Summary: Be prepared for times of suffering, lest affliction cause you to lose your grip on your relationship with God.
Be prepared for times of suffering, lest affliction cause you to lose your grip on your relationship with God.
I. DON¡¦T BE DUMBFOUNDED BY SUFFERING (12-13)
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
A. WE CAN RESPOND TO ADVERSITY IN TWO DIFFERENT WAYS
1. with surprise
They were encountering a painful trial
Same word last week: a testing that can also be a temptation
We shouldn¡¦t be surprised by trials
That¡¦s often how people respond
Going merrily along without any problems
Suddenly affliction hits
People are shocked: turn inward / wonder and doubt
Why is this happening to me?
Instead of shock / surprise, we can respond to affliction¡K
2. with joy
Paul: Rom 8
James: James 1
All point out that the right response to trials is joy!
Why? We saw last week: because when trials come, God uses that to make us mature
(here): we see another reason¡K
B. WHY WE SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED AT SUFFERING
1. as Xians, we live in union with Jesus
NT says many times: we are ¡§in Christ¡¨
e.g. Col 3: our life is hidden in Christ
therefore: if Jesus suffered, and we are in union with him
we can expect to suffer as well
2. in this life (13): we ¡§participate¡¨ in the sufferings of Jesus
every trial you face thus takes on a new / different character
Peter was writing to people under persecution for their faith
That certainly reflects the suffering of Jesus
Who was killed because he represented God
But there were also many other levels of suffering in Jesus¡¦ life
He was betrayed by a close associate
Abandoned by his friends when he needed them most
Lonely / misunderstood / went homeless / more
suffering creates a special bond between ordinary believers & Jesus Christ
Amy Carmichael was a ground-breaking missionary to India
She wrote a poem that has always gripped me
About this union between Jesus¡¦ sufferings and ours
Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,
Hast thou no scar?
Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers, spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening wolves that compassed me, I swooned:
Hast thou no wound?
No wound? no scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole: can he have followed far
Who hath no wound nor scar?
She says: ¡§as the Master shall the servant be¡¨
¡§pierced are the feet that follow Me¡¨
its part of our identification with Jesus
but if your suffering somehow shares, even a little bit, in the character of Jesus¡¦ suffering, part of our union with Christ is that¡K
3. one day: we will participate in Jesus¡¦ glory
Jesus¡¦ life was characterized by a certain pattern
First came the cross „³ then came the resurrection
First came the suffering „³ then came the glory
In union with Jesus: we can expect the same pattern in our lives
So we shouldn¡¦t be surprised to share in his sufferings first
But we also rejoice that we are going to share in his glory
how are you going to respond when Jesus comes back again?
(13): you are going to be overjoyed!
The suffering of this life cannot compare to the glory that will be revealed
Whatever is happening in your life that today seems unjust / difficult
Will be turned into a celebration of joy
When you understand that Jesus endured the same things
Even more than that: when the glory of Christ is revealed
And all this world¡¦s suffering / sorrows fade into oblivion
We don¡¦t always have the answers to the question ¡§why¡¨
But we do have a reasonable confidence in One who does have the answers
The assurance here: God will have the last word
So don¡¦t be dumbfounded when suffering hits¡K
II. DON¡¦T BE DESERVING OF SUFFERING (15-16)
14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
A. DON¡¦T BE ASHAMED TO SUFFER FOR CHRIST
(14): if you are insulted because of your association with Jesus, you are blessed