Lesson 22 - I Peter 4: 6-11

Lesson 22 - I Peter 4: 6-11

Lesson for June 23, 2013

The Book of I Peter

Chapter 4:6-11

Verse 6

For the Gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.

What we have in this verse is orientation to divine judgment.  There are going to be only two judgments for human beings: 1) The Judgment Seat of Christ for believers and 2) The Great White Throne Judgment for unbelievers.  Unfortunately we have a very poor translation of the original Greek. 

For this purpose would be better translated “because of the fact” (of judgment).  The Gospel was proclaimed to the spiritually dead.  At some time the spiritually dead heard the Gospel, if they were positive at God consciousness, so that they are without excuse.  That introduces a purpose clause; “they might be judged,” which is the Greek word “krino” meaning judged and condemned.  (Hebrews 9:26-28)  No one could be judged for rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior if they did not have the opportunity to hear the Gospel (based on their volition at God consciousness).

The unbeliever’s judgment will be based on human good works (“According to the norm and standard of men in the flesh”).   Human good is identified as dead works in Hebrews 6:1.  There is no place in God’s plan for human good.  (II Timothy 1:9)  Human good is never acceptable to God. (Isaiah 64:6)  Human good will not save mankind according to Titus 3:5.  God will not permit human good in heaven.  Human good is the basis for the unbeliever’s indictment according to Revelation 20:12-15.  The unbeliever is not judged for his sins because his sins were judged on the Cross.  Therefore, human good falls well short of the righteousness of God necessary for eternal life. (Romans 3:23, 6:23; II Corinthians 5:21)

“They may live in the Spirit” should be translated, “but he that lives in the Spirit.”  This is a reference to believers who will also be judged, but according to a different standard since they have accepted the salvation solution that was offered to them.  Their judgment will be on the basis of divine good produced under the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 7

The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.

Peter, by way of inspiration of the Holy Spirit knew that great persecution was just around the corner for these believers.  Preparation was of utmost importance.  The preparation has to do with Bible doctrine and a concentrated amount of it.  Sound judgment and a sober spirit depend on the amount of Bible doctrine in the soul.  Sober means stability of thought pattern which depends upon the daily intake of Bible doctrine. Whenever great catastrophe is about to occur, the preparation involves a special concentration on Bible doctrine.  It is the only answer.  Stability of thought pattern means the constant intake of doctrine, a very concentrated dose.  Sound judgment at any time, but especially during times of persecution is based on a doctrinal frame of reference and spiritual vocabulary based on Bible doctrine learned and applied.

The Doctrine of Prayer

  1. The approach in prayer.  All prayer is addressed to God the Father, never to the Son, never to the Holy Spirit. This is a biblical law.  Matthew 6:9 is the model prayer [it is not the Lord’s prayer] and it begins, “Our Father.”  (Ephesians 3:14; 1 Peter 1:17)  There are two great heresies with regard to prayer.  The Pentecostal heresy is to pray to the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is an intercessor Himself according to Romans 8:26-27.  The second heresy is praying to Jesus Christ. These are people in emotional revolt or just plain stupid.  It is important to know how to approach God in prayer.  Jesus Christ Himself as the High Priest makes intercession for us according to Hebrews 7:25.  Neither Jesus Christ nor the Holy Spirit is ever the recipient of prayer.  Prayer belongs to the Father.  It is something we use to approach Him.  The approach to prayer goes through the High Priest Jesus Christ.  He is the means of getting to the Throne of God.  We go in the name of Christ according to John 14:13-14.  The principle of address: Prayer is addressed to the Father in the name of the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Prayer, like all things which God has designed, is associated with promises.  The promises of prayer are designed for believers who are not mature and who need, before they learn the principles of prayer, something they can use in faith-rest.  Some bona fide prayer promises: Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24; Matthew 18:19; Psalm 116:1-2; Jeremiah 33:3.  The believer claiming promises is the beginning of the Christian life.  As you mature you begin to think in terms of the structure of doctrine and you claim the principles of the Word of God, which is an advance over promises.  Promises are generally claimed by believers at a point of immaturity or a point of great pressure.  But if you are going to meet and weather the storm of suffering, disaster and pressure you must have the principles of doctrine in your soul.
  3. The principles of prayer: a. Prayer must be offered by a believer-priest. (John 15:7)  If you are not a believer your prayer is not going to be heard; b. Prayer must comply with the principle of the Faith-Rest Technique. (Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24); c. Prayer must be compatible with the will of God - 1 John 5:14; d. Prayer must be offered while filled with the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 6:18) As a believer your prayers will not be heard unless you are under the power of the Spirit when you pray; e. Prayer cannot be answered under any status of carnality. (Psalm 66:18); f. Prayer is to involve thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18) Thanksgiving is orientation to grace; it is appreciation for what you receive apart from human merit.  Therefore, the greater your orientation to grace the more effective your thanksgiving in prayer; g. Prayer, therefore, must comply with the grace pattern. (Hebrews 4:16)
  4. The agenda for private prayer.  Basically there are four areas of prayer: a. Confession of sin, which makes it possible for you to be in fellowship, to be filled with the Spirit, and therefore your prayers will be heard; b. Thanksgiving — Ephesians 5:20; c. Intercession — Ephesians 6:18. This is praying for others.  It is advisable to have a prayer list; d. Petition — Hebrews 4:16, praying for yourself.
  5. The nine reasons why prayer is not answered. In effect they all say the same thing; they all describe some form of carnality. a. Failure to be filled with the Spirit — Ephesians 6:18; b. The failure of the faith-rest technique — Matthew 21:22 cf. Romans 14:23; c. Mental attitude sins — Psalm 66:18; d. Lust type selfishness — James 4:2-3; e. Lack of obedience — 1 John 3:22; f. To offer prayer outside of the will of God — 1 John 5:14; g. Pride or self-righteousness — Job 35:12-13; h. Lack of grace orientation or lack of compassion — Proverbs 21:13; i. Lack of domestic tranquility — 1 Peter 3:7.
  6. The principle of grace in prayer is found in Hebrews 4:16 and in our context. a. Prayer is a privilege of grace; b. No believer can come to God in prayer and expect to be heard on the basis of his own merit or his own works. Don’t try to do any bartering with God; c. The Father is satisfied with Jesus Christ — doctrine of propitiation — but the Father is no respecter of persons as far as believers are concerned. Therefore, grace is quite obviously in focus. Any prayer that goes through is definitely a matter of grace; d. Every believer approaches God the Father on the basis of the merits of Christ. Christ is our High Priest; e. God does not hear the prayers of a believer because he is moral, good, benevolent, sincere or religious; f. God hears prayer on the basis of Who and what Christ is.  Prayer is based upon merit in the Godhead, not in the human race.

