When we suffer, we have two choices for how we can react – either by sinning or serving. This sermon from 1 Peter 4 shows how the best way to react to hardship is by using your suffering for good by serving.
Suffering Leads to Sinning or Serving: 1 Peter 4:1-11
When Jesus told us to pick up our cross and follow Him He was saying:
- Christ suffered
- Christians will suffer
- My journal
14 Kinds of Suffering in the Bible
1. Adamic Suffering – general not specific and root of all suffering
2. Demonic Suffering – attack (Job)
3. Victim Suffering – evil done against you (Dinah)
4. Collective Suffering – part of a hurting people (Hebrews in Egypt)
5. Disciplinary Suffering – correction from God (Peter)
6. Persecution Suffering – association with Jesus Christ (Paul)
7. Empathetic Suffering – people you love are hurting (Jesus wept)
8. Testimonial Suffering – God-given opportunity to be a witness (Stephen)
9. Providential Suffering – God has a bigger purpose (Joseph)
10. Preventative Suffering – hurt vs harm (wisdom in Proverbs tied to pain)
11. Mysterious Suffering – unknown cause or purpose
12. Punishment Suffering – self-harm (Ananias & Saphira)
13. Consequential Suffering – cause-effect (Judas)
14. Apocalyptic Suffering – increase of evil at the end (Peter)
– Does not give the option of whether or not you will suffer.
– Does give the option of how you will suffer. 1. Sin 2. Serve
Option #1: You Can Suffer and Sin
1 Peter 4:1-6 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.
When we suffer, we can become selfish & lose sight of the suffering we cause
When we suffer, we can become entitled & think we have earned the right to sin
- Sensuality – Where do you lack restraint (food, $, anger, tongue?)
- Passion – What evil desires dominate you?
- Drunkenness – Where are you prone to addiction?
- Orgies – What sexual sin entices you?
- Drinking parties – What social sins tempt you?
- Debauchery – What grotesque things are you fond of?
- Maligning – Which people do you enjoy causing to suffer?
? How are you self-destructing?
? Who are you harming?
? If you walk in obedience, what maligning will you have to endure?
- Remember that your sin caused Jesus to suffer
- Jesus used His suffering not to sin, but to serve
- You can be like Jesus & help others
Option #2: You Can Suffer and Serve
1 Peter 4:7-9 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
· We see history in terms of days, weeks, months, years, decades
· God sees history in terms of events centered around His Son (1st & 2nd Coming)
· We are in the final chapter human history, we know the end, “therefore”
- Will: self-controlled
- Mind: sober minded
- Soul: prayers
- Heart: love one another, show hospitality
- Tongue: don’t grumble, do cover sins in love
Serving People who are suffering &/or sinning:
- 1 Peter 2:16 don’t “cover up evil”
- Cover the sinner in love
- Do not include anyone who is not part of the solution
We’re Better Together
1 Peter 4:10-1110 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
- Owner – the person who legally possesses something
- Steward – the person who the owner entrusts management legal possession to
Examples: your investment broker, your mechanic, your contractor, your bank
- When the steward does not do what the owner asked a crime is committed
- We are far more concerned about their injustice than our injustice
Who is the Owner and Who is the Steward of Your Life?
- Godless: I am the owner and steward of my life
- Selfish Christian: I am the owner and God is the steward of my life
- Lazy Christian: God is the owner and steward of my life
- Godly: God is the owner and I am the steward of my life
1. God has gifted you to serve by your words or works
2. Steward – $, time, hobbies, body, relationships, abilities, possessions
3. One day you will give an account to the owner