Sermon Notes for 1 Peter Part 18 – Pain, Perseverance and Living Prophetically


Presentation1

1 PETER PART 18

1 PETER 4:12-19

Pain, Perseverance and Living Prophetically

 

THE AUDIO FOR THIS SERMON CAN BE FOUND HERE

AS WE CLOSE OUT THIS CHAPTER, WE COME TO PETER’S SUMMARY ON ALL THAT HAS COME BEFORE.

IN CH. 5  – HE’LL GIVE BUT 1 MORE EXHORTATION IN 5:1-11 STARTING WITH THE ELDERS, AND THEN HIS FINAL GREETINGS OR GOODBYE.

SO THIS PORTION SERVES TO TIE UP ALL THE LOOSE ENDS FROM WHAT HE HAS ALREADY SAID, AND IS WONDERFULLY SUCCINCT.

IT IS BUILT AROUND 3 COUPLETS:

  1. 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you…13 But rejoice…
  2. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed…15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer…
  3. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God…19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls…

BEFORE WE UNPACK THESE COUPLETS, LET ME ASK YOU TO TAKE AN IMAGINARY JOURNEY WITH ME.

IMAGINE YOU WERE BORN ABOARD A HUGE SHIP.

ALL YOU HAVE EVER KNOWN IS BEING AT SEA.

YOU HAVE A LARGE GROUP OF PEOPLE WITH WHOM YOU INTERACT, BUT YOUR ENTIRE CONCEPT OF LIFE IS YOUR IMMEDIATE CONTEXT – YOU ARE IN THIS CLOSED SPACE WITH A FINITE NUMBER OF PEOPLE AND A VAST EXPANSE OF SEA EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK.

AS YOU GROW, YOU BEGIN TO WONDER IF THIS IS ALL THERE IS.

YOU ASK – WHERE DID THIS SHIP COME FROM?

AND SOMEONE STARTS TO LET YOU IN ON SOME INFORMATION THAT TO THIS POINT YOU HAD NEVER CONSIDERED BEFORE.

SHIPS, HAVE TO BE BUILT. THEY DON’T JUST APPEAR.

NOT ONLY THAT, THEY MUST BE BUILT SOMEWHERE, WHERE THEY WOULD NOT IMMEDIATELY SINK, UNTIL THEY ARE SEA WORTHY.

MORE – SHIPS AREN’T MADE TO JUST FLOAT AND KEEP YOU ALIVE WHILE FLOATING, SHIPS HAVE A PORT THEY ORIGINATED FROM, AND WILDEST OF ALL – THEY ARE SAILING TO SOMEPLACE. THERE IS A DESTINATION.

HOW THAT INFORMATION WOULD ENTIRELY CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT YOURSELF, LIFE AND ALL OF REALITY.

THIS IS WHAT PETER IS DOING FOR HIS READERS – AND BY EXTENSION – FOR US.

NEITHER RELIGION, CHRISTIANITY, NOR LIFE, IS JUST SOME FLOATING VESSEL, KEEPING US ALIVE UNTIL WE FINALLY DIE.

THE SHIP COULD BE A METAPHOR FOR ALL THREE.

BUT REALITY IS BIGGER THAN OUR SHIP.

AND OUR SHIP CAME FROM SOMEWHERE, WAS BUILT BY SOMEONE, AND IT IS GOING SOMEWHERE.

IF YOUR VIEW OF RELIGION, AND CHRISTIANTY IN PARTICULAR IS MERELY AN ELABORATE FLOTATION DEVICE, ENABLING YOU TO LIVE WHERE OTHERWISE YOU WOULD PERISH, UNTIL YOU DO JUST FINALLY DIE – YOU ARE LIVING IN UN-REALITY. IN A FABLE.

COMING TO THE SAVING KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST OPENS THE EYES TO A REALITY WHICH IS VASTLY MORE COMPREHENSIVE.

GOD BUILT THE SHIP EARTH, AND THE INHABITANTS, BOTH THE PEOPLE AND THE BELIEF SYSTEM OF TRUTH ABOUT IT ALL.

HUMANITY BEGAN AT A POINT IN TIME BY GOD’S DESIGN.

AND IT APPEARS TO JUST BE FLOATING ALONG AIMLESSLY.

BUT IT ISN’T!

IT IS ALL GOING SOMEWHERE. THERE IS A DESTINATION – A DESIGNED END.

AND NO ONE TRULY LIVES IN REAL-REALITY – TO QUOTE FRANCIS SCHAEFFER, UNTIL WE COME TO GRIPS WITH THE ONE WHO MADE US, AND WHAT HIS INTENTS AND PURPOSES ARE.

IT IS GRASPING THIS REALITY, AND LIVING INTENTIONALLY IN IT, THAT PETER IS AFTER IN ADDRESSING THE DISTRESS OF HIS READERS – AND WE IN OURS.

