Locked and Loaded: Arm Yourselves With The Mind of Christ for the Purpose of Suffering

Hope As Exiles: 1 Peter Series  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Story: Right expectations and preparations for marriage.
Because I did not have proper expectations and I did not arm my mind with this truth, I did not respond rightly when arguments and difficulties arose.
We are not prepared to suffer.
When we suffer, we struggle to imitate Christ’s character, both to believers and unbelievers.
Key Point: We must arm ourselves with the mind of Christ for the purpose of suffering to imitate his character to the world and to the church.

Locked and Loaded: Imitating Christ’s Character in the World (vs 1-6)

In verses 1-6, we see that through arming ourselves with the mind of Christ, we can live out Christ’s character in the world.
1 Peter 4:1-6 “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached 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.”

First, We Must Arm Ourselves with the Mind of Christ (vs 1a)

Since Christ’s suffering is the pathway to glory, we must prepare ourselves to suffer knowing that it will lead to our glory.
To prepare ourselves, we must arm ourselves with the same mind as Christ, being willing to embrace suffering and not revile in return when we are persecuted for our faith.
Peter calls us to actively take up arms with our mind.
This command was often used in a military context, which implies we must have a war-like attitude when we approach and prepare for suffering.
Specifically we are called to approach suffering in the same way Christ did when he suffered in his earthly life.
In other words....Peter is saying… “just as Jesus willingly embraced suffering through living a righteous life for God, you must embrace persecution from the unbelievers who slander your name for living a righteous life for God.”‌
Just as Jesus did not sin and revile in return when he was treated unfairly but entrusted himself to God, you too must do the same.
Go back in time to April 16th, 1775 during the revolutionary war. You are an American colonist in your house on that evening and all of sudden you hear Paul Revere cry out, “The British are coming! Prepare yourselves for the Battle!”
In response, you would quickly arm yourself for battle, you would take up your rifle, secure your house and family, and prepare your mind for the consequences you may face.
You are prepared for battle because you know it is coming.
Yet, for some reason, when we experience persecution and suffering as Christians, we are shocked, surprised, and discouraged....as if no one ever told us we would face persecution and suffering for following Jesus.
But Jesus clearly warned his followers this would happen to them:
John 15:18-21 ““If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”
So, we must not be surprised when these fiery trials come upon us but arm ourselves with the mind of Christ to embrace and suffer well for his glory.

Second, Our Time for Living In Sin Is Finished (vs 1b-3)

Verse 1b-2 says, when we arm ourselves with the mind of Christ and are willing to suffer well for his name, we demonstrate that a sinful lifestyle no longer defines our behavior, but rather we seek to live according to God’s will.
Now, this does not mean that those who suffer for Christ no longer sin, but rather those who suffer for their faith no longer live with a sinful mindset.
They are willing to stand for Jesus and the truth of God’s word regardless of the persecution and suffering they will face....they are willing to “be strange” for Jesus...
We must ask ourselves…have we taken this mindset?
Have we chosen to renounce our sinful lifestyles of the world and only live for the will of God?
verse 3 says, Since we have chosen to embrace suffering and no longer live for ourselves but for God’s will, we will not participate in the sinful actions of our former life. We will no longer live like the unbelievers live around us.
Peter is saying… “enough already!” There is no reason for you to go back to your sinful lifestyle to dodge persecution because you have already spent sufficient time living like a sinner.
The vices Peter lists in verse 3 are sins that his readers USED to participate in along with the other unbelievers....but now they no longer live this way.
This shows the power the gospel has to transform lives.
In response in verse 4, Unbelievers will be astonished and view us as strange when we do not practice their sinful actions, and as a result, they will slander and persecute us.
This word, “surprised” communicates a psychological reaction through seeing something strange.
These Gentile Christians Peter was writing to were now strange to their former peers because they did not want to participate in the worldly passions that they used to enjoy with them.
In response, they were slandered, which is the same word used to describe the slander Jesus faced on his way to the cross.
These believers were willing to embrace and suffer persecution for Jesus, they were willing to forsake sinful pleasures and be a “strange people” for the glory of God.‌
We need to pause at this point and reflect on the power the gospel has to transform the lives of Peter’s readers.
In light of their example ask yourself these questions....
Has Christ so transformed my life that I appear as strange to others…especially because I do not participate in worldly passions like they do??
Am I willing to live a holy life and be ridiculed and slandered for my faith by others?‌
Every day…am I looking and living more like Jesus or more like the sinful world?‌
Am I compromising the truths of Scripture to not be made fun of and to fit in....or am I boldly standing firm on the word of God and refuse to give in?
We must arm ourselves with the mind of Christ, so that we will choose to be strange for Jesus and be willing to face persecution and slander for living for God’s will.

