Summary: In this message we are seeking to correct some misinformation concerning the true nature of trials.
"The Trouble with Trials"
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But 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. KJV
Introduction: Last week I mentioned that 2015 had been a difficult year for us in many ways. It was a difficult time medically for Mrs. Preacher and I as there have been several visits to the ER, hospitals stays and doctor's appointments and treatments. Can I get a witness! Many of you had similar experiences. It was a difficult year in ministry as we spent countless hours finishing up our new ministry center along with the normal grit and grind of everyday labor for the Lord. Several of you have dealt with the grief of the passing of a loved one or some other kind of deeply felt personal issue. The Apostle Peter was writing to some folks who were having some troubles and trials of their own in the form of persecution so much so that Peter is seeking to give them some support and encouragement to help sustain them during this time that they were going through these trials of suffering. Dr. Adrian Rogers said, "You're not going to make sense of suffering until you see it in the light of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Peter was talking to saints who were suffering. Now, sometimes, we get the idea that if we go down the aisle, and we give our hearts to Jesus Christ, and we get baptized, then, our troubles are over. Friend, listen: If you've never met the devil, it's because you and the devil have been going in the same direction. And, you turn around--you're going to meet him head-on. And, in many ways, your troubles are going to begin when you give your heart to Jesus Christ, because you're going to be a twice-born man in a world of once born men, and you're going to be going against the tide all the way. And, Jesus said they're going to hate you. And, listen. In Peter's day, many of the Christians were being persecuted. They were being lied about; they were being slandered; and they were being passed over for promotions; and their goods were being confiscated. And, all of these things happen."
I. The Common Trials -- Those We Meet
a. The Truth of the Scriptures
First, let me say that the Bible says that trials are natural and normal for all human beings. No one is excluded; all are subject to troubles and trials. This is true for those in the penthouse or the poorhouse. It is true of all of us. Both the young and the old experience trials, no one is immune.
Job 14:1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.
1 Corinthians 10:13 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.
One translation of this first phrase goes like this, "Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people." ESV
b. The Trials of the Saints
It is a fact that many of God's choicest servants have experienced times of trials in their lives. Abraham was "the friend of God" yet he experienced numerous trials in his life. The Bible states that David "was a man after God's own heart," yet his life was filled with trials. Listen to what he writes in: Psalms 31:9 "Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief..."
Think of the tens of thousands that have been martyred for their faith in Christ throughout the centuries. Think of those today who are being slaughtered by Isis and their only crime is that they believe in Jesus Christ. Think of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was murdered by the Nazi's and Corrie Ten Boom's whose beloved sister Betsy died of starvation and disease in a Nazi prison camp. I could go on and on but the truth remains that trials are not to be considered "strange" for those who know the Lord. Again, the Bible states that:
2 Timothy 3:12 "...all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution...
How many of you enjoy the hymn, "He Keeps Me Singing?" Would it surprise you that this great hymn was written in the midst of great trial?
ILL - A Methodist preacher by the name of Luther Bridges was born in 1884. He married and had 3 sons. Pastor Bridges accepted an invitation to minister at a conference in Kentucky in the year 1910, so he left his family in the care of his father-in-law & made the trip to Kentucky. There, 2 wonderful weeks of ministry resulted. The last service closed with great joy and he was excited to be called to the telephone. He couldn't wait to tell his wife about all the blessings. But it wasn't her voice on that long distance line. He listened in silence to the news that a fire had burned down the house of his father-in-law & his wife and all three of his sons had died in the blaze. That distraught man reached out to Jesus and wrote the words: "Jesus, Jesus, Sweetest name I know. Fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go."