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. Listen as Rich brings a message from 1 Peter 4, 1-6, titled Distinguished by Grace. This is the third part of a sermon first preached November 27, 2022.
If you're simply following your appetites and being governed by your feelings and eliminating all boundaries, it means you are a person of hopeless despair and that is utterly incongruous with one who is free in Christ. And if you are a person of hopeless despair, it means that there is nothing higher or better for which to live or strive. There's nothing beyond the immediate. There's nothing beyond the grave. There's nothing beyond the Son. We live under the Son and that's it. And when I die, I become dust, period.
End of story. That's despair. And what on earth do unbelieving peoples, even if they might be moral good people, what on earth are they thinking about? That happens when they die.
Here's a clue. They don't think about it. Romans calls it suppressing truth in unrighteousness. And so here you have the logical manifestation of hopeless despair. Now, I'm not saying that all unbelievers just live lives of debauchery life. It's not what I'm saying at all because there are moral people that govern themselves and they have a moral conscience because all people bear the image of God, right? Romans talks about that too. They have the law in their heart, right? But what I am saying, and I think what Peter is pointing out here is that what he describes here in verse four is the natural, the logical manifestation of a person who lives with hopeless despair. They have nothing higher or better to live for.
So it logically follows that. But this is why Peter says when you as a people who are free, distinguished by grace, when you choose not to participate in those manifestations of hopeless despair in their irrational recklessness, they consider it strange because they think they're having fun. And you know what? Let's be honest. They probably are having fun in the moment, but that's all they have.
Okay. They think it's strange. They don't understand. That's why as Paul says, spiritual things are spiritually discerned. And so these things are foolishness to them. The idea that we've got something higher and better for which to live and for which to strive in for them living for the dot is all there is. That's despair.
That's hopelessness. They don't understand. And they're threatened by someone who doesn't participate in their irrational recklessness. And therefore, as they're threatened by it, then they will revile it.
They will maybe even abuse one who represents it. In that way, we may identify with Christ in his sufferings, right? That's what Daniel did.
That's what Daniel's three friends did, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It was required of them to worship pagan gods. And they refused. In your friend, friends, relatives, associates, neighbors, in your friend, are they requiring you to worship, to devote yourself to their pagan deities, whatever it is that they devote themselves to?
And if you refuse to participate in that, you might be considered, at best, strange, and at worst, dangerous to the good of all. This is what first century Christians experienced. But they refused to bow. They refused to bow.
Knowing the cost, they refused to bow. So much to learn from that. So we who are distinguished by grace, we are contrasting the darkness. But then also, what we are called to do in verses five and six is to consider their end. Let's be careful that we don't bring in hubris here, okay? There is nothing in this where a Christian ought to be telling an unbeliever, I'm just better than you.
If you find yourself tempted to move in that direction, you need to fall on your knees and confess your sin. There's no hubris in this at all. We are not better people. We are saved by the grace of God. We are POWs that have been rescued, and there are yet POWs that still need to be rescued. So we should not look at those who have yet to be rescued. We should not look at them in disdain or derision. We need to look at them with compassion and mercy, and do what we can to reach them.
You with me on that? This is Peter's disposition. So there's no hubris here, but for those who will not, for those who will revile us, and you know, get this too, there may be a friend, somebody in your friend who will revile you because you're not participating in their devotion to their pagan gods, yet God knows them, and God will draw them. And God will draw them.
So in none of this does it call for our disdain of them or our condemnation of them. But we do need to consider their end. Look at verse five. But they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
This is why the gospel was preached to everyone, 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. Consider their end. Again, here's what Peter's saying.
Remember the line. Keep the big picture in view. Psalm 37, Psalm 73, all of that.
Psalm 77, like we studied this morning in Advent study. Keep the big picture in view. God is like what God has done, and he will do it again. Jesus gave us a good picture of this in Luke chapter 16 as he was communicating the account of what is called Lazarus and the rich man. And the rich man lived for himself, fared sumptuously every day, let the poor people eat from the crumbs that fell from his table. His life was about himself. And he died. And the beggar died. But the beggar was a worshiper. But then he ends up in a place of misery. Not the beggar, but the rich man who lived for himself. He ends up in a place of misery. And he recognizes, he recognizes his fault. His fault was that he lived only for the dot. And do you get it in Luke chapter 16, as he's talking to Father Abraham, he says, please send somebody back to tell my brothers.
What is that? That's recognizing that there was a line. There was a whole lot more than just that little dot. When you consider their end, think about what Paul says to the Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians 1 verses 6 to 9. Let me read that for you. God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might. So you understand something. Life isn't just one thing. You have two aspects of life. One is a physical life and the other is a spiritual life. If you are not in Christ, you are spiritually dead. You might be physically alive, but you are spiritually dead. If you are in Christ, you might physically die, but you remain spiritually alive.
This is what Jesus pointed out in John chapter 11 verse 25. I am the resurrection and the life. Who believes in me shall never die. And though he die, physical death, yet shall he live.
He's introducing us to the line. He's saying, listen folks, there's a whole lot more than that dot of your physical existence under the sun. John says something very similar to that at 1 John chapter 2 verse 28 where he invites us to keep the big picture in view. And now little children abide in him so that when he appears, we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
That's living for the dot. As we would say, as we were studying Ecclesiastes, living with the end in view. Only in that way can you make sense of the journey. I've just given you the whole premise for my second book. There it is.
Now you don't have to read it. Keep the big picture in view. Listen to this. Existential myopia is a tactic of the adversary of your souls. To keep you fixated on simply the here and now is a tactic of the adversary of your souls. He doesn't want you to think about the line. He doesn't want you to keep the end in view.
He wants you to be fixated with here and now. Your preservation your pleasure. Here's Peter's response to that. 2 Peter chapter 1 verse 4. He has granted to us precious and very great promises so that through them you become partakers of the divine nature having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful pleasure. You see there's your freedom.
He's reaffirming the freedom of which Peter speaks. 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. 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 / 2023-06-06 14:27:34 / 2023-06-06 14:32:05 / 5