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1 Peter 4

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 1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same mind because he who has suffered in the flesh is finished with sin,

 2 So that you should not live the rest of your time in the flesh in the lusts of men, but [live] to the will of God.1

 3 For the time that is past is sufficient for us to have done what the Gentiles do, when we walked in sensuality, lusts, excess of wine, reveling [partying], banqueting, and abominable idolatries [wanting or valuing anything as much as, or more than God]. [From the Word of the Lord within: "Modesty: be modest in all things."]

 4  They think it is strange that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they speak evil of you,2

 5 But they will give an account to him who is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

 6 For this reason the gospel was preached to those who are dead, so that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

 7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be sober, and watch to prayer.

 8 And above all things have fervent love among yourselves, for "love covers a multitude of sins."

 9 Extend hospitality to one another without complaining.

 10 As every man has received a gift, use it to serve [minister] one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

 11 If any man speaks, [let it be] as God's oracles [words]; if any man ministers,[ let him do it] with the strength that God gives,3 so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and power forever and ever. Amen. [Oracle — a message from the gods given by an oracle. From the Word of the Lord within: "A word spoken from the Spirit requires you to hear what the Spirit says to you. All and only words from Him are to be spoken." Jesus said: "whatever I speak is just as the Father has told me to speak. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him, that man is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him." John 12:50,7:18.]

 12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;

 13 But rejoice, since you are partakers of Christ's sufferings, so that when his glory is revealed, you may be glad with exceeding joy.4

 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the spirit of glory and of God rests on you; on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

 15 But let none of you suffer because he is a murderer, or a thief, or an evildoer, or a busybody in other men's matters.

 16 But if any man suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf.

 17 For the time has come that judgment must begin with the household of God.5 And if it first begins with us, what will the end of those be who do not obey the gospel of God?

 18 And if the righteous can barely be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinners?6

 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as to a faithful Creator.


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1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so that he should not live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. When he deems you ready, you enter tribulation. This is part of the cross, to destroy the sinful nature within you through suffering. This produces patience, forgiveness, faith, long-suffering, trust, humility, and even hope; for even pain can be reassuring of his love: "Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff comfort me."

Below is an explanation of how suffering helps you to become rid of sin.

When Adam fell in the garden, (he had eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), he began to think for himself, deciding what was good and bad; instead of relying on the direction of God, Adam began to rely on his own mind, deciding for himself what was good and bad. From then on the thoughts and decisions of men's minds and imaginations directed their life; but the imagination of man is evil and the carnal mind of man is enmity with God and incapable of submitting to the Law of God, Rom 8:7, and so they must be eliminated by crucifixion on the inward cross of self-denial and renewed to become the mind of Christ.

When God allows pain and suffering to be applied to us, our carnal minds scream BAD!!!; our impulse is to be offended and recoil away from it. However, if we have been prepared by the Lord to expect pain and suffering as part of the way to be rid of sin, then in faith we deny our mind. We submit to the will of God in faith; in this way we are living by faith, rather than our own selfish will: "the just (or righteous) shall live by faith," Gal 3:11. The more we live by faith, the less we live by our sinful, selfish nature; until finally that sinful nature is dead, and we totally live by faith.

After we have persistently denied our impulse to be offended and run under duress, instead by quietly submitting to the pain and suffering, submission to the will of God then is very easy in normal circumstances. Our faith has been tested; and we are proven trustworthy of remaining faithful to Him in all circumstances, which is necessary before we are qualified to receive the true treasure.

But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it. Mat 7:14 (Tribulation and suffering are the pressure; as you approach the gate, the pressure intensifies). Tribulation is not a hard day at the office, a car wreck, a death in the family, a divorce, or some natural difficulty; it is unmistakably, supernaturally imposed.

For this suffering to be effective, you must realize three things:

1) It is supernaturally imposed. It is not some natural disease. It cannot be cured. It cannot be stopped by anything you do.
2) Despite the afflictions to your body, no harm will result — except to your selfish, sinful nature.
3) It is pleasing to God for you to undergo suffering because you are laying down your life for him — the one true sacrifice.

