Friday, April 8, 2011

The Great Exchange - 1 Peter 4:1-14

    This week I’m going to do something I don’t usually do.  We’re going to walk through this passage slowly verse by verse.  It really builds on itself, so we’re just going to talk about it bit by bit.  Here’s verse 1:
So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.
    Back to suffering again.  I’ve never preached so much on suffering in all my life, but this was an important topic for Peter and his people.  Peter uses a really interesting word here.  “Arm yourselves.”  This is a battle.  Life is a battle.  The Christian life is a participating in a great, global warfare.  “Arm yourselves.”  Prepare yourselves for the battle.  Don’t go into battle without a weapon. 
    But what is this weapon that is so important?  “Arm yourselves with the same attitude that [Jesus] had.”  Our weapon in this battle of life is the attitude of Christ.  Remember this is the same Christ who “suffered for our sins once for all time.  He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring [us] safely home to God” (1 Peter 3:18).  This is a battle, and get ready to fight, but here is your weapon: innocent, suffering, love. 
    And once you suffer with Christ, that changes things.  It seem that the more we suffer for Christ, the stronger we grow at resisting sin. 

Then: 2 You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires ...

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