Summary: Suffering is going to come, but it doesn’t have to overcome you. We can cast our cares upon Jesus, because He cares for us, and experience God’s abundant hope, peace and joy.
NOT HOME YET: REJOICING IN SUFFERING
INTRO TO SPEAKER: It’s been a quiet spring break with Liza and Hannah on a mission trip in Mexico, and Austin on a mission trip in Uganda. Caleb’s at home but working most of the time.
NOT HOME YET: Lyrics by Steven Curtis Chapman
“To all the travelers, pilgrims longing for a home,
From one who walks with you, On this journey called life's road, It is a long and winding road,
From one who's seen the view, Dreamt of staying on the mountains high,
And one who's cried like you, Wanting so much just to lay down and die,
I offer this, we must remember this… We are not home yet.”
INTRO TO TOPIC:
Someone said once, “For every mile of road, there are two miles of ditch.”
This is a great picture of contemplating the topic of suffering!
• On one side, there are those who say, “Once you become a Christian, there is victory in Jesus, it’s your best life now, and you will never suffer again!” On the other side, there are those who say, “The Christian life is all about suffering for Jesus. Pain, despair, gloom and agony every day!” On the middle road is the true Biblical teaching about suffering, and that’s what we’re going to look at this morning.
7. Because we are going through a series in First Peter (Pilgrims), most of this teaching will be taken from this book of the Bible. Suffering is one of the main themes of First Peter.
8. But let’s start with some good news!
1. GOD HAS GIVEN US GOOD THINGS TO REJOICE IN:
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5, ESV).
9. Three things that God has given to His children:
1. Great Mercy: Not just a little mercy, but great mercy and amazing grace!
2. Living Hope: When all hope seems lost in the world, we have hope in Jesus!
3. A Heavenly Inheritance: Discuss the now/not-yet tension of the Kingdom.
2. SUFFERING IS ONLY FOR A SHORT SEASON:
“In this you rejoice… (what God has given us – Mercy, Hope, Inheritance!) … though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials.” (1 Peter 1:6).
10. Keep an eternal perspective – our inheritance is in Heaven.
11. Our suffering is only for a little while, though we do get a taste of Heaven now.
12. “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (Philippians 3:10).
13. When the disciples went through the storm, they experienced Jesus in a new way!
14. PREACH: If you’re going through hell – don’t stop! You’re walking through the valley of the shadow of death! You’re experiencing a dark night, but dawn always comes!
3. SUFFERING CAN HELP US TO GROW:
Why do we rejoice? “7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith--more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:7-9, ESV).
• James 1:2-3 says: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (NKJV).
• It’s helpful going through the trial because it strengthens your faith and patience.
• However – if you don’t see the good in it, you may give up or lose heart!
• ILLUSTRATION: Several years ago, I picked up a workout DVD – P90X. It was extreme and insane. But for about three months, I got up every morning and put in the work, because I saw the value in it.
• “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” (1 Peter 2:21).
4. LET YOUR SUFFERING BE FOR DOING GOOD, NOT BAD:
“13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:13-18, ESV).