Armed With the Mind of Christ
1 Peter 4:1-6
It is always good to see each of you out this morning. It’s been a while since I’ve had the privilege to stand before you. I’m grateful for the opportunity. I want to encourage you to your Bibles out or a piece of paper so you can write down the scriptures that I mention. If you have any questions about anything I say I’ll be glad to talk to you about it. If I’m wrong I will stand corrected.
We will be taking out sermon this morning out of First Peter 4:1-6. Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. 6 For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
That is First Peter 4 verses one through six.
If you were to listen to me talk sometimes about the military, you might think that I am a person who likes the idea of war. That would not be true at all, but I am fascinated (perhaps like many men) with the equipment of war and sometimes with the soldiers of war.
Because of September 11th we probably know more about the Special Forces than we ever did prior to that time. All men and women of the military a well-trained individual, but those of the Green Berets, the SEALs or the Delta Force, I believe are ranked a little higher with their mental training.
In a sense I believe the real soldier of Christ is like those in the Delta Force or the SEALs. Let me be clear. I’m not thinking of their physical strength or their conditioning. I’m not thinking of their intellectual skills or their ability, but I’m thinking of their mental training. The way I understand it they’re mentally trained to endure conditions that the average person wouldn’t choose to endure.
Notice I used the word choose. Many trials or temptations or conditions many people would choose not to endure. For the real soldier of Christ that is not true. In many places in this book I believe Peter is trying to get people to accept that frame of mind. As a matter of fact the Christian battle is fought in the mind.
We read in Ephesians 6:12-- For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Peter once again encourages the soldiers of Christ to adopt the mind of Christ when it comes to spiritual warfare.
First we have to arm ourselves with the mind of Christ. Let me read verses one and two again of First Peter chapter four. It says: Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. I Peter 4:1-2
Peter reflects back to First Peter chapter three and verse 18 where it says: For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: I Peter 3:18
Christ suffered for sin, sin that was not His, sin that He did not commit, the just for the unjust. Why did He suffer for sin? The Bible tells us to bring us to God. What can we observe here? It tells us that Jesus was willing to put up with physical pain. He was willing to put up with emotional pain and some say with mental or psychological pain—none of which He deserved.
He suffered not because He had to suffer, but He suffered to help you and He suffered to help me. Now we must arm ourselves with the same mind, a mind that is read to suffer for the cause, a mind that is ready to suffer for Christ, a mind that is read to suffer for the gospel, a mind that is read to die as Christ died. When we are ready to suffer and to die for Christ at that point we should be able to say we have armed ourselves with the same mind.
From time to time I need to ask myself: Have I armed myself with that mind? From time to time perhaps you need to ask yourself have you armed yourself with that mind.
If we have armed ourselves we are read for unjust persecution. We are read for trials that may come our way. We are even ready to die if that is the case. That’s the purpose of armor—to be read for spiritual warfare.
I believe it is Barns that says this: Armor is put on for offensive or defensive purposes in war. The idea of the apostle here is the state of mind when we are to meet persecution and trails, and when we are ready to die will answer the purpose of armor in engaging in the conflicts and strife which pertain to us a Christians especially in meeting with persecution and trials. We are to put on the same fortitude which the Lord Jesus had. This will be the best defense against our foes and the best security for victory.
The question remains. Have we armed ourselves? For those of us who are serious, if we haven’t then we would do so as soon as we possibly can. If we are not serious about Christ, we will not do so. We will not arm ourselves. The person who is not serious will not even pay attention to what the Lord’s word has to say.
Having a changed mind is important because the Bible tells us that he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. What did Peter mean in the latter half of this verse? What I think he’s saying is that in today’s words is if you are a person who is willing to suffer for following Christ then you have given up the life of sin.
In Psalms 119:9-11 we find these words: Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
What happens to a person when he is serious about following Christ? Their perspective changes. The way the look at life changes. Their priorities change. They change. They take God’s word seriously. It’s not something to play with. They want to follow Christ with their whole hearts, not half-heartedly. They don’t want to sin against God. They do not want to sin against their Father in heaven. Such a person has firmly made up their mind about sin. They don’t have time for sin. They don’t want sin to be a part of their life.
