Summary: Suffering for the sake of righteousness.
Suffering For Doing Good
Today we will be looking at suffering for doing good. As we continue our series of sermons on 1 Peter we will look at how to endure unjust suffering.
We are first of all exhorted to be of one mind. As the body of Christ we should all conform to His mindset. When we are of one mind....we get along, because there are no opposing viewpoints.
We also need to be concerned and love each other. Now folks this isn’t rocket science. If you know someone is struggling....encourage them! If you know someone is hurting.....reach out to them! Give of yourself....even when it isn’t required! Remember that silence only hurts others. No one likes to be given the "silent treatment."
We are to interact with tender hearts and humble minds. What does that mean to you? It means that you should yield to the needs of others. Allow yourself to grieve, laugh, rejoice with others. As tough as it may be don’t repay hate and insult. That means that retaliation is not an option, even when justified. It also means that you do not participate in sharp tongue sarcasm.
You have been given a job. Would you like to know what your job description is? Your job is to bless. To bless you must show kindness and concern to all. By showing kindness and concern you will bless their lives....and your life will be enriched in turn.
Now I’m going to give you the answer that everyone you know is seeking. How to find happiness and a good life. The key is to be obedient. For God listens to those who obey, but turns against those who do evil.
So how do we deal with suffering for doing good. First of all realize that good diffuses bad intentions. What do I mean by that? First of all we respect those who treat us with respect. I’ve never seen two people get into an altercation because they were going out of their way to do good to one another. Remember that kindness stifles hostility. Even if you should have to endure suffering, know that God will reward suffering for what is right. You may be wondering, how you might experience this type of suffering. Let me give you some examples. By standing for what is right you might experience a loss of friends. By not giving in to evil schemes you might experience a loss of illgotten gain. By maintaining a stance of Godliness you might endure a loss of status.
Don’t fear or worry when you endure suffering for the sake of righteousness. As we’ve learned suffering builds strength. Suffering also builds a reliance on God. Worry and fear only weaken us. Instead of worrying, worship Jesus. Use that energy to worship Him as Lord of your life. Remember that He is in control. Tell people why you live life as you do. Let them know where your joy comes from and how you have peace in the midst of adversity. Always give God the credit He deserves. But be kind and respectful in your answer, because your actions will refute slander. Your actions will also cause shame to those who attack you. Suffering for wrong is puishment, suffering for good is glory.
When in the midst of suffering, evaluate where your suffering is coming from. If you’re sin is the cause...confess it, and let God see you through.
Righteous suffering was revealed to us in our Lord Jesus. Jesus suffered for us even though the cause of His suffering was our sins. His death paid for our sins once and for all. He was pure but penalized for us that we might be brought into a loving relationship with God. He suffered in death.....but was glorified in His ressurection. Through Him we’ve been justified. Just as If I’d Never sinned.
In this passage we are given the example of the flood. The flood was a cleansing process through which the depravity of man was removed. Those who were faithful to God (8 people) were saved. This symbolizes the cleansing of baptism in Jesus. We must realize that we are an evil people. Outward cleaning is not enough....we need a thorough cleansing. The blood of Jesus has cleansed us through and through. By His resurrection we have new life in Him. Just as with the people of old...the choice is yours.
Christ has been honored by His sufferings. He has gone from bearing our shame to being seated at the Father’s right hand.