well, good morning and welcome. It’s good to see you all. Also want to give a welcome to those of you who are joining us online. My name is Ben Lander, one of the pastors here And we are in the midst of a series going through the book of 1st Peter today. We’re going to be going through First Peter chapter four and so you can grab your bibles in turn with me to First Peter chapter four, I just want to remind us a little bit of where we’ve come from. The book of First Peter is written by the Apostle Peter to a region of churches, a group of churches throughout Galicia in Greece and they’re going through a lot of hard times. This is written shortly before Peter was arrested. So you know we know that he wasn’t arrested yet which happened between 66 68 A. D. Uh so that was also before Emperor Nero destroyed the temple in 80 70 and all of that. So we know that the persecution and difficulty is happening, christians are getting persecuted, they’re getting arrested, they’re getting killed. It’s a difficult time and he’s riding to these churches to encourage them and to, to encourage people to be living for christ and to know how to suffer. And so you see this kind of re occurring theme about relationships about suffering, about how you should be uh you know, conducting yourself when you are unjustly treated when you’re suffering. And so Shane talked this last week about suffering and undeserved suffering. And the theme continues this week. And so I’m going to pray and then we’re going to begin in Chapter four verse 1. So let’s pray, please pray with me. Lord jesus. We come to you this morning and we asked you to speak to us, We yield ourselves to you Lord. We surrender our lives to once again fill us with your spirit! Open up the eyes of our hearts and our minds to understand your word, To be challenged to be encouraged to be convicted whatever you want to do, Lord. Right now, we give you permission to speak with us. However you want to speak through your word in jesus name. Amen. Read with me in chapter four verses will start with versus one through six. Therefore, since christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same understanding because the one who suffers in the flesh is finished with sin in order to live the remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God’s will. For there has already been enough time spent doing what the gentiles do, carrying on in unrestrained behavior. Evil desires, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, lawless idolatry. They’re surprised that you don’t join them in the same flood of wild living and they slender you they will give an account the one who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason, the gospel has also preached those who are now dead, so that although they might be judged in the flesh according to human standards, they might live in the spirit according to God’s standards. So, as I mentioned, one of the main themes of this book involves suffering. And this chapter starts with the word therefore, and as Shane talked about this last week, he talked about how christ unjustly suffered and he suffered though willingly once for all, because he gave himself in his life for us and for our sin. And so he starts out and says, because christ after the flesh, because he gave himself for us, arm yourselves with the same understanding, that word understanding is attitude, perspective, mindset, understanding the same understanding the same mindset, the same perspective that christ has is what we should have and apply in the suffering that we experience. And it says the words here, arm yourselves, I think that’s very interesting arming yourself, that’s a military term. And what he’s saying here is we are in a battle and we need to have that same perspective that christ did, that, same understanding that christ did and he unjustly suffered. We will unjustly suffer because we’re living for christ for living for eternity. And he said, you know what? It’s worth it for me to suffer this way, because he had the end in mind. He had you and I and minds, he gave himself Once and for all the righteous for the unrighteous to bring us to God. That’s chapter three verse 18 he had us in minds when he suffered, he had a higher purpose. He set aside himself and his own desires because he was living for eternity. He had something to live for that was above and beyond everything else that was around him. He didn’t he never send one time in his life and he did that because he had that eternal perspective. Is he able to do that? It says here that those who have suffered in the flesh are finished with sin. When you have that eternal perspective, when you have that mindset, that christ had, it’s it’s worth it to deny and see, no, I don’t need that other stuff. And uh and when you suffer, you’re done with sin. Those who have this mindset arming themselves with that mindset, they’re done with the party, they’re done with the sex, the wild living, why it’s because they have something so much greater that they’re living for. We have so much greater that we are living for and it’s eternity. And I tried to think of a way to help illustrate this. And what I thought of is, you know, those who are olympic athletes, they voluntarily go through all kinds of restricting themselves