I realize this is extremely strange and foreign to most readers. But remember, Jesus said to Peter: Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him, that he might sift you like grain. They were all turned over to Satan for testing. Satan will be allowed to test and sift you, (a slow process), as well as inflict suffering upon you to test, try, and develop love within you. When you can suffer with faith that the suffering is your cross, but nowhere as painful as the cross of Jesus; then your pain is far, far less. This is the Ministry of Condemnation that destroys the carnal mind, which is enmity with God for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. Rom 8:7. From the word of the Lord within: "Trust Him. He will lead you and watch over you continually. He will never leave you." Tribulation is the major part of the crucifixion of your lusts and affections. The same sufferings are being experienced by all your brothers in the world. 1 Pet 5:9. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Rom 8:18.

From the Word of the Lord within:

2 As you begin to deny your former evil activities in the world, the basis of your friendships will diminish. As you deny foul language, revelry, drinking, carousing, etc., your friends will become uncomfortable and begin to attack your commitment to goodness. You will no longer have anything to gain from socializing with them. For what fellowship can light have with dark or righteousness with lawlessness? Yes, they think it strange that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they speak evil of you. Your former social friendships will necessarily disappear, else they will hate you and persecute you; or worse, drag you back into the world as you seek their approval. Are you trying to win the approval of men, or of God? This doesn't mean that you won't be kind and courteous to those of the world with which your occupation brings you into association; just that you will not socialize with them, because it would be painful. Do not be deceived. Evil companions corrupt good manners, morals, and integrity. 1 Cor 15:33.

3 If any man speaks, [let it be] as God's oracles [words]; From the Word of the Lord within: "a word spoken from the Spirit requires you to hear what the Spirit says to you." The words you speak must be heard from the Spirit in the same moment before you speak, not words read or even words you previously heard a month ago, or a week ago, or an hour ago.

As Jesus said: He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of the One who sent him, that man is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him. John 7:18. So, any man who speaks of God or Christ without the Spirit's specifically supplied words is seeking his own glory. Take no thought how or what you will answer or what you should say; for the holy spirit at that moment will teach you what to say. Luke 12:12. Note! You cannot just open your mouth and start speaking extemporaneously, assuming the Holy Spirit is speaking through you; you are supposed to hear from the Holy Spirit what to say first. Many people read this and assume if they don't plan a speech, the Holy Spirit will control their mouth — not true! Jesus said: take no thought; this is only possible after the Holy Spirit has destroyed your carnal mind, which is enmity with God, and your mind has been renewed to the mind of Christ. All words spoken must first be heard; and only words heard at that moment are to be spoken. Think about it: if it is not all words, is it one word from Him and then one hundred from your carnal mind; or is ten words from Him and then ten from your carnal mind? From the Word of the Lord within: "all and only words from Him are to be spoken;" and only at that moment. Realize, you will be tempted by the enemy many times to preach before you can hear so well as to speak only words heard at that moment for there are many voices; beware of false prophets; and beware of becoming a false prophet yourself, speaking from your carnal mind's memory about Jesus or God. Words spoken from the Spirit reach the heart of the listener; words spoken from the carnal mind do not reach the listener's heart and scatter because you are not gathering with Him.

To minister you must only speak whatever words the Spirit gives you and instructs you to speak, at the moment before you speak. As Paul confirms: "Which things we speak, not in the words, which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit instructs," 1 Cor 2:13.

Let him minister with the ability that God gives. This is not a talent for speaking — that is natural. Peter is speaking of the ability to help people only as you have been given spoken words heard from the Spirit at that moment in exhorting, or in reproving, or in encouraging, or in correcting, etc. As Paul said: It pleased God.. to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him. Gal 1:15-16.

