1 Peter 4:12-19 ESV
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
I. THE SYMMETRY OF PAIN AND PLEASURE
A. Persecution is a gift of God that leads to immense pleasure.
B. The struggle makes victory sweeter.
II. THE STRUGGLE AIN’T REAL
A. As American Christians born on 3rd base we don’t find seeing Jesus one day as exciting as others around the world.
B. Not knowing if we are going to make it creates an exhilaration to life.
C. In the kingdom of Jesus there is a higher value placed on struggle than having it easy.
III. SUFFERING AS A BLESSING
A. 6 Blessings of Suffering:
1. Suffering refines us and makes us pure.
2. Suffering is an assurance of our salvation and union with Jesus. (John 15:18-25)
3. Suffering makes this world taste bitter and Christ look all the more sweet. (Psalm 34:8)
4. Suffering teaches us to rely more upon the Holy Spirit and less upon ourselves.
5. Suffering brings a unique opportunity to glorify God.
6. Suffering cannot separate you from the faithfulness and love of God
1. Learn to not be shocked by suffering. (Genesis 3:15-19)
2. Make preparations for suffering before it comes. (Matthew 26:36-46)
3. Look to Jesus, who suffered for our sake, for strength to survive and thrive through suffering.