lies put together by Satan and expounded upon every Sunday morning by preachers that love him and follow him, that you can escape all the supposed carnage coming at the end of days, by believing that they will be raptured out of here.

     And all they had to do was read the Book, read the verses where our Father said that if you had His seal in your forehead, His words of truth, that not one hair on your head would be moved out of place during that time:

     Ref: Luke 21:18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish. KJV

     And….

     Ref: Revelation 9:4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have NOT the seal of God in their foreheads. KJV

     No, they would rather believe that Satan will protect them and our Farther wouldn’t. What a tragic mistake.

     1st 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.

     Of course it’s hard to resist temptation, especially when you’re young. Good lookin’ chicks willing and able, in this day and age, hormones running rampant, it’s a prescription for spiritual disaster.

     Keeping yourself away from temptation is key to overcoming Satan. Stay out of bars, strip joints, gambling places and street corners.

     The older one gets, the easier it is to overcome that which tempts you. Old age diseases, tiredness, medications, reduced hormone output, no endurance, they all contribute to a life of inactivity. Plus, the young girls don’t want to go out and play with some old geezer.

     Hello!

     And as you age, you have time to reflect back on how you lived your live, the mistakes you’ve made, opportunities ignored, and the end of your life looming on the horizon. These are the things that make one pick up the good Book and start living their life differently.

     Do you have to wait until you’re old and decrepit? No. You can do it while you’re young, like you’re supposed to.

     But then, looking back, how many times could you have done something good for someone and didn’t? Had you studied the Scriptures back then, how many people could you have helped to go in a different direction?

     1st Peter 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:

     Peer pressure is something else to overcome. Being invited out for a drink after work on a Friday afternoon may be hard to turn down, especially when you want to be included in a group at work that you feel you need to be accepted by.

     To hell with them. THEY need to be coming to YOU for acceptance because you love the living God and don’t need to deal with whatever the results are after getting half drunk after work with a bunch of people that really don’t care about you.

     Don’t chase after human acceptance, do the things that bring acceptance from our Father.

     1st Peter 4:4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

     “What? You too good to go out and have a drink with us?” “What? Your religion won’t allow you to do that?” “C’mon, get with the program.”

     It’s difficult being ostracized by those that you would like to be accepted by. But look at the bigger picture. Maybe this isn’t a Christian thing to say but when you’re up there in Paradise, enjoying the fruits of your efforts during this life, and you look over on the other side of the gulf, at those that wanted to party all the time and ignore our Father, who’s looking for acceptance now?

     Father said to do things His way and you’ll receive rewards for doing so, so there’s no shame in looking forward to enjoying those rewards when we finally get there.

     1st Peter 4:5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

     On Judgment Day, you’re going to either stand BEFORE someone or stand BESIDE someone. You can stand BEFORE our Father and have rewards given to you for all the good things you did, or you can stand BESIDE Satan and his angels before they walk into the lake of fire.

     It’s up to you, Bro. (Using the vernacular of the day.)

     1st Peter 4:6 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.

     Preached to the spiritually dead. Man may judge us according to his laws while we’re in these flesh and blood bodies but you should also live mentally according to our Father’s laws as well. Living in this life is a merging of two sets of rules and commandments that we have to live by.

     Keep the laws of men, you stay out of jail, keep the laws of our Father, you stay out of hell. Pretty simple. Sounds like the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

     1st Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

     Even starting with the book of Genesis, we are told that the end is near and that’s been going on for thousands of years. In the 2nd book of Peter we find the same kind of thinking:

     Ref: 2nd Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. KJV

     We are very fortunate in that we are living in the last generation. We didn’t have to have patience for thousands of years, just the length of our own lifetime. It’s so very close that you can almost taste it. Certainly, you can feel it.

     And there are many, many people that have this same feeling. And the recent earthquake in Mexico City, the three cat-5 hurricanes that hit Houston, (Harvey), and Florida, (Irma) and Puerto Rico, (Maria), hundreds of fires burning out in the Midwest and California, the threat of Nuclear holocaust by North Korea, Iran now saying that they are going to test their own hydrogen bomb….it all just seems to be pointing to a climax that’s been expected for eons.

     Be ye therefore sober. Sober doesn’t mean to not be drunk, it means to have a sound mind, one that is in control of itself:

       Sober_ NT:4993 sophroneo (so-fron-eh'-o); from NT:4998; to be of sound mind, i.e. sane, (figuratively) moderate: KJV - be in right mind, be sober (minded), soberly.

       Root Word_ NT:4998 sophron (so'-frone); from the base of NT:4982 and that of NT:5424; safe (sound) in mind, i.e. self-controlled (moderate as to opinion or passion):

     In other words, don’t be freaking out over this. Don’t make more out of it than what it really is. Understanding the truth will take the nervousness away.

     Watch unto prayer. Pray about it and be a watchman, like Christ told us to do:

     Ref: Mark 13:37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. KJV

     Verse 8.

     1st Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

     Having charity doesn’t necessarily mean giving money to some organization, certainly not some church. It simply means being kind to people.

     The fella that lives in the apartment next to me was sitting on the steps this morning when I went outside to walk Rocky. He was sitting there and he said that all he wanted this morning was a nice cup of coffee and found out that he didn’t have any sugar.

     I went back and got him some sugar. He drinks a good bit so I’m sure that keeping sugar in the cupboard is quite low on his list.