George Whitehead wrote on this topic in his Journal:

Thus keeping silence before the Lord, and drawing near to him in a true silent frame of spirit, to first hear what the Lord speaks to us before we speak to others, whether it is judgment or mercy, is the way for renewing our strength, and to be his ministers, to speak to others only what he first speaks to us. O! That the people were truly mindful of this; that they would seriously consider this; then would they not run after, or follow such as their ministers, priests, or prophets, who ran out to preach when God had never sent them; and who say, Thus said the Lord,” when God has not spoken to them; and, "who shall not profit the people at all."

Until you can only speak words heard from the Spirit at the moment before you speak, you are not fit to minister. If you speak from your carnal mind things about Jesus or God, they do not reach the heart of your listener. Instead you are speaking from the nature of death, and you are scattering because you are not gathering with Him. Jesus said, "Take no thought how or what you will answer or what you should say; for the holy spirit at that moment will teach you what to say." Luke 12:12. From the Word of the Lord within:

 

4 do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; Supernatural suffering is painful. This is the tribulation: we must go through many trials and tribulations to enter into the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22. As John confirms: I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ. Rev 1:9.

William Dewsbury has outstanding words of encouragement to those of us who are wounded and suffering in tribulation:

"Let this go abroad among all the afflicted and wounded in spirit. With care send this to them.

Dear child, who cries, over all the world, and beyond all the pleasure, pomp, and vanity therein, for the enjoyment of the light and countenance of God;—fear not, neither be discouraged, because of the violent assaults of the enemy, who seeks to draw you into the carnal reasonings of your spirit, and in it to kindle a fire to yourself, and causes you to walk in the light of the sparks that you have kindled;—and this you have at the hand of the Lord, in going from his counsel, you lie down in sorrow. Few know your great distress; but, to the Lord it is known, and to those who have walked in the same paths. Oh, you dear and afflicted soul, who live in the deep sense of the working of the evil one in your mind, and many times are ready to say,— Never was any like unto me, nor any sorrow like unto my sorrow:—and in this languishing, despairing, mourning of your soul, all things are made bitter to you as the waters of Marah. Thus are you driven from all comfort, as a child without a father, a desolate widow without a husband and as a stranger whom no eye pities, in your apprehension; sometimes saying in your heart, in the heat of the temptation, and the fire you have kindled, Oh, that I had been any creature but what I am! or, if it were the will of the Lord, that he might shorten my days, that I might not be any longer on earth to sin against him! For in your own sense and feeling, you, walking in the sparks you have kindled, in carnal reasonings, discerns not anything but wrath, on every side, horror, misery, and distress, and great languishes; secretly crying out in your heart,—Oh, that I were alone in the wilderness, or in a cave, or den of the earth, that I might never see nor hear any of the sons of men any more, but in secret retire, even roar and mourn out my days until I die. Oh, you child of the morning of the pure eternal day of the God of Israel, hearken no longer to the enemy, who said, there has none traveled where you are [traveling,] neither drunk of the cup that you are drinking. He is a liar, who goes about to destroy your precious soul. In the word of the Lord God, I declare unto you, I drank the same cup, with my faithful friends, who are born of the royal seed, every one in their measure have traveled in the same path, and have endured the same temptations, and walked in the light of the same sparks, and lain down in sorrow, in the sense of the same misery as you mourn under this day. No longer lend an ear unto the enemy, and to the thoughts of your heart. Arise, arise, in the light of the covenant, and stay your heart; and the Lord God, he will throw down the enemy of your peace, destroy the carnal reasonings of your mind, and put out the fire that you have kindled. He will deliver you forth of the horrible pit, and set your feet upon the Rock of Ages. You shall tread down the enemy of your soul, in the sensible feeling of the bowels of the love of the Father, who will manifest himself to be a father to the fatherless in you, and a husband to that mournful widow, and a comfort to that immortal babe that mourned in you, in the uprightness of your heart, to do the will of the living God. So, in the power of his might, stay your heart; and tread upon all doubts, fears, despairing thoughts, questionings, reasonings, musings, imaginations, and consultings. Arise over them all in the light of Christ. He will lead you into the banqueting-house of the pleasure of our God, where you shall sit down with me and all the redeemed of my Father, who are born of the immortal seed, and have passed through great tribulations, and have washed our garments and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore do we now stand before the throne of God, praising him day and night in his holy temple. And this shall be the portion of your cup, if you diligently hearken to the counsel of the Lord, which calls you to trust in him. He will embrace you in the arm of his love, and you shall praise his name forever! God Almighty, in his light and life, raise up your soul, and establish your heart in his counsel, steadfastly to wait for his power to lead you, in the cross, out of all unbelief, and cause you to lie down at rest in obedience to his will: where you shall drink the cup of the salvation of God forever."