NOTHING JUST HAPPENS. EVERYTHING HAPPENS WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF WHERE GOD IS TAKING US AND WHAT IT IS HE IS AFTER.

AND WE WILL NEVER DEAL RIGHTLY WITH OUR CIRCUMSTANCES UNTIL WE LIVE THEM OUT INTENTIONALLY IN THE LIGHT OF WHO WE ARE, WHERE WE CAME FROM, WHY WE ARE HERE AND WHERE EVERYTHING IS GOING.

ONCE WE GET THOSE THINGS STRAIGHT, HOW TO LOOK AT AND LIVE THROUGH SUFFERING FINALLY MAKES SENSE.

UNTIL THEN, WE ARE LIVING BLIND.

FLOATING IN OUR VAST OCEAN, AIMLESSLY. AND JUST DOING THE BEST WE CAN UNTIL WE DIE.

TRUTH, THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL, FREES US FROM THAT PRISON OF OBLIVION – AND LEADS US TO LIFE IN THE ONE WHO GAVE US LIFE – JESUS CHRIST.

SO IT IS ON THAT CONTEXT PETER CAN SAY IN THIS PORTION OF HIS LETTER:

  1. 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you…13 But rejoice…

CHRISTIANS FACING SUFFERING HAS BEEN A MAIN THEME FROM THE BEGINNING OF THIS LETTER.

MUCH LIKE THE THEME OF THE BOOK OF JOB – WHY THOSE WHO ARE RIGHTEOUS, AND ESPECIALLY WE WHO HAVE COME TO BELIEVE IN CHRIST JESUS AS OUR SUBSTITUTE AND ARE COUNTED AS RIGHTEOUS IN HIM – SUFFER? IS A PERENNIAL QUESTION.

IT SEEMS OFF. UNJUST. NOT RIGHT AND PROPER. IT MAKES NO SENSE.

YET PETER, UNDER THE INSPIRATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BIDS US TO RECKON WITH SUFFERING – NOT ONLY AS TO BE EXPECTED, BUT EVEN TO BE EMBRACED BY THE BELIEVER AS A BADGE OF HONOR.

AND MOST ESPECIALLY THE SUFFERING WE MIGHT ENCOUNTER SIMPLY BECAUSE WE ARE CHRIST’S IN A CULTURE OR SOCIETY THAT HAS AN INCREASING BIAS AGAINST CHRISTIANITY, ITS TRUTH CLAIMS AND ITS MORALITY.

HONOR IN GOD’S EYES, NOT PEOPLE’S.

SO IN WRAPPING UP, IT IS ONLY FITTING THAT HE WOULD SAY “DO NOT BE SURPRISED AT THE FIERY TRIAL WHEN IT COMES UPON YOU TO TEST YOU.”

2 THINGS:

  1. TRIAL FOR THE CHRISTIAN SHOULD NOT BE SEEN AS ABNORMAL, BUT NORMAL.

WE DO NOT LIVE ASSUMING LIFE OWES US OR IS SUPPOSED TO BE TROUBLE FREE AND FILLED WITH EASE.

IT IS THE SOLDIER’S MINDSET.

NO ONE GOES TO WAR THINKING IT WILL BE ALL HAMMOCKS, SIGHT-SEEING AND A CHANCE TO TRY NEW FOODS.

AND THE CHRISTIAN IS ONE WHO HAS SWITCHED SIDES IN THE COSMIC WAR BETWEEN SERVING GOD AND SERVING SELF, THE WORLD AND THE DEVIL.

SO WE ARE TO EXPECT ATTACK, DIS-EASE AND CHALLENGE AT EVERY TURN.

AND LIVING AS THOUGH THESE THINGS ARE FOREIGN AND SOMEHOW TO BE ELIMINATED WILL LEAVE US PERPETUALLY FRUSTRATED AND DEFEATED.

IF WE THINK THAT VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN LIVING IS LIVING WITHOUT PAIN AND OPPOSITION – OUR CHRISTIAN LIFE WILL BE ENDLESSLY NON-SENSICAL. WE’LL LIVE CONSTANTLY CHAFED AT ADVERSE CIRCUMSTANCES.

  1. SUCH ADVERSITY IS SENT TO TEST US. TO TEST US IN OUR GENUINENESS. NOT WITH THE HOPE OF FINDING US FAILING, BUT WITH THE HOPE OF FINDING US TRUE!

JESUS’ PARABLE IN Matthew 13:3–9 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”

NOTE HOW THE VERY SAME BEATING SUN AND OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL ADVERSITY OVERCAME SOME, WHILE OTHERS PERSEVERED AND BECAME FRUITFUL.

THIS IS PART OF GOD’S TESTING PROCESS TO SEE WHAT IS GENUINE AND WHAT IS NOT. TO DISCOVER IT FOR US!

