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The Fiery Furnaces of Life

Notes & Transcripts

1) 3-20-11…AM…SBC     2)

“The Fiery Furnaces of Life”

Intro                                              1 Peter 4:12-19

1-      AD64—9 days Rome burned—desire to refurbish Rome Nero was blamed—Christians scapegoats—much hated—false reports—canibalism (LT) and uncontrolled lust (holy kiss)—after fire Nero capitalized on the anti-Christian sentiment—persecuted them—human torches for dinner parties—sewn inside animal skins to be devoured—crucifying them—other unjust tortures

2-      Peter wrote at the onset of this persecution so you can imagine what his reoccurring theme is:  Endurance trials

3-      Today hostility toward Christians who speak out against the culture’s sins and in defense of the exclusivity of the gospel is on the rise.[1]

Transition:To either endure or prepare for suffering you and I must listen carefully to these words and live out this mantra


Proposition:  When the flames of suffering engulf you, trust God and do good.


Prayer

Definition of Suffering

1.      Suffering may result from choosing to be a public Christian “if God wills” (1 Peter 4:19)

2.      Suffering may also result from choosing to live as a Christian even when there is not intentional hostility from unbeliever (disease ridden village—share Gospel—contract the disease)

3.      All suffering that comes in a life lived by faith is part of the price of living in obedience to the call of God

4.      When we choose to follow Christ in the way He directs, we choose all that this path includes under His sovereign providence

5.      In one sense we willingly choose suffering when we willingly take up our cross on the path of obedience

6.      We may pray as Paul did that suffering be removed, but if God wills, we embrace it in the end as part of the cost of discipleship on the path of obedience on the way to heaven.

7.      Shadrach, Meshach and Abenego – they willingly chose suffering because they willingly chose to obey

8.      all experiences of suffering whether through persecution or sickness have this in common

They all threaten our faith in the goodness of God and tempt us to leave the path of obedience

 

9.      As one author said, “all suffering, of every kind that we endure in the path of our Christian calling is a suffering with Christ and for Christ” (Piper – DG)

·         with him – suffering comes by walking with him by faith—it is endured in the strength that He supplies

·         for him – suffering tests and proves our allegiance to His goodness and power

Transition:  Peter teaches us first of all today that when suffering comes (AP)

1)   Don’t Be Surprised  v12

A-    Textual Data

1-      Surprised – (cf: 4:4) shocked and alarmed (intensification) bewildered (normal daily experience)

2-      Fiery Trial – (cf: 1:6-7) from “to burn”, refining (Ps 66:10) not destruction like Satan (5:8)

3-      To test you – not by chance but providentially planned with a purpose (reason not to be surprised)

B-    This thought runs counter to modern sensibilities that consider suffering and hard times to be an abnormal state of life that should be avoided if at all possible.[2]

1-      And if they can’t be avoided, they should be dealt with immediately so that “normal” life can resume as quickly as possible.[3]

2-      If they were astonished at the suffering that occurred, they may have been overwhelmed, concluding that God did not love them.[4] (the same will be true for us)

3-      An advance warning of suffering helps the readers to be prepared for suffering, so that their faith is not threatened when difficulties arise.[5] (future persecution in US)

For Christians, the confrontation with sin and the world often results in suffering, which is part of the promised cost of discipleship. Counting the cost is behind Jesus’ words that no one builds a tower or enters battle without first calculating that cost (Luke 14:28–32).[6] (Gospel Invitation:  count the cost—commit whole heartedly)

Transition:  Second, Peter says that when suffering comes…

2) Rejoice      v13

A-    Textual Data         (cf: 1:6)

1-      The Command: Rejoice – not reason for bitterness or despair  (Acts 5:41)

2-      The Privilege:  Share Christ’s Sufferings – not redemptively—indentify with X who suffered for right Jn 15:20

3-      The Reason: He is coming again - Superlative Joy—“that” points to a future joy when faith is vindicated

B-    Peter consoles his readers that it is therefore better to stand by one’s faith now, even though it results in suffering, than to deny Christ for present relief only to suffer much worse in the coming judgment as one who has denied and rejected Christ.[7]

C-    Thought and contemplations of a future glory are always meant to put present suffering in its proper place

D-    Peter encourages these believers to look forward to the coming of Christ when their suffering will be rewarded

Transition:  Next, when suffering comes

3) See it as a blessing      v14

A-    Those who suffer for Christ, Peter says, are blessed. [8]

B-    The blessing is not in the suffering itself but because the Spirit of God is present [9]

C-    He does not suggest that suffering for the name of Christ is beneficial to the believer in any way other than as evidence of genuine faith.[10]

D-    The blessing comes not because of an opportunity for self-improvement but because of the presence of God.[11]

E-     One’s willingness to suffer rather than compromise indicates the inner transformation of the sanctifying work of the Spirit that has set one apart as a child of God.[12]

Transition: Fourth, when suffering comes…

4) Don’t be ashamed      v15-16a

 

A-    Peter expands his teaching on suffering by telling his readers to avoid punishment that the sufferer justly deserves.[13]

B-    No matter what our trials, we as Christians are to do nothing that would justify punishing us as criminals[14]

C-    As a wise pastor, Peter knows the heart of man. When a believer meets scorn, ridicule, and contempt because of his faith, shame often prevents him from witnessing for Christ.[15]

D-    If you suffer for being a Christian—for living in word and deed consistently with the gospel of Jesus Christ—then do not be ashamed if society rejects and reviles you, whether through social ostracism or official prosecution. [16]

