Leaving The Past Behind: A Sermon On 1 Peter 4:1-6 -- By: Greg W. Forbes

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 21:3 (Fall 2017)
Article: Leaving The Past Behind: A Sermon On 1 Peter 4:1-6
Author: Greg W. Forbes

Leaving The Past Behind: A Sermon On 1 Peter 4:1-6

Greg W. Forbes

Greg W. Forbes is the Head of the Department of Biblical Studies at Melbourne School of Theology, Melbourne, Australia. He earned his PhD from Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of 1 Peter in the Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament (B&H Academic, 2014); co-author (with Scott D. Harrower) of Raised From Obscurity: A Narratival and Theological Study of the Characterization of Women in Luke-Acts (Pickwick Publications, 2015); and The God of Old: The Role of the Lukan Parables in the Purpose of Luke’s Gospel in the Library of New Testament Studies (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2000).


Julius spent much of his time around the local temple. He was a trader, a merchant, and there were always crowds around the temple plying their trade and willing to do business. On Fridays when he had finished his day’s work he enjoyed the weekly feast sacrificing to the local gods. There was certainly no lack of food and drink, and he and his friends would party long into the night being careful, of course, to pay homage to the relevant god or goddess. He also enjoyed the occasional time with the temple prostitutes.

But things changed. He met a man who told him about Jesus and the Christian faith. Although he would not admit this to his friends, Julius was dissatisfied with the Greek and Roman gods. It was confusing and not intellectually compelling. He needed to comprehend the reason for his existence and understand the purpose of the creation around him. What the man told him provided the answers he longed for. So he was baptized and became one of the Christ followers.

But this created an unexpected problem with his friends. He now avoided the temple feasts, no longer drank all night, and would not go to the temple prostitutes. His friends did not understand him, no matter how much he tried to explain it, and they started abusing

him and insulting his new way of life. His family were also extremely critical of him for abandoning the family religion.

The Epistle of 1 Peter was addressed to people like Julius. They were suffering for their faith. Not suffering persecution from the governing authorities, but from friends and pagan neighbors who were upset that they no longer followed their former way of life.

Maybe you can identify with this. Possibly you have created tension in your family because of your faith in Jesus. They cannot grasp the necessity for a commitment like yours, nor for the reason for the ethical choices that you make. For those brought up in Christia...

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