Summary: Trials and troubles! Everybody has them! Better to suffer the furnace of trial now, than the furnace of hell later!
The Furnace of your Choice
Dr. Russell K. Tardo
12Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. [1 Pe. 4:12-13]
Trials ... everyone has them and if not right now, one possibly is just shutting down for you. Then there’s always the one to come.
Peter certainly had his share of trials and was well equipped to leave instructions to all who would follow. Trials are a certainty in the believer’s life so we need to educate ourselves regarding them.
I. Description of the Two Types of Furnaces
Trials or furnaces as we’ll call them for our purposes in this study, are assured and come in two major types, i.e., the furnace of trials and the furnace of hell. While both are furnaces that burn red hot, they do have different designs or purposes.
14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. [Rev. 20:14-15]
41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.... 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. [Mat. 25:41, 46]
II. Comparison of the Two Types of Furnaces
A. Saved versus Lost:
One type of furnace, the furnace of trials, is for the saved while the other, i.e., the furnace of hell, is for the lost. All who live godly lives will suffer. While the ungodly will avoid the first type of furnace, there is no way they will be able to avoid the second.
2...to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: 3That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 4For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. 5For this cause, when I could no longer forbear; I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and labor be in vain. [1 Thes. 3:2-5]
Paul is saying here that the trials are appointed by divine appointment.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. [1 Cor. 10:13]
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. [Acts 14:23]
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. [John 16:33]
All trials come in one size -- SMALLER THAN GOD!
23For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. [Mark 11:23-24]
B. Test versus Torment:
One type of furnace is to test, while the other is to torment.
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [2 Tim. 3:12]
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. [1 Pe. 1:7]
The furnace of hell can be avoided by running from it, i.e., by avoiding the way that leads to it. To run from trials, however, ensures the receiving of the furnace of hell.
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. [Rev. 20:10]
C. Purify versus Punish:
One type of furnace is to purify and purge, while the other is to punish.
10For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. 11Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. 11Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. [Ps. 66:10-12]