of their diet. They have very strict regimen for exercise and training. They have the science and technology dialed in right. They won’t eat certain things. They will do certain patterns of exercises. And it’s all for this one goal, which is a gold medal to be the best in the entire world in that activity, that sport. And so if so, I love blueberry pie. It’s one of my favorite things, you know, as far as the desserts concern. But if the blueberry pie was really harmful and I was an olympic athlete, I’d be and I had this goal before me of being a gold medal and I knew that blueberry pie would like cost me that there’d be no problem saying no, get that away from me. I don’t want that because I’m focused on the goal. I’m focused on getting that gold medal. It’s worth it for me to say no to the pie because I can win a gold medal. And these athletes, they have no problem denying themselves all kinds of things because of that goal. And christ for the joy set before him, endured the cross paul said, I consider it garbage compared to the surpassing glory. I think he uses it even stronger word than garbage. I think he’s cursing there right? Like it’s nothing compared to what we have when we’re living for eternity and and we need to arm ourselves. We’re in a battle, We’re in a fight. It’s a spiritual battle. It’s something that happens every day. We need to arm ourselves with that same perspective. And I wonder, you know, if we’re not suffering if you know, we have it easy here in America, at least right now it’s getting worse, we’re gonna suffer more. But I wonder if you’re not suffering at all. I wonder if you’re, if you’re not being vocal enough about sharing christ about telling your neighbors your coworkers, are you pleading with people and asking them to give their life to christ christian life isn’t about how happy you can be, It’s not, it’s not about how much wealth you can accumulate and how many good times you can have. Um, it’s not like a lazy river or a luxury cruise. Now. I like lazy rivers, I think that’s really fun thing to do and on vacation. Never been on a luxury cruise, but I imagine it’s pretty amazing, right? Um, that’s not the christian life, it’s not a lazy river, it’s a battle and we’re in a battle, we can forget that we’re in a battle, It’s a battle against the flesh. It’s a spiritual battle. We’re in a war. Arm yourselves with the same mindset, the same understanding that christ and now there are times of good, there are times of difficulty, there are times of hardship, there are times of stress, there’s wrestle times, there’s times of abundance, that’s all part of life and that’s good. But we can easily forget, we’re in a war, we’re in a battle And our mentality needs to be that perspective of focusing on the eternity. We have one life to live. We’ve got one shot at this day. Today, we’ve got one chance to live this life and it’s going to be gone like that and we have 80 or may or so, maybe less, maybe more years tomorrow could be our last day. We’ve got one shot where we live for eternity. We have the end in mind will be focused on that perspective and then be finished with sin. Our mentality needs to be that of christ suffering in the flesh. The worldliness is not satisfying those fleshly things that describes here the the evil desires, the drunkenness, the orgies, the crossing, that some of that’s what some people only can live for. That’s the only thing they have to live for. And everyone, all of us, including those who are party, they will one day stand before God. I have to give an account for their life. We will have to stand before God and have to give an account for our lives and we have something so much greater to live for than any fleshly experience. Those things have got nothing on our purpose in christ and there is nothing that feels better. I have experienced this many times, nothing feels better than due to communicate and to share the gospel and the good news of the Gospel of jesus christ with somebody who doesn’t know christ and to begin to see, you know if if those lights start to go on and they start to see and understand and they surrender themselves to christ and they begin to read the bible and to grow. It’s there’s there’s just nothing more joyful and amazing to be a part of and to plead with people to surrender their lives to christ. It is the best life that we have. I talked a couple of weeks ago about how we have the opportunity each and every day to glorify God. It’s a higher purpose. It’s an eternal purpose. And so when you sweep the floor you can do so for the glory of God. When you work you can do so for the glory of God. You can take your kids to sports for the glory of God. Everything you can do, you can do so for the glory of God. And it gives us purpose and mission to everything. And it’s a wonderful, amazing, incredible life. And we’re living for eternity, suffering helps us to overcome sin and helps us to overcome the flesh willingly suffer for christ. It hurts right? But we’ve made that decision, we made that call. You know what I’m gonna suffer for crisis worth it. And it helps you eat to more easily say you know what? I don’t want the blueberry pie, I don’t want the sinful things. I don’t want the partying Galatians two have been crucified with Christ. