Summary: There are many people in the world today who have suffered greatly for no other reason than that they were followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Text: "But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye..."
Introduction. For the Christian believer no suffering is meaningless. Paul said that,"in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). But yet there is a question that plague us from generation to generation, why do Christians suffer?
First, we need to realize that not all suffering is undue suffering. Some suffering is due a wrong action we took or bad decision we made, sometimes suffering is caused by our sinful disobedience. However, we do face at times undue suffering. Job committed no sin yet he suffered greatly.
The Apostle Paul was beaten severely, stoned, and shipwrecked for the cause of the gospel. Many great saints suffered immensely in order that church may grow. Many missionaries have lost never lives in foreign lands trying to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Why? Why does a loving God allow these things to happen? Again, with God’s children no suffering is meaningless. There are many people in the world today who have suffered greatly for no other reason than that they were followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
How will you react if you find yourself in a position where you are going to have to suffer in order to be true to Jesus Christ? The Apostle Peter was qualified by personal experience to write words of encouragement to Christians who were experiencing persecution at the hands of the high priest and the Sadduces (Acts 5:17-42). He had been in great danger during the persecution which was promoted by Saul of Tarsus (Acts 8). He had been unjustly imprisoned by Herod the king, who evidently intended to execute Peter, as he had done with James (Acts 12:1-4).
Although Peter had experienced some remarkable spiritual triumphs and wonderful deliverances by the Lord (Acts 5:18-20; 12:5-11). In this epistle he sought to encourage his readers to be faithful even unto the point of death, in view of the assurance of eternal glory beyond death.
I. THE POSSIBILITY OF UNDESERVED SUFFERING (3:13,14).
There are two words used in the New Testament which refer to suffering. These two words occur fifty-three times in the entire New Testament and sixteen of them are found in the five chapters of I Peter. The suffering of God’s people is one of the major themes with which the book deals, the writer sought to give them, on the basis of his experience of the Lord’s faithfulness, the courage that would be necessary if they were to suffer meaningfully and triumphantly.
A. "If ye be followers of that which is good?" If the believer will lead an upright and benevolent life, no actual harm will come to him from proper constituted legal authorties. Normally men are punished for wicked deeds, not for righteous deeds.
B. "If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake." Peter recognized that in a pagan world of wicked men there was a strong possibility that innocent might suffer unjustly. Jesus pointed out ine the Beatitudes that Christian character would provoke opposition and persecution on the part of those who were willfully and maliciously evil (Matt. 5:10-12). I believe that the tragedy that took place here in America on September 11, 2001 happened because evil men hate the fact that America is primarily a Christian nation a nation founded upon Christian values. As a result, many innocent people died that horrible and tragic day.