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Suffering for Christ

Conduct in Exile  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  48:03
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History

Written to the early church, to the “exiles” who were scattered abroad.
There could have been different levels of persecution taking place in different regions which is why Peter states “if that should be God’s will.”
Today we have different levels of persecution around the world and even in America.
Jesus promises us that if we follow Him, we will face persecution.
Believers at this point were facing persecution to the extent of being beaten, have property stolen, being exiled from communities and homes, and being thrown in jail.
It is believed that Peter wrote this book around 60 A.D.
In 64 A.D. Nero will burn 3/4 of Rome to the ground, then to protect his name will blame the Christians and begin mercilessly persecuting them.
Peter himself would be killed in this persecution under Nero by being crucified upside down.

Who?

v.13
The question, who can harm us if we are zealous for doing good?
Here’s a loaded one!
Do we still suffer persecution even though we try our best to do what is good?
Yes
We can’t have rose colored glasses on believing that if bad things befall us, we must have done something wrong.
That’s what people who believe in Karma believe.
If you are doing what is right because you don’t want bad things to happen, that’s not godliness, that’s idolatry and your idol is comfort.
Matt 5:10 “10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
John 15:20 “20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.”
2 Tim 3:12, “12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,”
Peter even states after this that if you suffer.
Don’t consider suffering abnormal.
This statement isn’t one of physical harm, but spiritual.

If you love the good, you will suffer no loss, because whatever you may be deprived of in this world, you will never lose God, who is the true Good.

-Augustine of Hippo
Fix your gaze on heaven. Remember that your home, treasure, and eternity are there!
This is all stating the same thing that Paul says in:
Romans 8:35
Romans 8:35 ESV
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
Who can separate us? NO ONE!!
No matter what persecution you might face, illness you have.
None of it diminishes your value in the eyes of God or robs you of your heavenly reward, in fact when you endure these things, it is actually a sign as a blessing from God.

Blessed

v.14
If you suffer, you shall be blessed.
This word is one that doesn’t just show a blessing in the future, but it reveals a state of being, marked by the fullness from God.
Once again I would point you to Matt 5:10 “10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Fear Not

Peter makes sure to remind us, (becasue we are forgetful creatures) that we are not to fear!
This is a difficult task for us to accomplish.
Peter is making the point that we are not to be intimidated into silence.
Why not?
We honor Christ as Lord! Not man.

Honor Christ

Why are we not afraid?
Because we serve the holy one!
He is great awesome and set apart.
He is the one who we should have an awesome fear of.
How do we honor Christ?

Make a Defense

Always being prepared to give a defense.
Have no fear of making a defense, of standing for the truth that is within you.
For starters, this means that your life must be different enough that it might raise a question in someone’s mind.
If we are honoring Christ, we will not be participating in the practices that the rest of the world is. (more on that next week)
Do you know enough to make a defense?
Do you know what you believe and why you believe it?
If I asked you, “why do you believe in Jesus?” Can you give an answer.
If we desire to honor Jesus, we should know Him well enough to articulate a defense for a question such as this.
Hosea 6:6
Hosea 6:6 ESV
6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Gentleness and Respect

As Christians we are to respect governing authorities, and we are to respect our fellow man for they were made in the image of God.
When we discuss with people about God, is it in a gentle manner? Or are we belligerent.
There is a time and a place that firm words or actions need to be used.
But make sure that it is done in a way that Christ may not be put to shame.

The Will of God

v.17
Peter detoured away from the command to not fear, and is coming back to it here.
In most other passages when we are told not to fear, there is an explanation behind it.
Why we shouldn’t fear.
1 Chronicles 28:20
1 Chronicles 28:20 ESV
20 Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.
Don’t be afraid or discouraged. For God is with you.
Joshua 1:9
Joshua 1:9 ESV
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua commanded not to be afraid, why? For God is with Him.

Why Should We Not Fear?

v.17
Suffering could be God’s will.
God allows us to suffer, allows us to go through the difficult times. Why?
2 Corinthians 1:8-10
So we don’t rely on ourselves.
We go through trials as we learn to trust and rely on God.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10
Compressed, but not completely crushed.
Perplexed, Don’t know how to proceed.
Despair, to be pressed to the point that you have no resource, no way out.
This is the same word that Paul used in chap 1. In 1 he says that they despaired or they had no resource, except God.
Here it is being said that you may be pressed to the point that you have no resource but God, but you are not without resource, for God is with you.
Persecuted, but you aren’t alone. For God is with you.
You may be struck down, but not hit so hard that you can’t get up.
Carrying the death, Paul was identifying himself with Christ through his suffering.
Just as the master suffered, the servant suffered.
Through his suffering, the life of Jesus was being seen clearly, working through Paul in the midst of His trials.
He couldn’t get through these trials alone, the things that kept him from being crushed was the sustaining power of Jesus; the hope that was in him.
This is why God brings us through trials, to strengthen us!
This is why Peter says, if it is God’s will.
Some can’t believe it would be God’s will for you to suffer.
Peter assuming some might believe this false teaching states.

Christ Suffered

v.18
And he was righteous.
God had a purpose in it.
God always has a purpose when He leads us into suffering
The purpose of Jesus’ suffering was to bring us to God.
If God didn’t bring Him into suffering, we wouldn’t have salvation.
The suffering we face, is likewise important.
For it cleans us up and gets us ready for eternity.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
It is preparing us, for the eternal weight of glory.
Soon, the suffering in this world will be over.
Look not to the transient, but to the eternal.
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