Summary: This message looks at the though of "being thankful in the midst of suffering".
THANKS FOR THE SUFFERING
1 Peter 4:12-19 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"
19 So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
1 Peter 4:12-19 Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. 13 Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. 14 If you're abused because of Christ, count yourself fortunate. It's the Spirit of God and his glory in you that brought you to the notice of others. 15 If they're on you because you broke the law or disturbed the peace, that's a different matter. 16 But if it's because you're a Christian, don't give it a second thought. Be proud of the distinguished status reflected in that name! 17 It's judgment time for Christians. We're first in line. If it starts with us, think what it's going to be like for those who refuse God's Message! 18 If good people barely make it, What's in store for the bad? 19 So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll keep on doing it.
1. SUFFERING IS NO SURPRISE – 1 PET 4:12-13
a. The Opposite of Surprise is PREPARATION
i. We should not be surprised because difficulties as a believer are the norm.
ii. Be surprised if we are not under pressure
b. The reality of suffering is that God is able and DOES help us through it!
i. The word translated surprise is from a Greek word that also means guest
1. It is a hospitality term.
2. What the text is communicating is that we are to be “hospitable” towards suffering.
c. The benefit to being “hospitable’ to our suffering
i. Suffering is painful
1. Literally – a burning furnace
ii. Suffering is “proving”
1. What the word ‘suffering” means
Zechariah 13:9 (MSG) I'll deliver the surviving third to the refinery fires. I'll refine them as silver is refined, test them for purity as gold is tested. Then they'll pray to me by name and I'll answer them personally. I'll say, 'That's my people.' They'll say, 'God—my God!' "
Zechariah 13:9 This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are my people,' and they will say, 'The Lord is our God.'"
iii. Suffering with God’s involvement is in reality a refining, and defining activity of growth for us.
1. Our friendship with God is enhanced
2. Our intimacy with God is enhanced
3. Our residence in Heaven is enhanced
d. Suffering is not a “strange” condition for the believer
i. It is not alien
ii. It is part of our walk
e. Suffering gives us a greater identity with Christ
i. Participation means to have a close relationship
ii. Identification with Christ brings
Philippians 3:10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
Romans 8:17 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.
2 Timothy 2:12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us;
WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT TO SUFFER FOR CHRIST IS SOMETHING WE CAN BE THANKFUL FOR. SUFFERING WITH AND FOR CHRIST IS A TIME OF TREMENDOUS GROWTH. OUR SPIRITUAL POTENTIAL IS GREAT. DO NOT ALLOW SUFFERING TO TURN YOU AWAY FROM THE THINGS OF GOD!