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Suffering with the Savior

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Suffering with the Savior

1 Peter 4:12-19

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Feb. 17, 2013

*Do you like to suffer? -- No, of course not. Only truly warped people like to suffer.

*But Christians, we will suffer in this world. Why? -- Sometimes it’s because of our commitment to Jesus Christ. This is the kind of suffering Peter was talking about in vs. 12, when he said: “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;”

*Thank God that we have been spared from much of that, because we have the amazing grace of living in a free country! May God help us to realize how blessed we are! And how high a price was paid for us to be free.

*But the truth is: We will go through times of suffering for many different reasons. So, let’s look into the Scripture and see what God has to say.

1. First Christians: Don’t be surprised by your suffering.

*This was Peter’s main message to us in vs. 12, where again he said: “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;”

*Yes we will be rejected for Jesus Christ. It could come from people we know, maybe even people in our own family. But the rejection will come.

*One of the most memorable examples for me is Ilene. She was a friend our daughter Becky met when she served in the Baptist Student Union. Ilene was a student at the University. And when Ilene got there, the last thing on her mind was becoming a Christian. But Ilene got involved with a group of Christian girls who were on an intramural flag football team.

*Ilene agreed to join the team, but only after insisting that her new friends would not try to witness to her. Well the Lord had other plans and before the end of her freshman year, Ilene trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

*But you see Ilene was the only child in a devoutly Jewish family. It took two years for her to share the truth with her parents. Both mom and dad were devastated and angry. They totally refused to accept Ilene’s faith in Jesus, and even pressured her into seeing a psychiatrist.

*About a year later, Ilene married a wonderful Christian guy. But her parents’ lack of understanding and feelings of rejection caused them to reject the marriage. They were disappointed that Ilene was marrying a Christian, and even more opposed to the wedding taking place in a church. So they refused to come.

*That’s a sad story. But it shouldn’t surprise us. Sometime, someway, we too should expect to be rejected for our faith in Jesus Christ. So Christians: Don’t be surprised by your suffering.

2. And know that we can have joy for the journey.

*In vs. 12-14, Peter tells us that no matter how bad it gets, we can still be filled with joy! Notice how much Peter stresses our joy in vs. 13&14.

*Listen this time to the KJV, where Peter said:

13. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

14. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you. . .”

*Christians: We can have joy in the midst of our suffering. Where does the joy come from?

[1] A great part of our joy comes from our future with the Savior.

*Peter focused on this source of joy in vs. 13 when he said that Christ's "glory shall be revealed," and then we will "be glad also with exceeding joy." Jesus is coming soon! -- And this truth gives us exceeding great joy.

-Where do we get our joy? -- It comes from our future with the Savior.

[2] And from our fellowship with His Spirit.

*In vs. 14, Peter reminds us that right now, the Spirit of glory and of God rests on us. Christians: God’s Spirit is with us. As Jesus said in John 14:15-18:

15. If ye love me, keep my commandments.

16. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

17. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

18. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

*And when He does, He brings us joy! So in the first part of vs. 14, Peter can say: “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye.”

-Christians: Our joy comes from the fellowship of His Spirit.

[3] And it even comes from the fellowship of His suffering.

*It is so important to see that we share in His suffering. Verse 13 says we are “partakers of Christ’s sufferings.” Now this doesn’t just mean that we share in the benefits of His suffering on the cross. It also means that Jesus shares in our sufferings. Jesus identifies with our sufferings so closely that He takes them on as His own sufferings.

*One of the best places to see this truth is when Paul got saved in Acts 9:1-4:

1. Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest

2. and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

3. And as he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.

4. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?''

*In vs. 4, Jesus logically could have asked: "Why are you persecuting My church?" or "Why are you persecuting My people?" But instead, Jesus asked: "Why are you persecuting Me?" And the Lord put it that way, because He shares in our suffering.

*Carol Schuller knows that. Her dad was TV preacher Robert Schuller. When Carol was a young teenager, she was involved in a very serious motorcycle accident. For some time, the family didn't know if Carol would live or die, but by the grace of God, she did live. Sadly, one of Carol’s legs had to be amputated. But she continued to live an active life, with the help of an artificial leg.

*Carol went on a cruise with her parents when she was 18. And after wearing shorts and going swimming, she was aware that people were curious about her leg. That’s why Carol volunteered for the ship's talent show on Friday night.

*When her time came, she walked up to the microphone and said: "I really don't know what my talent is. But I thought this would be a good chance for me to give you all an explanation." Then Carol told the story of her accident and recuperation.

*Near the end, she paused, and then said: "If I have one talent, it is this: I can tell you that during that time, my faith became very real to me. I look at you girls who walk without a limp, and I wish I could walk that way. I can't, but this is what I've learned, and I want to leave it with you: It's not how you walk that counts, but Who walks with you and Who you walk with." (1)

*Carol found out that Jesus shares in our sufferings. So, we can have joy for the journey even when we suffer.

3. But we must be ready with righteousness.

*This is Peter’s message to us in vs. 15-18, where he said:

15. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters.

16. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

17. For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

18. Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?''

*Christian: Are you looking for permission to disobey God? -- You can pretty much forget that! It’s not in here. God wants judgment to begin at the house of God. He wants us to live up to the highest standards in every area of life. And He will help us to do it!

