THEME: Responding To Suffering As A Christian
TEXT: 1 PETER 4:12-19
SERMON BY: MICHAEL ATTA-FOSU
Suffering is inevitable on this planet earth. Parents go through suffering when bringing up children, pregnant women also go through suffering. Some nine months, others more than twelve months before giving birth. Jesus Christ, our great High Priest had to go through suffering before he was exalted. In the same way, every Christian has to go through suffering to prove their faith for their master Jesus.
It is in view of this that I have chosen to share with you how every Christian can respond to suffering.
I pray that at the end of this message, we will be able to respond to suffering for Christ Jesus.
Historical Context: The first letter of Peter was addressed to Christians, hence called God’s elect, who were scattered throughout the Northern part of Asia minor. The main purpose of the book is to encourage the readers, who were facing persecution and suffering for their faith.
In chapter two Apostle Peter tells them that they are God’s
1. Chosen people
2. Royal priesthood
3. A holy nation
4. And people belonging to God.
Therefore, they should submit to their masters and rulers. In chapter 3, he taught them about Christian home, he says that the Christian woman should be submissive to her husband and the Christian husband in the same way must be considerate to his wife and treat her with proper respect as gracious gift in his life so that nothing will hinder his prayers.
In chapter 4:1-11, Apostle Peter told them that since Christ died or suffered in his body they should arm themselves with the same attitude and also they must not live as the pagans do but rather they must love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins and from 4:12-19 which is the passage under consideration, he also taught them how to respond to suffering.
Shall we now go into the passage under consideration and find how every Christian can respond to suffering.
I. EVERY CHRISTIAN CAN RESPOND TO SUFFERING BY HAVING THE RIGHT ATTITUDE. VRS 12-13.
‘Having the right attitude’ in this context basically implies that one should have a positive settled way of thinking or feeling in the face of suffering.
A. The believer can have the right attitude by not being surprised Vs. 12a
The word surprise means to be amazed, or shocked. In context, the Apostle Peter was telling them they should not see suffering to be something strange as Christians since Christ Himself went through severe or much suffering.
B. The believer can have the right attitude by seeing it as a test Vs.12b
Test is any ordeal or oath required as proof of conformity with a set of beliefs, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary. If the Christian has confessed Christ as his Lord and master Savior, and believe in Him, then Apostle Peter is telling us that, what we have come to believe in, need to be proved. And one way of proving is by passing the test of suffering our master passed through.
C. The believer can have the right attitude by rejoicing Vs. 13a.
Rejoicing here means showing that you are happy about the suffering you are going through, knowing that there is glory ahead.
The phrase rejoicing in suffering means one must be glad and happy that he/she is suffering for Christ and that he/she will be rewarded.
Senior ministers and fellow student pastors, I believe that God is speaking to us this day because a lot of Christians have wander away because they think that when you come to Christ everything should go well and because of this pre-conception mind many Christians and even pastors have lost this precious faith
we have in Christ. But today we are privilege to hear that when the time of suffering comes, we must have the right attitude in the face of suffering. We must not be surprise that suffering has come to a Christian like us but rather we should rejoice because in the face of suffering Jesus Christ is there for us. No wonder the bible says that he is at the right hand of God interceding for we the Christians.
Not only can every Christian respond to suffering by having the right attitude but also.
II. EVERY CHRISTIAN CAN RESPOND TO SUFFERING BY CONSIDERING SUFFERING AS A BLESSING VS 14-16.
In the context for discussion, the phrase ‘considering it as a blessing’ provides the
thought that Christians must see suffering as a beneficial thing for which one should be grateful for.
A. The believer considers suffering as a blessing when he knows that, the spirit of Glory rests on him. Vs 13a
B. The believer considers suffering as a blessing when he knows that the Spirit of God rests on him
C. The believer considers suffering as a blessing when he knows that he bears the name of Christ.
D. ILLUSTRATION: 1 Peter 5 Vs 8-10. Be self-controlled and alert your enemy the devil prows around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Vs. 9 – resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your
brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering. Vs. 10 and the God of all grace, who called you to his internal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast to him be the power forever and ever, Amen.
Senior ministers of the high calling and fellow student pastors, we must have it at the back of our minds that since we have accepted the fact that we will follow Jesus and his examples there is no way we can do away with suffering but the Bible encourages us today that when it comes we must see it as a blessing and
also at that same time, the spirit of glory and of God rest on us and so we will not be put to shame we must remember that Jesus said I will not leave you comfortless but I will pray the father he will give the comforter .and he will be with you forever.
We must also know that the suffering helps us to bear the name of Jesus Christ.
Apart from every Christian responding to suffering by having the right attitude and also by considering it as a blessing.
III. EVERY CHRISTIAN CAN RESPOND TO SUFFERING BY KNOWING THAT SUFFERING AS A CHRISTIAN IS GOD’S WILL.
A. The Christian who knows that suffering is God’s will commits him or herself to God Vs 19a
B. The Christian who knows that suffering is God’s will continues to do good Vs 19b
The phrase ‘suffer according to God’s will’ suggest that suffering because of the Work of God is pleasing to the father, since it is His will that all Christians will serve Him well.
C. ILLUSTRATION: Proverbs 16 Vs 3
Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.
Senior ministers and fellow student of the high calling, one of the most
important thing as Christians we must know is that, as long as we are on the field of souls, challenges will come. Our Lord and Master Savior Jesus told us in this world, we will go through persecutions and sufferings, but we should not be worried, because He will never leave us or forsake us. It is good for us to know that, when we suffer for God’s sake, we are not making a mistake, so we should commit ourselves to the Lord and continue to do good, even though sometimes people who persecute us, might need our help and we should not deny them.
We the Christian in the twenty first century must know that suffering for
doing the right thing is not a curse but rather helps us to prove our faith, love and perseverance for our calling into God ‘s service.
1. I want to remind you once again that every Christian can respond to suffering by having the Right attitude in the face of suffering.
2. Also every Christian can respond to suffering by considering it as a blessing.
3. Finally, every Christian can respond to suffering by knowing that suffering as a Christian is God’s will.