Built To Last
Your experience and your reaction to things now — the demonstration of the reality of Christ in you — is going to show up a million years from now in eternity.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? You doing alright? Thank God we can be in the world, but not of it. You don’t want have to be tarred with the world’s brush just because you live in a dirty world. “You who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” Simon Peter says in his first letter, “God is able to keep me clean in a dirty world.” Hallelujah. It’s a great truth, isn’t it? How are you doing today? Is everything going alright? I trust so, bless your heart. Some of you may have struck a rough day, or may because you listen at night just be finishing a day that’s been very rough for you. In any case, let our blessed Savior put his arms of love around you and comfort you and strengthen you and help you and encourage you because that’s exactly what He’ll do. He says, “I the Lord will hold thy right hand and help you and say, ‘Fear not.'” God will do that, if you’ll let him. Turn to Him in faith and just let Him help you through every circumstance, He will do it, for He hath said “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”
Well, you and I have been walking around in 1 Peter, and we’re talking about the things that give a good witness. And we went down that list and finally came to the truth that the main thrust in enduring anything, the entire motive in enduring anything is to bring the other person who is in relationship with you in that situation, to bring the other person into right relationship with God. The thrust of all of that passage, 3:18 to 41 of 1 Peter, is that there is a parallel between the purpose of Christs suffering and the purpose of whatever tests and trials you and I go through. The purpose of his suffering was to bring us to God, the purpose of our going through our tests and trials with his aid and with his victory is to bring somebody else into right relationship with God.
Now then we go down to Chapter 4 of 1 Peter, and he says, “For as much then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind, for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men but to the will of God.” Because he said the time passed in our lives may suffice us to have… In other words, haven’t you had enough? Suffice to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we lived every day in lasciviousness, lust, excess of wine, revelings, banquetings and abominable idolatries, wherein they, that is unsaved people; Unsaved people think it strange that you run, not with them to the same excess of riot, and they speak evil of you. Well, he says they’ll give account to God, to Him, that is ready to judge the living and the dead. The end of all things is at hand, be therefore sober and watch unto prayer.
That’s quite a mouthful there, isn’t it? You wanna tackle it? Let’s see what it says to us. 1 Peter 4-1, “For as much then as Christ hath suffered for us.” Now, he says this oftentimes, verse 18 of chapter 3, “Christ also hath once suffered for sins.” Verse 24, chapter 2, “Who his own self-bore our sins in His own body on the tree that we being dead to sin should live unto righteousness,” the sufferings of Christ are a reality to the New Testament believer. Simon Peter, and you and to me. Christ hath suffered for sins. “Because that happened,” he said, “arm yourselves likewise with the same mind.”
Now, what in the world is he talking about? How can there be any effect on my thinking by the historical fact that the Lord Jesus suffered on the cross, for my sins. Now turn that over in your mind, and as you think about it, you’ll realize that there is a real connection between appreciation of what Christ did for me and the kind of life I’m going to live from that time forward. That’s the conclusion he brings. He says, “he no longer,” verse 2, “should live the rest of his time in the flesh,” that is in your living human body “to the lusts of men,” desires, our lust is our desires of people, “but to the will of God.”
When I come to the cross and realize what the Lord Jesus Christ did for me, “Christ also hath once suffered for sins.” Have you thought about what that suffering means? I woke up in a half dream the other morning thinking about the cross, and there in that never never land of half asleep, half awake. I saw our Lord Jesus as they’ve reached the brow of that little outcropping of stone outside of Jerusalem called the Place of a Skull, and I saw them lay the big cross down on the ground and then thrust his body down upon it, And I saw them take one hand, stretch it out on the cross, member of the cross, and then a huge iron spike driven through the base of the hand, firmly thus to affix his body.
And then the other hand, and I can remember even in that half-sleeping half waking state how I just cried out. “Oh, what they’re doing?” And then I saw them bend his knees, crucified person always was crucified with knees bent so that the entire weight of the body was hanging upon the hands. And the only way to lift that weight was to straighten the legs with an effort which finally became intolerable, and the person died not of the crucifixion, but of suffocation, he couldn’t draw one more breath.