Verse 8

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

Fervent is the Greek word “ektenes,” and it means intense.  The word love is the Greek word “agape,” which is mental attitude love.   As pressure intensifies for a group of believers there must be an intensity of their relaxed mental attitude.  Pressure has a tendency to divide believers, to make believers irritable, to turn believer against believer.  And agape is not overt love, agape is mental attitude love.  Agape is produced by the filling of the Spirit — Romans 5:5; Galatians 5:22, “the fruit of the Spirit is agape.”  The greater the pressure to a group of believers the more intense must be the relaxed mental attitude of the believers toward each other.

Now there is a statement about agape love which is not found elsewhere.  “Love covers a multitude of sins” is the phrase.   The Greek word for covers is “kalupto,” which means to hide, to veil or to blot out. “Love shall blot out a multitude of sins.”  That means that when a believer is out of fellowship with God through sin and he confesses his sin, he not only is cleansed but he is cleansed from all unrighteousness, which means that he is filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit then produces agape. So agape is used for being in fellowship.  The principle is that you can’t afford to stay out of fellowship in disasterous conditions.

Verse 9-10

Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Hospitable means to be kind to others with the right mental attitude (without complaint).  It does not refer to entertaining people, though there is certainly nothing wrong with it.  Hospitality is actually a spiritual gift that some believers possess.  Every believer receives at least one spiritual gift.  The mechanics are given in 1 Corinthians 12:11 where God the Holy Spirit bestows each one a spiritual gift at the point that he believes.  It has nothing to do with talent.   The body of Christ is a team of believers and here it has the concept of serving each other by the use your spiritual gift in time of disaster.  Manifold means the many-faceted grace of God.  In other words, you don’t have to know what your spiritual gift is.  If you have had any kind of growth it will automatically come into operation under the filling of the Spirit in time of disaster.

Verse 11

Whoever speaks let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God: whoever serves, by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to Whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen

In time of disaster believers need comfort and strength from the Word of God.  The Greek word for speak is “laleo,” which means to communicate; it doesn’t necessarily mean to teach, that would be didasko.  It does mean to communicate doctrine.  Here is a gift, like the gift of communicating doctrine that is encouragement of some kind for someone in great disaster.  The utterances of God obviously refer to Bible doctrine.  So if you communicate in time of disaster, communicate from the doctrinal viewpoint.

By the strength which God supplies means that if you have a spiritual gift that is a service gift, use it to serve others, especially in time of disaster.  Service gifts are helps, giving, ministering, showing mercy and administration.  This phrase means that it is God Who supplies the power to fulfill your spiritual gift under the filling of the Holy Spirit.  God has provided for you in grace, so minister grace in time of disaster.

God is God the Father who has provided everything graciously.   God the Father, the author of the plan receives the glory if believers are filled with the Spirit, use doctrinal content to communicate and utilize their spiritual gift properly.  All of this is done on the basis of our relationship with Jesus Christ Who after all deserves all the glory and dominion forever.

Amen is taken from a Hebrew word and it means “I believe it", which is positive volition toward the doctrine at the point of understanding it.  So “Amen” indicates that a person understands the doctrine and has the potential to apply it.  Peter’s objective in communicating this is so that they will understand the issue they now face, which is a great disaster to come and how to be prepared for it spiritually.