Summary: In the midst of trials, we need to know that God loves us and has a purpose
„X When you are going through difficult times do you feel loved by God?
„X How do you think you would feel if you were seeing your family being persecuted because of their faith or if you suffer persecution because of your faith in Jesus?
„X Would you feel loved? Abandoned? SLIDE #2
„X In the movie Signs, Mel Gibson plays a minister (Graham Hess) who bitterly left the ministry because his wife died. The Hess family in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, wake up one morning to find a 500-foot crop circle in their backyard. Graham Hess and his family are told extra-terrestrials are responsible for the sign in their field. They watch, with growing dread, the news of crop circles being found all over the world, causing them to question their faith in God and love as a family.
„X PLAY DVD.
1:09:48 End Time:
"I’ll make some sandwiches"
„X Most people do not feel loved by God when they are going through deep trials in life, they do not feel like God is close to them when they are in the midst of the storm.
„X When I start to talk about the issue of suffering, I realize there are people here and in our lives who have suffered a great deal in their lives. This is a serious issue that demands answers.
„X It is so easy to give people short shallow answers and help when THEY are the ones going through the suffering. It is easy to tell someone they just need to get over the loss of a loved one or the loss of their health, the loss of a job.
„X One thing we need to understand when we are in the middle of suffering, tough times, or persecution, is that God is next to us, hurting with us.
„X When we are faced with tough times, it is easy to conclude that if God is all-powerful, then God cannot be good, or how else do you explain birth-defects, genocides that happen throughout history or the recent Tsunami that hit.
„X If God is all-powerful and allows these things, God cannot be good. IF God is good and these things happen, then He must not be all-powerful.
„X Our God is both powerful and loving. Today we are going to see what the tough times are all about.
„X If you are in the middle of or if you are still caught up in the wave of a recent storm of life I hope that you realize that God does love you and He has not abandoned you.
I. CHRISTIANITY DOES NOT PROVIDE IMMUNITY FROM TOUGH TIMES (12, 14, 17)
It is easy to assume that when you become a Christian, God will keep you sheltered from the storms of life. But we need to understand that we are not immune from suffering, pain and persecution. So¡KSLIDE #4
1. Tough times should not surprise us. (12)
„X Peter starts verse 12 with the word ¡§beloved¡¨. These people are in the middle of some difficult times, Peter starts off by reminded us that God loves them and that he loves them. Just because we are facing difficult times does not mean that God has left us.
„X We are told not to be surprised by the fiery ordeal. Literally he is telling them to STOP BEING SURPRISED by the ordeals they are facing. The word ¡§surprise¡¨ means bewildering astonishment (Life app Bible). We should expect to face trials and persecution and tough times in life.
„X Jesus faced difficulties Himself. Romans 8:32 CLICK #4
„X The reference to ¡§fiery ordeal¡¨ seems to be a reference to the refiner¡¦s fire which precious metals were placed so that the impurities would be separated from the gold or silver.
„X Keep this key thought as we look deeper into the text this morning.
„X We are going to face times in our lives that are tough and seemingly unexplainable. We will not always see or understand why things happen.
„X AT many funerals, people will want to know WHY the person died, or what purpose was this death going to accomplish. I believe that knowing the WHY will not ease the pain; it will only lead to more pain and questions. SLIDE #5
2. The time of judgment begins with the household of God. (17)
„X In verse 17 we are told that judgment will begin with the household of God.
„X The judgment spoken of is the trials the people were facing.
„X This ties in a bit with the last issue; we should not be surprised when the tough times come even though we belong to God.