Summary: A call to do the right thing even when that choice brings suffering. Just as Christ was willing to suffer for our good, we should be willing suffer for doing good toward others.
A. Every Christian who lives a godly life experiences a certain amount of persecution.
- A Teenager is shunned for being a Christian. (Peer Pressure, sex, cheating,)
- An Employee may not advance if not willing to take advantage of another.
- An Individual may not be invited to a party if not willing to get drunk.
- Our lesson is simple: If you truly live a Godly Life there will be a cost.
B. Peter talks about a special kind of persecution: A “fiery trial” that was about to overtake the church.
- Not Occasional Persecution from those around them, BUT Official Persecution from those above them.
- Up til now, Christianity had been tolerated by Rome because it was considered a “sect” of Judaism, and the Jews were permitted to worship freely.
C. Let’s Not get Words confused (as the tendency would be)
- Almost seems as though Peter is saying that Christians experience more trials than those of the world. But not that at all.
- Entire Theme of 1st Peter has been ‘Suffering from Persecution’
What do YOU do when the GOINT GETS TOUGH?
DO YOU DO THE RIGHT THING EVEN WHEN THE RESULTS ARE SUFFERING?
VERSE 12 – Expect Suffering
- Persecution IS NOT to be alien to the Christian life because Christians have always suffered at the hands of an unbelieving world.
- Peter says to expect it but stand up to it- NOT blending – but – separating.
- READ 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1 – don’t really know we understand anymore what it means to “be separate” – read again verse 6:17
- ‘be separate’ from what?
- To be separate from sin and to God – Including anything that separates us from dedication to God. (people, habits, attitudes etc.)
- The Phrase “Painful Trial” = “fiery trials”? Is he talking the trials of life?
Image of “fire” is often applied to Christians in ‘times of testing’ or ‘persecution’ showing the refining process that God uses to develop his family.
- But we can’t misuse the word ‘TRIAL’
- Many difficulties are simply a part of human life that most everyone experience. The ‘fiery trial’ Peter is speaking of comes from one faithful to God and stands up for what is right.
- All of 1st Peter has been on PERSECUTION & not regular TRIALS OF LIFE.
- Many blame a trial of life as a punishment or lesson of God and it is nothing more than JUST THAT – a Trial of Life.
VERSE 13-14 – Rejoice in Suffering
‘but rejoice’ is literally, ‘be constantly rejoicing’ – mentioned several times in these two verses. He gives four privileges that we share:
1. Our suffering means fellowship with Christ - (13)‘…that you participate in the sufferings…’
Considering how the undue sufferings of Christ brought ‘delivery’ to the believer, should it not be an honor and privilege to participate in the same sufferings? To experience the same type of persecution that Christ experienced?
2. Our suffering means glory in the future 13) ‘…may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed…’
- The world considers the absence of suffering to mean glory -- but a Christian should understand a different attitude. To the Christian, the trial of our faith is the assurance of glory later.