Summary: Exposition of Suffering

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Text: Matt 26:69-75, Acts 2:14, 23, 36, 4:13-20, 5:27-32, Title: Suffer Better, Date/Place: NRBC, 11.18.12, AM

A. Opening illustration: Young college student the other week telling me about his suffering at the hands of his

father, abuse, neglect, etc. Then he said that he thanked God for it in hindsight and wouldn’t have done it any

other way.

B. Background to passage: Marks of growing disciples: increasing ability to suffer well. So we are going to look

at Peter’s example of fear to boldness to thanksgiving.

C. Main thought: As you grow in Christ, following in His steps of suffering well will

A. Peter’s progression

1. Even though Peter’s personality was usually bold and forthright, when persecution because of Jesus

came to him personally, Satan got the upper hand. In Matt 26:69-75 Peter folds under the pressure of

identifying himself as a follower of Christ. Three times is promised onlookers that he did not know the

man. After weeping, repentance, and a seashore chat with Jesus, he was prepared for battle again. Then

in Acts 2 he preached the boldest evangelistic sermon to that date among the crowds of Jews in Jerusalem,

telling them that they were responsible for the crucifixion of the Messiah. Then several chapters later in

Acts 4, Peter told the Sanhedrin (the same body that got his Master killed) that he couldn’t help to speak of

Jesus after they threatened them and told them not to preach anymore. Then in Acts 5, after a stint in the

slammer, Peter and his buddies rejoiced that they were counted worthy to be beaten for Christ.

2. Argumentation

3. Illustration: Joseph Damien, and you’ve probably heard his story before, but it bears repeating. A Belgian

priest, he was sent in 1873 to minister to lepers in Hawaii. As soon as he arrived on Molokai, he began

trying to build friendships with the residents of the leper colony, but they rejected him. He poured himself

into this ministry, building a small chapel and holding worship services. But hardly anyone came.

After 12 long years, he gave up. While standing on the pier about to board the ship that would take him

back to Belgium, he looked down at his hands. The white spots he saw could mean only one thing. He had

contracted leprosy. So instead of going home, he returned to his work in the leper colony.

The news of the missionary’s disease spread through the community within hours, and soon the lepers-

-hundreds of them--had gathered outside his hut. They understood his pain and despair. The following

Sunday when Damien arrived at the chapel, the small building was filled to overflowing. That was the

beginning of a long and fruitful ministry.

What made the difference? Now the lepers knew that he understood their condition. There was no question

about whether he cared or not.

4. Probably need to note here that failure is not always bad. “God had another plan for Brainerd. Instead

of a quiet six years in the pastorate or in a lecture hall followed by death and little historical impact for

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