Summary: Experiencing the True Grace of God in our Fiery Ordeal
Facing the Fiery Ordeal: studies in Peter about the True Grace of God
Review the reason for the writing: The True Grace of God
What were the circumstances of the believers he was writing this letter to? They were suffering beyond anything most of us have known.
What was the point of this letter?
a. To tell them to lace up their bootstraps and rededicate themselves to Christ and try harder not to fail in this trial? I don’t think so, but how many times has this been communicated to us?
b. To tell them that they needed to study more about suffering and learn the five or six steps of how to handle suffering? I don’t think so, but how many of us think that the more we know the better we will handle our circumstances?
c. To tell them they just needed to have more faith, that this suffering would just go away? I don’t think so, they had all the faith they needed, and God had given them everything they needed for life and godliness.
d. To tell them that when they are facing this struggle you need to hear about the TRUE GRACE OF GOD! That God is stooping to them in the midst of their suffering. That if they would be a receiver of His grace great glory would be brought to Him and great peace would be brought to them. They would experience His life and His resources and others would be exposed to Him through them. But the key to this happening is their RESPONSE. Illustrate with the story of Pigali the violin player who played with one string. Some of you believe you are down to one string, trust God even with one string. Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we respond. The questions before us are, are you a responder and open your hands up and RECEIVE, or do you REACT when the strings start breaking?
Peter wants them to EXPERIENCE THE TRUE GRACE OF GOD, TO EXPERIENCE THE STOOPING AND BENDING OF GOD.
Peter mentions the word testing. Why would they be undergoing a test? To allow them to see who they are trusting? Self or God? So Peter wants them Experience the Grace of God he tells them some things about this testing.
1. Don’t be surprise by the SEVERITY of the test. “Fiery ordeal”; something they could not handle; Will God put more on us than we can bear? Absolutely and this is substantiated in Scripture; 2 Cor.1: 8-9, Paul says that this was in his life so he would not trust in his self. Don’t be surprised by the severity of the test, it takes this to break our confidence in ourselves, and what we can handle. And as long as I am handling my circumstances then I am not trusting God. APPLICATION: Have you been taken by surprise by the severity of your testing? Look at the History of God working in the lives of his people not only to build trust and confidence in Him but for others to see and want to have Him in their lives as well. DANIEL, SHADRACK, DAVID, JOHN THE BAPTIST; these are just a few, all of these were put into sever trials, so they would learn to trust in God. Look at the hall of faith in Hebrews. Surprise sends us off into orbit and we become a reactor instead of a responder and a receiver and thus miss the experience of the Grace of God.
2. DON’T BE SURPRISE BY THE SOURCE OF THE TEST. “Come upon you’ where do you think this test came from? From God. I have heard people say this is just an attack of Satan. Don’t give the devil glory for what God is working in your life. Often times God works His greatest work through adversity. He wants to expose to us where we are getting our supply in the middle of our suffering. The greatest opportunity to advance spiritually are often couched in adversity. Don’t be surprised at the source of the Test. Examples of this throughout Scripture; THE RED SEA; THE JORDAN RIVER; THE LAND OF CANNAN; PAUL BEING BEATEN; If God is the source of your adversity what do you think He is trying to accomplish? 2 Cor. 4;
3. DON’T BE SURPRISED BY THE STRANGNESS OF THE TEST.
As though some STRANGE thing were happening to you. Why would God test us in such a way? Why is God allowing this to happen to me? Why not something else. This is sure strange. The reason we think it is strange is because it will expose something we didn’t know we needed exposed. Or because we think we don’t need anything exposed. Or because we think we are too good to be tested. And some of us just plain don’t like test, because we don’t do well on test. IN MY OPINION EVERY TEST THAT I TAKE IS TO EXPOSE NOT WHAT I KNOW BUT WHOM I KNOW, THAT IS WHY IT IS SUCH A STRANGE TEST. Test exposes our flesh, what we are trusting in. Our self-sufficiency. How much our faith is based in our selves and our performance. Illustrate with the man with the plate spinning. He is being tested on his performance, weather or not he can keep the plates spinning. He has to keep shaking the stick. God puts a lot on our sticks so we will not be able to trust our selves. GOD DOES NOT WANT US TO SUCEED. HE WANTS US TO GIVE UP ON SPINNING THE PLATES, AND COME TO HIM FOR OUR NEEDS. HE DOES NOT WANT US TO TRY HARDER, OR CURSE THE BROKEN PLATES, OR TRY TO KEEP THE PLATES SPINNING, BUT GIVE HIM THE PLATES AND TELL HIM IF HE WANTS THE PLATES TO SPIN GO AT IT.