Summary of 1 Peter 4:
Peter tells us that Christ suffered in this body so we should be prepared to suffer as well since it means we will be done with sin, resulting in living for the will of God and not for this earthly life. You spent time doing pagan things and now they abuse you. But they will be judged in the end.
Be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Love each other deeply. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Use your gifts to serve others. If you speak, speak the words of God. Serve through God’s strength so that He may be praised.
Rejoice in your suffering since you are participating in the sufferings of Christ. If you are insulted because of Christ, you are blessed. Praise God that you bear His name in your suffering. Commit yourselves to God and do good.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 10, Day 4: 1 Peter 4
9) It is a part of the Christian path. Our attitude should be sacrificial in the battle against sin (Matthew 5:29-30).
10) Because they think life should be perfect with Jesus.
11) Personal Question. My answer: We are to rejoice in our suffering since it brings us closer to Jesus and more like Christ every day. We are to continue to do good in this world. Patience. I have an injury that is just not healing, so I’m being patient and praying God will heal it sooner rather than later.
12) Personal Question. My answer: Everything has a purpose under the sun.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 10, Day 4: 1 Peter 4
I would have liked to dive into verses 7-11 more.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 10, Day 4: 1 Peter 4
Jesus told us to anyone take up his cross and follow (Matthew 16:24). Taking up the cross meant that you were absolutely committed and not looking back.
“I beg you to remember that there is no getting quit of sin – there is no escaping from its power – except by contact and union with the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Spurgeon)
Christians should no longer live in sin, and we need to consider how we spend the rest of our time here on earth, for which each of us must answer to Him.
It is interesting to note that the list of sins here is the same list of sins we still battle. Human nature has not changed in 2,000 years.
When we don’t participate in the sin around us, we convict those who practice their sin, and they don’t like that – so they speak evil of us. This is why so many of us lose our non-Christian friends when we become Christians.
Preaching to the Dead
The righteous dead know and live on in constant awareness of the reality of eternity – and are rewarded by this understanding as they live according to God in the spirit.
Peter has already told us that Jesus preached to the spirits in prison, preaching a message of judgment (1 Peter 3:19). Apparently during this same time Jesus also preached a message of salvation to the faithful dead in Abraham’s Bosom (Luke 16:22) who anticipated the work of the Messiah for them. This preaching to those who are dead was not the offer of a second chance, but the completion of the salvation of those who had been faithful to God under their first chance.
In doing this, Jesus fulfilled the promised that He would lead captivity captive (Psalm 68:18 and Ephesians 4:8,) and He would “proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18).
It may also be that Peter here had in mind those in the Christian community who had already died, perhaps even dying as martyrs. If this is the case, then Peter used their heroic example as a way to encourage his suffering readers to also be faithful.
If these are the last days, then it is important for us to love those we are going to spend eternity with.
Christians should often open their homes to others and doing it all without grumbling. “The Greek term denotes a muttering or low speaking as a sign of displeasure. It depicts a spirit that is the opposite of cheerfulness.”
In 1 Corinthians 15:10, Paul makes it clear that he was what he was only by God’s grace. But at the same time, “His grace toward me was not in vain” because Paul put his own God-inspired efforts to work with God’s grace. The idea is that if we are bad stewards of the manifold grace of God, it is as if that grace was given to us in vain. That grace is wasted, because it only comes to us and doesn’t move through us.
Attitude Towards Suffering
If we partake of Jesus’s sufferings, we will also partake of His glory and joy.
Peter once told Jesus to avoid the suffering of the cross (Mark 8:32-33). “Once it seemed strange to the Apostle Peter that his Master should think of suffering. Now he thinks it strange that He could have imagined anything else.” (Meyer)
We can only partake of Jesus’ sufferings because He partook of our humanity and sufferings. He became a man and suffered so that our suffering wouldn’t be meaningless. It is good to share anything with Jesus, even His suffering.
We should never deny the place of suffering in building godliness in the Christian life. Though there is much needless pain we bear through lack of knowledge or faith, there is also necessary suffering. If suffering was a suitable tool to teach Jesus (Hebrews 5:8), it is a suitable tool to teach His servants.
Suffering for the name of Christ is a blessing, because it shows that we really are following Jesus, and that we suffer because we are identified with Him. Peter recognized that not all suffering that Christians experience is suffering in the name of Jesus.
But we do glorify Him in suffering, and we glorify Him for what He will accomplish in us and through us with the suffering.
Three Places in the New Testament Where Followers of Jesus are Called “Christians”
Christians were first known as “disciples,” “believers,” “the Lord’s disciples,” or “those who belonged to the Way” before they were known as Christians, first at Acts 11:26. This is the first of three places in the New Testament where the followers of Jesus are named Christians.
- In Acts 11:26 it tells us the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
- In Acts 26:28 Agrippa told Paul, You almost persuade me to become a Christian. This shows that between Acts 11:26 and 26:28 Christian had become a popularized name for the followers of Jesus.
- In 1 Peter 4:16 the idea is that some are suffering because they are identified as Christians. This shows that the name had become very widely used, so much so that one could be persecuted for being numbered as a Christian.
Suffering As Purification
God uses suffering as a judgment in a positive, purifying sense for Christians (the house of God).
The fire we endure now purifies us; the fire the ungodly will endure will punish them. There is never any punishment from God for us in our sufferings, only purification.
Real discipleship and genuine following after Jesus Christ is a hard thing, so we understand why Peter quoted the passage from Proverbs 11:31, “the righteous one is scarcely saved.”
Not all suffering is the will of God.
The ancient Greek word translated “commit” is a technical one, used for leaving money on deposit with a trusted friend. Such a trust was regarded as one of the most sacred things in life, and the friend was bound by honor to return the money intact. It is the very word Jesus used when He said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46).
When Christians commit their souls to Him, they leave their souls in a safe place. God is a faithful Creator, and we can give ourselves to Him as pliable clay in His hands.
Much of the agony we put ourselves through in times of trial and suffering has to do with our disregard of God’s faithfulness or of His place as Creator. He is our sovereign Creator, with the right to do with us as He pleases. Yet He is faithful and will only do what is ultimately best for us.