1 Pet 4:12-16
INTRO: Several times in both letters Peter writes he mentions persecution which is bound to befall Christian people. The natural inclination would be to suppose that people whose lives are morally upright and who are characterized by love and kindness would be highly esteemed in any society. Indeed, we do observe a thought like that in Acts 2:47a. But that favor which the early Christians enjoyed soon gave way to open persecution. Former friends became the allies of foes. Family members turned against Christian members of the family. There is no doubt in my mind that many of those Christians wondered, What in the worldis going on? But Peter says to us that such testing should be no surprise.
I. DO NOT BE SHOCKED WHEN TRIALS COME (4:12)
A. It is no strange thing!
1. history indicates continuing persecution pf righteous
2. Ps 89:50,51 reproach heaped upon Gods anointed
3. 2 Tim 3:12 its just a fact! (Peter knew it well!)
B. But why? it does not seem fair or right
1. because righteous folk become a visible conscience
2. lives an agitating testimony against evil
3. and the offensive against sin and evil bring conflict with elements of worlds wickedness (Eph 6:12,13)
C. These onslaughts become tests for Christians
1. Jas 1:2,3 obviously, not enticements to sin
2. what Satan intends to do us hurt, God can use to our betterment, to refine and improve us!
3. story of atheists and Christians pumpkin crops...yes God is raising men and women of character
II. THE PROPER REACTION...REJOICE (4:13)
A. Because that suffering means were entering into Christ
1. rom 8:17 with 2 Cor 1:4,5,7
2. we should think something of the fact that the Lord counts us worthy to share His suffering!
B. Because the Lord lives!
1. and no matter the present hurt, the outcome can be good (2 Tim 3:11key word...endure)
2. if Jesus had not risen, wed have true cause to complain! but he is risenwe serve a risen Master
C. Because this affliction is momentary
1. Rom 8:18 no comparison!! (2 Cor 4:17,18)
2. Christ will set right the inequities
III. BE ASSURED THAT GOD IS WITH YOU (4:14)
A. There is a marvelous thought in the word resteth
1. it is same Gr. word as used in Gr. O.T. to describe the abiding presence of the Lord (Isa 11:2)
2. whole idea suggestive of shekinah which was visible sign of Gods presence among His people (Ex 40:34)
B. Christians-offspring of God-know of Gods presence
1. reproach turns into blessing for that knowledge!
2. remember, too, Mt 5:10-12...and Heb 13:5,6
C. And God does not suffer defeat4:14c
1. look at Gen 50:20Satan means to do God harm by his attacks on Gods saints...he even arranged Jesus crucifixion
2. but God turns seeming defeats into great victories through perseverance of His saints (Eph 3:20,21)
IV. CAUTION: BE CERTAIN WHY YOU ARE SUFFERING (4:15,160)
A. There is no glory to God in deserved reproach (v.15)
1. for a murderer or their to claim religious persecution is a shameful, gross lie!
2. it is a shame for a Christian to deserve social or civil reproach
3. when a Christian engages in unChristian behavior, Satan is happiest!
B. But there is no shame in true suffering for Him (v. 16)
1. an important point needs to be made here
2. Peter is telling us it will come to faithful Christians
3.. therefore, we need to be prepared and willing to bear whatever consequences may come from our choice to be a devoted servant, follower of the Lord2 Tim 2:3 and Acts 5:41
CLOSE: Listen: 2 Cor 4:7-9. When stress comes (and it will), rather than wonder why or be surprised, let us rest in Gods promises. Listen again to Gods word: Ps 125:1,2 and Ps 66:12.
Cecil A. Hutson
20 January 2002
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)