Sermon:

Glory Comes Through Suffering

1 Peter 4:12-19


Truth Taught- We are called to follow Jesus’ pattern of suffering and subsequent glory that follows

Introduction

Peter finished last week’s text with praise to God and a reminder to always use our gifts for the glory of God…

1 Peter 4:11 (ESV)

11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

It could have been a good conclusion to his epistle but Peter wants to make sure we get his main point. So, in God’s goodness and grace we receive the complete message. Peter continues by reminding us yet again that as Christians doing what we should be doing will result in suffering. The suffering that comes as a result of our obedience to God is not random but is in fact God’s will for us. Suffering for Christ is not the end it will bring about glory. So far, Peter has shown us that when we suffer there is a divine purpose.

1 Peter 1:6–7 (ESV)

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Suffering will produce a refined and strong faith and there will be great reward when Jesus returns.

1 Peter 2:20–21 (ESV)

20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

The purpose is to completely follow Jesus even through times of trial and suffering.

1 Peter 3:14 (ESV)
14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,

To suffer, as a Christian, will result in God’s blessing.

What’s true is what Samuel Rutherford said in the 1600’s when he was put in the cellars of affliction: “The Great King keeps his wine there” — not in the courtyard where the sun shines. What’s true is what Charles Spurgeon said: “They who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls.”[1]

If you love God’s grace, growing as a Christian, choice pearls and the King’s wine then suffering has a great purpose in our lives.

Prayer

1 Peter 4:12–19 (ESV)

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 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. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And

       “If the righteous is scarcely saved,

what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

  1. Glory Comes Through Suffering

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.

13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

In this passage Peter is guiding us through trials and suffering to see through them to the greater blessing God has on the other side. He wants us to realize that suffering is the first step to glory. It’s the way God gets His people from A to B. Peter tells us that we should not be surprised when trials come our way for serving Christ. This world hates Jesus and because we love Him and serve Him trials will come our way.

The trials the early Christians faced were in the form of persecution. Here it seems Peter is referring mainly to verbal persecution not so much physical. We can relate to what he writes. I’m sure many here have suffered some type of verbal suffering from family or friends because you are seeking to be obedient to what Jesus teaches.

Peter tells us that rather than being surprised and caught off guard we should expect this type of treatment.

I can vouch for the verbal persecution because we have suffered this in more ways than you may know as our little church stands up for truth we have been greatly maligned for the truth we affirm. I have been maligned time and time again by so called Christians. I’m not saying this to drum up any sort of sympathy but to make everyone aware that it has and is happening. When you take a stand for truth and the truth is not popular you will be persecuted to some degree.

It’s okay when others say things against you as long as you’re in line with Jesus. When these things happen don’t be surprised or discouraged but…rejoice!

Why does Peter tell us to rejoice or literally that rejoicing is the right response? He tells us to rejoice because there is coming a day when your faithfulness in the midst of suffering will be greatly rewarded. When Jesus returns and His glory is revealed then we too will be rewarded. So, endure trials and rejoice by faith while we wait for Jesus to return.

We must not forget that this pattern of suffering then glory is the exact pattern of Jesus. He suffered and His suffering led to amazing glory and joy.

Hebrews 12:1–2 (ESV)

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

The writer of Hebrews explains what was some of Jesus’ motivation to endure the suffering of the cross. He was looking past the cross to the joy on the other side. To get to that joy, Jesus had to endure suffering. The same is true for us. To get to the things God has for us, joy, maturity, and glory we too must share in suffering with Jesus. For us it’s most often not even physical but verbal and emotional. Yet it is suffering just the same.

  1. Suffering For Christ

14 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.

17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And

       “If the righteous is scarcely saved,

what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

When Christians suffer for the name of Christ we may have the tendency to feel ashamed, abandoned by God. We must not let our thinking go down a wrong path. When we are insulted by someone for the name of Christ we are not abandoned by God but actually blessed by God.

Matthew 5:10–12 (ESV)

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The big issue we struggle with is the seen verses the unseen. What I mean is that when we suffer as Christians that is what is seen and felt. When we are insulted because of our beliefs it stays with us for a while. We struggle because that’s with us and often captures out attention more. We are left wondering why God let this happen. Where was God when I really needed Him? What we don’t see are the promises of God to all of His people when these things happen. He has not left us but promises that we will be blessed. We may experience some blessings now such as Christian growth as we suffer but most of the blessings will come later after Christ has returned. Like everything in the Christian life faith is required.

We are blessed now because verse 14 tells us that God’s Spirit is with us. The language here is much like the Spirit of God that hovered over the deep darkness of the unformed and void earth during creation. As the Spirit hovers over us during our times of darkness new life is created within us.

Isaiah 11:1–2 (ESV)

11 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,

and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

   And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,

the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the Spirit of counsel and might,

the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Issues we experience when we suffer are guilt and shame. Typically, suffering is brought on by sin and bad behavior. From early on what we are used to when we disobey our parents is punishment; we either get spanked or time in the chair to think about it. So we are used to being ashamed when we suffer. Understand that when we suffer as a Christian we do not need to be ashamed…

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.

It is the exact opposite. We don’t need to feel shame but we can praise and glorify God as we suffer for the right reason.

Peter’s purpose here is to get us to not focus so much on our current trial but think about the future promises and eternal outcome of the trial not the current pain. As our focus climbs heavenward so does our joy as we walk through the trial sharing the suffering with Jesus.

As Christians we wait for the majority of our blessings at the time Christ returns. We may suffer now but glory is coming. Peter explains that it’s just the opposite for those outside of Christ. They may experience good times now but theirs will be eternal suffering.

17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And

       “If the righteous is scarcely saved,

what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

If you have suffered trials because of your commitment to Jesus, be encouraged because God will make things right. Those who are the guilty perpetrators of this persecution will see the fury of God’s wrath one day. So, Peter explains we wait for joy and they wait for sorrow. We have eternal glory and the lost will experience eternal suffering.

  1. Suffer With Faith
    19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Peter wraps up this section by telling us now based on all we have learned, do two things.

First, we endure whatever level of persecution we may experience by trusting God with our souls. Peter tells us that God is the Creator and is in charge of His creation, which includes our very souls. Be eager to trust God with everything. He is sovereign, loves us, and can be trusted. If you experience persecution for your faith rejoice because you belong to God and He is working to make you more like Jesus.

We follow Jesus’ example.

1 Peter 2:23 (ESV)

23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

Second, we must not quit doing what we know to be right. Continue doing good even if you should find suffering as a result. Our tendency to seek comfort might cause us to let up or stop if hard times should come as a result of doing good and being obedient to Christ. Here again we have Jesus leading the way so we can follow Him…

Acts 10:38 (ESV)

38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

So, Peter has told us to follow the pattern of Jesus…suffering as a Christian will always result in blessings. Some we will see now and others we will see later. Don’t let up but be faithful whether you find yourself in good times or in trials because God is at work. There is a purpose for your struggles.

 

 

*Resources Used:

Teaching 1 Peter by Angus MaCleay

1 Peter by Karen Jobes

1 Peter by David Helm

1 Peter by John MacArthur

1 Peter by Peter Davids

1 Peter by Wayne Grudem

1 Peter by Edmond Clowney

 

[1] John Piper

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