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Surviving Suffering

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1 Peter 3:13-17


Lately I have been intrigued by the number of reality T.V. shows that deal with the topic of survival; The most well know being Survivorman with Les Stroud, Man Vs. Wild with Bear Grylls. I'll be honest and admit that there is a part of me desires to do something like that. In fact I have researched the cost of attending a survival school for a few days up to a week or so to learn how to survive in the wild. In fact I picked a book just a little bit ago titled U.S. Army Survival Handbook: Department of the Army. It covers many topics dealing with survival including

*The Attitude for Survival

*Survival Planning

*Acquiring / Building Shelters

*Finding Water

*Wildlife For food

*Navigation with Maps and Stars

Doesn't that sound fun? Tonight we are going to talk about surviving - not in the wild of the woods or other types of natural climates but Surviving the Climate of Suffering. Turn in your Bible to 1 Peter 3. We will begin reading in verse 13.

I. Size Up Your Surroundings

The first step - according to my survival handbook starts with THE S.U.and R. in the acrostic S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L. and it stands for SIZE UP THE SITUATION, USE ALL YOUR SENSES, AND REMEBER WHERE YOU ARE. It means to understand your location, your surroundings, your physical situation, the climate, the environment; things like that.

So let's do that. Let's Size up the Situation, use our senses and find out where we are in 1 Peter 3 as we look back just a little bit starting at verse v.8.

(Read verses 8-12)

Peter gives us the...

A. Command to Christ-like Living - v. 8

This seems to be an easy command if you lived a nirvana like (not the band) type of life. In fact I find it easy, and I belive most of you will agree that it is easy to live out these characteristics when they are being lived out by the people around me; when I am the recipient of harmony, sympathy, brotherly love, kindness, and humbleness. Isn't that true? But Peter doesn't stop there. He goes on to give us the...

B. Command To Christ-like Responding - v.9

Peter uses three seperate words here to describe the types of situations that we encounter and should respond in a Christ-like manner:

  1. Evil - kakos (κακός, 2556) indicates the lack in a person or thing of those qualities which should be possessed; it means “bad in character."
            • This can mean those who not only talk about how to give you a hard time - they actually do it. You know it. They know it.
            • They don't like you and they prove it on a regular basis. The other word is..
  2. Insult -  loidoria (λοιδορία, 3059), “abuse, railing, reviling,” is rendered “reviling.”
            • This can mean those who verbally abuse you. They never have anything good to say about you - and when they do it's usually in front of other people!
            • This type of person rarely talks about you when you're doing good but when you make a little mistake at work - all of a sudden they're interested in what's going on in your life and they become vocal. They just can't wait to vocalize how much you have messed this up.
  3. Blessing - eulogeo (εὐλογέω, 2127), lit., “to speak well of” (eu, “well,” logos, “a word”), signifies, (a) “to praise, to celebrate with praises.”
            • It's where we get the word eulogy. This can mean to speak well of someone. Doesn't that just burn you up? If someone is being verbally mean to me. If they are speaking bad to me or about me, I am supposed to speak well of them. Suddenly 1 Peter is not becoming my favorite book in the Bible.
            • Notice that it doesn't say that you are to "remain helpless" or that you are not to try to find resolution to the situation. What it does say - is to who! Just read Psalm 35 sometime and know that you can take it to the Lord and let Him deal with it.
            • We don't repay - we bless and let God handle it!

Christ-like living and Christ-like responding - That is our situation or our environment for discovering how to survive the climate suffering.

II. Have the Attitude of Victory

The next step in my survival manual uses the letters V, I, and V of the acrostic S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L. and it stands for VANQUISHING FEAR, IMPROVISING, and VALUING LIVING.

  • It has to do with my attitude. You see if I get into a situation gripped by fear and panic, stop thinking straight and lose my ability to make intelligent decisions, I'm done for.
  • This is when we are reacting to the undeserved ways people are treating us. This is when we are so hurt by their verbal onslaughts that we can barely control ourselves.
  • My survival manual said that fear and panic were the greatest enemies of any survival situation because you aren't able to see the possibility of survival and take the steps necessary to carry them out.

So let's look at that - how we can develop the Attitude of Victory.

