Summary: Exposition of 1 Peter 4:12-19
Text: 1 Peter 4:12-19, Title: Are you a Christian Weirdo? Date/Place: LSCC, 2/26/06, AM
A. Opening illustration: talking the other day to someone down south who asked about the snow. Piper talking the other day about the anomaly of the American church for the past 300 yrs and the 164K martyrs this year.
B. Background to passage: Peter comes back to his constant theme of suffering, and speaks of more suffering that is coming to these believers. He encourages them with these truths about the good side of suffering. He wants them to realize that they are not a victim in their situation. That God is his flawless wisdom and providential care has ushered them into this place for a special purpose. Again the absolute sovereignty of God is the rock of faith for the apostle, knowing that the same God that was in charge of life before a trial began, will be there in charge of life through the fiercest droughts or storms lovingly sustaining his elect.
C. Main thought: Peter gives us encouragement in four truths related to the fact that suffering in our lives is normal, not strange.
A. It is for our purification (v. 12, 17)
1. Peter uses a word here that means “a blazing furnace of testing.” It was used for a refiner’s fire as he smelted silver or gold ore to remove impurities. In this he acknowledges several truths. Trials are very painful. He teaches that the refiner is closest to the ore at that time (more on that later). He teaches that painful suffering has several great purposes, one of which is to purify us. God is always about the business of transforming our lives in to Christ-likeness. And there are some sins that must be purged with pain. God is much more concerned about your holiness than your happiness.
2. 1 Thess 3:2-4, Mal 3:2, Pro 17:3, Isa 1:25, Dan 12:10, Zech 13:9, Tit 2:14
3. Illustration: Depression feels like p. 20-21, C.H. Spurgeon Said: "The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction". The health and wealth gospel ministers teach that God doesn’t want you in trials, We read not that Christ ever exercised force but once, and that was to drive profane ones out of his temple, and not to force them in.—John Milton, “Lord, in thy Spirit’s hurricane, I Pray, Strip my soul naked--dress it then thy way”
4. We must realize the normalcy of trials in the Christian walk. Don’t be the victim, be the victor! When we minister to those going through struggles, don’t minimize pain. If we become embittered to struggle and pain then we may miss the point of it, and go through it again. Lisa Beamer’s loss of her father at 15. Realize that anger is a sin, pride is a sin, greed, self-centeredness, materialism, these are all sins that can be exposed well through a lens of pain. Spend some time in your sorrow searching your own heart for sin issues that God may be dealing with. Counsel with others may help pinpoint the issue.
B. It determines the extent of our glory later (v. 13)
1. Peter instructs that instead of complaining, grumbling, or becoming embittered, rejoice. Peter is very counter-cultural. And there is a subtle implication in the text that your suffering and pain here will reflect greater joy in heaven. Suffering is not evenly distributed among the saints. Some will bear more than others. But those that bear any suffering we will rewarded.
3. Illustration: the harder one works during the day will be proportionate to the enjoyment of the meal and fellowship that awaits you at the end of the day. “Our office is a ministry of grace and salvation. It subjects us to great burdens and labors, dangers and temptations, with little reward or gratitude from the world. But Christ himself will be our reward if we labor faithfully.” –Luther, Although the threads of my life have often seemed knotted, I know, by faith, that on the other side of the embroidery there is a crown. –Corrie Ten Boom,
4. We are commanded to rejoice in our sufferings. We can do this because we trust God, and believe that He is doing what is best for our good and His glory. We can do this because we are thankful that God loves us enough to remove sin from destroying our lives. As we suffer, we are laying up joys and treasures in heaven reserved for us. Suffer know that you will be rewarded for it. It is our job to be a shining testimony to the faithfulness of God during trials. How do we do that? Glad you asked…We bear up under these trials with a constant testimony (not a constant smile) to God’s graciousness to us in our lives. We remind others that all we really deserve is death and hell. Eph 1:7-8 and Rom 8:32. How do we do that? You don’t…