April 9, 2017
Suffering for Being a Christian
1 Peter 4: 12-19; 1 Peter 5: 6-11
In 2016, 90,000 Christians died for their faith. In this country, Christ and Christians are also attacked, although in more subtle ways.
1 Peter 4:15 “If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal… “. Make sure you are not suffering for doing wrong.
1 Peter 4: 14 “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed… ” Be careful not to think that God is going to smooth out your life to be comfortable – more of a sense of understanding the price that God paid for us and I am one of Jesus’ people – what He suffers, I suffer.
1 Peter 4: 12 “Dear 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. ” Don’t be surprised at a fiery trial – its normal when you line up with God. Its about us being purified in the furnace – its actually for our good, making us draw closer to, and deeper into Christ. We are not being asked to do anything in any way as bad as what Jesus had to suffer.
1 Peter 5: 8 “…Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion…” These things will happen. Our circumstances are sometimes things , which people will use against us. They will say things like: “If you are sick, why doesn’t Jesus heal you?”. This is not a surprise. Jesus went through the same mocking and rejection.
If my life is still to be shortened by illness then what? God is still God and knows what He is doing.
1 Peter 4: 14 “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you ” When there is suffering for Christ, you are given the Holy Spirit, the equipping and the comfort. God will make sure you have everything you need, and you can rejoice in it. The suffering is just for a little while, compared with eternity.
What is Our Response?
Do you feel resentful, that it is unfair. Do you feel your faith threatened? Do you wobble a little when people talk about Jesus as your imaginary friend?
2 Timothy 1: 12 “…I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. ” I am not challenged because I know Him.
James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. ” When our lives are hard, that’s when we prove Him and get to know Him.