     That’s what charity is all about. Being nice to people. And do you know what? Cha-ching, another reward just got put into the Book under my name. Being kind to our Father’s children is not difficult.

     For charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Father watches over us, not to zap us whenever He feels like it, but to keep account of us, see who’s doing what and to whom. And even though you may repent of your sins on an irregular basis, the day might come when you are taken suddenly, by car accident or heart attack.

     What happens to those unrepented sins still left in your book? Your charitable acts might just wipe them out and give you a clean slate once more.

     1st Peter 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

     You can’t get rewards for doing good works if you feel put out when you do them. I could have said to my neighbor:

     “Yeah, I’ll get you some sugar but I really wanted to just walk my dog and didn’t want to be bothered by some guy trying to get over a hangover this morning. Can’t you just drink it without sugar?”

     No rewards coming here.

     1st Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

     A gift given to one person is not to be held by that person but to be given freely to others. The gifts of our Father are not to be hoarded because that gift was given by grace and to distribute that gift to others will probably bring more gifts your way.

     If you can enlighten others as you walk through this life, by spreading the gifts given to you, how much more will the Father give you in return? If He sees that you give that gift back freely to others, how many more gifts will He bestow on you.

     Ref: Luke 12:48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. KJV

     Verse 11.

     1st Peter 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.

     If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God. This refers to preachers. Don’t get up there and speak your words but speak the oracles of our Father. What are oracles? They are the words of our Father, collectively written in the Book called the Bible:

        Oracle_ NT:3051 logion (log'-ee-on); neuter of NT:3052; an utterance (of God):

     If any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth. Let this man take care of the spiritual needs of his congregation, as best he can, according to the ability given to him by the Father.

     Let him preach, above all,  that through Jesus Christ, the Father can be reached at all times.

     1st 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:

     Don’t be surprised or take offence or blame the Father or our Lord when you are tested. There are various ways that Father will allow Satan to come into your life and test you but it’s not just you that’s being tested, everybody gets tested.

     It’s to see what you’re worth, what you’re worthy of and everybody gets tested so don’t think that you’re being singled out.

     Fiery trial would be a Hebraism, insomuch as, it’s compared to removing the impurities from a precious metal through smelting in a hot furnace. The gold or silver sinks to the bottom while the dross, the impurities, rise to the top and are thrown away.

     Father will try to separate the human nature out of you and see exactly what you are made of inside. And don’t worry, He won’t let more happen to you than you can withstand:

     Ref: 1st Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. KJV

     You can even throw in the towel and not allow the testing to happen at all. But, to be perfectly honest with you, anyone who does that surely can’t be used by the Father for much of anything. Even the faint of heart have to be tried at times but Father will be gentle with you in any event.

     1st Peter 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.

     And when you experience trials in your life, you can relate to our Lord, who also experienced these things, although on a much greater scale. And when you get through them, you can be happy because you overcame Satan, through our Lord’s help and presence, of course.

     1st Peter 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.

     If people make fun of you or slander you because of your beliefs, take it and go on with your day. You should have the inner knowledge that you are satisfying our Lord by the way you live your life and those that don’t like it can just stuff it.

     Loving the Lord and living your life to please Him, and not some uneducated unbeliever, should make you happy in your soul. They persecuted Christ and if you receive persecution as well, shake it off and smile. The glory you’re going to receive is going to be much more than mankind can take away by talking bad about you.

     1st Peter 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.

     Don’t let people treat you in the same manner as they would a murderer or a their or someone that does evil or as somebody that meddles in other people’s affairs.

     1st Peter 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

     But, if they do it because of you belief in our Lord and the Father, then be happy about in and don’t be ashamed for it. Christians are not second-class citizens, not by any means. Take the abuse and glorify the Lord for it.

     You’re tough, you can handle it.

     1st Peter 4:17 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?

     There’s a lot of preachers that need to read this verse and I don’t think that many have. Some of these preachers think that they are so high and mighty, that when they get up in the morning, that Father Himself seeks advice from them.

     They teach the lies of Satan, which is the traditional teachings of most churches, and think that they’re doing Father’s work by doing so. Want to know what our Lord said about these people?

     Ref: Matthew 7:21 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.

     Ref: Matthew 7:22 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?

     Ref: Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. KJV

     I never knew you: depart from me. Get away from Me, our Lord tells them. You lie to My children, when you were supposed to lead and guide them, and then you expect to get into heaven?

     So, when we’re standing there in line, to approach His Throne for judgment, know that the wait might be long because of a lot of false preachers in front of you.

     1st Peter 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

     The influence of Satan in this world, especially during his five-month tribulation, will be so complete that even the righteous might have been taken in by his lies. Quite the reason our Lord shortened that time to five months:

     Ref: Mark 13:20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. KJV

     And it was shortened to five months:

     Ref: Revelation 9:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. KJV

     His Elect will come through unscathed. The others? It depends on how much of the truth they had in their brain at the time they were deceived. Some will go through the Millennium, some will not.

     1st Peter 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. KJV

     Love the Father, love the Lord and keep the course throughout your entire lifetime or at least from the time forward from when you understood and accepted the truth of His Word.

     It seems like a long time from birth to death and as the time of physical death approaches, the believers become more and more impatient because they know what’s in store for them after the death of this earthly body.

     And they cannot wait to get there and experience it.

 

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__25 September 2017__

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