How To Turn A Profit On Suffering:
The Holiness Of Christian Submission
Scripture: 1 Peter 4:1-11
Therefore: 1Peter 3:18-22
Therefore since Christ died for sin to bring even us to God:
Therefore since Christ preaches against sin through even us to bring others to God:
Therefore since Christ lived a life of righteousness in overcoming sin even unto eternal life:
Get on with it.
But you say get on with what?
Get on with overcoming the circumstances which surround you.
And those circumstances may well be bringing you suffering.
Because of our submission to Christ in overcoming sin through him,
we have a holiness through him that can turn even suffering into righteousness.
In short, we can turn a profit on suffering.
The work of Christ in our lives enables us, even empowers us to make suffering work for us if we let it.
After all, we live in a sinful, fallen world. Suffering is a "given."
No one escapes suffering. It comes upon all mankind. Jn. 16:33
Because Jesus overcame it, we can overcome it too in him.
The difference is what we do with it.
Will we suffer productively or non-productively?
Will we allow God to give it a purpose - even if we don't understand that purpose --- yet?
Illus.: "Vanilla With A Purpose"
We can even rejoice in our suffering. Rom. 5:3-5
Our greater experience of Christ through suffering even confirms our standing as children of God.
Suffering becomes the cost of maturing in bringing positive change into our lives - profit, if you will.
Again, everyone suffers but not everyone is able to make positive, productive change on account of it.
The difference is whether we have a God-consciousness. 1Pet.2:19
Serious suffering either for the cause of Christ, or because of a God- consciousness for the cause of Christ in your own life advances the progress of sanctification.
Christlike suffering confronts sin in ourselves and others because we are conscious of God.
If we merely suffer the way the rest of the world suffers we accomplish nothing and even chance an antagonistic attitude of bitterness against God and others because "we didn't deserve what life dealt out to us."
The Bible is full of examples of those who suffered profitably for God and for themselves in service to God: Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, Paul, and most notably Christ himself.
Even the thief on the cross turned a profit on his own suffering when he became conscious of God through Christ's suffering.
I. If we accept suffering according to the cause of Christ, we reap the profit of spiritual life in Christ.
A. A Christlike attitude reaps a Christlike victory.
1* Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.
B. This victory is continually realized as we surrender our wills to the will of God.
2* As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
C. It is God's will that we not forget, and never return, to the futility of our former way of life.
3* For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do-- living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.
D. We are to rise above our circumstances and surroundings even if we suffer for it in this life.
4* They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.
E. Those who live in defiance of God's will end up bankrupt.
5* But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
F. Our submission to the holiness of the gospel reaps the abundant reward of spiritual life that sustains us whether in this life or the next.
6* For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
II. If we reap the profit of spiritual life in Christ, we can afford to invest our lives in others.
A. This investment is time-sensitive.
7* The end of all things is near.
B. The investment of prayer.
Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.
1. It takes a clear mind.
2. It takes self-control.
C. The investment of love.
8* Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1. Love must be deep.
2. Love must be deeper than sin.
D. The investment of hospitality.
9* Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
E. The investment of grace.
10* Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.
F. The investment of communication.
11* If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.
G. The investment of strength.
If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides,
H. The investment of praise.
so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.