Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. For believers, our freedom is anchored in the cross of Jesus. Because of that, the way we process life must be cross-centered. As we surrender daily to Christ's work, our attitudes and affections will be transformed by Him. Only then can we do life well. A cross-centered life will look drastically different from the world system of living, but we can swim against the current with a confident expectation of a glorious future with our Savior. Even as Rich brings a message from 1 Peter 4, 1-6 titled Distinguished by Grace.
This is the second part of a sermon first preached on November 27, 2022. So if you lose your life, you say, it's not my life. I live for a different purpose, a higher purpose. I live for someone other than myself. And that can only be done through Jesus Christ.
Then you will find your life. It's a striking statement, isn't it? That is worthy of contemplation. So as you are following Christ then, you identify with His suffering. It begins with your union with Him in His death. And that's why we baptize people. We put them in the water and it's a picture of your union with the death of Christ, that His death becomes your death. And as you're raised to new life, His resurrection becomes your resurrection. Life in Christ as a new creation.
Forever. That's the line. Peter continually invites us to not become fixated on the dot, but to live for the line. And so, as he says here, and this can be hard for some people, he says, for whoever, verse 1, whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. That is one of those verses where when we get to eternity, we're going to find Peter and say, Peter, exactly what did you mean by that?
It could mean a couple of things. Like Jesus, He who died for sin. So as we are united with Him in His death, we no longer live to serve sin. We are free from that bondage of sin. And we are free from the penalty of that.
That's our freedom. But he could also mean here someone who actually died. If someone has actually died, of course they're no longer living for themselves, right? Or it could mean that someone who is willing to live with abandon is not preoccupied with the selfish pleasures of life, but they are willing to live with abandon in this life, following Christ and doing the will of God for the glory of God.
It could mean any one of those three. But let's make clear what he's talking about is this, where he says, if that is the case, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh, where that's in this life under the sun, to live the rest of the time in the flesh, verse 2, no longer for human passions, but for the will of God. You see, that is one who is in Christ who is distinguished by grace.
Why? Because he has the righteousness of Christ. He has been rescued from the righteous, just condemnation of God. He's been rescued from that, and now you have the righteousness of Christ, and now you're no longer living for self, but you're living for him. He is the point of your life, not your pleasure, not your preservation.
He is. And so, you're no longer living for the passions, but for the will of God, for the human passions there. You've surrendered your self-centered pleasure.
You have surrendered your self-centered preservation. What example do we have of this? Well, Christ himself, Jesus, didn't live for his own pleasure, but the Father's. Examples through Scripture of people who did the same.
We'll talk about a couple of them this morning. Not only did Jesus not live for his own pleasure, but for the Father's pleasure, but he wasn't bent on protecting himself. Instead, he invested himself. So what we need to do is follow Jesus. This is what Peter is calling us to, as a people distinguished by grace.
Not following our own self-centered pleasures or our self-centered preservation, but investing ourselves, living for God's will and his glory, and living and investing ourselves instead of simply trying to protect ourselves. Paul said as much, Romans chapter 6, verses 6 to 7, we know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin, for one who has died has been set free from sin. So Paul says something very similar to what Peter said. Peter sounds very, very similar to Paul. What Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5, verse 15, he died for all so that those who live would live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and for their sake rose again. You see, that's the contrast. That is the people who are distinguished by grace.
Why? Because I have identified with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His history is now mine. His righteousness is mine. I am distinguished by the grace of God, and I live that.
John says something really striking. Whoever abides in him does not sin. 1 John 3, 9, whoever abides in him does not sin and he cannot sin because the state of God remains in him. There's two mutually exclusive practices. You're either abiding in Christ or you're engaging in sinful activity.
You cannot be doing both at the same time. It's a challenge, isn't it? So what Peter is saying here when he says arm yourselves with the same way of thinking and no longer, as the rest of the time in the flesh, no longer for human passions but for the will of God, he's inviting us to, he's exhorting us to an unswerving resolve to follow Christ and please God. But it's not just simply up to our own resolve and will. It's done by the grace of God. We have to recognize the resource that we have in him. Through surrender to Christ, you are a new creation and free. So live it.
That's the invitation. I think we see a great example of this in several places in the Old Testament, one of them in particular. I like Daniel chapter 6 verse 3. You know what happens in Daniel 6, right? Daniel, prophet of God, serving God faithfully, gets thrown into the lion's den. In chapter 6 verse 3, it says Daniel distinguished himself because an excellent spirit was in him.
I love that. I think that should be a verse that describes every follower of Jesus Christ. We distinguish ourselves because an excellent spirit is in us.
And let's stay with me on this. It's not because we're so good, right? It's not because we're so special, but it's because we're in Christ under the grace of God, okay? And so if I am living my freedom, I believe an excellent spirit will distinguish me if I am living my freedom that I have in Christ. What did Daniel do? A decree was made that you could worship and pray to no other God.
Daniel, what did he do? He took up his cross. He publicly prayed to the one true living God, knowing the consequence. That's taking up your cross. He faithfully worshiped God, the one true and living God, knowing the cost.
Not grasping the dot, but living for the line. That's how we can be distinguished by grace. So those of us who are distinguished by grace now, Peter continues in verses 3 and 4. If we are distinguished by grace, then we will be contrasting the darkness. Look at verses 3 and 4.
For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles do. And when he speaks of Gentiles, he's talking about unbelieving nations, because he's writing to a lot of Gentiles in this book already, right? But he says, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry with respect to this, they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you.
Contrasting the darkness. It's like in verse 3. Look what he says in verse 3. He says, for the time that is past suffices for doing what the unbelieving nations do, he says, enough already.
You've wasted enough of your life doing the same thing as people who have no hope. But you are distinguished by grace. You are a free people.
Live your freedom. And contrast the darkness. So here he gives us a list in verse 3. He gives us a list. I mean, this will preach how to waste your life. That'll preach, won't it? I could write a book about that. Here's how you can waste your life.
I'm just going to distill it down to three things. Follow your appetites, be governed by your feelings, and eliminate boundaries. You will waste your life. Because if you do these things, what you are doing is you are relegating yourself to the level of an animal. You are ignoring the image of God in you, and you are simply following your appetites, governed by your feelings, and eliminating boundaries. There are no boundaries.
In other words, your life is an extended frat party. That's all it is. That's all that matters to you. He speaks of lawless idolatry here at the end of verse 3, lawless idolatry. That is the same as we find in Colossians 3, verse 5. He talks about idolatry as evil desire and covetousness. In other words, being bent on feeding my appetites, my passions, what I want for me. That's how you can waste your life.
And you will. Now what this is, it's not just simply slamming unbelievers. That's not the point of this.
But the point that he's making is this manifests, this, what he's describing here, manifests hopeless despair. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's Word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-05 14:23:07 / 2023-06-05 14:27:39 / 5