When Standards Are Slandered (1 Peter 4:1-11)
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The labeling or slandering of the followers of Jesus is nothing new. The early Christians were accused of cannibalism, incest, and (strangely) "atheism"...since they didn't go along with the popular religion of the state. The labels in today's Western Culture may include UNEDUCATED, HYPOCRITE, or BIGOT. Some of those labels come from genuine experience with those who claim to represent Christ but fail to accurately and lovingly represent Him. But some of the labeling also comes from the fact that counter-culture will always be offensive to popular culture. 1 Peter 4 is a great text for Christians of all generations. The beginning of the chapter says that we will be maligned (reviled or slandered) when we do not run in the same direction of popular culture. And the rest of the chapter tells us how to respond. And the answer does not come in fighting evil with evil or insult with insult...but in overcoming evil with good...through an increase in PRAYER (4:7), in LOVE (4:8), in HOSPITALITY (4:9), and in the proper use of our grace-supplied-gifts (4:10-11). This is the counter-attack plan. Keep speaking and living truth in love. And overwhelm the world with positives to associate with the name of Jesus.

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