The Gospel Observer

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
April 10, 2011


1) 1 Peter 4:14-16 (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes


1 Peter 4:14-16
by Tom Edwards

After instructing the brethren to not be alarmed at the "fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing"; but, rather, to "keep on rejoicing" -- and regardless of the degree to which they would "share the sufferings of Christ" -- Peter then states in 1 Peter 4:14, "If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you." Again, we note that this is not merely any kind of suffering; but, rather, one that is for the cause of the Lord.  As we saw in Matthew 5:11, "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you BECAUSE OF ME" (emphasis mine).  The reason for why the Christian can rejoice, as the Lord goes on to show in verse 12, is because our "reward in heaven is great."

The reward of heaven has certainly motivated many of God's people through difficult times -- in both the OT and the NT periods.  For instance, consider Moses in Hebrews 11:24-27: "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen."

In addition, the Hebrew writer also speaks of that "great conflict of sufferings" that God's people had undergone, and could even accept joyfully the seizure of their property, because they knew that they had a better possession and an abiding one, reserved for them in heaven (Heb. 10:32-34).  

Peter then goes on to say in 1 Peter 4:15,16, the following: "Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name."

The phrase "troublesome meddler" is actually from just one Greek word (allotriepiskopos).  Thayer defines it as "one who takes the supervision of affairs pertaining to others and in no wise to himself, a meddler in other men's affairs."  It is translated in the KJV as "a busybody in other men's matters."  Though this is the only place where this particular Greek word is used in the NT, the prohibition toward being a busybody is clearly seen in other passages.  For example:  

"For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies" (2 Thess. 3:11).  Paul's command and exhortation to these is that they will "work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread" (v. 12). 

Concerning the younger widows, Paul says, "At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention" (1 Tim. 5:13).  He, therefore, encourages them "to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach" (v. 14).  

In 1 Peter 4:16, Peter states, "but if anyone suffers as a Christian."   Other than here, there is only one other place where "Christian" is used in the Bible, and that is Acts 26:28, where Agrippa replied to Paul, "In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian."  Or as the KJV renders it, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."  So there are just these two verses where the singular form of "Christian" is used.  But it is also used in the plural, though just once, in Acts 11:26, where we find it first used.  This verse states that "...the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch."  The significance of this is that the church in Antioch was made up of Jews and Gentiles, but here we see them as simply being called "Christians," which indicates the oneness they had with each other.  They were different members, but all of the same body.  

This new name of "Christian" that was first given to the saints in Antioch is a fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 62:2, where it foretells, "The nations will see your righteousness, And all kings your glory; And you will be called by a new name Which the mouth of the LORD will designate."  We can note from this that the name Christian wasn't merely a name given in derision by the enemies of Christ; but, rather, it is a name that originated with God Himself.  

Names like Lutheran, Weslyan, Calvinist, etc., glorify men; but the name "Christian" glorifies the Lord.  

So, contrary to the Book of Mormon, which speaks of God's people as being "Christians" in 73 B.C. (in Alma 46:15), the Bible first mentions it, around A.D. 43, as being a name that designated the disciples.  

The saint who wears the name of Christ does not need to be ashamed when suffering for the Lord.  The world might try to humiliate one for doing so --  to ridicule, to mock, to discourage.  But when you know that you are doing right, you can glory in the Lord rather than wallow in shame.  

Compare this to what Christ did in Hebrews 12:2,3: "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."  

The Greek word for "despising" is "kataphroneo," which Thayer defines as "to contemn, despise, disdain, think little or nothing of."  This is the attitude Christ had toward the shameful treatment inflicted upon Him.  To undergo the same execution, which was reserved for the most terrible criminals, would be a very humiliating and shameful way to die; but Christ yielded to this, thinking little of that shame, because He knew He was doing the right thing and could, therefore, endure the cross and rejoice for the joy that was set before Him.

This reminds us, too, of that encouraging example of the apostles who did not allow shame to deter them from doing what was right.  For after having been imprisoned and flogged for preaching the gospel, they, later, "went on their way..., rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name" (Acts 5:41).  

So rather than feeling humiliated, the Christian can glorify God for doing what is right (1 Peter 4:16). The term "glorify" is from the Greek word "doxazo," which Vine defines as "to magnify, extol, praise...especially of glorifying God, i.e., ascribing honor to Him, acknowledging Him as to His being, attributes and acts, i.e., His glory."  Thayer also adds to this, "to...celebrate...to honor, do honor to, hold in honor."  

We should always hold God in great honor, to glorify Him that way, to shape our lives around His teaching that are very conduct will also glorify Him.  In pointing out one way this is done, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:20, that we are to "glorify God" in our "body" by abstaining from immorality.  And one reason for that is mentioned in this same verse: "For you have been bought with a price."

