(1 Pet 1:6,7)
INTRO: In the heathen world the joy which many Christians manifested in times of severe trial was viewed with utter amazement. There they were...being beaten, robbed, killed and singing all the while, praying for their tormentors, dying willingly. As Peter was writing his letters, the church was already embroiled in persecution. The temptation to quit was an ever present possibility. But the apostle Peter writes to say, in effect, With the proper preparation you can endure anything you must.
I. SOME REALITIES TO BE NOTED HERE
A. The necessity of enduring
1. Mt 10:22 our being saved depends on enduring in trial
2. note 1 Pet 1:9...only after patient enduring (see also Jas 1:12)
B. Heaviness will come in trials
1. grief, sorrowthey are at times realities with which Christians must cope
2. do not think such things out of character for the Christian life
C. There can be rejoicing in these trials
1. not frivolity, not gaiety, not lightheartedness
2. rather, a quiet joy, a gladness that we are being counted worthy to share in Jesus sufferings
3. note 2 Cor 4:8,9 simply, the heaviness from trials does not overcome us...rather, we are strengthened by it
D. The power of God, the power of faith guard us in trial
1. Isa 26:3,4 Gods power belongs to those who keep their mind on Him
2. Col. 3:1,2
II. NOW, HOW SHOULD WE HANDLE TRIALS?
A. By remembering our heritage and inheritance
1. wherein (v.6) joins previous thought to rejoice
2. we should be motivated by value of inheritance
3. but we should also be thinking, I am Gods child, and I must keep living like it...Eph 5:1,8
B. By realizing that being a Christian brings trials
1. if need be they had become unpopular with many
2. because they were different: their faith seemed exclusive (and was, in fact); their morality was condemnation; they were just different in so many ways (1 Pet 4:3)
3. we shouldnt be surprised when it comes (1 Pet 4:12)
C. By remembering that any trials will be brief
1. for a seasonbut seasons pass!
2. even if they last a lifetime, not as long as eternity
3. 2 Cor 4:17,18 with 11:24-27 this comparison has always amazed me...but he saw the brevity of any trial as only a speck in timeless eternity
D. By thinking of trial as intensive training
1. tried with fire (v. 7)the more it is subjected to fire, the purer, more valuable it becomes
2. an athlete undergoes rigorous training not to come to collapse...but to be stronger to endure
3. note: 2Tim 2:3; Jas 1:2,3 and 5:11
4. who are the endurers? they are the winners!
E. By anticipating the applause of Christ
1. praise, honor, glory when Christ comes
2. what more could we-as Christians-want?
3. Mt 25:21 to hear Jesus pronounce these words of methat is great motivation to endure (Phil 3:8 that I may win Christ)
4. Rev 22:20b Even so, come, Lord Jesus
CLOSE: But there is one verse I have mentioned tonight which I want to share again. It seems to really wrap up the subject of enduring. Isa 26:3.
Cecil A. Hutson
11 February 2000
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)