Faithlife Sermons

8-12-2018 Trying Trials 1 Peter 4

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Just yesterday, I had the awesome and honorable privilege to baptize my own daughter, Kayla, into the Name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. In this past year as your Pastor, I have been blessed to teach lessons from scripture that we have gone through together. And as I taught and preached, I have found that YHWH has been putting us through the fire so that we might learn the truth through experience of what He have been teaching us for all this year. And the reason I bring this up this morning is that it is evident for the last couple months, YHWH has been on a mission here at Grace to redeem and to restore fallen broken people to the abundant life of His Son for the praise of His Glory. YHWH is always on a mission to redeem and to restore broken fallen people to the likeness of his Son for the praise of His glory. And as YHWH does that, as YHWH begins to restore us to the likeness of His Son for the praise of His glory, He gives to people like us a mission, and our mission is to bear the glory of God to people who live in darkness.
The passage this morning: 1 Peter 4 actually has a statement about this and we are going to be in chapter 4 this morning but let me just have you flip back a couple chapters in your Bible to chapter 2 and let me just remind you of what Peter said to these people that he is talking to. He says in verse 9,
1 Peter 2:9 ESV
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
YHWH is on a mission to redeem and to restore to the likeness of His Son for the praise of His glory are called out of darkness into marvelous light. And the ones who Peter writes to--the dispersed Jews--they are to declare the praises of the one who did this. For all of us, whether young or old in the faith, is that we continue the mission that YHWH has given to us all of our life for all of our days in all of our ways is to glorify God. There is a very simple definition for that. I know that theologically that is a much much bigger issue but there is a very simple way of reminding ourselves of what that meant to just simply meant to cause other people to come to right opinions and conclusions about YHWH. Who He is and what He is like. In order for God to do that and in order for God to take fallen broken people who have been redeemed and restore them to the image of his Son, He is going to have to put them in the kinds of experiences that He allowed His own Son to walk through.
And none of us had any idea of events, of losses, of trials that came in this past year to Grace. None of us have any idea what is coming tomorrow. I know that there have been times in my life of testing, of suffering, of trial. Just like 1 Peter 5:7
1 Peter 5:7 ESV
casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
We know there are seasons in our lives that we would describe as seasons of care, seasons of anxiety, seasons of trial, seasons of trouble. And I know this that during those times particularly when those times are prolonged, when they are extended. When they come suddenly, they have the potential to trip us up. But when they are prolonged, when they are extended, and when they are unexplained they have the potential to derail us, to give satan the upper hand and discourage us from the mission that God has called us to do.
I know in my own life as I look back over those seasons into every life there come those seasons. You can see in Job, Job went through a prolonged extended period of trial. And the suffering that touch every area of his life: his possessions, his family, his health, his marriage and even his friends. we can relate somewhat- which one of us have not experienced some measure of that? Perhaps nowhere near the degree and for the length and to the extent that Job did. But today we talk about the “patience of Job,” it has become a by word even these many millennia later simply because it is such a truth that does happen to us. And when we go through extended periods of trial and we experience them through the circumstances of our life or through pain that comes into our life through god touching our life in some way or perhaps some betrayal of some close friend or some close family member. Those times bring to us incredible questions.
We question everything: we question YHWH, we question ourselves: how long can we endure this? How much more can we hear of this? how much more of this can we bear? why are you allowing this? What are you doing through this? what are you going to do about this? And we then turn to scripture-because it really does speak and sometimes it sings--the very last thing that my soul wants to do in these times. It's the very last thing my soul wants to do we got in the middle of restoring me to the likeness of his Son and He uses a trial that is extended, and painful, and prolonged trial-- the last thing I want to do is to be still. The last thing I want to do is to be silent and I would say to you that often times it's during those periods of time in our lives and I can speak to this out of my own experience that we are most prone to sinful behaviors and sinful responses.
So how does Peter advise us about this? how does Peter talk to us about this? We are going through these challenges as a church family. Perhaps you, yourself, are not experiencing these trials such as surgeries, cancers, persistent temptations and blindness to sin, terminal illnesses, and deaths of family and friends perhaps as immediately and as directly as other people here. But there is no question that as a church family, we all have been touched by recent things. So what does Peter have to say? I suggest to you that as we look at first Peter chapter 4 we're actually going to end up in verse 10 of chapter 5 so perhaps we should look there first and see where all of this is going and then work backwards through what Peter has to say.
Scripture Reading:
1 Peter 5:10 ESV
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
One of the reasons that we can trust God with the things that make us anxious is because he is concerned about us remember Peter talked about this in verse 7
So what is YHWH doing when we cast our cares on Him in the midst of prolonged suffering, in the midst of suffering that just seems to go on without any explanation? What is our Father doing? Peter is telling us here what God is doing: He is perfecting and establishing and strengthening and settling us so that we may be people who have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light that we may be the kind of people who can shine forth the praises of His glory to people who are still in darkness.
Peter gives us a couple practical considerations in light of trials: First,

