Summary: The honor of suffering for God.
Suffering for Being A Christian
1 Peter 4:12-19
Have you ever watched a fire walker? Looks painful doesn’t it? But that is how the Bible describes the suffering and persecution that we at times must face because of our faith in Jesus. Let’s spend some time this morning talking about being a successful "firewalker." First we must realize the purpose of our firewalk. Our suffering for Christ prepares us for greater things. These times of suffering are a time of testing that builds:
1. endurance - to press on towards the mark of Christ
2. strength - gained in Jesus
3. resistance - to sin, temptation, and distractions
Think about a person who walks on hot coals. They must have endurance to continue on when their feet get a little "toasty." They must have strength to move forward and not freeze up. They must also have a resistance, for if they do not concentrate 100% on what they are doing they will get hurt.
By going through the fire we are sharing in Jesus’ suffering. This sharing makes us more like Him. We begin to take on His mindset and heart. It also makes Him more apart of us. When others see us they will see Jesus in us. Our perserverance in the fire will be rewarded by His presence when He returns. What greater reward than eternity with the Lord Jesus.
Suffering for your faith is a blessing. If your faith was worthless...you wouldn’t face adversity. It is an honor to stand strong for Jesus. I like to thank of those who have served our country’s military in war. When you talk to these men they will tell you that it was an honor to lay their lives on the line for the glory of their country. If we are willing to do that, should we not be so much more willing to face enemy fire for the Lord God Almighty? Realize that when you go through the fire you have help at hand. We are aided by the Holy Spirit. Because the Spirit is with us we receive strength beyond our capabilities. The Holy Spirit is with us each step of the way. And look at what He brings with him:
Now not all suffering is "blessed." Our scripture tells us that some deserve to suffer as repayment for the harm they cause others. The scriptures give us a few examples:
4. busy body
Above and beyond anything else you might take out of here today, remember this. We belong to God. Belonging to God means that He is our protector, provider, loving father. Just because you go through the fire, doesn’t mean He does not care or that He has abandoned you. Remember a Father does what is best for his children.
Wake up!!! Judgement is coming!!! Guess what folks judgement begins with the people of God. That means judgement begins right here with us. We should be cognizant of our actions, for they will be judged. Fortunately for you and me we will be judged in love that is tempered with the blood of Jesus. We are covered by God’s immeasureable grace if we have asked Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. But don’t just sit on your laurels for there are those who will be judged because they have rejected Christ. For them eternal punishment and seperation from God awaits. If you have never been passionate about seeing your friends, neighbors and family come to know Jesus, this should do it for you. That is not a fate I would wish on my worst enemy, nor should you.