As Christ followers we are meant to be on a regular program of growth and refinement. Having surrendered our lives to Christ we now are committed to learn how to think, feel and act like Jesus as revealed in Scripture. This involves discomfort, inconvenience, insults…suffering!
Here is the deal: we live in a fallen world and the sin of other people as well as our own sin causes suffering. But in this fallen world we get to share in what our Lord experienced: suffering The most worthy thing I can do as your shepherd is to encourage you to entrust your entire life to the will of God…live for HIM , not your comfort.
Ch 4:1-19 ESV
1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,[a] 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.
- Christ is our example, He is our Lord, so we desire to think like he does
- WDA Discipleship Vision: ‘To think, act and feel like Jesus’
- V. 1b: We must realize that to be dead to sin inevitably means pain
- It is not pleasurable to our flesh to live for the will of God
- When we surrender our lives to Christ, we begin to no longer live for our ‘wants’
- Our wants / passions are replaced by passion for the will of God!
- I encourage you: be anxious to do the will of God, not the will of _______!
3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;
- You have had enough of living for your self…time life is over
- The time referred to is pre-salvation…That is when you lived apart from God
- Without Christ as Lord of your life you live for… YOUR PHYSICAL PLEASURE
- Sex, lust, intoxication, unbridled consumption, alcohol focus, worshiping things
- The ‘world’ cant understand why you would not want to live like they do
- Our culture will reject and despise you when you don’t join their sin games
5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.
- They don’t acknowledge it but they will have to account to God for their lives
- .All humans start off spiritually dead, the Gospel is the means to change that
- All who surrender to the Gospel of Jesus Christ will not be judged for sin
- They will be awarded eternal life in the Spirit, as God is eternal / pre-existent
7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
- The end will come ‘like a thief in the night’
- We are to live in light of eternity so we stay spiritually connected to God
- We are to honor God with our thoughts, and actions so we pray properly
- Even more important is to love our brothers & sisters in the Body of Christ
- Living out love for each other is all we can do to offset our inbred siN
- Caring for each others basic needs = showing hospitality
- Do it with a joyous attitude
10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
- We have gifts that God gave us to serve in unique ways
- What does it mean to be a good steward of specific grace God has given you?
- (In this Body) Is your role speaking? Do so based on God’s Word
- (In this Body) Is your role service? Do it with God supplied resources
- The whole point…The ONLY point is to glorify God by serving Christ’s Body!
- Because He owns and deserves all credit, worth, control and service! Always!
- This is a life of meaning & purpose: glorifying God by serving based on His will
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.[b]
- We are to be expectant of tests and trials that come in this life
- As one who ‘Belongs to Christ’ we find joy in sharing everything with Christ
- We experience the bad in this life but also the good for eternity
- If the ‘World’ insults us for bearing Christ’s name it proves God’s Spirit is in us!
- Variant rendering: ‘The glorious Spirit of God rest upon you.’
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
- In Christ’s body we don’t view suffering for bad the same as suffering for Christ
- If our living for Christ brings suffering we enjoy being called on of HIS
- We glorify God by holding to our association with Christ no matter what
The Scripture is telling us we are to discern what is proper conduct for a member of Christ’s Body… we are to use proper judgement… because it matters
17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” [c]
- This judgement is not regarding eternal life, this letter is to ‘Saints’
- In eternity with Christ we to answer for what we did with this life post salvation
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. ~ 2 Cor. 5:10
- God holds us to account… We will have to answer at ‘The Bema Seat’
- Are you living for Christ regardless of the consequences?
[c] Proverbs 11:31: If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
- This is our charge as Jesus Christ’s Body: Live for God’s will & trust HIM
- We do what God in the Holy Scriptures has called us to do…
- And let the chips fall where they may!
- If you have entrusted your soul to Christ, will you not entrust this life, this body?
If you don’t want to trust Christ with this life and your well being, maybe you have not entrusted Him with your soul…
We are called to honor God, live this life for Christ and trust HIM to care for us
We grow in this as ‘Disciples’ of Christ… it is a process that requires intentionality
What are things you want to do, things you used to do, but don’t do anymore because they lead to sin?
In the past year, what have you chosen to do or not to do anymore that has caused you discomfort / suffering?
Which are you better at: being self controlled & sober minded OR being hospital & earnestly loving?
What parts of your life do you have difficulty entrusting to Christ? Why?