Summary: We will all face troubles in this world; we must know why to deal with them or praise God for them!
One of the reasons I am here as a Pastor is because of a mature Christian woman who first encouraged Elsa and me to minister. But for over 2 years, I witnessed the suffering of this godly woman as she fought ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease); she lost her ability to walk but she always gave me an encouraging greeting; she struggled with her speech but she still managed to write “you’re doing good Paul!”, and finally she lost her physical battle with the disease. She was a testimony to me; a mature Christian woman who suffered physically with a disease; one may ask, “Why would God allow that to happen?”
As we look at history through Scriptures, we note godly Abel taken out to the field and killed by his brother; Moses not only struggled with Pharaoh but with his own people; Godly Daniel was thrown in a lion’s den to be eaten; early Christians were also fed to lions and many were burned to death during Roman times!
This is a truth: God blesses His people but while living on earth there will be troubles! God wants us to enjoy life but we must live in reality not in fantasy. All of us will go through some difficulties in life; most are minor but occasionally, there would be major ones; Elsa and I were in financial troubles many years ago, our oldest daughter had health issues when she was very young, about 15 years ago I almost died; Elsa had major surgery a few years back.
We should not be surprised that troubles will come no matter how mature we are in Christ but we should understand why troubles happen and how we are to deal with them. Through the Apostle Peter, God speaks to Christians about this topic in 1 Peter 4…. Please open your Bibles there…..
Pray our commitment to God’s Word….
Read along with me 1 Peter 4:12-19…..
v12: trials and suffering is part of life here on earth even for Godly Christians!
Before we talk about v13, we need to note the context of the passage regarding sufferings. Based on our passage this morning, Sufferings on earth for the Christian can happen through at least two ways; (sufferings of course happen because of the sins of the world in general; thus, we have many diseases). But again, based on 1 Peter 4,
v14 and 16: suffering can result because of allegiance to Jesus Christ!
v15: suffering will happen because of ungodliness!
And v15 states that the suffering of the Christian should not be because of ungodliness! God is also stating here that there are bad consequences to sin.
But when a Christian suffers because of their stance for Jesus Christ, v13 and 16 states that the Christian should rejoice and praise God! What??? Rejoice and praise God for sufferings? Why?
God tells us, why Christians are to rejoice and praise God:
v13-14: suffering for Christ brings blessings of God’s glory and presence. In other words, God’s majestic glory will shine for the Christian as they stand up for Christ! Remember what happened to Moses…. Exodus 34:29-30 - When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.
This is called God’s Shekina Glory on people!
Now look again at v17-18…..
The first part of v17 sets up the closing points of Chapter 4 of 1 Peter. But let us not miss what God is saying here at the first part of v17. We may not like it, but because God is both Holy and Loving, God will discipline His own people! Hebrews 12:6 affirms this, God disciplines those He loves!
We must understand why we are suffering. Are we suffering because of our stance in Christ or are there sins that we need to repent from? Let us always remember that there are consequences to sin. We all need to always confess and repent (turn away) from our sins. And so v18: God will discipline Christians on earth and those who do not believe in Christ will receive severe judgment.
And what’s the answer for all people? God tells us in v19, commit to God Creator and do good! What does this mean for the Christian?
v19: for Christians who are suffering, recommit to Jesus Christ: if there are sins, confess and repent from them; if there are no known sins, pray and give life in God’s hands and continue to do good.
V19: for non-Christians, believe in the faithfulness of God by accepting the only Savior from the judgment of sins, who is Jesus Christ the Lord.