Drop files to upload.
Faithlife Corporation

Suffering 1 Peter 4

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 3 views
Notes & Transcripts

1 Peter 4:7–5:14

THE CALL TO SUFFER

Overview

Peter’s first letter focused on the themes of submission and suffering. Yet the book is vibrant with optimism. We sense this tone in the opening chapter. Peter praised God

•           for new birth

•           for a living hope

•           for an inheritance that can never perish

•           for shielding by God’s power.

In view of these great blessings we have joy, even though “now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1:6).

Such trials are precious, for they are intended not to trip us up, but to demonstrate the genuineness of our faith, that when Jesus Christ comes He—and we—might receive praise, glory, and honor for our faithfulness.

So salvation does not promise an easy life here. Instead we can expect difficulties and trials. Jesus Himself was not immune to suffering, and neither are we…

The subject of suffering is not a popular one. But it is an important one. No one is immune, everyone experiences it…

Commentary

Throughout the New Testament, hope is the dominate message…

We have hope because of our participation in Christ…

Our suffering is viewed as the continuation of Jesus’ life on earth; life He continues to live through members of the body.

And so Peter called us to “rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ” (4:13). A Christian’s suffering is no cause for shame. It is to be seen as God’s hand at work in our lives, shaping and equipping us in wise discipline.

In thinking about our own suffering, it is instructive to remember what we read about Jesus in Hebrews. “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all” (Heb. 5:8). Suffering was necessary to perfect Jesus for His role as sympathetic High Priest. Of course, Jesus was already perfect as God. But to become our High Priest, Christ had to experience human weakness.

We often misunderstand the nature of weakness. All too often we think of it as sin or as giving in to temptation. Not so. Our weakness is feeling the pressures life places on us. Our flaw is choosing to surrender to sin. Jesus did not choose sin. He was without flaw. But Jesus did know hunger and exhaustion. He knew the pain of rejection, and the hurt of ridicule. Jesus knew feelings of abandonment and felt the anger of those whose hearts fed on hate. In all this, Jesus suffered. And in all of it, He experienced what it means to be human. Having learned, He became our salvation.

It’s very possible that suffering is necessary to perfect us in the same way. Jesus is the High Priest, but you and I are a royal and holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5, 9). We not only participate in Christ’s experiences, we participate in His ministry. And for us to sympathize, we need to know what it means to hurt.

This is an important thought. Our calling does not pull us away from the world. Instead, it leads us to live Jesus’ life in the world! Jesus’ ministry was to seek and to save. He never forgot the lost; instead He lifted them up to become sons.

Perhaps one good that God brings through our suffering is to remind us of our fellowmen—of the pains they know and the suffering they experience, without any source of joy. If we remember who we are, we may be moved to reach out as Jesus reached out. Instead of drawing away from those who sin, we reach out with a firm and loving grip and draw them to Jesus, who holds the door open wide.

© Link to Life: Youth / Adult

Ask each person to jot down a word or two reminding them of at least three personal experiences of suffering. This can be physical suffering, emotional pain, whatever.

Then in groups of three, ask each person to share at least 潮攠潦⁴

 one of these experiences. How did it affect your life? How long did the experience last?

After each has shared, draw the whole group together again. Looking back, can your members see any good which has come from the experience he or she talked about?

From your group members’ experiences, try to construct a list of different positive results that may come from suffering.

Pain and Suffering in Scripture

The ancient Stoic philosophers saw suffering as man’s fate in an impersonal universe. Even the wisest have, throughout history, been forced to shrug off the question as unanswerable. And those who are antagonistic to God have argued that the very existence of suffering in a universe supposedly created by a good God proves that “God” either does not exist, or that He is not good.

Yet the Bible affirms God, and teaches both His power and goodness. And, in the context of a personal universe, the Bible speaks directly about human pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering in the Old Testament. The Hebrew language has m

many different words that communicate the ideas of pain and suffering. Here are some of the more frequently used:

* Ka<a

any different words that communicate the ideas of pain and suffering. Here are some of the more frequently used:

* Ka<ab

 emphasizes pain. While physical pain is involved, words derived from ka’ab are most concerned with the mental anguish associated with hurt.

* <Asa

b are most concerned with the mental anguish associated with hurt.

* <Asab

 and its derivatives. These words are translated as grief, sorrow, and wound. Here too both physical and mental pain are in view.

* Use of hil. This is a graphic word that is very strong: it suggests writhing in agony, and is used of terror at搠獩獡整

 disaster and extreme mental anguish.

