Enough is Enough…
For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead (1Peter 4:3-5).
WE ARE IN PETER'S FIRST BOOK TODAY. He is plowing hard ground and straining the oxen that are pulling the plow! You know, unless you are willing to bend your neck and submit yourself to the lordship of Christ, you’re wasting your time reading stuff like this.
I DON'T MEAN TO BE UGLY. BUT IF WE ARE NOT WILLING TO BEND AND YIELD when we encounter the Word of God we might as well just play a game of checkers and avoid the voice of God. However, Adam and Eve tried it when they hid in the garden, but God came out to find them.
PETER IS WADING INTO THE INTENSE PARTYING that was going on in that day and that attracted some of the weaker Christians. They were in danger of joining the party animals. That’s why Peter wrote this and it’s in your Bible. God didn’t put stuff in the Bible to take up space, so He could write a best-seller in a hurry.
PETER IS DEALING WITH AN AREA OF GRAVE CONCERN in our verses today. Don’t think that because you are saved and know all the verses of Amazing Grace that you’re above the wiles of the devil. If you had a weak spot before you were saved, the devil knows what it is and he will try to drag you back into it the rest of your life. You can count on it.
THE BIBLE TALKS ABOUT IT THIS WAY: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1) Did you catch that? Robbing banks may not be your weakness.
SOME PEOPLE HAD RATHER CLIMB A TREE TO TELL A LIE than to stand on the ground with a glass of iced tea and tell the truth. You may not be a tree-climbing liar. But there may be a sin that is easier than all other sins, that gets you every time you get near it.
THAT'S WHAT PETER IS TALKING ABOUT. What about this one: The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. (Psalm 58:3) I’m not the perfect angel. I’m just the plumber. If you’ve got some roots growing into your drain lines, sooner or later, you’re going to have to dig up the whole thing and cut those roots out of the line or there’s going to be a mess in your house and everybody will be holding their noses.
GOD GAVE VINEYARDS TO THE JEWS IN THEIR CULTURE and from it they could make wine for celebration and forgetting their sorrow. All the wine in that day was not fermented. Even the grapes on the vine were sometimes referred to as wine.
THERE WAS FERMENTED WINE AND UN-FERMENTED WINE IN ISRAEL. None of it was the fortified wine that is sold today. If it was fermented, it was the weakest of the alcohol drinks. It depends on the context as to which it might have been. When Jesus turned the water into wine at Cana of Galilee, at the wedding, it is unlikely that it was fermented wine. If they had been drinking fermented wine until they ran out, a lot of them would not have been able to complete a sentence and some of them would have been plastered on the ground.
A CHIEF OF POLICE POINTED THAT OUT TO ME ONE DAY. I had never thought of it. But he had. He had thought of it a lot because he was responsible for checking out the parties when they got noisy and some of them wanted to fight. Pretty soon there was blood and somebody would have to call an ambulance and that’s when he had to make it his business.
ONE DAY THE LORD SPOKE TO HIM AND TOLD HIM TO LEAVE THE BEER ALONE. He didn’t go to the Bible and look up the Hebrew and the Greek. He told me that all he had to think about was to remember what drinking was doing to people around him. So he quit.
HE TOLD ME THAT WHEN THERE WOULD BE A COUNTRY MUSIC CONVENTION out in a field, invariably the N.C. Highway Patrol would have to park a couple of cars there and be on hand. That meant that they were pulled off the highway and away from policing speeders and drunk drivers, to keep an eye on these people who were getting plastered and losing their minds in the field.
IN MY YOUNGER DAYS, I PREACHED A GOOD BIT IN THE UNION GOSPEL MISSION in Chattanooga. The homeless people, most of them alcoholics, came in and listened to somebody preach and waited to get a bowl of beans or soup. I always mingled among them and greeted them and asked them how they were doing. They had stories to tell.
THE DIRTIEST PAGE IN THE HYMNAL was “Love Lifted Me.” I’m serious. I flipped through several hymnals and it was easy to catch the dirty pages. That told me a lot. They wanted to be loved. Many of them had lost businesses and their families and their self-respect.
