Summary: Why am I persecuted?
REJOICING THROUGH ADVERSITY
1 Pet. 1:6-7
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 1:6-7
In this series, FOLLOWING JESUS, we have been looking at the question, “Why am I persecuted?” Persecutions often come as the hand of God guiding our lives. Persecutions often come to prepare us for our future. And today, Persecutions may be used to temper your faith. Let’s get into it.
READ AND PRAY.
How many of you would describe your life as “heavy, grieving, suffering, stressed?” Listen to God’s word speak to you (read vs 6 again).
“grieved” KJV uses “heaviness” it means to be grieving, to suffer sorrow, stress pressure, and mental anguish.
We all know what it is to feel weighed down with grief, heavily burdened with life, to suffer stress and pressure, to be in mental anguish, to wonder, question, and suffer under the heavy weight of a trial or temptation.
This is a dark picture of the world and of life; a picture of all kinds of trials and temptations. But we must face reality; it is fact! As we walk throughout life, we are bombarded with all kinds of trials, all kinds of temptations. Our human experience proves it! But why face it? Why think about it? Why not ignore it? Why not simply focus on the positives, look on the good, and move on? Sounds good. Sounds a lot like today’s way of thinking. There is one reason: facts or truths cannot be handled unless dealt with. Ignoring them, denying them will not conquer them!
Think of the last time that you swept a temptation under the rug. What happened? What about the last time you ignored a trial? Did it get bigger?
This method does not conquer them permanently, or eternally! The only way we can ever conquer anything is to face it straight on! It’s the first step in a twelve-step program:
ADMITTING THAT I HAVE A PROBLEM!
The comedian Jeff Foxworthy became famous with his routine, "You might be a redneck if . . . " Here are some of my favorites:
You might be a redneck if the directions to your house include the phrase "turn off the paved road".
You might be a redneck if your front porch collapses and four dogs get killed.
You might be a redneck if you took a fishing pole to Sea World.
You might be a redneck if you have to go outside to get something out of the ’fridge.
You might be a redneck if your dad walks you to school because you’re both in the same grade.
You might be a redneck if you have flowers planted in a bathroom fixture in your front yard.
You might be a redneck if you think the last words to the Star Spangled Banner are, "Gentlemen, start your engines."
Likewise, you might be a Pharisee if you spend a more time talking about the sins of others than you do in repenting and confessing your own. TO REJOICE THROUGH ADVERSITY I MUST:
· ADMIT THAT I HAVE A PROBLEM!
The September 11, 2002 issues of TIME magazine has a touching article about 31-year old Genelle Guzman. Genelle was the last of just four people caught in the debris of the Twin Towers to be found alive. After the planes hit the World Trade Center, Genelle was descending a stair case from the 64th floor of the North Tower. Steel beams weakend to their breaking point. Solid concrete was pulverized. But somehow her body found an air pocket. Her right leg was pinned under heavy concrete pillars. Her head was caught between stacks of wreckage. But somehow she was still alive. For twenty-seven hours Guzman lay trapped and seriously injured. In recent months before the attacks Genelle had started attending the church called Brooklyn Tabernacle, and wanted to get her life turned around. So while she was stuck in the rubble, she started to pray. She’d trail off into sleep – wake up and pray some more. Shortly after noon on Wednesday the 12th, she heard voices. So she screamed as loud as she could, “I’m here! HEY, I’M RIGHT HERE!” A rescue worker responded, "Do you see the light?" She did not. She took a piece of concrete and banged it against a broken stairway overhead—probably the same structure that had saved her life. The searchers find the noise. Genelle wedged her hand through a crack in the wall, and felt someone grab it. She heard a voice say, "I’ve got you," and Genelle Guzman said, "OH GOD, THANK YOU.” It took 20 long minutes, and then she was saved.