1 Peter 4:15-19
1:1-2:12 Hope is Displayed in our Salvation
2:13-3:12 Hope is Displayed in our Submission
3:13-5:14 Hope is Displayed in Our Suffering
3:13-17 For Doing Right
3:18-22 As Christ Suffered
4:1-6 To Cease from Sin
4:7-11 Until the End
4:12-14 As Expected
As Peter Concludes his teaching about suffering he gives 3 statements to summarize.
I. Make Suffering Glorious (15-16)
A. By not Causing it Yourself
- Murderer - Ft. Hood
- Thief - stealing or embezzling, not paying taxes (stealing from the government)
- Evildoer - a felon, one who does ill toward another.
- Meddler - One who takes supervision of affairs pertaining to others and not his own. A meddler in other men's affairs. A busybody. White Christmas.
B. By not Being Ashamed
- "As a Christian" - for the name of Jesus Christ in the form of persecution.
- Negative - not be ashamed. How would you feel to be put in prison. Think of Paul one of the brightest and the best of the Pharissitic order beaten, put into prison, or sometimes run out of town. He could have been ashamed.
- Possitive - glorify God
- "In this name" - the name of Jesus for whom you are suffering.
- Robertson McQuilkin, former president of Columbia International University of Columbia, South Carolina, wrote this testimony:
Life was heavy on me. My dearest friend and intimate companion, my delightful wife Muriel, was slipping away, one painful loss at a time, as Alzheimer’s disease ravaged her brain. Just as the full impact of what was happening to us hit home, the life of Bob, our eldest son, was snuffed out in a diving accident.
Two years later, to care for Muriel, I left my life work at its peak. I was numb. Not bitter, let alone angry. Why should I be? That’s the way life is, life in a broken world. But the passion in my love for God had evaporated, leaving a residue of resignation where once had been vibrant faith.
I knew that I was in deep trouble, and I did the only thing I knew to do—I went away to a mountain hideaway for prayer and fasting. It took about twenty-four hours to shake free of preoccupation with my own wounds and to focus on the excellencies of God. As I did, slowly love began to be rekindled. And with love came joy.
I wrote God a love letter, naming forty-one of his marvelous gifts to me, spotlighting eleven of his grandest acts in history, and exulting in ten of his characteristics that exceed my imagination. Surely he enjoyed my gratitude—who doesn’t appreciate gratitude?
But I discovered something else. Something happened to me. I call it the reflex action of thanksgiving. My love flamed up from the dying embers, and my spirit soared. I discovered that ingratitude impoverishes—but that a heavy heart lifts on the wings of praise.*
* A clipping in my files.
Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes
- Will you choose today to glorify God for trial that He has placed you in?
II. Keep Suffering in Perspective (17-18)
A. If You Think You Have it Bad
- "Time" = season
- We are judged first by the world. They look down on us as unsophisticated, unscientific, weakminded, dangerous, and bigotted.
- Proverbs 11:31
- If things are difficult in this life for us who have the love and grace of God to help us through the trials we face...
B. Think of the Judgement to Come
- Think of what awaits those who persecute us. There will be no mercy upon them when they stand before God. They will have no advocate or friend to stand with them. No one to comfort them. No excuse for their actions. No relief from their guilt. No hope for the future.
- This should give us a compassion for them even in the midst of our persecution like Jesus had in Matthew 9:36-38.
- Sometimes we need to step back from our own troubles and see the bigger picture, have our minds broadened to see the impending trouble of lost souls who need the Savior.
- Sadie Smithson grew up in Johnson Falls, West Virginia. Her father kept a livery stable, Sadie herself contributed to the family income by sewing, and the family floated just above the poverty level. But Sadie craved respect. She wanted to mingle with the upper crust of Johnson Falls, and she had a plan for doing it. Her secret ambition was to join the Laurel Literary Society, an organization that represented all that was socially prestigious in her town. After high school graduation, she applied for admission into the Laurel Literary Society.
