Summary: There is opposition on every journey of faith, and it seems impassable.
DON’T BE SURPRISED!
1. There is opposition on every journey of faith. It is enough to cause many to become discouraged and quit.
It is enough to give pause to everyone – is it worth it? It is enough to seem impassable. It is enough to be classified as a real challenge.
2. This has always been true, and it always will be so.
Nehemiah was doing a great thing for God! Yet, his
detractors presented quite an obstacle. Nehemiah simply would not quit – he was consumed with his mission. We must become a people who are consumed with
3. The strategy for meeting and defeating opposition has to do with being prepared for it. We must not be caught by surprise at Satan’s Schemes. We must recognize everything that diverts us from our mission is from Satan, difficult as it may be to accept. Satan does not always appear before us obviously with a smoking pitchfork! It is his plan to rob you of faith –you can keep being religious – he doesn’t care.
4. In this section, Peter does not shy away from the truth about the obstacles, the hurts, the pain – but
encourages us not to be surprised by them.
I. DO NOT BE SURPRISED - IT IS FITTING. (12-13)
A. Is it not the experience of all of God’s people?
What Great man / woman of God has not faced opposition to faith? It is painful, it does hurt, it is natural to want to avoid. NRSV ”the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you.” Not just a little disappointement! We cannot be chased back into a shell – or into a path that leads us away from our spiritual journey. 2 Timothy 3:12 “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”
B. Do not retreat – Do not be surprised – rejoice.
That it hurts? No. That you are not alone in your
sufferings? Yes. Christ suffered – and his people will suffer. Philippians 4:10 “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of
sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his
death…”. There is identification with Christ in these
sufferings. The rejoicing is in the glory to be revealed. That means it is not apparent yet! This calls for faith! Do not be surprised – suffering is fitting.
II. DO NOT BE SURPRISED – IT IS A BLESSING (14-16)
A. To be insulted for faith is to walk in the shoes of every great believer – and Christ himself.The blessing is in the Spirit. God is not blind to your pain – or your struggle. He is with you in your struggle.
B. It is not the Suffering that is the blessing.If it were, then you could suffer for a lot of reasons. There’s no blessing attached for suffering as a murdurderer, thief, criminal – or even meddler. (15)A meddler is one who is inappropriately involved in the business of others.
C.The blessing comes because you can Praise God that
you bear the name of Christ! The name “Christian” only appears here, and in Acts 11:26 and 26:28. Acts 11:26 could imply that it was a term of derision. Disciple or saint were more common designations. If that is the source of your suffering, there is a blessing attached. This is hard to accept – because we cannot
always see it. That leads us to the next point….
III. DO NOT BE SURPRISED – IT IS A MATTER OF TRUST!
A. Judgment is coming!
More likely the judgment coming quickly for them was
a wave of persecution that would be incredible. For us today, we must think of the day of the second coming of Christ. Would you want to be someone who rejected the gospel – who would not obey the gospel – on that
day? Those who do not obey the Gospel of God – going to be a terrible day. We are going to be fine!
B. Trust God – Even in the day of Christ’s return, He will take care of us. Peter is not suggesting doubt as to the outcome of the judgment day. He expresses wonder at the possibility! Commit yourself to his hands! The suffering we endure here – the obstacles and troubles we face – will not be sufficient to eliminate God’s plan!
1. Do not be surprised at the opposition you face on your faith journey.
a. Realize that it is fitting.
b. See it as a blessing.
c. Understand it as a matter of trust.
3. 2 Corinthians 2:10-12 “If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven--if there was anything to forgive--I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”