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the Flesh. I live by faith in the son of God. We have died to sin just as christ died. We died with them. We are no longer slaves. We don’t have to sin. It’s an amazing thing. Sometimes we do, but that doesn’t mark who we are as believers. It’s taken care of and this church is filled with people who have lived this, they’ve left their old lives behind and their lives have been transformed. And I I know many of you as you like shared with your old drinking buddies or your old girlfriends. You know, hey, I’ve given my life to christ has changed me as you shared those things with them. They give you a hard time. I’ve been given a hard time. Lots from through from high school to college to co workers. And ever since because I’m following christ And here in verse four, it says they are surprised you don’t join them in the same flood of wild living and they slander you. It’s it’s uh it’s a it’s connected. They see your change life, they’re surprised you’re not joining win with them and but they they feel bad or guilty or whatever and then they bam they slam you. They just react. You know, they may accuse you, oh, you think you’re better than me. But you know, but all of us will stand before God and given accounts and only those who surrendered their life to christ will enter into heaven and receive the reward for their face. So let us live for eternity, not for the flesh. It’s moved to verse seven at the end of all things is near therefore be alert and sober minded for prayer above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins, be hospitable to one another without complaining, just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others as good stewards of the very grace of God. If anyone speaks that it be as ones who speaks God’s words. If anyone serves, let it be from the strength god provides, so that God may be glorified through jesus christ and everything to him. Be the glory and power forever and ever. Amen. He says, the end of all things is nearer. Now remember again, This was written right before and Bernero destroyed the temple right before Peter was arrested and crucified, upside down. The persecution and suffering was increasing in getting more and more persecution was common. And he’s saying the end of all things is near and as a result and he gives us four things kind of four action points bam, bam, bam bam. You know, here’s what you should do, suffering is here, you’re arming yourselves with the same mindset of christ, Here’s four things to do and their prey love, serve and speak and he kind of wraps them all together and says do all of this in God’s strength, not your own strength. Okay, so pray love, serve and speak. We’re going to go through each of these verses So verse seven, the end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and sober minded for prayer. I think that’s an interesting phrase. So we know difficulties coming. We know the end is coming and therefore be alert and so reminds to don’t be lazy, don’t be on alert, don’t be kind of just ignorance, know that the end is here and what are you supposed to do pray? It’s for the sake of prayer. And this tells us several things about prayer. # one prayer is very powerful and helpful, especially during times of suffering. Prayer is one of those things. It’s truly remarkable and powerful prayers. One of the main things we should do and prayers away, we can help others who are suffering. Those are all things that we see right here. So prayer is amazing and yet I don’t know about you. This can happen for me, but when I get busy was one of the first things to go. It’s prayer, it’s one of the first things we can neglect And I think James five, the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. He’s saying the end is coming greater persecution for the church is coming and be sober and alert. So you can pray. We have the opportunity to come before the King of Kings, The Lord of Lords, the all powerful God, and to talk to him and pray. We must be a praying church. The persecution will increase for us as a church, there’s no doubt it’s coming more and more. Let’s be a praying church. Let’s be alert and sober minded for prayer. Men to be a man of God requires you to be a man of prayer. Women to be a woman of God requires you to be a woman of prayer. We have an opportunity to talk to God, the God, above all Gods. You know, try to set up an appointment with the mayor sometimes, you know, Lincoln’s about 300,000 people. So you know, it’s a decent size city, but you you might be able to set up an appointment with the mayor. You you might be able to get that done if you try real hard. If you work at it, you might be able to sit down face to face, have a conversation with the mayor, okay? The governor is also in town. Right? Try to set up an appointment with the governor. It’s even more difficult. Okay. How about the President? You know, try to you know, maybe if you worked your whole life arranging things were you might be able to get a sit down with the President of the United States. Probably not. And yet we have a God who is far above and beyond any of those people. And there is nobody you have to go through at any moment, day and night. You can stop and you can commute, you can talk, you can