INTRODUCTION:

We all have to honestly admit that in life comes suffering, hardship, pain, and difficulty. It is inescapable. We have all had our share of it and can anticipate more of it. But for the Christian while it is true that suffering will come just because of life, we must make sure that we avoid additional suffering for doing wrong. If we are going to suffer, let it be because we are doing good, being godly and practicing righteous living. Let it be because we live a distinctively different kind of life. Have a uniquely different set of values. Practice a different category of priorities. Rather than suffering being some kind of unexpected surprise, rather let it be as a result of our conscious choice and commitment to imitate Jesus Christ whose suffering resulted in our salvation. Let Him become the north star statement of our lives. That direction we point to and that person we look to for the kind of suffering and attitude I am to have while here on this earth.

We have a choice set before us. We must choose to either ID with Christ and suffer because of our choice to follow Him or to choose to ID with the world we have been saved from and indulge in our flesh. Our passage speaks about the present attitude and mindset we must arm ourselves with so we do not cave into indulging our sinful desires any longer. If we are going to maintain the righteous conduct in this world when we suffer for doing good and being godly, then we must maintain the Christ-like mindset along with it. If we lose that mindset we will revert back to living with a worldly one. Then we lose our distinctiveness to be salt and light in a deteriorating and dark world. We forfeit being difference-makers for Christ and eternity. And all of those around us remain spiritually blind and lost while we indulge ourselves just like they do. The difference is that we have the answer and refuse to give it and live it while we let them go to their doom.

The fact is we cannot lose our distinctiveness or we will have nothing left to offer to a lost world. It is absolutely essential for every believer to maintain a Christ-centered, Christ-focused and Christ-like mindset so that God can use us just as He used His Son to participate with Him in what it is He is doing in the world today. We miss the mark of our purpose for remaining here otherwise. So, what is it that we learn from 1 Peter 4:1-6 that can teach us about suffering with the right mindset?

1. WE MUST HAVE THE SAME MINDSET TOWARD SUFFERING FOR GOOD THAT CHRIST DID 1a

 

 

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2. SUFFERING FOR BEING RIGHTEOUS AND DOING GOOD SHOWS IíVE IDíD WITH CHRIST AND AM DONE WITH SIN 1b

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3. THE RULING PRINCIPLE IN MY LIFE IS THE WILL OF GOD NOT FLESHLY DESIRES 2

4. OUR NEW LIVES AND VALUES ASTONISH AND PROVOKE UNBELIEVERS 3-4

 

 

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5. WE ARE SUPPORTED IN OUR STAND AGAINST UNGODLY LIVING BY TRUTH OF COMING JUDGMENT 5

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6. THOUGH WE SUFFER FOR DOING GOOD HERE WE WILL ENJOY LIFE FROM GOD IN HEAVEN FOREVER 6

CONCLUSION:

A. Evangelism is not trying to ID with unbelievers to show them how much like them we are. It is about living a distinctively different life than they and then explaining why. It is not looking and acting like the world, trying to make people comfortable with us and our faith. It is the distinctive that makes the difference. Let's win them!

B. Make Jesus Christ the center-focus of your life in 1999. Commit to do His will in every instance. Each of us will have our crosses to bear in this arena but bear them we must.

C. Fight sin and live a godly life. How about making a commitment to cut out some sinful habits this year. Why donít you let go of those secret sins that are holding you back from fuller devotion to Jesus Christ? Set aside that weight of sin that so easily entangles you.