Faithlife Sermons

The Way of Suffering

Living Hope  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Genesis 3:1–7 CSB
1 Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. 3 But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’ ” 4 “No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
We find in this account the reason we all struggle with submission to authority.
Up until Genesis 3:1 Adam and Eve had not struggled with submitting to God’s authority in their lives.
They ate from the abundance God had provided, they enjoyed the perfect creation God had made, and they embraced the work that God had given them to perform.
But the words of the serpent touched in Eve something that exists in all of us today, the desire be in control, to be our own gods, and to call our own shots.
The serpent says to Eve “when you eat your eyes will be open and you will be like God.”
It says that Eve saw that the tree was “desirable for obtaining wisdom”, meaning seemed to open up the opportunity for her to know things like God knew them, thus not having to listen to Him anymore.
There bite was the first instance of rebellion in all of creation and it bred in each and everyone of us the since that we should be able to call our own shots, be our own boss, and pursue the things in life that make us the most happy.
Perhaps that is why the words of Peter, not to mention the rest of the bible, are so hard for us to hear.
They go against the grain of our nature.
And the step on our tows.
Listen to Peter’s words here:
1 Peter 2:18–25 ESV
18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Peter’s goal is to help us live out 2:9-11
1 Peter 2:9–11 NIV
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.
He is directing his attention to “servant” or “slaves”
The word and idea of slavery used here is not what we think of.
These were Indentured servants, people basically had a contractual obligation to work for someone for a particular period of time or after a amount of money was earned (debt).
Though they didn’t have the same rights of others, they were not considered to be like the slaves of early America.
This was actually the most common form of “employer-employee” relationship of the time.
So when we read this passages and passages like it, we can make the application to employees in our modern context (even though there was difference in the relationship).
But the application can be broadened into how we live in the context of society at large.
Our work, our play,
how we relate to our neighbors and others in the community.
And just like last week, the key word Peter uses (the imperative/command) is “submit”
We defined it last week like this:
Submission is the act of someone who acknowledges legitimate authority and willingly arranges himself or herself accordingly. Submission is voluntary, never forced. It is responding to the divine order of things first in the heart and then in the life.
Tim Challies
The majority of those reading this letter would have been indentured servants who would have potentially had good or bad masters (bosses).
So how are their lives supposed to look and how are they to apply vs 12 to their everyday? Especially if their master was a jerk?
Peter’s command…SUBMIT
And so here we are 2000 years later and we can’e help but ask “So what does that have to do with me/us?”
I want to point to three way submission steers the life of a believer toward this very purpose Peter is speaking of.

ENDURANCE in Suffering is a mark of ACTIVE FAITH (vs. 18-19)

Peter is making the case here that submission to authority, whether good or bad, is a necessary posture of the Christian faith.
Why should these servant remain in their lowly position?
It isn’t because they are insignificant or unworthy.
It is not that God wants us to be push-overs and rejects in His name.
Our submission to human authority is a result of our ultimate submission to God.
Christian submission is not [entirely] an act of human will. It is divine work. We can submit to God’s authorities and His will only through the power of the Holy Spirit. Christ imputes his righteousness to believers so the work of submission is faith. Through faith in Christ we receive his righteousness as our own and keep his commandments through the power the Holy Spirit. Christ empowers us to follow Him [and other, earthly authorities] in submission.
Denise Larson Cooper
“It is a gracious thing, when MINDFUL of God...”
A mind being filled with God will endure suffering.
Peter is not saying we ought to look for ways we suffer, as if the Christian faith is a constant turning away from pleasure and enjoyment toward pain and despair.
He is saying that when we face the inevitable struggles of life in a world of sinful, selfish, and harsh people, we will endure if we are actively pursuing a strengthening faith in Jesus.
“It is a gracious thing” means that God is please when His people live humbly and sacrificially in submission.
Imagine a world where authority was absent. No bosses, no governmental authorities, no police officers...
God laces all of life with some form of authority. It’s clear, then, that a wholesale rejection of God-ordained authority leads inexorably to anarchy, instability, unrestrained desires, evil, and the judgment of God.
Thabiti Anyabwile
Just like the yeast in a bread doe, when we are actively growing in a faith in God humble submission will be the fruit.

God’s MOTIVE for Suffering is EXALTATION (vv. 20-21a)

“for to THIS you have been called” - We are called to live lives of submission even as we face unjust treatment, sorrow, and suffering.
But it isn’t enough to say “Because God said so.
There is motive (purpose) behind submission and enduring unjust treatment.
The motive is proclaiming the excellencies of God.
When we suffer unjustly and patiently with our faith firmly in God,
we are surrendering some very precious things (health, comfort, ease) and so we are showing the excellency of God's superior worth/value.
we surrender the things we find our security and safety in and so we show the excellency of God's superior care for us.
we go without the glory of fighting back and winning; and so we show the excellency of God's superior glory that he will share with us some day, and the justice of his throne that will one day settle all accounts.
We seem to throw away our chance for happiness by not fighting for more comforts and pleasures here; and so we show the excellency of God's amazing purpose for us and the promised inheritance we will get when He returns.
we acknowledge that we are still sinners and are not earning anything by this patience. And so we show the excellency of God's great grace.
Our active faith leads to a humble submission that in the face of pain, suffering, and trials allows us to joyfully exalt the goodness of God to all who may be watching.

CHRIST is the MODEL for ENDURANCE in Suffering (vv. 21b-25)

But God did not leave us to figure this out alone.
Peter direct our attention to Christ Jesus who has left us THE example that ought to guide our lives in this world.
1 Peter 2:22 ESV
22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.

1) He was upright and honest.

The life of Jesus was marked by perfected obedience and unwavering honesty.
In the garden, Jesus prayed to the father that he might not have to endure the cross, but Jesus’s final words are power “Not my will, but your be done.”
We live in a world where getting ahead, getting what we think we deserve often leads us down roads of dishonesty and sin.
The way of Jesus calls us to live not for us but for Him.
Work hard, do our jobs well, and be honest in all our dealings that we might model for others the goodness of Christ.
1 Peter 2:23 ESV
23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

2) He did not retaliate or seek revenge.

Even as He was being beaten, mocked, and hung on the cross He utters the word “Father forgive them for they no not what they do.”
Deeply embedded in our hearts is a desire to be justified, a desire to be right, and a desire for vindication.
We will be accused, hurt, betrayed, and treated unjustly
But our response should not be retaliation or revenge. Justice and vengeance is the Lord’s.
1 Peter 2:24 ESV
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

3) He sacrificed Himself for us.

We can’t dies for someone’s sin, but how we serve and how we speak, and how we give, and how we live our everyday lives will either a message of self-centeredness or the message of self-sacrifice.
We give up our perceived rights as Jesus gave up is legitimate rights to serve the needs of others.
1 Peter 2:25 ESV
25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

4) He protects us and leads us with love and grace.

We are not to be push overs, but our agenda is not to be self-service and self-advancement, rather we must lead as the Good Shepherd leads us.
psalm 23
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