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Summary: This sermon helps to provide a Biblical Perspective on Personal Pain and Hardship.

Sermon: A Proper Perspective on Pain

Scripture: 1 Peter 1:1-9

INTRODUCTION.

On Saturday, July 17th, 1999 the world woke up to yet another apparent tragedy for the family of John F. Kennedy. Young John F. Kennedy, Jr.‘s plane never made it to its destination of Martha’s Vineyard....... The world is again in shock..., the world is again in grief for this family who trial and trauma seem to follow.

One thought seemed to settle in on me as the day went on and the reality began to sink in. *Pain, heart-ache, grief and tears are no respecter of persons! It doesn’t matter if you have a name recognized around the world (ie, Kennedy)..., or are worth millions of dollars....., or could do anything you can dream of...; or if you are a factory worker, or a farmer with a family - PAIN, HEART-ACHE AND GRIEF ARE NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS!!!

[Dr. Charles Swindoll] - Suffering is a universal language. Tears are the same for Jews or Christians or Muslims, for white people or black people or brown, for children or adults or the elderly.

Pain and grief comes to the best of families - like Job’s. Here was a man who did everything right. He provided for his family, he prayed and sacrificed for their spiritual well-being, he was respected in the community........and yet he still lost everything that most of us holds dearly.....!

Sadness and heartache come to families like that of the Prodigal’s in Luke 15. Here again was a case where a loving father had provided everything his children had needed and yet rebellion and conflict erupted in the home.........

I am glad today that I hold a copy of God’s revealed Word that is not only Inspired..., not only Infallible...., and not only Inerrant..., but it is also REALISTIC...! God doesn’t hide the fact from us that we will face fiery trials of every sort. He does, however, provide us with some solid answers to help us through them.

SERMON.

I. Notice, first of all, the Trials that God’s people were facing.

A. [v1] - Pilgrims - ie, foreigner, stranger in a foreign land...

B. [v1] - Dispersion - ie, scattered, separated from.....

C. [v6a] - Grieved - (cf. Mt. 26:37 Jesus in the Garden)

D. Trials [or, temptations] - solicitation to evil

E. ATested by fire - testing for trustworthiness

*To these "Jewish Pilgrims" who were grieved by various trials, Peter didn=t try to pump them up with "positive thinking seminars"....no he faced the reality with them by showing them how to "put their pain in the proper perspective". Peter lifted their faces heavenward so that they could see beyond their circumstances to their celestial calling...

*And remember that Peter was no stranger to pain for the night of Jesus’ arrest and trial Peter (the Rock!) Had denied that he even knew him three times...........and when the guards walked by with Jesus they made eye contact and the bible says "...And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly." [Matt. 26:75]

So, what do we do when the bottom drops out from our lives? We’ll we focus on Biblical Truth!

II. Notice, second of all, the Truths that Peter wants us to focus on.

A. In order to gain a right perspective on our trial WE MUST REJOICE THAT GOD IS FOR US AND NOT AGAINST US. [VS. 2]

Did you catch the reference to the Triune Godhead in verse 2? To these ’pilgrims’ who felt alienated from the whole of society because of their circumstances; Peter say’s; "You’ve got the whole Trinity on your side!".....

He tells them to rejoice because of the fact that the entire Godhead is involved in their affairs! The Father had elected them on the basis of His foreknowledge.... The Spirit had sanctified their being.... and the Son had provided for their salvation by His own blood.....!

The Apostle Paul said it this way in the form of several questions; "If God is for us, who can be against us?..... Who shall bring a charge against God=s elect?..... It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns?..... Who shall separate us from the love of Christ.....?" {Rom. 8:31-35]

[Application Note] - When trials come, whether they are self induced or thrust on us from elsewhere, we tend to feel just like the Christians of Peters day. They were "pilgrims, aliens & strangers".... They must have thought that they were all alone in their trials! they must have thought that no one had it as bad as they did! But they failed to realize that they had all of heaven on their side!!!

B. In order to gain a right perspective on our trial WE MUST REMEMBER THE PAST WHEN GOD SAVED US BY HIS MERCY. [VS. 3]

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