Live Like You Are Beloved

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Please turn with me in your Bibles to 1 Peter 4. Here we go!

1 Peter 4:12-16 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 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. 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. 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. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

I have always resisted the easy believism preaching of “God loves you, and has a wonderful plan for your life”.

This type of preaching became popular in the later 20th century church, and often pops up in the current culture as well. I do believe that “God loves you”. But I’m not sure how “wonderful” the plan for your life is, as “wonderful” means “to inspire delight, pleasure or admiration”.

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. But we live in a fallen world absolutely opposed to the Biblical Jesus. If you live for Jesus, expect – at best – discomfort!

That’s what 1 Peter chapter 4 focuses on: S-U-F-F-E-R-I-N-G! I have talked with other Pastors who tell me they’d rather focus on the love of God and future Heaven, than they would on the darkness of this world. But Beloved, we live in a dark world. Not too long ago Canadian Authorities chased two brothers Damien and Miles Sanderson who killed at least ten (10) people, and wounded eighteen (18) more with knives. Why did they do this? Because we live in a fallen world.

Every dark and evil thing in our world today can be traced to sin. It is sin that separates us from God. It is sin that drags people down. It is sin that leads a person to alcohol or drug addiction. It is sin that creeps into marriages, and leads spouses away into adulterous liaisons. It was sin that caused self righteous religious people to destroy the twin towers in New York City, killing over 3000 people. It is sin that causes gender dysphoria, sin that leads to the same sex marriage, sin that endorses “free love”, sin that has caused the proliferation of sexually transmitted diseases, Monkeypox, HIV and AIDs. It is sin that has caused the breakdown of the family. It is sin that says a child is not harmed by being raised by one parent, though God has told children “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12). The Apostle said:

Ephesians 6:2-3 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Long life is promised to those with father and mother. Break the design, you have harmed the child. Pastor John MacArthur defined the problem of sin this way:

The root of all sin is autonomy and replacement of God with self. However small a sin may seem, it is an assertion that the person is acting independently of God”.

A Christian Is Beloved, Not A Sinner

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved …

Word Study: God calls the Christian – and His Church – Beloved. This is the Greek ἀγαπητός agapētós, [pronounced ag-ap-ay-tos’], which means “Beloved, highly esteemed, cherished, favorite”. Those who are Beloved are reconciled to God because they have been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ. Reconciled and Redeemed, we are considered righteous because we have received Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Because we are Beloved” (Romans 1:7), we enjoy grace and peace with God.
Because we are Beloved” (1 Thessalonians 1:4), we are chosen by God.
Because we are Beloved” (Colossians 3:12), we are holy and Heaven bound.

1 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;

Let’s start with the first part of this statement. I am saved because Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh. Jesus Christ suffered for MY sins. Jesus Christ suffered for YOUR sins. He was nailed to the Cross by a lost world, but His suffering served the purpose of covering our sins in the eyes of God. But it did something else. When Jesus died on the Cross, He made it possible for the Holy Spirit to come into our lives, and the regenerate us (make us born again). The Spirit also indwells us forever because of the work of Christ. The indwelling of the Spirit makes the believer dead to sin. We see this preached throughout the Scriptures. For example:

Romans 6:1-7 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

The old you died the day that you met Jesus as Lord and Savior. Those things that you used to do without regard to God, now when you do them they have the stench of sin on them. We who are saved do not want to be like the old man, but to be like the new man, the person anointed of Christ. No Christian should revel in sin. You have the Holy Spirit inside of you. The Apostle said:

Romans 8:10-14 if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

The “Christian” man who lives with his girlfriend, sexually violating her night after night without regard to the will of God, is but a plastic replica of the real. The “Christian” woman who carries a grudge against someone who harmed her years before but never feels a stirring of God within her against such things, is but a pretend Christian. Jesus said, “Every GOOD TREE brings forth GOOD FRUIT; but a CORRUPT TREE brings forth EVIL FRUIT. A GOOD TREE cannot bring forth EVIL FRUIT, neither can a CORRUPT TREE bring forth GOOD FRUIT” (Mathew 7:17-18).

Salvation brings a radical change in the life of a person. The “Beloved” of God, we are told,

1 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.

Those who are Beloved want to honor the God Who save them. Before we were saved, how did we act? We made life about SELF, about our own SELFISHNESS. We were like the other Gentiles:

1 Peter 4:3 … 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:

Word Study: Now you might think “my sins weren’t that bad”, but in the eyes of God they were that bad. We walked {past tense} in lasciviousness(ἀσέλγεια asélgeia, [pronounced as-elg’-i-a]), that is, some of us sought to satisfy our lusts. We walked in …. lusts” (ἐπιθυμία epithymía, pronounced ep-ee-thoo-mee’-ah), that is, “a longing for the forbidden”. We chased after false gods. We lived in banquetings” (πότος pótos, [pronounced pot’-os]), “drinking bouts or carousing”. You might say, “But I never did any of these things”, and that may be true. But before you met Jesus, YOU were your own god. You did what pleased you, which is what the world does. Jesus died a horrid death on the Cross of Calvary for you, just as He did for the murderer or the child molester or the rapist. We are the Beloved of God. We support the Will of God, not the want of Adam. We desire the smile of God over the grin of the lost. We are not self righteous, for we know we are born again not of our power, but of the power of God. But we do not revel in sin. The Christian declares:

Galatians 2:20-21 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

I follow Christ’s Law and God’s Will not to be saved, but BECAUSE I am saved. “If we be dead with Jesus, we shall live with Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:11). Not just in Heaven, but NOW!