A study of the use of these words in the Old Testament draws attention not to painful events themselves, but to how human beings are affected by life’s tragedies. If it were only the bout with illness, or the loss of a job, or an unjust lawsuit, in itself, but the real suffering is in how such events affect us within—the doubts, the uncertainties, the fears, as the future we looked forward to seems dashed and all ahead black,

The Book of Job reminds us that while the Old Testament is sensitive to human suffering, it offers no easy answer. God permitted Satan to assault Job, a truly good man. Despite the most intense suffering Job maintained his trust in God—until three friends tried to explain why. Then Job too was catapulted into an attempt to explain his experience.

Job and his friends had an image of God as righteous Judge. So the friends concluded that Job’s suffering must be a punishment from God. Job had not knowingly sinned, and so would not admit fault. Yet Job himself had no other explanation. Overwhelmed by what seemed betrayal by the God he trusted, Job began to challenge the beliefs of his friends about how the Lord works in human affairs.

Job’s inability to explain his suffering, and the accusations of his “friends,” brought the sufferer close to despair. How clearly we see in Job, stripped of hope and fearful in a universe he suddenly did not understand at all, reflections of our own feelings during times of intense personal suffering.

At the end of the Book of Job God did intervene. He restored Job, and corrected his friends. But God did not explain. Job was left without answers, to simply trust a God whose motives and purposes no human being can fully know.

There are, however, fascinating insights in the Old Testament. First, as Job illustrated, the reasons for the suffering of the good man are often hidden. We must simply trust God to bring good in the end, even as He restored and blessed Job.

Second, Job’s friends were right in that sometimes suffering is associated with sin. God “does not leave the guilty unpunished” (Num. 14:18). Yet suffering can also be instruction: it can be a means of grace by which God shows the sinner his need for repentance. It was suffering which often led people to call on the Lord for relief (Isa. 14:3).

Third, several of the words for suffering in the Old Testament are associated with childbirth. The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words suggests that in Hebrew terms, “Pain’s essence is summed up in the writhing body and straining muscles of the woman in the pain of childbirth. The image is theologically significant. It offers hope, in that the outcome of the pain is the emergence of fresh life into the world.” God intends that our suffering will in some mysterious way give birth to good!

One other theme in the Old Testament is important. Isaiah looked ahead to the appearance of a “Suffering Servant.” This Individual would come to do God’s will, even though that will brought Him intense pain. If ever good was given birth in suffering, it was so in the death of Jesus. As Isaiah said:

Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:4–6

Pain and suffering in the New Testament. There are many Greek words for pain and suffering in the New Testament, most with broad meanings that parallel those of the Old Testament.

But most New Testament references to suffering use the Greek word pascho and its derivatives. Strikingly, these words constantly are linked with the events associated with Jesus’ crucifixion. He is the primary example of suffering, and in a study of Jesus’ suffering we learn much about its nature.

Many of the special insights come from our Book of 1 Peter.

* Suffering and sin. The Bible definitely links suffering and sin. In the Fall Adam and Eve, and all the human race, became subject to suffering. At times suffering is directly related to our own sin, in that suffering comes as a consequence or punishment of our own acts. A person who is imprisoned for a crime obviously is suffering both as a consequence of and as a punishment for his or her sins.

On the other hand, suffering is often indirectly related to sin. A person shot or injured by a criminal suffers not because he did something wrong, but because of the sin of another.

In our sin-cursed world we are subject to much suffering that is “unjust” in the sense that we suffer because of others’ actions rather than our own. But, whomever’s the fault, it is sin in our universe which is the cause.

Peter gives us the ultimate example of unjust suffering. He points out that Jesus suffered “the righteous for [

 lit. “on account of”] the unrighteous” (1 Peter 3:18). The sins for which Jesus suffered on the cross were not His own. In the immediate situation, it was the sins of Jesus’ enemies among the Jews that brought about His pain. In the grand context of攠整湲瑩

 eternity, however, Jesus suffered because of your sins and mine. It was the sin of all humanity which brought Christ to the Cross.

So the Bible never suggests that our experience of pain and suffering will be “fair.” Like Jesus, we will often suffer not for what we do but for what others have done, or simply because sin has warped society itself out of God’s intended shape.

* Suffering and God. While the Bible associates suffering with sin and sees sin as the basic cause, Scripture affirms that our Sovereign God is also involved.

We Christians are told, when overtaken by unexpected and unjust suffering, to “set apart Christ as Lord” (v. 15). We are to remember that God is Sovereign, and nothing is permitted to happen except by His will.

In looking again at Jesus we realize that His own suffering was “by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge” (Acts 2:23).

* Suffering and purpose. Again, the suffering of Jesus demonstrates that though an injustice, Jesus’ suffering had a purpose. Through it God intended to bring us to Him through the death of Christ (1 Peter 3:18).

