Summary: God's Word tells us what we can also do to defeat even overwhelming difficulties.
“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’ Since you call on a Fa-ther who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in rev-erent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:13-19, NIV).
Everyone suffered inconvenience, discomfort, or difficulty in this life.
Have we reacted to it just in the same way with the ordinary person in this world?
How should we face false accusation? How should we react when we are treated unjustly? If we suffer opposition, oppression, or persecution, what should we do?
Or, if we are suffering pain, trials, or difficulties in our Christian life, is there anything we can do aside from asking for God’s help?
Actually, in God’s Word we find many ways how to triumph over trials. So this time, we will learn to defeat overwhelming difficulties, which is my topic this time, as we go through in our text (1 Peter 1:13-19).
So, what are the things – at least 3 things – we can do to defeat overwhelming difficulties in our Christian life?
Already we learned that the writer of 1 Peter was Peter, who once denied Jesus but He prayed for Peter that his faith may not fail. And that when he turned back, he should strengthen his brothers (Luke 22:32). This was exactly what Peter was doing in this letter. While he was in Rome in the mid-60’s A.D., he was writing both to the Jewish and Gentile Christians (scattered throughout Asia Minor). The Christians then were already suffering sporadic and local persecutions before Nero’s reign (before A.D. 68).
In the early portion of the first chapter of 1 Peter, he encouraged the believers that they have a solid ground to praise God, though they were suffering trials and difficulties.
And, now, in our text, Peter related how the believers could cope with their sufferings.
He told them at least three things to defeat their difficulties.
I - The first one: BE HOPEFUL (verse 13).
Verse 13 states, “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.”
Peter encouraged the suffering believers then to “set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.”
He told them to have “minds that are alert and fully sober” – not only “quick to notice any unusual and potentially dangerous or difficult circumstances,” so they can avoid them, but also vigilant for the coming of Christ. He also told them to have their minds “fully sober” or “self-controlled” – not to be affected by any undesirable situation.
Rather, they should look forward for the blessings or grace they would enjoy at the appearance of Jesus Christ.
Peter encouraged them to be hopeful. Not just to hope that their sufferings would end, but to look forward for the event that will surely happen -- the return of Christ.
Today, we hope that nothing wrong will happen to us. But, no matter how careful we are, trouble will still come to us. So, let’s rather hope for the return of our Savior.
If we are in whatever pain, if we suffer unjustly, if we are misunderstood or being oppressed, if we suffer difficulties in different angles of our life while we are obeying our God, let’s not be affected by any of those sufferings.
As Paul wrote in Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Also, Jesus comforted his followers in John 14:1-3, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
In order to defeat any difficulty, be hopeful.
Saints, let us not allow the trials in our Christian life to tempt us to give up or be desperate.