Such a person is serious about a righteous life. It is likely that such a person is read to accept the fact that they will suffer in order to stay faithful unto Christ. They accept the suffering that comes with avoiding sin. Sin has lost its appeal. Such a person would chose torture rather than deny Christ. Such a person would choose to suffer unjust treatment with all the negative feelings that go with it rather than step outside their Christian character for revenge for injustice. Such a person would also accept the sufferings that might come from denying themselves rather than enjoying the pleasures that come with sin itself.
We read in Romans 6:6-7—Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Galatians 2:20 says: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Colossians 2:20-- Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
II Timothy 2:11—It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
Paul’s words in Romans six and seven are similar to Peter’s words. I think Barnes and Brother Woods suggest the same idea that to suffer in the flesh is to die.
What happens when a person obeys the gospel? They have crucified the old man. The body of sin, the Bible tells us, is destroyed. Of course, the physical body is not destroyed, but mentally we are reckoned that old sinful behaviors have been destroyed. Being in that frame of mind we should not serve sin. We should not yield ourselves to sin that is give into sinful impulses that may come upon us. If we are dead to sin we are freed from sin. Having obeyed the gospel we have been crucified with Christ. Yes, we live by the grace of God which means we live for the Son of God.
When people see us they don’t see the old us. At least they shouldn’t, but they see Christ living through us. Ask yourself the question: When people see you coming do they see the old you or do they see Christ living through you? Do they see a new creature?
I must ask myself the same question. Do they see the old me or do they see Christ living through me? Do I have the same bad attitude that I had before I was baptized? If so, it is unlikely that Christ is living in me. Do I still allow anger to control me like I did before I was baptized? If I do, Christ is not living in me. Do I still think that I am better or superior than some other person? If I do, Christ is not living in me. Am I practicing the same sin I was practicing before I was baptized? If I am, Christ is not living in me.
Having obeyed the gospel I am dead to the world. That’s what the Bible communicates to us. My life hid with Him, the Bible says. My life is hid with Him in God. There is no life in sin and there is no sin in Christ.
There is no life in compromising the principles either. Having died with Christ I shall also live with Christ. First Peter 4:2 says: that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
Having the same mind of Christ we will not spend the rest of our time living in lust of men, but will do the will of God. Too much time has been spent by all of us doing things that destroy us spiritually that destroy our souls. Now it is time for us to live for God, to live to do His will.
More than enough time has been given to ungodly living. I Peter 4:3—For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
Many who have lived a life without rules would probably tell us that it is not worth it. It is not worth living a life without rules. Many of Peter’s readers had walked in the ways of the Gentiles. In a similar manner the same thing applies to us today. Many of us in times past have walked in the ways of the Gentiles, ways that are contrary to God’s will that is walking in the ways of lasciviousness.
The word lasciviousness covers a lot of sinful behavior or conduct that we find in the world today. For example, unbridled lust. Excess. Outrageousness. Shamelessness. That is just some of what this word covers. If we want to see an example of it all we have to do is turn on our television. All we need to do is to turn on cable or go to today’s popular movies or just ask a teenager who is not ashamed to tell you what they’re doing when their parents are not around. Of course you can say the same about some adults or adults who are living two different lives, one life in the public where they look like and outstanding citizen and a whole different life when they are alone.
Some walk in the ways of lust. I word lust there carries the meaning of forbidden desire, forbidden cravings, forbidden longings. Such lust fills our society today. Men desire to have another man’s wife or women who desire to have another woman’s husband. One man may long to have another man’s business. A farmer may want to have possession of another farmer’s property. A teenager may desire to have something someone else has. The list could go on and on. The desire to have—that which we should not desire to have.
Some walk in the ways of excessive wine or wine bibbing. I understand the best translation of excessive wine is drunkenness. It is my understanding that this also includes social drinking such as after hours or cocktail parties or bar hopping and such things. Perhaps some of us did this in times past.
Some walk in the way of reveling. Romans 13:13—Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
The word reveling is maybe from Thayer which says a rebel, written properly nocturnal and riotous possession of, half-drunken and frolicsome fellows who after supper parade through the streets with torches and music in honor of Bacchus or some other deity singing and playing before the houses of their male and female friends hence used generally of feasting and drinking parties that are protracted until late at night.