meet, you can sit down with the God above all Gods. When you’re going through difficulty, you can turn to him. When somebody else is going through difficulty, you can go to him and pray and it’s powerful. It’s a way to help them. It’s a way to get help for yourself. It is so powerful and yet it’s neglected. Let us be alert and sober minded so we can pray. We we as pastors pray for every member of the church each month. We’ve asked our community group leaders to pray for every person in their community group. Once a week we need to be praying and praying and praying. I need to grow in prayer more. We all need to grow in prime or it starts being sober and alert and we can just turn to God, boom, any moments how that sit down, you know if you sat down with the president and you’re like, you know, kind of a million bucks, You know like you’ve got this huge bank account, right? God’s got way more than that. And he works in the hearts of men and women. He works in the hearts of your Children. Works in your heart, heart of your spouse. God can do things miraculously that nobody else can do do way more things than the President of the United States can do provide much more. We can go to him in any moments. Let us do it verse eight Above all, maintain a constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins above all, that tells us a couple of things. Love must be fervent and high priority. Makes it a huge priority above all, Love one another. When you’re going through suffering, we have to love each other. The other thing that says here is bad things will happen. You know when you’re going through suffering, people will mess up and they may even hurt you. Suffering is hard. It is difficult. It’s not fun. And sometimes we react badly to suffering, right? But love covers a multitude of sins. Love them still. And the third, amazing, incredible thing. Love is not depends upon performance. If love or favor were dependent upon performance. If God’s love was based on what we did or didn’t do, we’d be sunk, I’d be sunk. We’d be in trouble. God loves us in spite of our performance, which is amazing thing. He covers our sins and we should cover each other’s sin even if somebody sins against us. I think, uh, as I, as I look back in my life, um, when I really first understood this, uh, I was in college when I really came to the understanding, understanding and realization of God’s love not being based on my performance. I had this moment where I had, just since I looked at pornography had taken the next step. I’d sinned, I felt terrible. I felt worthless and I was just awash in guilt. And uh, and so I came before the Lord and I repented and I’m like, you know Lord, I turned from my sin, I turned to you, started reading the bible and I started working my way through the Book of romans. And when I got to chapter eight verse one and it says there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in christ jesus. I was just, I stopped and I was astounded and I realized that jesus when he came and he died and he covered my sin. It was all of my sins, past, present, future, all of it. He looked at me, he saw everything that I had done. He saw what I did at that very moment. He saw everything else I was going to do in my life. And he willingly died for my sin and forgave me and covered that I was astounded. Even though I just messed up, it didn’t change how God viewed me. And I realized, you know what God, If I come to you right now, I don’t have to feel I’ve turned, I repented, it’s gone. I don’t have to feel bad about asking you for something. So, so even if I had a great week and said, okay Lord, can you provide this job for me? Or if I had just done this? And I asked the same prayer. He has the same perspective and attitude and love for me, wanting to bless, wanting to provide, wanting to help his son. His love for me wasn’t dependent upon how good or how sinful I was that week. The amazing grace of God. And it changed me, It changed me, he loved me and covered my sin. This also shows that love helps us to endure great suffering. Jesus was able to endure the cross because of love. And when we go through difficulty, love can really really help Verse nine be hospitable to one another without complaining. Just as each one has received a gift. Use it to serve others as good stewards of the very grace of God. People were losing jobs here during this time, they were losing homes, they’re losing friends and family members. They were suffering. And when there’s tremendous, tremendous suffering, we need to be in it together to open our homes to serve each other and to use the gift that God has given us spiritually to help one another. And these things apply not just during difficult times, but also during good times. Anytime If anyone speaks verse 11, let him speak as if speaking God’s words. We should speak up and speak out as if we’re speaking God’s word. That’s a that’s a huge thing, right? Um And what that means is that some speeches helpful and some speech is harmful. There’s a weight to our words, right? And uh let me just give you an illustration. Um Mhm. If if my wife would come to me and like she’s trying on clothes, right? She’s like, do these jeans look good on me and they obviously don’t look good on it, right? That’s that’s the