Share in Christ's Sufferings

Notes Outline
INTRODUCTION
THE FIRE WILL COME
BUT IT'S WORTH IT
THE FIRE WILL BE HOT
WE CAN TRUST HIM

INTRODUCTION

    1. Story of Iman
    2. As followers of Jesus, we must always be ready to share in Christ’s sufferings. Two things to take home with us today: 1) The fire will come, but it’s worth it; 2) the fire will be hot, but we can trust Him

THE FIRE WILL COME

    1. Verse 12: 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. (ESV)
      1. We should not be shocked, taken by surprise, or caught off guard when difficulties, trials, and persecution befall us as followers of Jesus. Suffering for Jesus is part of the package of following a crucified Messiah. (“If anyone would come after me…Mt. 16, Lk. 9). 
  • 1 So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined (or “appointed” [CSB]) for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. (1 Th. 3:1-4, NIV)
  • 21 They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. (Ac. 14:21-22, NIV)
      1. No fine print. “Baaqiga Eebow”: Chorus: The Eternal God, who created the world, he has given a promise, and I am not going to miss out on it. Verses: If I stay on the top of the mountains for a month, with the snow and ice pounding me, I will not deny my Savior. If I stay in the wilderness a hundred years, and fail to find a garden, livestock, or a wife, I will not deny my Savior. If I am slaughtered, and hurled into the ocean, and beaten with a club, I will not deny my Savior. If I am in need, and fail to find money, I will not deny my Savior. When I am injured and sick, he nurses me back to health and heals me, I will not deny my Savior.
      2. The fire will come.

BUT IT'S WORTH IT

    1. Verses 13-14: 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. (ESV)
      1. V. 14 (TEV): 14Happy are you if you are insulted because you are Christ’s followers; this means that the glorious Spirit, the Spirit of God, is resting on you.
      2. In the OT, God taught, warned, exhorted, and called people to repentance through the prophets who spoke by the power of the Spirit, and many of the prophets were killed for their testimony (see, e.g., Neh. 9). The fullness of the Spirit rested on Jesus (see, e.g., Jn. 1:32-33, 3:34), and he was crucified. In Matthew 5, Jesus compares the sufferings to be experienced by His disciples, upon whom He would pour the Spirit, to the sufferings experienced by the prophets (Mt. 5:12). The Spirit produces God’s ways in us and calls people to God’s ways through us. If people attack and insult us because of that, they are in fact attacking God himself (see., e.g., Mt. 10:40; Ac. 9:4). To whatever degree we are attacked or slandered because we are like God Himself, we should rejoice.
        1. Job a few years ago.
      3. We rejoice not because sufferings are enjoyable or pleasant, but because of what they produce in us and because of that for which they prepare us. Suffering and difficult circumstances provide the context in which our loyalty to Jesus is demonstrated, and they are among the means used by Jesus to prepare us for the age to come. As Peter has already said in chapter 1, we are being prepared for a “salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time,” that is, “at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pt. 1:15, 7 CSB). As Paul says in 2 Cor. 4:17, “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (NIV).
    2. Verses 15-16: 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 (or “praise God that you bear that name” [NIV]) (ESV)
      1. “The nickname ‘Christian’ was originally used only by those hostile to Christianity… Here it is parallel to legal charges like ‘murderer’ and ‘thief.’ Early Roman descriptions of Nero’s persecution use this title for Jesus’ followers.”
      2. Of course, suffering for doing what is wrong is not something over which to rejoice. When we do evil, we are conducting ourselves no differently than the world and bring dishonor to His name. This kind of suffering does not bring glory to God. When we suffer because we are sincerely following Jesus, however, and are seeking to obey Him and remain faithful to Him by the Spirit’s enablement, we should not be ashamed. Such suffering is a privilege.
  • 40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. (Ac. 5:40-41, NIV)
    1. The fire will come, but it’s worth it.

THE FIRE WILL BE HOT

    1. VERSES 17-18: 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 (“saved with difficulty” [LEB]; “barely escape” [CEV]; “if it is hard enough for the righteous to be saved” [REB]), what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (ESV)
      1. Here Peter uses light-to-heavy argument: i.e., if such is true is this situation, then how much more so in this other situation? Here is the idea: “For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God, and if even we ourselves don’t escape suffering, how much more severe will the judgment be for those who refuse to obey the very gospel of God?” (my translation)
      2. As tempting as it may be to ignore or try to find ways to explain such verses away, the wise course is to recognize the reality that following Jesus is sometimes more difficult than what we could have imagined, and that sometimes God, the wise and righteous judge, judges that in order for us to truly learn to trust him, we must put into a situation that strips us of all self-righteousness and all self-reliance:
  • We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (2 Co. 1:8-9, NIV)
      1. 2-3 weeks ago
      2. Yes, the fire will come, and not only that, but the fire will be hot. But here is His promise: It’s worth it. Nothing less than eternal life itself awaits us at the end of the race.
  • 13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Mt. 7:13-14, ESV)

WE CAN TRUST HIM

    1. Verse 19: 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (ESV)
      1. Here is the wise, divinely revealed and divinely prescribed course of action for when we find ourselves in the category of “suffering according to God’s will”: We entrust and commit our lives and all that we are to the one who is trustworthy: The Creator of all things, who is making us into something new in preparation for the day when He will make all things new (Re. 21:5). We “cast our cares on him, because he cares for us” (1 Pt. 5:7).
      2. The fire will come, but it’s worth it. The fire will be hot, but we can trust Him.
      3. Homework: list out 25-50 points of thanksgiving (intentionally include the things that are the most difficult); pray for 1-2 people whom you don’t like, who have slandered you, or by whom you’ve felt hurt