1 Peter 3:18 … Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God

He Who has always been JUST and righteous and pure suffered for sins. Why? So that He could bring us to God. We walk with God now, not with the world.

Christians, Like Jesus, Are Subject To Fiery Trials

1 Peter 4:12-16 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 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.

Word Study: Rather than preach “Jesus loves you, and has a wonderful plan for your life”, Peter warns us that there is a fiery trial. This is the Greek πύρωσις pýrōsis, [pronounced poo’-ro-sis], which means “a burning by which metals are purified, a refiner’s fire”. When you ran with the world, in agreement with the things the world said, you could blend into the crowd. But when you live to honor God your Father things change. People believe Christians to be STRANGEthat you don’t agree with the things they say is right. They will SPEAK EVIL OF YOU, slander you and liable you. We are told this:

1 Peter 4:4-5 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

These unbelievers will be judged one day at a Great White Throne, a horrid affair mentioned in Revelation 20:11-12. The Gospel is to be preached to these – to all souls. Beloved, there is a hell. There is a Lake of Fire. It is a place where those who have rejected Jesus as Lord and Savior will hear:

Matthew 25:41 (ESV) Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

The Prophet Daniel called hell a place of “shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2). Jesus said that hell was so horrible that:

Mark 9:45-48 (ESV) if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’

It has become fashionable today to believe that everyone by default – except those you don’t like – will go to Heaven. It has also become fashionable to believe that hell is but temporary, and that at worse you will be burned up in its flame. Yet Jesus spoke of hell when He spoke of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Did the Rich Man burn up in Hell’s flame. No. Jesus said:

Luke 16:23-24 … in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

Punishment and separation in Hell is just as eternal as is life in Heaven (see Matthew 25:46). Those who reject the love of God and the grace of God in Christ will forever be separated from God in eternity. They are “tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). Because Hell is real, and because every sinner and every saint will stand before God, we preach the Gospel.

1 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.

The lost are spiritually DEAD. But we preach the Gospel so that they might become like us – condemned of the darkness, but ALIVE ACCORDING TO GOD IN THE SPIRIT. We hope to gain souls for Heaven. We hope to be instruments that God will use to bring the lost inbto the Kingdom of God. Jesus died for us all to bring us to God:

1 Peter 2:24 {Jesus} his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

But we need to be aware that, as Jesus suffered while on the earth fighting the darkness, we, too will suffer when we stand up for Jesus.

As Jesus Suffered To Bring Us Salvation,
We Will Suffer
Carrying The Message Of Salvation

1 Peter 4:13-14 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. 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 you are saved by faith in Christ, REJOICE if you are partners with Christ in suffering. Listen my dear friend. Many local churches today have twisted the Word of God to make it more palatable to the lost world. Many local churches fly rainbow flags, and preach “Love Always Wins”. I can point out numerous Scriptures that plainly declare those in sexual deviancy shall not inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:20-21, et al.) The Blood of the Cross is not a free pass to wander away from God.

Those who are saved always pursue the Savior.
Those who are sheep always follow the Shepherd.
Those who are children of the Kingdom always follow the King.
Those who are sanctified always follow the One Who set them apart.

The Gospel we hear today is “God loves you. Just walk the aisle, then leave the Church and do what you will”. This is satanic, devilish, and not of God.

We who are saved “walk in the Light as Christ is in the Light” (1 John 1:7). We are called to pick up our Cross and follow Jesus. Jesus said …

Matthew 16:24-26 If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Expect to be hated of the world. Expect to be despised, belittled, made fun of – and praise God for it. Do not seek to be self righteous nor arrogant in your faith – but keep your eyes on Jesus! We are told:

1 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.

Expect to have enemies if you are living for Jesus. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, be happy over this. This is a proof of your faith, that the Spirit of Glory, that is, the Spirit of God is on your life.

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

Beloved, if you live for Jesus you will suffer. Jesus suffered. Jesus suffered from the religious leaders. Jesus suffered from the political rulers. Jesus told us:

Matthew 5:10 (ESV) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

You cannot expect to get to Heaven without a measure of suffering. If you never suffer reproach, never suffer shame, never suffer any loneliness or isolation for Christ’s sake … then perhaps you are TOO MUCH LIKE THE WORLD. Jesus told us all:

John 15:18 (ESV) If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.

It is normal – in a battle – to have the enemy shoot at you. It is normal for the enemy to put forth propoganda to slander you. It is normal for the enemy to sneak into your outfit, into your unit, and sabotage you. When the writer of Hebrews spoke of our forefathers who stood up for God, He wrote:

Hebrews 11:32-38 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

In America we have avoided much of the persecution that Christians in other parts of the world go through on a daily basis. This is because America was founded on Christian ethics. But Beloved, I believe the same thing that Peter tells us:

1 Peter 4:7-8 … the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Peter encouraged the Church to prepare herself, and to love one another fervently. The darkness has been gathering for years while the Church in America has languished and compromised with the darkness. It is time for us to rise up and, loving one another, let the world glimpse into the Kingdom of God. Peter ends with:

1 Peter 4:17-19 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? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 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.

Let us honor God with our time, our talents, our temple, our treasure, and our ticker! If the Church does not stand firm in the preaching and modeling of the Gospel, then how can the lost be saved? They cannot. The Church is God’s Kingdom on the earth. Let us live for Him Who saved us. In Christ’s name I pray – Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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