Doing The Right Thing Can Sometimes Bring Suffering

Doing The Right Thing Can Sometimes Bring Suffering

By Henry Nelson

 

 

 

1st Peter 4:12-1912Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?18And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? 19So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.{{more}}Every Christian who lives a godly life experiences a certain amount of persecution.A Teenager is shunned for being a Christian. An Employee may not advance if not willing to take advantage of another. An Individual may not be invited to a party if not willing to get drunk. Our lesson is simple: If you truly live a Godly Life there will be a cost.B. Peter talks about a special kind of persecution: A “fiery trial” that was about to overtake the church. Not Occasional Persecution from those around them, BUT Official Persecution from those above them. Up til now, Christianity had been tolerated by Rome because it was considered a “sect” of Judaism, and the Jews were permitted to worship freely.C. Let’s Not get Words confused Almost seems as though Peter is saying that Christians experience more trials than those of the world. But not that at all. Entire Theme of 1st Peter has been ‘Suffering from Persecution’What do YOU do when the GOING GETS TOUGH? DO YOU DO THE RIGHT THING EVEN WHEN THE RESULTS ARE SUFFERING?VERSE 12 – Expect Suffering Persecution IS NOT to be alien to the Christian life because Christians have always suffered at the hands of an unbelieving world. Peter says to expect it but stand up to it- NOT blending – but – separating.READ 2nd Corinthians 6:14-7:1 says,” don’t really know we understand anymore what it means to “be separate.” ‘be separate’ from what? To be separate from sin and to God – Including anything that separates us from dedication to God. The Phrase “Painful Trial” “fiery trials”? Is he talking the trials of life?Image of “fire” is often applied to Christians in ‘times of testing’ or ‘persecution’ showing the refining process that God uses to develop his family. But we cannot misuse the word ‘TRIAL’Many difficulties are simply a part of human life that most everyone experience. The ‘fiery trial’ Peter is speaking of comes from one faithful to God and stands up for what is right. All of 1st Peter has been on PERSECUTION & not regular TRIALS OF LIFE.Many blame a trial of life as a punishment or lesson of God and it is nothing more than JUST THAT a Trial of Life.VERSE 13-14 – Rejoice in Suffering‘but rejoice’ is literally, ‘be constantly rejoicing’ – mentioned several times in these two verses. He gives four privileges that we share:Our suffering means fellowship with Christ – ‘…that you participate in the sufferings…’Considering how the undue sufferings of Christ brought ‘delivery’ to the believer, should it not be an honor and privilege to participate in the same sufferings? To experience the same type of persecution that Christ experienced?Our suffering means glory in the future 13) ‘may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.’The world considers the absence of suffering to mean glory but a Christian should understand a different attitude. To the Christian, the trial of our faith is the assurance of glory later.The promise here is that one’s pain will be NOT REPLACED with joy but transformed into joy.In John 16:20-22, Jesus used the illustration of a woman giving birth to a child. The same baby that gave her pain also gave her joy. The pain was transformed into joy.Romans 8:17 says,17 “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Our suffering brings to us the ministry of the Holy Spirit “he Spirit of Glory rests on you’Verse can be translated to mean “for the presence of the glory, rests on you’God’s Spirit, ‘rests on the believer’ giving him instant glory. This is why martyrs could sing praise to God while bound in the midst of a blazing fire. It also explains how persecuted Christians can go to prison and even to death without complaining or resisting their captors.Our suffering enables us to glorify His Name 14) “b/c of the name of Christ, you are blessed”This served as a reminder that as the Christians were suffering because of the name of Christ, there were participating in the same sufferings of Christ and in doing so, they were blessed.John 15:21 says, 21 “They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.” Amen! Suffering in fellowship, Suffering in glory, Suffering in His Spirit, and Suffering through His Name. Peter says, “Yes, you are suffering, but remember: 1. in suffering you are in the fellowship of the savior; 2. thru suffering, His glory will be revealed to you; 3. in suffering, His Spirit will be sensed; and 4. by suffering for his Name, you will be blessed. Peter says BE ENCOURAGED – BE STRENGTHENED.VERSES 15-18 A TIME FOR SELF EXAMINATIONIn verses 15-18, Peter gives the believer an opportunity to EXAMINE THEIR OWN LIFE by asking 3 QUESTIONS. These same questions are those that we SHOULD ASK OURSELVES as we too examine our own lives.1. Why am I Suffering? As we mentioned at the beginning, many times our suffering is not because of persecution but from a consequence of something we’ve done. Remember 3.17. If we break the law, make bad judgments or get into trouble, then we ought to suffer.Because of the world we live in, there are times that we suffer. Many of you, like me, are suffering because of the economy. Thank God we are able to lean on God’s Spirit.Some are suffering from illness. Again, thank God we are able to lean on God’s Spirit.2. Am I Ashamed of Glorifying Christ? READ VERSE 16Kind of goes back to vs. 14 in saying we are blessed if we are insulted on account of Christ.I thought about Peter and how he must have felt.READ LUKE 22:54-62It’s as though he is saying, ‘don’t make the mistake I did, do not be ashamed!’3. Am I Seeking to Win the Lost? READ VERSES 17-18IF God sends a “fiery trial” to His own children , what will happen to those who do not obey the gospel? When a believer suffers, he experiences glory knowing there will be a greater glory in the future. But a sinner suffers eternally in HELL.Instead of being concerned with ourselves and our suffering, we should be MORE CONCERNED with the eternal suffering of the unbelievers and QUIT OUR COMPLAINING .Notice the question ‘what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’VERSE 19 COMMIT YOURSELF TO GODWhen we are suffering in the Will of God, we can commit ourselves into the care of God.Everything else we do depends on this.Commitment is NOT a single action but a constant attitude. ‘and continue to do good’Suffering for doing the right thing. It means not lying to keep from taking the right stance or admitting the wrongIt means even at the cost of friendships, jobs, promotions, standing up for what God would have.It means what? What does it mean to you to Suffer for Christ by Doing the Right Thing?