the situation, right? There’s a there’s good words and there’s bad words. This could go well, or this could go really badly, right? There’s a harmful speech and there’s a helpful speech. So if I would say something like those jeans really emphasize your hips, that would not go, that would not go well, right, just to tip their guys that would not go well. But if instead I could be, you know, say something like, you know, I wonder if there’s a different cut or style that would fit better. You know, something like that, that would be much better, right? Um, some speeches helpful. Some speech is harmful. This also shows we need to be careful about what you say. You know, that puts this weight if you’re going to be speaking as if speaking God’s word, there’s a wait there. And the cool thing is to like we have God’s words right here. So let us integrate this into our speech into our daily life because we can speak and use his words often. The third thing is that speech is very powerful and can be exactly what other people need to hear. I I love our community group or community group is a group of amazing people. And one of the things that’s so fun, it is so fun is your people are sharing life and then sharing life experiences with each other. And I hear this phrase all the time, people say that’s exactly what I needed to hear. I hear all the time, that’s exactly what I need here and you know what very few those times. That’s what I’m saying anything. It’s when people are sharing life difficulty, I’m going through this hard time and then somebody else says, oh you know, and they share their life, their perspective, what they’ve been through or a word of encouragement from the bible and it’s that person’s like that’s exactly what I need to hear. It is so powerful. If you speak, let you speak as if speaking very words of God. If you don’t have a community group, I encourage you to visit one. It is so good and we encourage one another. And then the last thing that shows is that we need to encourage each other and build each other up. Not tear each other down. So important, if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides. So you kind of wraps all of these thoughts, these action points together and he says, hey, don’t do any of these things on your own strength. Don’t do any of these things by your own power or are feeble efforts. You have to do it through God’s strength. And so he provides the the the and kind of wraps all of those things up together. God’s strength makes these things possible and they shouldn’t be done in our strength. But God is glorified when people see us doing them in his strength, he’s not glorified. When we’re doing in our own strength, we have an opportunity to live this life in his strength and his power. And my prayer for my life is when people look at me and they see what I’m doing, they don’t see me, but they see God and his strength and his power and they’re like, how is that guy doing that? Because that’s not him must be gone. There’s no other way to explain it because I’m relying on him and his strength, not my own, not by my own feeble efforts or attempts. When that happens, God is glorified because they see him, they don’t see me, They see him, they don’t see you. They see a church filled with independent upon God’s strength. So we want everything to be done for the glory of God by his strength and power. So when we pray, when we love, when we serve, when we speak, do it all through the power of christ, the action points to kind of conclude the rest of this chapter, Verse 12 onward talks more again about suffering and just basically says, Hey, don’t be surprised you can expect it. Don’t be surprised that the fiery ordeal that comes among you to test you as if something unusual or happening to you. Instead rejoice as you share in the sufferings of christ. So you may rejoice with great joy when his glory is revealed. If you’re ridiculed because of the name of christ, you’re blessed because the spirit and glory of God rests on you. None of you suffer as a murderer or a thief. Evildoer. In other words, don’t suffer because of your own actions, your own mistakes but suffer for him, Verse 19. So then let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful creator while doing what is good. So to kind of conclude here the action main action point this morning, arm yourselves with the same mindset and attitude of christ live for eternity, not for fleshly desires. Set the goal before you. The reward that’s coming in heaven. It is incredible and it will make anything on this earth pale in comparison to what we have and the reward. We have an eternity. Set aside the blueberry pie and suffer for christ set that mindset. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to live for eternity. And then through the power and strength of christ, pray love, speak and serve. Okay, let’s pray. We thank you for your word again Lord. And I just pray that you’d help us to do all of these things in your in your strength. We cannot do them on our own. We need you and your power fill us with you. I thank you once again that um that we have the opportunity to talk to you any moments any day. Help us to arm ourselves with the same mindset eternal perspective in jesus name. Amen. Thank you guys. Mhm. Mhm.