so that, when his glory is revealed, you may be glad with exceeding joy. Peter is talking about Jesus being revealed as an imminent event, not thousands of years later. For the revelation of Jesus Christ is a personal experience of individual purified believers. The New Testament is full of references to the second appearance of Jesus being then, not thousands of years later. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus is recorded saying that some then standing with him, 2000 years ago, would see his glorious coming in the clouds with the Kingdom before they died. Later Paul, Jesus in Revelation, Peter, James, and John, — all said, soon, the time is near, a little while, he stands at the door. Christendom blithely ignores this gaping incongruity between what the Bible plainly states vs. what they are taught by their blind guides. It would be a cruel hoax to be waiting on Him to appear if the past 100 generations of believers actually had no hope of ever seeing Him.

There is an entire web page on this site devoted to this second appearance: The Second Appearance of Jesus is Within the Hearts of Purified Believers.

5 the time has come that judgment must begin with the household of God. Your suffering is part of judgment. Not the final judgment, but nevertheless, judgment. Everyone must go through the fire — on earth the unquenchable fire of the Holy Spirit's purifying baptism of death, which is part of the final judgment. The rest of men are judged after their physical death.

The Holy Spirit convinces us of our sins, showing us how captive we are to our lusts, pleasures, habits, anger, pride, and self-gratification — and how this self-centered behavior is at the expense of others around us. The word and light show us the defects in our heart, one at a time, exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. With our regret and sorrow for conditions exposed by the Holy Spirit, we receive help from the Holy Spirit to change. This conviction and condemnation of our beastly nature is the Ministry of Condemnation. When we have been sufficiently purged and purified of our selfish, sinful nature, then we receive the Ministry of Life or additional spirit from Christ; until finally we are restored to the image, direction, and presence of God. The same sufferings are being experienced by all your brothers in the world. 1 Pet 5:9.

6 And if the righteous can barely be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinners? To become righteous, you must bear the cross to destroy your sinful nature, which entails significant suffering and tribulation. In your tribulation you will be stretched to the very limit of your ability to maintain your hope and faith; then you will be given more strength and stretched even further than previously. You must endure to the very end, when you see Christ appear in your heart to bring your salvation. This is the way that the Lord builds your faith and trust in Him, while at the same time, He is ridding you of your sinful nature. This is painful — very painful. There can be physical pain; there can be emotional pain; there can be both. From the Word of the Lord within: "Judgment begins with the house of God." To achieve salvation from sin and partake of, (share in), the divine nature by entering in union with Christ and God is the sole purpose of the world. From the Word of the Lord within: "This is the hardest thing —This is the Only thing;" but the suffering of the necessary cross is nowhere near as painful as the suffering in Hell, and as the Lord said: "Either pain in this life or the next." And the reward for bearing the cross on the earth is beyond comparison.

You are stretched so far that you realize, without doubt, that only a savior can rescue you from oblivion; and so when you are saved, you will fully agree that you were barely saved.

Now, if those who choose to suffer by obediently following the Lord in love can barely be saved, imagine the difficulty of those who finish their life living in their lusts and ungodliness, to then be banished from heaven, to learn the hard way about love vs. lust, sin vs. righteousness, humility vs. pride, good vs. evil, light vs. darkness.

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