A. Forgetting Fear v.13-14

Peter begins with a statement that is somewhat hypothetical; who is going to harm you for doing good? He is not just talking about Christian persecution as we are aware of at this time. He is also talking about the harm and suffering of everyday social interactions. Because it is probably unusual for someone to really get after you when you are engaged in doing good. But, he goes on to say the even if it does happen - don't be afraid!

That word fear is interesting. It is the greek word [phobeo /fob·eh·o/] to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away). and it means to put to flight, to flee or to fear, be afraid. (Strongs) The root of that word is where we get the English word - phobia. But I believe that it is much more than choosing to not be afraid. Has that ever worked? Can I simply just choose to not be afraid in a fearful situation? I don't think so. Which is why Peter then tells us in verse 15 that in order to forget fear I will need to...

B. Remember Who is Really In Charge v.15a

This phrase Peter is using is a quote from Isaiah 8:12-14. So to understand Peter now, we need to understand Isaiah back then.

The setting of the Isaiah quotation is significant. Ahaz, King of Judah, faced a crisis because of an impending invasion by the Assyrian army. The kings of Israel and Syria wanted Ahaz to join them in an alliance, but Ahaz refused; so Israel and Syria threatened to invade Judah! Behind the scenes, Ahaz confederated himself with Assyria! The Prophet Isaiah warned him against ungodly alliances and urged him to trust God for deliverance. “Sanctify the Lord of hosts [armies] Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread” (Isa. 8:13). (Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996, c1989). 1 Pe 3:13.)

Peter puts a little twist on it. He says to set apart Christ as what? (let congregation answer) as LORD!

            • That means that He is Lord of my finances, Lord of my health, Lord of my family, Lord of my children, Lord of my church, Lord of my government, Lord of the world, He is Lord of the Universe, Lord of the beginning and the end - the Alpha and Omega AND - He is Lord of my life.
            • My entire life is centered around Him and His will. My whole life revolves around what He wants to do. He has a purpose for my life.

(ILL. - Caught in the cold hunting)

Forgetting Fear and Remembering Who Is In Charge and Valuing Living for Him - That's how I develop the attitude for Victory!


The third step in my survival manual uses the letters A and L in the acrostic S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L. It stands for ACT LIKE THE NATIVES, AND LEARN BASIC SKILLS. This basically means to take note of those who are already surviving what you are up against and develop a pattern of preparedness. When God allows suffering in our lives it is always for a purpose. We often try to get through it as fast as possible without taking note of what God, perhaps, is trying to teach us. So let's look a little closer at that. The first thing is..

A. Purpose of Preparation v.15b

(read the text)

            • Peter urges us to make ready our testimony about how we are getting throught the situation that we are struggling with. It's as if it is guaranteed that someone will notice - and they will. He uses the word
  1. Prepared - to be ready. Perhaps it is better for us to contrast this with the word unprepared. When was the last time you were unprepared? (ILL. - Someone stealing my hitch from my truck.) You would think that I would be ready. After someone got into our car and stole my wife's purse, we have taken extra precautions like making sure the outside lights are on; our vehicles are locked; no valuables are stored inside, etc.
                      • To be ready is more than just assuming you can handle a situation. It means to be constantly active in the preparation process until the process becomes a pattern.
  2. Answer - [apologia /ap·ol·og·ee·ah/] AV translates as “defence” three times, “answer” three times, “answer for (one’s) self” once, and “clearing of (one’s) self” once. 1 verbal defence, speech in defence. 2 a reasoned statement or argument.
            • This is the rational reply we give to people when they ask about why you live the way you do. Why you have the hope that you have. Why do you serve Him? Why do you call yourself a Christian? How can you put up with this situation the way you do?
            • Be prepared with an answer. He changed my life, He healed my marriage, He healed my son when the doctors said he wouldn't last but two more weeks, He gave me a purpose to live, He gave me a promise. That leads us from the Purpose of Preparation to the

B. Product of Preparation v.16-17

(read text)

            1. Maintained integrity
                        • Notice those two phrases - a clear conscious and good behavior.
            2. Validation of Your Life Testimony.
                      • Put to shame


The conlcusion tonight is from verse 17 and it is very simple - ...IT IS BETTER..

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