E-     Faith in Christ is nothing to be ashamed of, even when society says it is. What is more, suffering for Christ is actually a mark of honor[17]

 

Transition:  Fifthly, Peter tells us that when suffering comes…

5) Glorify God       v16b

A-    They glorify God in the name “Christian” by enduring such suffering with joy (v. 13), pleased that they are privileged to suffer because of their allegiance to Jesus Christ.[18]

B-    the meaning then is that the believer should thank God because he is called by the very name of Christ[19]

C-    To glorify God in this context means to praise Him for the privilege and honor of suffering for this name, because of all He has done, is doing, and will forever do for His saints[20]

Ø      Peter adds in v17-18 that God allows persecutions as disciplinary judgment to purify the lives of those in the family of God.[21]—suffering sifts out those who are Christ’s and those who are not—Prov quote—Heb 12:7-8

Ø      The thought is that the world’s response makes it difficult for Christians to remain faithful to Christ to the end. [22]

Ø      Will Peter’s readers have the resolve and the stamina to persevere to the end? Or will the insults, abuse, ostracism, and even more serious and threatening pressures drive them to deny Christ, renounce the faith, and return to pagan beliefs and living, thus rejecting the gospel of God as surely as those who never made a profession?[23]

Ø      Gospel Presentation – Redemptive Story—choosing to reject the G. results in eternal judgment/punishment

Ø      These verses reveal that something great is at stake in how we respond to our trials. (life and death)

 

Conclusion:          v19

1.      The words so then introduce the conclusion to Peter’s lengthy discussion on suffering. [24]

2.      Peter gives two summary application to handling suffering

When the flames of suffering engulf you, trust God and do good. (as a banner on the slide that other fall under)

 

·         He first reminds us to remember that nothing happens without God’s will, for God is in control of every situation.[25]

·         When we suffer we grapple with the question of injustice to which we have to submit.

·         Peter challenges us not to lose sight of God’s purpose in our lives, for in his providence he will care for us. [26]

·         Temptation in suffering is to focus on the situation and focus on self—fall to self-pity—draw others in to your feeling bad for you—dominate conversations and life with your problems

·         Peter challenges the Christian who commits himself verbally to his faithful God ought to show this commitment in deeds of love and mercy toward his fellow man.[27]

·         Keep serving and doing good.

 

Ø      Sufferings are not a sign of God’s absence but his purifying presence.[28]

Ø      God doesn’t desire that suffering be just something that we endure to the end so we can get back to normal, like a bad trip to the dentist

Ø      Frequently, Jesus doesn’t share our urgency for us to know exactly what he’s doing or where he’s leading us. His reasons for withholding that information are always good. His will for us is our sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3). And what that usually means is some form of “believe in…me (John 14:1)

Ø      Jesus is your Good Shepherd (John 10:11). A benefit of being a sheep is that you don’t need to know the way. You just need to trust your Shepherd

Ø      What are you more concerned about today: where Jesus is leading you, or whether you really trust him

Ø      I can tell you what Jesus is most concerned about: your trust

Ø      Story:  Desiring God (p275 – Natasha)

 

How you respond to the suffering (conflict/cancer) reveals your belief in the Gospel

How you respond to suffering impacts other’s believing in the Gospel

When the flames of suffering engulf you, trust God and do good.


----

[1] MacArthur, J. (2004). 1 Peter (248). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter. Baker exegetical commentary on the New Testament (286). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

[3] Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter. Baker exegetical commentary on the New Testament (286). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

[4] Schreiner, T. R. (2007). Vol. 37: 1, 2 Peter, Jude (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (218). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] Schreiner, T. R. (2007). Vol. 37: 1, 2 Peter, Jude (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (218). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] MacArthur, J. (2004). 1 Peter (249). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[7] Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter. Baker exegetical commentary on the New Testament (287). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

[8] Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter. Baker exegetical commentary on the New Testament (287). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

[9] Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter. Baker exegetical commentary on the New Testament (287). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

[10] Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter. Baker exegetical commentary on the New Testament (287–288). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

[11] Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter. Baker exegetical commentary on the New Testament (288). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

[12] Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter. Baker exegetical commentary on the New Testament (288). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

[13] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953-2001). Vol. 16: New Testament commentary : Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude. New Testament Commentary (177). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[14] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (1 Pe 4:15). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[15] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953-2001). Vol. 16: New Testament commentary : Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude. New Testament Commentary (179). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[16] Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter. Baker exegetical commentary on the New Testament (290). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

[17] Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter. Baker exegetical commentary on the New Testament (290). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

[18] Schreiner, T. R. (2007). Vol. 37: 1, 2 Peter, Jude (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (225). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[19] Arichea, D. C., & Nida, E. A. (1994). A handbook on the first letter from Peter. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators (151). New York: United Bible Societies.

[20] MacArthur, J. (2004). 1 Peter (256). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[21] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (1 Pe 4:17–18). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[22] Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter. Baker exegetical commentary on the New Testament (294). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

[23] Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter. Baker exegetical commentary on the New Testament (294). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

[24] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953-2001). Vol. 16: New Testament commentary : Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude. New Testament Commentary (182). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[25] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953-2001). Vol. 16: New Testament commentary : Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude. New Testament Commentary (182). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[26] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953-2001). Vol. 16: New Testament commentary : Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude. New Testament Commentary (182). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[27] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953-2001). Vol. 16: New Testament commentary : Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude. New Testament Commentary (183). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[28] Schreiner, T. R. (2007). Vol. 37: 1, 2 Peter, Jude (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (218). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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