So the suffering of Jesus teaches us important truths. Sin can be the indirect as well as direct cause of suffering. And when we suffer unjustly, God not only is sovereignly involved but also is at work through the experience, to bring about some good purpose of His own.

* Suffering and the Christian. The New Testament does speak directly to the issue of the suffering saint.

First Peter 1:3–9 points out that the suffering we experience now demonstrates the genuineness of our faith and will bring glory when Jesus comes. Romans 5:3–4 adds that “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” So suffering is intended to make a contribution to the inner transformation of the Christian.

First Peter 2:13–25 encourages us to bear up under unjust suffering, and commit ourselves to live good lives, “conscious of God” (v. 19). We are to remain aware that by living godly lives under pressure we follow Jesus’ example and walk in His steps.

Paul even spoke of such suffering as fellowship (lit., “participation”) in Christ. Christian suffering is associated with God’s plan to complete the mission of Jesus in our world (see Phil. 3:10).

A Theology of Suffering?

Human suffering is and will remain largely a mystery. Yet from 1 Peter, which draws together so many themes seen in both Old and New Testaments, it is possible to develop a practical theology of suffering, which links God’s view, purposes, and role in human suffering in a positive, red

demptive view. The chart below identifies key verses in 1 Peter, from which a study group can work.

         Link to Life: Youth / Adult

Give each person in your group a copy of the “Practical Theology of Suffering” chart. Divide into teams to first of all sum up倠瑥牥玒

 Peter’s teachings, and then to construct a series of 10 statements that express a Christian view of suffering.

A Practical Theology of Suffering

Together: 1 Peter 4:7–5:11

Use of gifts (1 Peter 4:7–11). Peter reminded us that we can see in the very sins of our society which causes human sufferings the end of all things. God will judge. Until then, we believers must be deeply committed to each other, to help and encourage each other to keep on serving God.

Suffering (1 Peter 4:12–19). How much we need encouragement. Especially when we suffer as Christians, experiencing pain unjustly. Then the encouragement we receive, will help us commit ourselves to our “faithful Creator and continue to do good.”

Authority in church (1 Peter 5:1–4). We have seen many exhortations in Peter about living under authority. Peter now advised those in authority in the church. Leaders are to provide an example to the flock. Autocracy, selfish motives—none of these are appropriate for those who walk in Jesus’ way.

Submission and humility (1 Peter 5:5–6). Submission within the church and humility in all relationships is fitting for Christians. We live under authority in every aspect of our lives.

God’s care (1 Peter 5:7). Is submission surrender? Not at all. As we have seen, submission is an expression of trust in a sovereign God. Knowing that God is God, we can cast all our anxieties on Him, because He does care for us.

The devil (1 Peter 5:8–9). Satan will attack the church’s ways of life. But we are equipped to resist.

Finally, Peter gave his benediction. It’s a reminder of the glory and power that suffuses and transforms all the suffering we might know.

The God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:10–11

Apply

Pray together, thanking God specifically for the way He has used suffering in your lives.

What benefits can you think of that have occurred due to national suffering from September 11th.

Baptist Association in NY reports 1000+ conversions per day since September 11th.

0ççççãìììããããÞ×ããìãÎããÎã

çççãìììããããÞ×ããìãÎããÎãã

Îããããããããã

¥䌀g䔀l䔀$䘀&䘀v䘀x䘀z䘀ôðððìì

ððððððìÑÑ

Normal

Normal

Default Paragraph Font

Default Paragraph Font

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

M. Steven MunsonjC:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Application Data\Microsoft\Word\AutoRecovery save of Document1.asd

M. Steven MunsonjC:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Application Data\Microsoft\Word\AutoRecovery save of Document1.asd

M. Steven Munson

M. Steven Munson

C:\Temp\1 Peter 4.doc

C:\Temp\1 Peter 4.doc

Unknownÿ!

Times New Roman

Times New Roman

Symbol

Symbol

SemiticaDict

SemiticaDict

Courier New

Courier New

Wingdings

Wingdings

1 Peter 4:7

1 Peter 4:7–5:14

M. Steven Munson

M. Steven Munson

M. Steven Munson

M. Steven Munson

1 Peter 4:7–5:14

M. Steven Munson

Normal.dot

M. Steven Munson

Microsoft Word 9.0

1 Peter 4:7–5:14

Root Entry

1Table

1Table

WordDocument

WordDocument

SummaryInformation

SummaryInformation

DocumentSummaryInformation

DocumentSummaryInformation

CompObj

CompObj

ObjectPool

ObjectPool

Microsoft Word Document

MSWordDoc

Word.Document.8

RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
Get this media plus thousands more when you start a free trial.
Get started for FREE
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →