Summary: Faithfulness, People, Hurts & forgiveness, love
1 Peter 4: 12-19 (p859) Sept. 9, 2012
There are amazing truths in scripture and, no I don’t completely understand them all…I’m on a journey trying to grow deeper and wider in those truths…
And there are a bunch of things I wish God had put in there…and maybe one of the ones I wish He’d put in there was “Jesus Laughed”
Listen I’m grateful for John 11:35…It’s the shortest verse in scripture ...Two Words “Jesus Wept”…It was always the first verse we memorized at camp or VBS for points for our team.
But I wish that scripture has a picture of Jesus sitting around the fire one evening with Peter, James and John…And Peter shivering says “God “ I wish it were warmer…and Jesus says…How many degrees? And “Jesus laughed”.
It doesn’t…I don’t know why, but I believe that God has a sense of Humor…and Jesus as “God in the flesh had a great sense of humor…I know this because He made me: And one of the things God does is test us…He doesn’t tempt us to sin…He tests us…He tests our faith. James 1:3 says “The testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
And here’s what I believe God does and our text from scripture teaches us….
Just when we think we’re doing pretty good in our faith…just when we think we’ve become really loving people…God laughs and sends someone into our lives and says, “You think you’ve got this loving stuff down…LOVE THIS ONE!
And you look up into the sky and see this
[SHOW PICTURE] [GOD SMIILING FACE]
Yeah, yeah I know its photo-shaped, but I am created in God’s image…so I believe God laughs…He’s joyful…In fact if a “Merry heart is good medicine” according to Prov. 17:22…God is the best pharmacist around.
Last week we talked about the purpose of thorns in the life of a genuine Christ follower…well this week we talk about loving thorny people….Maybe the hardest tests of our faith on a daily basis…Peter says don’t be shocked by it “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.”
Here’s what he means…
I WE LIVE IN A GARDEN OF THORNS.
We don’t live in a perfectly manicured Garden of Eden…We live in a garden that has been overgrown with sinful weeds and thorns for thousands and thousands of years.
We live in a world that has a different God than those who follow Christ…It’s only temporary, and because he knows, his time is short, and because in wrath he hates the God who created everything, including him and us…he is on the attack Jesus describes him this way in John chapter 10… He’s a thief that comes to kill, steal and destroy the flock…A wolf who attacks the flock and scatters it.” (John 10: 10, 12)
Peter says…Don’t be shocked when he attacks…Don’t think it happens only to you “Be self controlled be alert…He’s you enemy…He’s like a lion ready to pounce from the grass.” (1 Peter 5:8)
What Peter is saying is “Don’t’ get lulled into a false security where Satan convinces you that life is comfortable..Life is safe…people are basically unselfish…because in this place you never see the lion pounce…and you say, “Why did God let this happen to me?”
Be careful if you are a committed follower of Christ living in a world that is always safe and comfortable…that’s not where committed, genuine followers of Christ live!
“How are you participating in the sufferings of Christ if your goal is comfort and safety? How can heaven be the glory you long for if you’ve made this world your “joyful home?”
Maybe it’s time for judgment to begin with the family of God, and if it begins with us what will become of those who do not obey the gospel. Here is an important daily living truth for genuine Christ followers…
II SUFFERING EXISTS FOR THE RIGHTEOUS AND UNRIGHTEOUS
One of the most harmful thoughts we could have is this…”God rewards the good with comfort and punishes the bad with suffering.”
Listen to what Jesus teaches….”You have heard that it was said, “By the Pharisees…The law, the shams) Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be sons of your father in heaven. He (your Father in heaven) causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous…If you just love those who love you…big deal!” (Loose paraphrased by Rick) (Matt 5: 43-46)
There are 2 kinds of suffering for the child of God…1.) Suffering because you live in a sinful world and you’re not exempt from its fallenness. Christians get cancer, have heart attacks, bury loved ones, and lose jobs, all the same things everyone else goes through…