One translation says “letting loose”. It sounds like a typical Friday night that we may find in a big city or even a small town. Sounds like something we might find on any Friday or Saturday night in America. People are out at the bars, teenage parties, the Super Bowl, game parties and Mardi Gras or any type of festival we man think of.
Some walk in the ways of banqueting. That word banqueting carries the idea of drinking or drinking bouts, drinking parties, carousing. It sounds like the typical college party where men and women see who can out-drink the other. Binge drinking may come to mind.
Some walk in the way of abominable idolatry. The Bible says in I Corinthians 10:14—wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
The word abominable carries the idea of contrary to law and justice, prohibited by law, illicit, criminal. In other words some act contrary to law, contrary to that which is justice, or to act in illicit or criminal ways.
The word idolatry carries the idea of worship false gods or devices springing from idolatry and particular to it. Look at I Peter 4:3 where Peter may be talking about illicit acts springing out from idolatry or criminal acts that spring from idolatry.
All these acts and more were committed by God’s people before they obeyed the gospel. Now their conduct was to be different and things were not necessarily going to get easier. Why not? Because the world considered Christians strange. Notice these words. Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: I Peter 4:4
People of that day were unrestrained in their conduct and turning to sins mentioned in verse three in First Peter chapter 4. They didn’t see the sin they were committing as being bad. That sounds familiar to me.
It appears that committing such sins was normal. It appears that everyone was doing it, but not the Christians. Christians are on the outside of the norm at that time. They should be on the outside of the norm in today’s society. It is said that the people looked at the Christians with astonishment because they would not participate in these sins. Perhaps they were considered anti-social because they would not get involved. They might have been called unfriendly or bigots all because they would not participate in the sin that was going on at that time. Real Christians face the same labeling today.
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20
We live in a society that makes sin normal and good. For example, sexual relations before marriage is good. Right? Keeping yourself pure for marriage is odd. I noticed that years ago that shacking up or living together is good before marriage. Marriage without trial is bad. It’s not wise.
Compromising God’s word to not offend other people is good. Right? Speaking the truth in love is bad. Not calling conduct that is bad sinful is good, but calling conduct that is bad sinful is bad. You don’t hear the word sin in society anymore.
The list could go on and on. Evil is called good and good is called evil. Darkness is called light and light is called darkness. When we refuse to participate in their sins we are not made to feel comfortable. We are made to feel like outsiders. We are perhaps persecuted both verbally and physically because we stand up for what is right, but we must stand anyway. Otherwise we will share in their fate which is condemnation.
I Peter 4:5-6—Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. 6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
Those who speak evil of Christians will eventually have to give an answer for their conduct. They may let loose now. They may get away with stuff now. They may enjoy their sin now. They may speak evil of Christians who refuse to participate now. If they do not repent, if they do not change, they will reap eternal condemnation. That is what the Bible teaches.
Unfortunately the non-child of God will not be alone. Every child of God that does not arm himself with the mind that Christ has will have the same fate. Notice what we read in Revelation 20:12-15. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
The lake of fire awaits every accountable man, woman and child who is the age of accountability if they fail to obey the gospel. The Bible tells us they are not in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
The lake of fire also awaits every child of God who refuses to arm themselves with the mind of Christ. Notice these words: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2
Then Ephesians 6:13—Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Then Philippians 2:5—Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Today I raise the question: How is your mind? Is it armed with the mind of Christ? Is it transformed? Is it being transformed? Are you ready to stand in these evil days—or is your mind conformed to the ways of the world?
Good is evil. Evil is good. Light is darkness. Darkness is light. Bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. If this is where we stand, we will stand condemned. We all need to change our minds. We all need to be at a place of repentance and confess our sins before God.
If you would like to have the mind of Christ today and are not a member of the church and you would like to be saved, the Bible tells us a few things. It tells us that first we need to believe. John 3:16 is perhaps one of the most famous verses of the Bible. It says: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
After believing we must be willing to repent. Jesus said I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke 13:3
We must also be willing to confess Christ before men. The Bible tells us in Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Of course, one needs to be baptized according to the scriptures. Peter said on the day of Pentecost to the people who were hearing his words: Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
If there is anyone here today who needs to respond to the gospel, or if you need stand in need of prayer or need to come before the church for one reason or another we encourage you to do so as we stand and sing this song of invitation.
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