May 7: Suffering in Persecution (1 Peter 4:12-19)
Prepare for Sunday morning worship using the guide below.
Scott Forney will continue a series going through Tim Keller's "Meaning of Marriage" at 10 am in the youth room. There will also be a group in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project (currently going through the Old Testament).
1 Peter 4:12-19
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 lentrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Drawing near to the end of his letter, Peter gives further sobering instruction to the church on living as exiles in a hostile word, particularly in regard to our response to the “fiery trial” of persecution. He encourages a joyful level-headedness, knowing we’re sharing in Christ’s sufferings. And he warns us that we should suffer for Christ, not for sin. He reminds us of the coming judgment that is at work even now in the refining fire we see in the church, as we faithfully suffer insults and mistreatment for the sake of the name. But the judgment to come on those who do not believe will mean destruction. Finally, he urges us to entrust ourselves to God.
Review and Apply
1) How have you experienced social exclusion or insult because of your faith in Christ? How did you respond? What fruit have you seen God bear in your life through that experience?
2) When you think about evangelism, what is your greatest fear?
3) How is it possible to rejoice when you’ve been slandered or mistreated as a Christian?
4) Peter says we “suffer according to God’s will.” How do you understand this? Is it offensive? Comforting? Has your perspective changed over time?