According to Romans 15:6, the Lord can be glorified audibly: "so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Even our relationship to one another can be to the glory of God, according to Romans 15:7, "Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God."

Last week, we saw that God can also be glorified when we impart His word to others.  For that is what is said of the Holy Spirit when He did that, as John 16:14 declares: "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you."

God can be glorified because of His supreme goodness: "and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, 'THEREFORE I WILL GIVE PRAISE TO YOU AMONG THE GENTILES, AND I WILL SING TO YOUR NAME'" (Rom. 15:9).  

Even in death, God can be glorified, as Jesus shows in John 21:18,19: "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself, and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.  Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, 'Follow Me!'"

Following the Lord is the way in which we bring glory to God.  For following the Lord involves a way of life in being faithful in keeping the commandments of God.  

In addition, let us not forget that Jesus, our great example, never glorified Himself.  He states, "...'If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, "He is our God"'" (Jn. 8:54).  

Consider also Hebrews 5:4-6: "And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.  So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, 'THOU ART MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN THEE'; just as He says also in another  passage, 'THOU ART A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.'"   Notice, too, the connection in this passage between "honor" and "glorify."  As we considered earlier, "honor" is one of the definitions of glorify.  

Just as these individuals received honor from God, even so, all who live for the Lord also will, according to John 12:26, where Jesus states    , "...if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him."  That is truly the honor that we should desire, rather than merely the honor of men.  For example, in John 12:42,43, it speaks of "many even of the rulers" who believed in Jesus; but "they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God."  In this passage, "approval" is also rendered in some other translations as "glory" and  "praise."  These particular rulers, unfortunately, were more concerned for earthly glory (or that from men) rather than the honor they could have had from God by their faith and obedience to Him.  

In thinking of mere earthly glory, how brief it is.  For if when in heaven, there would be one who had been a great earthly king and another who had been a poor peasant, do you think they would still have those distinctions there?  Would one have a higher rank over the other in heaven?

In addition, would not glorying in oneself often be seen in connection with arrogance and self-exaltation -- rather than that humble quality that is pleasing to the Lord?  Think, for instance, of King Nebuchadnezzar who looked out over his great domain from the rooftop of his palace and said, "Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?'"

Notice, however, how God responded to this, in verses 31,32: "...'King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.'"  

After the seven years, Nebuchadnezzar looked to heaven and came to his senses, giving God the praise and the honor, and regained the throne.  Notice one of the things Nebuchadnezzar learned in verse 35: "All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, 'What have You done?'"

We can also point out that one doesn't have to voice his arrogance in order to be that way.  Consider, for instance, the case of Herod Agrippa I in Acts 12:21-23.  He was the great grandson of Herod the Great.  After Herod Agrippa I was lauded as a god in this passage, we hear no response from him.  There is just silence.  But God knows the hearts of all men; and we can infer from the outpouring of His wrath upon Herod that there must have been corruption in Herod's heart.  We actually are told the reason, in a very clear way, for why this serious judgment was poured out on Herod.  We, therefore, do not have to wonder or be filled with questions.  For verse 23 states, "the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory."

Is giving God the glory important?  It sure would have made a major difference in Herod's life -- the difference between life and death.  

Can we see a lesson in this for ourselves?  Do we not need to give God the glory for whatever good talent or ability we have?  For what would we be able to even begin to do, if it were not for the Lord?  To illustrate this, should a bird boast in itself that it can fly?  Who gave it those wings, and the ability to use them?  Should a fish boast in its ability to swim?  Who gave it those fins and enabled it to do so?  Would not man be just as wrong for boasting in his own abilities and talents, since it is the Lord who has made this possible for the man to acquire?   After all, without the Lord, we would not only have nothing; but we would also be nothing.  So let us glory in the Lord for every talent and ability we have, for every good thing that God has made possible, and simply for Him being the God that He is!  May the good Lord always be glorified by our lives!


We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Don Davis who recently passed away.  Not too long ago, he had been preaching for the church of Christ in Gulfport, Mississippi, that meets on Morris Road -- about 130 miles from Baton Rouge -- and during that time had also preached in a couple of the gospel meetings in Mandeville, Louisiana, where some of us from the Baton Rouge area had enjoyed hearing him.

Let those of us who are Christians also be praying for the following: Agnes Shuff who is now no longer able to be on her feet, even with a walker, and remains under hospice care; Cheryl Crews who has various health problems; Cheryl Anderson whose knee (after having recent surgery on it) started giving her some trouble; Pam MacDonald who is healing from neck surgery; Ed St. Clair who has not been feeling well; Erin Anderson who has strep throat; Jean Calloway who remains on oxygen due to health problems; and Shirley Young who often suffers from fibromyalgia.

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17;  John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

Park Forest

9923 Sunny Cline Dr., Baton Rouge, LA  70817
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 6 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
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