Text: I Peter 4:19
So many times the Christian has the idea that because they are saved that they are excluded from the problems, trials and sufferings of this life. God has not promised us a life of ease in this pilgrimage journey. Gods people of all ages have suffered great trials and if you live for God, you can expect the same.
Ill: Stephen was stoned to death for standing for the truth. Barnabas was dragged through the streets of Cyprus, tied to an animal until his body was torn apart. Paul was beaten, imprisoned and finally executed in Rome because he served God. The coliseum of Rome was splattered with the blood of Christians who chose to die rather than denounce Christ.
Peter, who writes this enlightening truth, suffered beatings, imprisonment, and finally was crucified upside down. In verse 12 of this chapter, Peter writes these words; "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you."
Five times in this one chapter, the word "suffer" is used, but the Apostle Peter was directed by the Holy Spirit to place them in an order that it might encourage the child of God in his suffering.
I. THE CROSS IS OUR EXAMPLE Verse 1
"Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh."
A. Just walk through the verses of the Gospels and through the Epistles of the Apostles, gather up all the information you can about how much our Lord suffered.
Ill: Consider the scourging, consider the smiting of His face, consider the crown of thorns, consider the mockery, consider the nails driven in His hands and feet, consider the hours of agony upon the cross.
B. Then come back to what this verse said, "for us." Not one of us, no matter how separated and dedicated we live, will ever suffer like He did. The fact that Jesus suffered "for us" ought to make us so willing to suffer for Him.
II. THE CROWN IS OUR JOY Verse 13
"But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christs sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
A. All suffering is seasonal, just for a period of time, and just for a while.
II Cor. 4:17
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment."
B. It wont last forever and if it lasts till He comes, the reward will far outweigh the suffering we have to endure.
Ill: In Isaiah 43, the prophet is explaining the pathway that Christians must travel. He said, "Through the water, Through the rivers, and Through the fire." It is always "through", not remaining in them.
III. THE CHARGE IS OUR WARNING Verse 15
"But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other mens matters."
A. Peter is saying there is a suffering that doesnt get any reward or doesnt deserve any reward.
Ill. A lot of Christians suffer because of something they have done. They have been busybodies in other mens matters.
B. This kind of suffering doesnt bring glory to our Lord, but rather hurts His cause.
Ill: We can murder without killing anyone. We can steal without taking anything.
IV. THE CAUSE IS OUR PURPOSE Verse 16
"Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf."
A. If our loving the church and living for the Lord Jesus Christ causes us to suffer, then we have no reason to be ashamed.
Ill: A lady was telling how someone had really hurt her on the job and all because of the stand she took about the way a Christian should dress. She said at first she cried, then she took a break and went to the ladies lounge still crying. The Lord just spoke to her and said, "You did it for me." She said she came out of there singing.
B. Theres nothing in this Bible to be ashamed of. There is nothing about our wonderful salvation to be ashamed of.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
C. If you are suffering as a Christian, then sing about it because that will bring glory to God.
V. THE CALL IS OUR COMMITMENT Verse 19
"Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator."
A. There is a will of God for every believers life. There is a perfect will for every Christian.
Ill: Paul said in Romans 12:2, "That ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
B. It may not be to preach, or teach, or sing, or be a missionary, but it is Gods will for you. Make sure you are in Gods will, then if you suffer, commit it to God and let Him take care of it.
SERMON BY ZENO GROCE - PASTOR WOODLAND BAPTIST
CHURCH - WINSTON-SALEM,N.C.-USA