In 1 Peter 4, Peter gives admonition that Christians will likely suffer for their faith but the Good News of the Gospel promises that an end to the suffering will come when Jesus makes His final return.
Pray for the Best, Prepare for the Worst: 1 Peter 4:12-19
Beloved (8X 1-2 Ptr) = prized/valued in a loving relationship (e.g. parent-child)
Jesus – 2 Peter 1:17 “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,”
Jesus’ life did not look like He was beloved
1. “Fiery trial” – constantly under pressure & threat
2. “Insulted” – drunkard, glutton, friend sinners, demon possessed, illegitimate
3. “Suffer for doing good” – the world’s only perfect Person endured its greatest pain
- one powerful lie is that if we do the right thing life will go good
- suffering and singing are 2 ways of worshipping
Prepare for Fiery Trials
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
Fiery trial – coming/prophecy
- XN refused to accommodate the culture or the government
- When gov’t & culture are rebellious to God, be loyal to His authority
- Opposition was becoming persecution
- Nero – 64 AD fire in Rome, 5 days city burned, Nero away, rumor he started fire to rebuild city to his glory, XN scapegoat, like German Jews, Peter & Paul killed
“fiery trial” – hell unleashed in your life; (spring/opposition to summer/persecution)
- This ain’t Heaven, so don’t be shocked when hell shows up
- If you are fully for God, then culture & gov’t will eventually be against you
- Don’t confuse the world’s hatred of you with the Father’s heart for you
Fiery trial = cultural & gov’t pressure to persecution
National & global issues are felt personally but not personal
Prepare Suffering and Slander
1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
To be a Christian is to be stereotyped & slandered (“when” not if)
- “Christian” – only 3 X in NT – pejorative term from critics “little Christ”
- Name calling & stereotyping means you are no longer a person
- Jesus – glutton, drunkard, friend sinners, illegitimate, demonic, criminal, family though crazy, cross “King of Jews”, on cross “saved others not Himself”
= Negative Narrative
When suffering & slandered Don’t
- “suffer” because of choosing evil
A. you cave in & join rebellion
B. have a sense of entitlement/“owed”
- “be ashamed” of Christ & Christianity
Jesus Lordship rules internal & external = our faith cannot be private
When Suffering & slandered Do
- “rejoice and be glad” – command emotions (sail)
- “glorify God” – command will (rudder)
On Team Jesus! 2 sides in the battle, at least you’re on the winning Team!
1. Jesus Beloved:? Look @ suffering & slander
Suffering & slander does not mean God is angry at or punishing you
2. Jesus Joy?: “man of sorrows”, “Jesus wept”
Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
-XN & Non-XN go thru same experience. XN – blessing other side suffering!
Rejoice! 1). confirm my faith 2). glorify my God Jesus 3). witness to you
3. Jesus Powerful?: harassed, arrested, beaten killed
Spirit of God rested on Jesus (@baptism)
More painful suffering = more power Spirit
Suffering & Slander You Will Increasingly Endure
- Early Church – 1. atheists 2. cannibals
social Marxism lie won’t bless (racist); XN – marriage (homophobe/bigot); fathers are foundational (patriarchal chauvinist); unborn is life (antichoice antiwoman sexist); socialism (racist oppressor); Jesus only (intolerant religious bigot); I don’t agree (privileged narcissist), I believe the Bible (Western cultural ideals)
6 Thoughts From the Frontlines
1. If you believe that Biblical Christianity is the most loving & helpful then love people enough to remain steadfast not out of anger to defeat them but love to deliver them
2. The only way to avoid suffering & slander is say/do/have nothing
3. Turn your critics into coaches
4. If you’ve already given God your sin, why not throw in your reputation?
5. The power and joy of the Spirit are often waiting for you in the darkness.
6. Don’t worry about being on the wrong side of history. Do worry about being on the right side of eternity.
Prepare to Suffer for Doing Good
1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the “household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
1. The flames of “fiery trial” show who is really on the side of Hell (apostasy)
-Judas’ story (used Jesus) – got exposed, trusted self, did evil
2. The flames of “fiery trial” burn away our sin and folly
-Peters story (loved Jesus) – got purified, trusted God, did good
- If I prepare you for the worst, and the best comes, life will be easier
- If I prepare you for the best, and the worst comes, life will be impossible
- An escapist or revivalist theology can put you in harms way if fiery trials continue as they did in 2 Peter (revivals we wait for: (financial, political, vaccine, spiritual)