I. Acknowledge the Trial

Suffering is real!
So as we look at what Peter has to say and you see right away in the middle of the text Peter acknowledges the reality of suffering and he doesn't attempt to explain it. He just acknowledges that this is how God, or at least a way a very common way, in which YHWH restores people that He has redeemed to the image of His Son. He acknowledges the reality of suffering.
Now looking at verse 10 back in chapter 4 let's just see what Peter has already said to these people that just heard him talking in verse 10. Peter acknowledges suffering but that's not the first time they have heard him say something about this. Verse 12 of chapter 4:
1 Peter 4:12 ESV
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.
Peter is telling them that's because that is precisely what they are prone to conclude. Suffering during trials are not part of God’s natural design. Death is not natural! Sickness is part of the unnatural curse brought on after the natural world God created with Adam and Eve.
They are prone to conclude that when a trial, or in this case a persecution, fierce, extended, and prolonged were to come upon them that this is unusual that this should not be the lot of a person that has become the special object of the affection of the Father-- a special object of affection by means of the ministry of the Son and obtained by the ministry of the Holy Spirit-- it shouldn't be the lot of someone who has had all of this direct attention and involvement by every Person of the member of the Godhead. How could it be that this would be our lot? And Peter says the people who are prone to think that way: Don't think that way. And he continues:
1 Peter 4:13–16 ESV
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.
Peter is assuming that everybody will suffer.
1 Peter 4:17–18 ESV
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?”
In light of all of this look at verse 19
1 Peter 4:19 ESV
Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
So as you read this extended portion of chapter 4 and then you go back to chapter 5 verse 10 and Peter sort of wraps this up
1 Peter 5:10 ESV
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
“after you have suffered a little while”
This is what he's talking about: he is acknowledging the reality of suffering: it is inevitable-- it will come! And when it comes, it is excruciatingly painful --he describes it as a fiery testing.
It is limited in length. Peter in this Chapter 5 verse 10 when he talked about suffering, he talked about it being “for a little while.” He is indicating that is this is not going to be the eternal lot of a believer. That the limits and boundaries of the sufferings that God allows in the life of a believer for the perfecting and restoring to the image of His Son have been determined by Him.
There is a predetermined boundary to the suffering and it is necessary for God's work in our life. So Peter acknowledges the reality of suffering and then Secondly he talked a little bit about the reason that God does this.

II. Accept the Trial

God has a reason for suffering
Even though we don't have a full explanation for why YHWH allows these kinds of testings and these kinds of trials to come into the life of a believer and sometimes those testings come through the circumstances of life that God allows and sometimes they come through the hand of a persecutor that comes into our life that God allows but they all ultimately come and are driven by the hand of the evil one who is attempting to destroy what YHWH is doing.
And god allows these things to happen and he has a reason for them. And you can see that reason articulated here in verse 13
1 Peter 4:13 ESV
But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
Peter is saying “if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed but let him glorify God.”
God is attempting to do a number of things to the suffering that He brings into our life. One of those things that He does is perfecting us. He is completing us so that we may accomplish our mission. Now it shouldn't surprise us because this is exactly what He did with His own Son- you can see this over in Hebrews 5:7 Talking about Jesus
Hebrews 5:7 ESV
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.
There is no question that when Jesus prayed this way in the garden, He had no doubt that His Father was able to deliver Him from this. So the writer of Hebrews wants you to understand that when The Father did not deliver the Son and didn't respond to His prayer for deliverance by delivering Him from the death to come, it wasn't because He wasn't able to do that. You can see that in this verse and the next:
Hebrews 5:8–9 ESV
8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,
Jesus was equipped to do the mission that God called Him to accomplish through suffering. It wasn't that in some way Jesus was ever disobedience to the Father or that he could be more obedient than He was as you know. From what the scriptures teach and from what is required theologically of a perfect Savior, the Lord never sinned and didn't sin and wouldn't sin. So whatever is going on here is it because he needed in some way to become better at obeying God this was YHWH taking Jesus through these experiences because these experiences were necessary for Him to have the context of an obedience that would procure your salvation.
And just like Jesus, there are circumstances that are necessary for us to be able to accomplish the mission that YHWH intends to do through the life of a redeemed person that He is restoring the image of Christ.
If He is going to make you look like Christ so that others may see the glory of God, He's going to have to display you in circumstances like Christ's. He's going to have to put you in places of temptation, he's going to put you in places of sorrow, in suffering and the betrayal in a prolonged agony. why? because that's where the best obedience of Christ was displayed. And if you want to look like Christ which is YHWH’s purpose for you, He is going to put you in places where that Christ likeness can be formed.
And Peter says you shouldn't be surprised about this because suffering is intended to prepare you for the mission that god is on, and that mission is to declare forth His praises. He called you out of darkness into light so that you might declare the praises of the One who did this. One of the ways in which YHWH does that is he puts those glory bearers right in the midst of suffering--that He allowed to come into the life of His own Son.
And that brings us really to the third thing this morning and that is in 1 Peter 5:10 Peter reminds us not just that suffering is a reality and that YHWH has a reason for this. Peter reminds us that God promise to us has not been invalidated because he has allowed a time of extreme prolonged suffering to come into our lives.
1 Peter 5:10 ESV
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