MANY IS THE MAN OR WOMAN WHO PROFESSES TO KNOW AND SERVE CHRIST, WHO WHEN TESTED, PROVES NOT TO HAVE BEEN WELL ROOTED OR HEALTHY OR SOLID AT ALL.

AND HAVING REALIZED THAT THEY HAVE NO REAL ROOT – OUGHT TO BE THE OCCASION TO RUN TO CHRIST FOR TRUE TRANSFORMATION – TO BE BORN AGAIN AS GENUINE “SEED”.

IF TRIALS PUT YOU OFF CHRIST, PUT YOU OFF THE CHURCH, DRIVE YOU BACK TO SINFUL AND GODLESS PLACES – WHATEVER YOUR PROFESSION OF FAITH OR RELIGION – YOU STILL NEED TO BE BORN AGAIN.

IT ISN’T A SCRIPTURAL SAYING, BUT IT IS A SCRIPTURAL PRINCIPLE THAT “THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING.” THOSE WHO ARE GENUINELY CHRIST’S PERSEVERE TO THE END. AND THOSE WHO ARE NOT, FALL AWAY.

JESUS COULD NOT MAKE IT ANY CLEARER THAN HE DID IN Mark 13:13  And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

IT IS THOSE WHO ENDURE TO THE END WHO WILL BE SAVED – AND NONE OTHER.

MANY HAVE PUT A FALSE HOPE IN A ONE TIME EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE AND COMMITMENT TO CHRIST WHO IN REALITY ARE NOT ENDURING AND PERSEVERING IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE, AND LET NO ONE IN THAT CONDITION IMAGINE THEMSELVES TO BE RIGHT WITH GOD AND AMONG THE REDEEMED: Ephesians 5:5–6 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

1 Timothy 1:9–11 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

ONE CANNOT CONTINUE TO PRACTICE THOSE THINGS CHRIST DIED TO SAVE US FROM, AND IMAGINE THEMSELVES TO BE IN CHRIST.

HE DID NOT DIE TO SAVE US IN OUR SINS, BUT FROM OUR SINS.

AND SO IT IS ADVERSITY PLAYS A KEY ROLE IN EXPOSING THE TRUTH – SO THAT WE MIGHT BE SAVED, AND NOT REMAIN UNDER HIS WRATH.

IN FACT, NOT ONLY OUGHT WE NOT TO BE SURPRISED AT THE FIERY TRIAL WHICH IS SENT TO TEST US – INSTEAD, WE OUGHT TO 1 Peter 4:13 rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

It is a wonder of grace, that we ARE ALLOWED TO glimpse the glory of Christ and of the age to come, and by it, see how truly broken and sin-wracked this world is, and we in it.

It is a peculiar privilege of the Believer to groan in this present world – groaning with Jesus “how long?” must we live where sin still abounds and ravages the souls of those made in Christ’s image?

IT IS A HIGH HONOR To feel the pain of the fallen present against the backdrop of the world to come.

A PRIVILEGE ONLY THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST PARTAKE OF.

DON’T BE surprised, BUT REJOICE.

 

  1. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed…15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer…

COMING BACK TO THE EXACT SITUATION OF HIS READERS – PETER GOES ON TO REMIND THEM THAT NOT ALL SUFFERING IS SUFFERING FOR CHRIST.

THAT WHICH IS DUE TO BEING LINKED WITH JESUS AND THE PRINCIPLES AND VALUES OF BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY – IS A BLESSING WHICH WE ARE TO VALUE HIGHLY.

ONE CANNOT BUT IMMEDIATELY REMEMBER THE EVENTS IN ACTS 5 WHEN PETER AND JOHN WERE ARRESTED AND TOLD NOT TO PREACH IN THE NAME OF JESUS ANY MORE.

NOTE – IT WASN’T THAT THEY PREACHED – IT WAS THE NAME OF JESUS THAT WAS SO UPSETTING. Acts 5:40–41 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.

MANY A CHAPLAIN AND OTHERS ARE BEING PRESSURED THESE DAYS NOT TO PRAY IN JESUS’ NAME.

ITS OK TO PRAY – JUST NOT IN THE NAME OF JESUS.

AND I’M OF THE OPINION WE WILL SEE THIS TREND INCREASE CONSIDERABLY IN A SHORT TIME.

THAT SAID, PETER’S CONCERN HERE IS THAT WHILE IT IS A BLESSING TO SUFFER AS A CHRISTIAN FOR HOLDING TO BIBLICAL TRUTH AND STANDARDS IN AN INCREASINGLY HOSTILE CULTURE – ONE CANNOT, MUST NOT LUMP SUFFERING DUE TO THEIR OWN SIN INTO THE SAME CATEGORY.

