Suffering In The Will Of God:
A Christian Privilege Of Position
June 9, 1996
Scripture: 1Peter 4:12-19
1. The outworking of God's perfecting power in our lives should come as no surprise to us who have come to Christ for salvation through that same power.
12* Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful (fiery) trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
2. The perfecting power of God over sin began with the suffering of Christ which works out in continual and ultimate joy as sin is defeated in our own lives even through suffering.
13* But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
3. The perfecting power of God enables us to reap the joy of blessing even though we suffer insult.
14* If you are insulted (reproached, reviled, abused, slandered) because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
4. But the blessings of the Spirit of glory and of God do not come to us for suffering we deserve.
15* If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a (troublesome) meddler [means one who looks carefully on others' affairs which are not properly one's own concern].
5. It is for obedient suffering for the cause of Christ that the blessings of the Spirit of glory and of God come upon us.
16* However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name [better: but continually glorify God in the way that you live or act in Christ's name].
6. It would seem natural and appropriate that God would work His perfecting power in His own children first that His glory might be revealed in us. And if God works that kind of power in those who have yielded to Him for that perfect work, what about those who have refused to yield to Him at all?
17* For it is time for judgment (in the sense of discipline, purification, strengthening) to begin with (from) the family (house) of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
7. We should be convinced of the power of God to destroy if we have become convinced of the power of God to save.
18* And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"
8. Let us then cast ourselves upon the shore of God's purpose even through suffering and not be swayed from His goodness to us and through us.
19* So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves (entrust their souls) to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.