*This is supremely important, because in vs. 18, "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?" Peter reminds us here that salvation is not an easy thing. It was the hardest thing that God ever did!

*It took the greatest love and the greatest sacrifice! Jesus Christ, God the Son, humbled Himself to become a man, and die on the cross for our sins. It was not an easy thing. It was the hardest thing! And if it was left up to us, it would have been an impossible thing! -- But thank God it’s not left up to us! Jesus paid it all!

*So, now what are we to do? -- We can sum it up in two words:

[1] The first word is “believe.”

*As Paul and Silas told the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:31, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."

-Turn to Jesus Christ!

-Put your trust in Him.

-Receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.

*When we do this, Jesus washes away our sins and gives us His righteousness.

-We must believe.

[2] But we also need to behave.

*We need to let Jesus Christ make a difference in the way we live. It matters.

*Judy Pregel and Robin Riley told about a little boy named Aaron. He was 5 years old when he went to see his first football game. Before the game, Dad gave Aaron careful instructions about how to act. Dad said, “You will have to stay seated, be quiet, and act like an adult.”

*Then at the game, the ref made a bad call. Lots of fans jumped up, screaming and shaking their fists in the air. Aaron noticed all the commotion, then turned to his dad and asked, "Are those adults?" (2)

*It matters how we behave, especially if we are Christians. We can leave a sinning example, or we can leave a shining example that inspires other people to follow Jesus.

*Sometimes when Christians fall into sin, God lets them hit a brick wall. Most of us have seen examples of this. And like a big bug hitting the windshield, it is not a pretty sight. But God lets it happen as a warning and a wake-up call to the rest of us.

*We can leave a sinning example, or we can leave a shining example that inspires other people to follow Jesus.

*Eighteen-year-old Rachel Hill left a shining example. She was one of the students who were massacred at Virginia Tech back in 2007. At least 5 of the 32 students killed were involved in the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Virginia Tech.

*Eighteen-year-old Rachel was a freshman who graduated in 2006 from the Grove Avenue Christian School. This school is a ministry of Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, VA. Rachel was the only child of Alan and Tammy Hill.

*One of Rachel’s former principals said: "She was a wonderful young lady, very bright, very gifted. She was very spiritually mature. She loved the Lord and was just an asset to our school."

*Rachel’s high school administrator, Clay Fogler wrote these words of tribute:

-"Rachael was an incredible witness for Christ; the love of Christ shone through her to others. . ." He also said, "Any parent would have counted it a privilege to have called her their daughter." And he added that Rachel was "perpetually prepared."

*One of Rachel’s favorite verses was Song of Solomon 8:5, which says, "Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?" Rachael saw herself as the one coming out of the wilderness and needing to lean on her Savior more and more.”

*Clay Fogler also said this about Rachel Hill: "The world has lost one of its brightest prospects, but the Lord is glorified through the Daughter of the King that she is, the life that she lived, and the impact Rachael had on others in the name of Jesus Christ."

*Some of Rachel’s friends said that the C.S. Lewis quote Rachel submitted for her senior yearbook was almost prophetic. The quote said this: "God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain, but without stain." (3)

*May God help us to live more and more like young Rachel Hill!

-It matters how we act. -- So, be ready with righteousness.

4. And commit yourself to our Creator.

*This is Peter’s message to us in vs. 19, where he said: "Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator."

*Peter says that when we suffer, we should keep committing our souls to God by doing good. The idea here behind this word "commit" is to put something in someone else’s care. Think of making a deposit in a bank, or leaving your children with someone you trust.

*William Barclay explained that the original word Peter used here was "the technical word for depositing money with a trusted friend. In the ancient days there were no banks and few really safe places in which to deposit money. So, before a man went on a journey, he often left his money in the safe-keeping of a friend. Such a trust was regarded as one of the most sacred things in life. The friend was absolutely bound by all honor . . . to return the money intact."

*Barclay also noted that this was the exact word Jesus spoke from the cross in Luke 23:46, when the Lord said, "Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit." (4)

*Jesus Christ fully trusted in His Heavenly Father, and we can trust Him too!

-We can fully trust in our Creator God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

*So how can we get ready for suffering? How can we stay ready for suffering? -- By fully committing our lives to our Creator God, because He is faithful! God was faithful to these early Christians. And He will be faithful to us, even when we have to go through times of suffering.

*Tonight as we go to God in prayer, let’s rejoice that we can always trust in the Lord. Would you please bow for prayer.

(1) "Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do" by Robert Schuller, pp. 48-49 - David Holwick illustration #4372 - SOURCE: Internet - TITLE: "Where to Find Strength, When Life Is Tough" by Dr. Reford Nash - DATE: 1111998

(2) "The Best of Grandparents' Brag Board," by Judy Pregel & Robin Riley, 1993, p. 33 - Source: "McHenry’s Quips, Quotes & Other Notes" by Raymond McHenry - Motivational Humor - Adult Education - p. 285

(3) "2 Baptist students among shooting victims" - Posted on Apr 18, 2007 by Erin Roach - BLACKSBURG, VA - Baptist Press

(4) BARCLAY'S DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES (NT) by William Barclay - Revised Edition (C) Copyright 1975 William Barclay. First published by the Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, Scotland - The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - ENTRUSTING ALL LIFE TO GOD - 1 Peter 4:17-19

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