NOT EVERYTHING WE SUFFER IS DUE TO FOLLOWING CHRIST AND SO 1 Peter 4:14–16 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

DON’T TRY TO BAPTIZE YOUR SUFFERING FOR SIN AS LAUDABLE OR IN SOME WAY GLORIFYING TO CHRIST.

IN FACT – “LET NONE OF YOU SUFFER AS A MURDERER, THIEF, EVILDOER OR MEDDLER” – J. H. Elliott (2000: 788) describes what such meddling may have involved in the social context of the original readers: “Censuring the behavior of outsiders on the basis of claims to a higher morality, interfering with family relationships, fomenting domestic discontent and discord, or tactless attempts at conversion.”[1]

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORTED THIS LAST WEEK ON A MAN WHO CALLS HIMSELF “PHILLY JESUS”.

MICHAEL GRANT IS A STREET PREACHER IN PHILADELPHIA, HE DRESSES UP LIKE JESUS, CARRIES A LARGE CROSS AND – POSES FOR PICTURES – AND RECENTLY HE WOULDN’T LEAVE AN APPLE STORE AFTER BEING ASKED TO DO SO SEVERAL TIMES, BECAUSE HIS CROSS WAS BLOCKING AN AISLE.

HE WAS EVENTUALLY ARRESTED FOR TRESPASSING AND DISORDERLY CONDUCT – AND AFTER BEING RELEASED SIMPLY SAID “FREE AT LAST!”

THIS IS NOT SUFFERING FOR THE CAUSE OF CHRIST – IT IS FOOLISHNESS.

IF YOU ARE INSULTED FOR CHRIST – YOU ARE BLESSED, BUT NOT IF YOU SUFFER FOR SIN AND FOOLISHNESS.

 

  1. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God…19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls…

AND IT IS IN THIS LAST COUPLET THAT PETER TIES THE IDEAS WE’VE BEEN LOOKING AT THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS TOGETHER WITH THIS – THIS ESCHATOLOGICAL REALITY THAT BELIEVERS ARE EVEN NOW PART OF THE APOCALYPSE – THE REVEALING OF CHRIST –

AND AS THIS IS SO – SO IT IS “TIME FOR JUDGMENT TO BEGIN AT THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD.”

The Believer sees all suffering at least in part, as portents of God’s final judgment poured out upon all. We still experience that, even tho we are justified, and will ultimately be delivered.

This was the experience of Noah, who went through God’s judgment in the flood, even as he was being preserved from it.

So every time God disciplined Israel, the prophets who bore God’s Word to the people suffered in those same judgments, tho preserved. Think TOO of Elijah and the famine IN HIS DAY.

THUS, if we understand our suffering as the leading edge of God’s coming wrath, and understand that we still endure some of it – THEN CONSIDER what the real outpouring WILL look like upon those who do not know Christ at all!

It is a terror too great to contemplate.

AND HERE, ONCE MORE WE ARE BROUGHT RIGHT back TO ONE OF THE MOST STARTLING REALITIES OF THE GOSPEL –

IF we WHO TRUST IN CHRIST scarcely make it out alive – all owing to grace and grace alone, and absolutely nothing owing to our own goodness, righteousness or works – WHAT Praise OUGHT We OFFER to God for His marvelous deliverance of the unworthy thru faith in Jesus Christ.

LET NO ONE THINK SALVATION IS AN EASY THING.

IT COST JESUS HIS HUMILIATION AND HIS LIFE.

IT COST HEAVEN THE TEMPORARY SUFFERING OF ITS CROWN JEWEL, THE ETERNAL SON OF GOD.

IT COST THE FATHER TO GIVE HIS SON AND POUR OUT THE WRATH DUE US UPON HIM.

IT COST THE SON EVERY FORM OF DEGRADATION, INSULT, BETRAYAL, INJURY AND PAIN.

  1. 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you…13 But rejoice…
  2. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed…15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer…
  3. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God…19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls…

FOR WE ARE REVEALING BOTH THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST IN REDEMPTION – BUT ALSO SERVING AS A MARKER TO THE WORLD OF THE SOON COMING JUDGMENT OF GOD.

WE HAVE A HIGH AND HOLY CALLING IN ALL OF THIS.

THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE REDEEMED BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB, OUT OF A MEANINGLESS, AIMLESS LIFE – INTO MEANING AND PURPOSE, DIVINELY BESTOWED UPON US, AS LIGHTS SHINING IN THE DARKNESS OF THIS PRESENT AGE – AS CHRIST’S AGENTS IN REVELATION.

THIS IS WHAT SCRIPTURE MEANS WHEN IT SAYS THAT CHRIST GIVES US LIFE, AND THAT – MORE ABUNDANTLY.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Jobes, Karen H. 2005. 1 Peter. (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

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