PHBC December 20, 1998

Series: First Peter, Ser. #64


Scripture: I Peter 4:1-6

TEXT: 1 Peter 4:6-8 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

INTRO: This passage in which our text falls has been somewhat difficult for me. After wrestling with this text for sometime, this week, I found where Matthew Henry spoke of its difficulty and found some comfort in that.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, also demonstrated the difficulty of the verse by showing differing views on it and disagreeing with them.

John Gill, gave his interpretation but also said something like this, "It could also mean . . ."

As I studied the verse in its context I was reminded of verses 19-20 of the previous chapter. 1 Peter 3:19-20 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. Since, in this passage Peter is drawing lessons from the example of Christ in his sufferings to admonish Pilgrims in our suffering, it appears to me the current verse points back to at least verse 18 of chapter 3.

As I looked at the verse I saw at several things. There is the reason Why the gospel has been preached in all ages. Second, there is an inference that is supported by other Scripture that All men have the responsibility to believe and obey the gospel. Third, there is an inference that is also supported by other Scripture that Men, both saved and lost, will be judged by the gospel and that is why it has been and must be preached in all ages. There is also the idea for us Christians to recognize that we will be judge by men in the flesh and that this judgment may be harsh at times and may cause us to fret. But, we are to live according to God in the spirit.

I should also point out that this verse is followed by other verses that are very closely connected with it. In the next verse, the admonition to live according to God in the spirit is enforced with the thought that the end is near. In view of that there is an admonition to live sober, watchful, prayerful lives. There is also an admonition to fervently love one another and to be hospitable to one another. I mention these things this morning so that you will realized, if you did not already, that we cannot isolate this verse or any other passage in Godís word and deal with them without considering the context, even the entire context of the Bible.

In the message this morning, I want to deal with one main thoughtóWhy the gospel has been preached and must be preached into all the world.


A. This is clear from our text. 1 Peter 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

B. That the gospel has been preached in all ages is shown in the book of Hebrews. Hebrews 4:2 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.

C. The fact that all the prophets gave witness of Christ further shows that the gospel has been preached in all ages. Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

D. Paul claimed that he preached the same gospel message which was preached by Moses and the prophets. Acts 26:22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come.

E. Jesus message to the doubting disciples clearly indicates that the gospel has been preached down through the ages. Luke 24:25-27 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.


A. What is commonly called the great commission is found in Matthew. Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

B. It is given in another manner in Luke. Luke 24:46-48 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things.

C. It is recorded again in the book of Mark. Mark 16:15-16 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

D. This commission was reiterated again in the book of Acts. Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

E. It was carried out by the early churches and has been down through the ages.

1. Under persecution many were scattered abroad and where they went they preached the gospel. Acts 11:19-21 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. 20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.

2. Under specific directions of the Holy Spirit, the church at Antioch sent forth Paul and Barnabas. Acts 13:1-5 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.


A. God not only chose those whom he would save; he has chosen the means by which he would saved them. 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

B. It is his pleasure to save through the means of the gospel. 1 Corinthians 1:17-24 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

C. God has made the gospel of Christ his power unto salvation to all who believe, regardless of race. Romans 1:14-16 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.


A. This is inferred in our text. 1 Peter 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

B. This is clearly set forth in Romans. Romans 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

C. Jesus indicated this in his message to some unbelieving Jewish leaders. John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

D. When Jesus judges the lost the principle ground of their judgment will be the gospel. 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

CONC: I pray that God may open your heart that you may believe the gospel, if he has not already done so. Jesus came into this world having taken upon himself the likeness of sinful man that he might die and give his life a ransom for his people. He was crucified on a cruel cross and his soul was made an offering for sin. He was laid in a new tomb that belonged to a rich man called Joseph who was of Arimathaea. Three days and three nights later he arose from the grave and was seen of many people. His resurrection declared him to be the Son of God with power.

If you can believe this gracious gospel message and trust the Christ of the gospel you will surely be saved. I say to you from the word of God and in the words of Jesus, Mark 1:15 Repent ye, and believe the gospel.

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