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.
- The promise here is that one’s pain will be NOT REPLACED with joy but transformed into joy.
In John 16:20-22, Jesus used the illustration of a woman giving birth to a child. The same baby that gave her pain also gave her joy. The pain was transformed into joy.
Romans 8:17 (NIV)
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
3. Our suffering brings to us the ministry of the Holy Spirit (14) ‘…the Spirit of Glory rests on you’
- Verse can be translated to mean ‘for the presence of the glory, (or the Spirit) rests on you’
- God’s Spirit, ‘rests on the believer’ giving him instant glory.
- This is why martyrs could sing praise to God while bound in the midst of a blazing fire. It also explains how persecuted Christians can go to prison and even to death without complaining or resisting their captors.
4. Our suffering enables us to glorify His Name – 14) ‘b/c of the name of Christ, you are blessed’
This served as a reminder that as the Christians were suffering because of the name of Christ, there were participating in the same sufferings of Christ, and in doing so, they were blessed.
John 15:21 (NIV)
21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.