That's Good Suffering
1 Peter 3:13-17
What should our response to unjust suffering be?
I. No Fear (13-14)
A. Because You are Indestructable
- The expected answer is no one!
- Ultimately nothing can hurt us. Even if our bodies are destroyed it will usher into the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Matthew 10:28 "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul;"
- During World War II a Christian boy of twelve refused to join a certain movement in Europe. “Don’t you know that we have power to kill you?” they said. “Don’t you know,” he replied quietly, “that I have power to die for Christ!” He had the conviction that no one was able to harm him. -MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary
- Psalm 118:6
B. Because You are Blessed
- "Even if" - the grammer makes it clear that this is not very likely that you will suffer for the sake of righteousness. Very few of us know what real persecution feels like.
- For the few who actually do...they will live in a state of blessedness. That is they will be happy.
- What Now?
The seventeenth-century minister Jeremy Taylor was persecuted for his faith. His house was plundered, his family driven out, and his estate confiscated. He wrote: I am fallen into the hands of publicans and they have taken all from me. What now? They have not taken away my merry countenance, my cheerful spirit, and a good conscience; they have still /left me with the providence of God, and all His promises … my hopes of Heaven, and my charity to them, too, and still I sleep and digest, I eat and drink, I read and meditate. And he that hath so many causes of joy, and so great … (should never choose) to sit down upon his little handful of thorns. Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes
C. Because You are the Lord's
- From Isaiah 8:12-13
*Matthew 10:28 "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather afear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
*Someone has said, “We fear God so little because we fear man so much.” Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testament
- When you belong to the Lord, you have nothing to fear. No one scares Him, no one can force or compel Him, He is bigger than anyone, any force, any army, or any circumstance. He is confident, powerful, wise, and in control at all times.
- 2 Timothy 1:7
II. No Retreat (15-16)
A. Report For Duty
- Sanctify = honor, reverence, or adore the Messiah (the chosen one who took the payment for your sin) reverence Him as your Lord.
- He is the Lord of Hosts (armies). We honor Him in our hearts as our commander in Chief by reporting for dutyeach morning.
B. Defend Your Ground
- Always ready, prepared in your heart, and in your thoughts. Have you ever been caught off guard by someone saying, "your a christian aren't you? What do think about religion?"
- Defence is a reasoned verbal argument.
- Notice the personal nature of this. It is the hope that is in you. Not a bunch of theological jargon or Christian talk. In Whom are you hoping? and why?
- This must be done confidently but also respectfully. If you are out to win an argument contest, then you have already lost.
C. Don't Crack Under Pressure
"Good conscience" - Peter didn't have a good conscience when he denied the Lord because even though he was being persecuted for his association with Jesus, he responded poorly.
III. No Second Best (17)
A. Suffering Can Be Good
- It is better
B. Suffering May Be God's Will
- If God should will it.
- Not very likely for most of us.
The world says, "My suffering wouldn't be so hard to take If it was my fault." But the Christian should say, "My suffering wouldn't be so hard to take if it was because of my faith."