1 Peter 4
Christians, it’s time to suffer
Control your cravings1So take your cue from Jesus, who suffered physically. Let suffering serve as a reminder that you’re done with sin. 2Don’t live the rest of your life here thinking about the kind of things humans crave. Instead, think about what God wants.
3You’ve had plenty of time to act like a pagan, going crazy with sex and drinking and sex parties and drinking parties and worshiping those disgusting idols. 4Unbelievers don’t understand why you won’t party with them. So they badmouth you. 5They’ll have explaining to do when they meet the one who’s ready to judge everyone, whether they’re dead or alive.
6Let me tell you why people have preached the good news about Jesus. It’s because though they’re judged for what they did in their body, they need to know they can live with God forever in the spirit.
Work your gifts7The end of everything is almost here. Pray and get your head in gear for this. Be wise. Be serious. 8But here’s the most important thing to do. Keep the love alive—love for one another. A little love outweighs a lot of sin.
9Show your hospitality to guests. And don’t be grumbling about them. 10God has given a gift to everyone. He’s kind like that. Find your gift, and use it to help others. Sharing your gift is a good use of God’s kindness. 11When you get together to worship, whoever does the speaking should speak as God’s ambassador, delivering his message. People with the gift of serving others do their work with the strength God gives them.
Whatever you say and whatever you do, thank God. These gifts come to you courtesy of Jesus Christ. He deserves all the honor because he’s the power behind all of this. And that’s the truth.
Accept suffering for Christ as a compliment12Dear friends, right now you’re going through a painful time. It must feel like you’re walking through fire. There’s nothing unusual about these hardships. 13You’re experiencing the suffering of Christ. You’re right there with him in his suffering. Be happy about that. If you can do that, you’ll certainly be happy when it’s over and he’s revealed to the world in all his glory.
14If people say terrible things about you because you’re associated with the name of Christ, consider yourself blessed. God’s Spirit has come to you and stays with you. 15It’s one thing to suffer for Christ, but don’t suffer for sin. Not for murder, stealing, or anything else illegal. And not for causing trouble by meddling in someone else’s business.
16Don’t be ashamed of suffering because you’re a Christian. In fact, thank God for the name of Christ. 17This is happening because it’s finally time for God to judge people. He’s starting with the church, his house. If our suffering is what judgment is like for his own people, imagine what it’s going to be like for those who disobey him by rejecting the good news about Jesus. 18And there’s this:
“If good and godly people barely manage to get saved
What chance do the godless have?”
Idol worship was disgusting partly because some rituals included what Peter had just described: “sex and drinking and sex parties and drinking parties.”
“Kindness” is often translated “grace.”
Peter mentions only two gifts: public speaking and the wide-ranging category of serving others. Paul mentions seven in Romans 12:6-8 and nine in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.
“Amen” in the original Greek and in English.
What an odd thing to say: “Let suffering serve as a reminder that you’re done with sin” (4:1). What do you think Peter meant by that?
Peter says, “Don’t live the rest of your life here thinking about the kind of things humans crave. Instead, think about what God wants” (4:2). What does God want?
When Peter talks about the importance of loving one another, he offers a great soundbite: “A little love outweighs a lot of sin” (4:8). What do you think about this statement?
LIFE APPLICATION. Peter says his readers have had plenty of time to party hearty, “going crazy with sex and drinking and sex parties and drinking parties” (4:3). Many of us might not have partied quite that hearty, but we’ve had to leave friends behind for the sake of our faith. How hard is it to do that?
LIFE APPLICATION. Peter says “God has given a gift to everyone. He’s kind like that. Find your gift, and use it to help others” (4:10). What’s your gift, and how is it possible to use that gift to help others?
LIFE APPLICATION. To a group of Christians apparently suffering because of their Christianity, Peter says, “If you’re suffering because you’re doing what God wants you to do, accept the suffering and trust your soul to the one who created you” (4:19). Most of us in Western culture don’t risk our lives because of our Christianity. But some of us suffer in other ways. What ways?