Third, Even During Persecution, We Have Hope of Life After Death (vs 5-6)

Even though we will suffer persecution for our faith, Peter tells us in verses 5-6 that we can be encouraged for two reasons:
First, God will righteously judge our persecutors when Christ returns.
No one will be off the hook but all will stand before God and give an account for their lives.
Knowing our persecutors will be judged by Christ will prevent us from not seeking revenge.
Second, Living a righteous life for Jesus and enduring suffering is not in vain because we will have life after death.
We can look to Christ’s death and resurrection and the life dead saints who are now alive in the spirit as an example.
Verse 6 is another tricky passage, but essentially Peter is saying that since Jesus will righteously judge those who are currently alive and those who are currently dead at the end of verse 5....those that heard and trusted in the gospel during their life in verse 6, but have now since died, will live in the spirit just as God does.
Peter is talking about believers who have since died when he says “those who are dead.”
He is not saying that the dead have a “second chance” to hear the gospel in hell and believe.
We only have one life to hear and respond to the gospel. Once we die, our fate is sealed and there will not be a second chance.
What verse 6 means for us is that we may be judged according to human standards as foolish and strange for following Jesus.
Even though we will still physically die and unbelievers may view that as proof that living for Jesus is no better than living for the world, Peter reminds us that we will also be judged according to God’s standard.
And what the world deems foolish God sees as precious.
So, since Christ has risen from the dead after suffering and Christians who have already died are alive in the spirit, we can take courage that we too will have life over the grave.

Locked and Loaded: Imitating Christ’s Character in the Church (vs 7-11)

In verses 7-11, Peter now shifts from how we should imitate Christ’s character to the world to how we should do this in the church.
1 Peter 4:7 “The end of all things is at hand....”
“The end of all things” refers to living in the “last days.” When Jesus came to earth and died on the cross, he ushered in a new age…the age to come.
But, this age and his Kingdom will not be fully established until Jesus returns....so the time between Jesus’ death and resurrection and his return are known as “the end times.”
This means that we are still living in “the end times” today.
In light of this, Peter provides four commands that encompass the type of “end times ethics” we should practice as Christians with one another....
The end of verse 7 says that first, we are to be self-controlled and sober-minded.
We must not live loose lives and participate in the “flood of debauchery” the unbelievers live in…but rather be self-controlled and have a single minded devotion to love and serve the Lord.
This lifestyle will allow us to be more focused and have more time in prayer so that we will not fall into temptation.
Second, verse 8 says we must love one another earnestly.
Peter reminds us what he previously said in chapter 1, that we must love one another to the max and to the uttermost.
If we do this, we will “cover a multitude of sins” which means we will be quick to forgive others of their offenses and not hold their sins against them. Ps. 84:3; Prov. 10:12; Jas. 5:20.
We must not keep a record of wrongs…be willing to turn the other cheek…
However, this does not mean that we become a doormat and let people walk over us…sweeping every bad thing under the rug…but rather when we love one another earnestly we will not be easily offended and be willing to endure being mistreated.
Third, verse 9 says we must show hospitality without grumbling.
For Peter’s readers, one of the best way they could help brothers and sisters out is through providing housing and food for them.
Especially since many Christians were often kicked out of their homes by their families or had their homes taken away by being ostracized for their faith in Jesus.
There were also many traveling evangelists and missionaries who needed a place to stay and food to eat.
Therefore, showing hospitality to others was a way to advance the message of the gospel and the mission of God!
It would be easy for Peter’s readers to grumble and complain about offering their time, house, and resources to others…especially since they too were facing persecution.
However, Peter calls them to do this WITHOUT GRUMBLING.
We must seek to live out this command too in our lives.
Here is how this text applies:
What did you do the last time your Mom or Dad asked you to help clean up the house, cook, or help get groceries for guests you were having over for dinner or to stay for the weekend?
Did you grumble and complain?
Do you grumble and complain when God allows for circumstances to happen in your life that cause you to sacrifice more time than you planned to talk to, assist, or help a person in need?
We must see these situations as opportunities to serve the Lord and further the mission of God through meeting the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The last command Peter gives in verse 10 is to use the gracious gifts God has given us to serve one another....and we should do it all for his glory!
As Christians, God has given each of us a gift.
This is something that we did not earn, rather it has been freely given to us by his grace.
If we are going to be good stewards of the gifts that God has given us, we must not use them to serve ourselves but rather use them to serve the body of Christ.
And the best way we can glorify God in utilizing these gifts to serve others is by relying, not on our own strength, but on his strength.


1. Arm your mind to suffer for Jesus.
Make up your mind that you are willing to embrace persecution and suffering for Christ.
2. Arm your mind to be finished with sin and live differently before the world.
How can you appear as strange for Jesus?
Work Ethic
work, school, athletics, band, choir, etc.
3. Arm your mind to be servants to the church.
Stop holding grudges with one another.
Stop keeping a record of wrongs.
Forgive as you have been forgiven in Christ.
Stop using your time, talents, and treasures on yourself....use them to serve others.
God has gifted you to serve his church, don’t waste his gift but steward it wisely through serving the body of Christ.
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