III. Actualize the Promise

If you look at verse 7
1 Peter 5:7 ESV
casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
You're immediately reminded that YHWH is committed to things that He has always been committed to in your life that come under questioning. When we go through a prolonged period of suffering or when some great trial comes into our life we are tempted at that point-- I know I am-- we are tempted to question God's love and affection for me. how does YHWH really feel about me? and if you really feel that way, why in the world would you allow this to happen to me? If it were in my power to keep my own children from going through suffering like this, I would never let this happen to them. So if God is all powerful and he really loves me, if I wouldn't do this with my own children, why in the world is he doing this with me? there must be something that I have done that has caused Him maybe to turn His face away from me.
And I question his affection. Or I question His ability. Does he really have the power and ability to protect and deliver me? Maybe He loves me, but for whatever reasons maybe in this particular trial he's he's just not going to involve Himself because he can't. We know that's not true theologically-- our brains get it-- we understand it but somehow getting it from our head down into the fabric of our soul takes time and sometimes the trial aborts that process. And even though we would never say it this way, we wonder: does God really love me? and if He really loves me, can He really solve my problem.
Or we wonder if YHWH even knows. I mean we know that He knows, but is He really concerned? I know that He loves me, and I know that He's able to because I've seen Him deliver others when I read about it in the scripture but somehow he's not doing it for me! So maybe he's just not that concerned about me.
And I think if we're honest when we go through a prolonged trial that is excruciatingly painful, sooner or later we wrestle with those questions. Particularly when we have children of our own and we know what we would do for them if it were within our power to do so. I mean I look at things that have happened in my life just like you look at things that have happened in your life and one of the things that I constantly ask the Lord, “please don't put my children through anything like this.” Have you prayed that in the private moment of your life? And it's easy to move from, “Lord please don't ever do that to one of my children.” to saying, “Lord why have you allowed this to happen to me.”
And right in the middle of all that Peter gives us a reminder in verse 10:
1 Peter 5:10 ESV
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
But I would suggest that there is a way to look at this in which Peter's articulating not just a prayer, but he is praying in the strength of a promise. This is precisely what he knows YHWH is doing and he is articulating this. It's actually a doxology here. But he is reminding the reader that this is what YHWH is about in the midst of the suffering. As God perfect you, as God provides the context by which His glory can most be magnified in you and through you. The whole point of this is Peter coming back and saying that in the midst of God doing all this work that you may not understand, or you may not comprehend here is an unshakable truth that you can anchor back to you can come back to this truth and it hasn't changed one bit. Your circumstances may be extremely difficult. Your circumstances may have caused you to ask questions about YHWH, but here is a truth you can anchor back on: God's promise has not been invalidated.

So What?

This is how YHWH feels about you who is called you to his eternal glory he hasn't changed one bit. The God of all grace who sent His Son to redeem you, has called you to His eternal glory. He hasn't changed one bit in His purpose for you.
We've learned and quoted Romans 8:28 many times. He uses all things, He works all things together to produce something in the life of the individual here who experiencing those things. And that individual is identified as someone who's been called according to His purpose. And that's you if you are a believer this morning. If you are a believer, God intentions for you, His call in your life has not been affected at all by the circumstances that He has allowed in your life.
Peter's answer is YHWH is still the God of all grace. He's still the one who has called you to eternal glory, and He is the one who is restoring, confirming, strengthening, and establishing you.
As you go through suffering and as you avail yourself of the truth that YHWH has put here in this text, you will become more convinced of who God is and what God is like rather than less convinced. God’s intent is to take truth in His word, the enablement of His grace, and the energizing of the Spirit so that as you go through the trial, what you know about God will become unshakable--you will be convinced. So that no matter what happens to your life you can stand before others out of a broken heart say, “Be still my heart. Be still my soul. Be still.
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