THEIR EYES WOULD GLANCE DOWN AT MY BIBLE and somebody would show me they were on my side. They would quote the verse about “a little wine for your stomach’s sake and thine oft’ infirmities.” They never knew where it was, but it was their favorite verse and they were stickin’ to it. J. Vernon McGee, the radio teacher wades in on our verses today.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! "Lasciviousness"—that's living in sexual sin. "Lusts"—that includes a great many things, lusting after the things of the flesh. "Excess of wine" is drunkenness. "Revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries." "Banquetings" should be translated "carousing." "Abominable idolatries"—the Scriptures tell us that the love of money is the root of all evil; covetousness is idolatry in our day. These are the things which will take you away from God, and Peter clearly spells them out.”(McGee)
THESE VERSES ARE A CHAPTER RIGHT OUT OF MY LIFE. Before my ninth birthday I wanted very much to be part of a gang of boys, so I practiced “cussin’” so I could be one of them. I learned it real good and it became such a habit I was afraid I would “cuss” in my sleep and my mother would hear me. I had no idea it could take hold of me like that did. It worried me. When I got saved in the bean market in October 1943, I was so transformed that I had to make the rounds at school recess and try to get everybody saved. It didn’t fly.
THE BOYS GANGED UP ON ME, put me on the ground and tried to make me pray in mockery. So, these verses tell it like it is. I think J. Vernon McGee’s comment and personal testimony are good. It shows how the Lord was dealing with him and the road He had laid out for him. He says:
“EITHER YOU ARE GOING TO PLEASE GOD, OR YOU WILL PLEASE MEN. And if you are pleasing men, you will not please God. The Lord Jesus said, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you" (John 15:18). If the world does not hate you, then there is something radically wrong. McGee continues:
“WHEN I WAS SIXTEEN YEARS OLD, I began to work in a bank. They put me on the teller's cage when I was seventeen and promised me that the next year I would be made a junior officer. I felt that I was well liked and popular in that bank. Then I went to a young people's conference where I made my decision for Christ and to study for the ministry. I came back to the bank and resigned, yet they let me have a part-time job—they were good to me in that way.
BUT I FOUND THAT I WAS NO LONGER THE POPULAR BOY IN THAT PLACE. As a Christian I became very unpopular. In fact, the fellows with whom I had run ridiculed me, and they did a good job of it because they knew what my life had been before. That was a very difficult decision I made at that particular time.
It doesn’t matter what I think about things Christians ought not to be doing, or what McGee thinks. If you belong to God, then pray about the questionable areas in your life. McGee talked about the dance hall he was attending, and it was not exactly the Jewish dancing in the Bible. If it fogs up your glasses, you’ve got a problem.
WHAT MATTERS IS WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAVE REALLY COME CLEAN WITH THE LORD and laid everything down at His feet to do His will for your life. That’s what matters and it’s what will matter when we stand before Him: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (2Corinthians 5:10).
THW LORD DEALT WITH ME EMPHATICALLY ABOUT SEVERAL ISSUES, including the dancing thing when I was 17. It’s a pretty good excuse to bosom up with another man’s wife or to warm up a maid to go outside with you if you are inclined to do so. Of course, if you are about dead and have already planned your funeral, or you are a super saint, it may not affect your hormones. But you better be careful about stepping on a land mine. There was one very pregnant girl who lamented, “I should have danced all night. All night, I should have danced!”
PETER'S LAST VERSE REMINDS US: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick (the living) and the dead. The writer of Hebrews did his best to urge people to live for God. He had to conclude that on some it had no effect at all. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it (Hebrews 4:2). Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MAY 30, 2018 - THURSDAY
A.M. 1 Chronicles 28-29 P.M. John 11:47-57
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verse to Memorize:
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
Song for Today:
His Eye is On the Sparrow (4:15)
(Wintley Phillips – Maranatha Missions Conf.)
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