And I saw them bend the legs and place the ankles together on top of that vertical member of the cross and drive the nail through. And I remember the horror and the awe and the heart sickness that came to me as I realized what they did to Jesus, my blessed Lord. Then I woke completely, shaking a bit, I went on about the business of washing my face and getting dressed, going on about the day, realizing afresh “Oh, Jesus, how you suffered for me.” Now that was physical. And you lay on top of that, the fact that God hath made Him, Christ, to be sin for us. He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
You take the sins of one individual, and then multiply it by the billions upon billions of living human beings, each one is a never dying soul and each one has upon it the weight of original sin, as well as sin by nature and by choice, the entire weight of the world’s iniquity. Oh God, the Father laid all of that upon the Lord Jesus Christ, in that dark hour when the son refused to shine and when our Savior in his humanity, cried out, “My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” When the Lord Jesus Christ became in effect, God’s Passover lamb, when the iniquities of a lost human race were placed upon Him. Yes, friend He suffered. Now, he says, “For as much then as Christ hath suffered for us, in His human body in the flesh, in His human body; Arm yourselves likewise with the same mind.” Why was he doing it?
The Bible said, “Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame and is now set down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Why did he go through with it, because there was coming, the supreme joy of bringing many sons into glory. Because he saw with the eye of omniscience the fact that coming down through the centuries, there would be millions of people that were deemed through faith in Christ and would find heaven as their home, Jesus as their high priest and elder brother and a relationship with other redeemed souls that would last throughout all eternity. The joy that was set before Him, He endured it.
Now, he suffered for us in the flesh, he said in his human body, so he says “You need to make up your mind the same way.” What is it, that what you go through now has eternal consequences? Now, if you think I’m oversimplifying, maybe I am, that’s what my dear faculty members used to say about me at the college. They said, “Cook, you always oversimplify things.” Well, that’s the obverse of learning how to write a dissertation. If you’re gonna write a doctoral dissertation, you have to learn to profundify it. Don’t use one word, when 12 would do, you know. So, maybe I do over-simplify, but there really, it seems to me friend is the heart of the truth.
You think about Calvary, and what Jesus went through and why He went through it. He went, it says, “Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross despising the shame and is now set down at the right hand of the Majesty.” So he did it because something else was going to happen. You and I go through our testings and trials. Many of them, let’s face it, are not fair. Life isn’t fair. Who said it was? Life isn’t fair, and a lot of things happen that shouldn’t happen, but you go through these things and you go through the opposition of other people who don’t share your faith in Christ and who criticize you for it. You go through all these things, not just to get through, but you go through it because what God is doing in your life is gonna show up in eternity. Your experience and your reaction to things now, and the demonstration of the reality of Christ in you, is gonna show up a million years from now in eternity. That’s why. “Arm yourselves with the same mind.” Set your affection… Paul says in Colossians 3, on things above, not on things on the Earth where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.
Same truth. Set your affection on things above. Do what you do now, because eternity is soon and forever and what you do now is gonna show up there. It’s impossible to hide the truth about matters. There was an illustration of that fact, a good many years ago in Southern California when an earthquake leveled a great many buildings, the majority of which turned out to be buildings that had been built for the public, many of them schools. This earthquake occurred when the schools were empty.
Otherwise, it would have been a terrible disaster and costly in terms of lives lost, but it occurred when the schools were empty, and so all that was there was to survey the damage. Not necessary to look for bodies. And so as they surveyed the damage, they found that there were some buildings that stood up during the earthquake and others that didn’t, and then they inquired about the ones that didn’t stand up, and they found that there had been sort of a short circuit in methods of doing this, that things hadn’t been done exactly the way they should and they found that a certain contractor had built those buildings, and had taken what we call the “short method”, and had cheated, but it showed up in the earthquake.
Just be sure, beloved, that what we do today is gonna show up in eternity. Something to think about. I’ll get back to this the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today, help us to live for eternity, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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