Nothing doing. She was rejected.
Well, she thought, perhaps they’ll think better of me if I tour Europe. Few in Johnson Falls had ever been abroad. So she saved her money, daydreaming of the soft-gloved hands clapping after she had read her paper on “My Trip to Europe.”
After many years she saved her money. Finally, she took her long-planned trip abroad, traveling with a professor and his wife, only to be caught in the opening shots of World War I. Sadie, in Belgium at the time, managed to get a ride to Paris; but the driver lost his way, and suddenly they found themselves crossing a battlefield.
Right beside the car lay one young soldier, badly wounded. He looked into Sadie’s eyes and moaned, “Water, for God’s sake!” Sadie immediately jumped out of the car with her drinking cup and made her way to a near-by spring. Then another dying soldier wanted a drink. Sadie refused to leave those boys, and finally the car drove off without her. All night long, she ran back and forth to the spring with her little cup, carrying water to injured men. She tore her skirt into bandages. She scribbled notes and messages for loved ones at home. And as she worked with each wounded man, she offered a prayer: “The Lord bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you.”
It was a night of horror, of darkness, and of moaning, dying men. Finally, the darkness gave way to the dawn and with it an ambulance and young doctor. He was astonished to find a poor girl from West Virginia amid all the blood and carnage of war. “Who are you?” he asked, “and what in thunder are you doing here?”
“I’m Sadie Smithson,” she said, “and I’ve been holding hell back all night.”
“Well!” said the young doctor quietly, “Miss Sadie Smithson, I’m glad you held some of it back, for everybody else in the world was letting it loose last night.”
As she was returning to America, she told her story to a fellow passenger on the ship. “I’ve never been married—never known what it was to have children—but that night all those men were my children, even the biggest and roughest of them, and I believe I could have died for any one of them.”
“Well,” said the friend, “the Laurel Literary Society will be glad enough to have you belong to it now.”
“No,” Sadie Smithson replied, “I’ve been face to face with war and death and hell and God. Now little things like the Laurel Literary Society don’t matter to me any more.”
“What does matter?” asked the friend.
“Nothing,” Sadie said. “Nothing but God and love—and doing what I can do for those he sends me to.”
Jesus Christ came in the darkness of night to a dying race of humanity. He loved us and gave himself for us. When we receive him, our perspective changes, and with it our attitude. The trivial and the important change places.
~ William L. Stidger, There Are Sermons in Stories
Nelson's complete book of stories
- Think of those who are your enemies, those who have hurt you and abused you for the name of Christ. Does your perspective toward them change when you take the focus off of the suffering they have caused you and place it on suffering that they will endure for eternity if they don't come to know Christ? Can you see them as Jesus sees them, a sheep without a shepherd and an object of His love? Do you think that you deserved the grace of god more than they do?
III. Entrust Your Suffering to God (19)
A. Because It Is God's Will
- South African pastor Andrew Murray once faced a terrible crisis. Gathering himself into his study, he sat a long while quietly, prayerfully, thoughtfully. His mind flew at last to his Lord Jesus, and picking up his pen, he wrote these words in his journal:
First, He brought me here, it is by His will that I am in this strait place: in that fact I will rest.
Next, He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace to behave as His child.
Then, He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.
Last, in His good time He can bring me out again—how and when He knows.
Let me say I am here,
(1) By God’s appointment
(2) In His keeping,
(3) Under His training,
(4) For His time.~
~ V. Raymond Edman, They Found the Secret
Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes
B. Because you Must
- This is a command
C. Because He is Faithful
- If God can create this world by speaking it into existance then He can take care of His children who are suffering. If God created this world and filled it with people in His own image then He will certainly have commpassion on those who look to Him for help.
- Dueteronomy 7:9
- 1 Corinthians 10:13
- 1 Thessalonians 5:24
- 2 Thessalonians 3:3
- 2 Timthy 2:13
- Hebrews 10:13
- Revelation 19:11
- Revelation 2:10