The Master’s Class, Summit Church
HOW SHOULD A BELIEVER REACT TO SUFFERING? (1 Peter 4:7-11)

HOW SHOULD A BELIEVER REACT TO SUFFERING? (1 Peter 4:7-11)

August 28, 2016
Do you remember your parents telling you that a little bit of suffering will do you some good?  Mine did, and their intent was that I should learn how to react to tough situations.  My father would say things like, “Life is hard, and you need to be tough to get through it.”  “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”  “Iron sharpens iron.”  The reaction of a person to hardships will say a lot about their character.  If you want to succeed in the secular world, your reaction to suffering must be to get tough, to use suffering to build tenacity, and determination, as well as confidence in your ability to face hardships.  You become more self-confident and less dependent on others. 

This is the opposite of the reaction that God wants from His children.  As a believer faces persecution, God wants them to become more dependent on Him, and less dependent on themselves.  God knows our weaknesses better than we do, and He wants to use our weakness to bring glory to His name.

2 Cor 12:9-10
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
KJV

Paul says, “for when I am weak, then am I strong,” meaning I am strongest when I am leaning on God.  So the answer to the question that I started the lesson with, How should a believer react to suffering, is they are to lean more on God.  

What happens to our concern about persecution when we lean on God to carry us through persecution?  Our concern becomes less and less the more we lean on God, and as my worry goes down, my heart is filled with joy in Christ.  This is why Paul can say, Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Rejoicing in being persecuted for Christ’s sake is the theme that Peter has for us in the last half of this chapter, but he doesn’t go there yet.  First, he builds the foundation that a believer needs in order to truly be able to rejoice when persecution comes.  

Listen to this podcast to learn how the believer can use prayer to connect them to the power of the Holy Spirit of God, and it this power, God’s power, that will carry you through persecution. 
THE CAUSE OF SUFFERING (1 Peter 4:3-7)

THE CAUSE OF SUFFERING (1 Peter 4:3-7)

August 23, 2016
Last week we began this section on why we suffer for our faith.  Peter has told us that we are in enemy territory, and we cannot expect to get through it unscathed.  Jesus tells us that since He was persecuted even unto death, then His servants will be persecuted as well.  But the wonderful good news of this chapter is that we can get through it victoriously, and in fact, God expects us to do just that.  We are not to spend the rest of our lives giving way to our flesh or to our fears.  We are to live in harmony with God's will, whatever that may be.  We preach the gospel message of Christ because of the coming Great White Throne Judgment, where all of those who reject Christ will be judged.  It is God’s desire that this gospel is preached to each person before they die, and if they don’t respond to the Gospel, then God makes it very clear that they are already dead in “trespasses and sins.” But if they accept Christ, they can then “live according to God in the Spirit.”  The Bible repeats this message of death and life over and over again.  When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we pass from death to life.  

John 5:24
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
KJV

Jesus is the resurrection, and the life.  When we believe in Him, we are no longer dead, instead we have life.  

John 11:25-26
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
KJV

We know that we are raised from the dead to walk in the newness of life.

Rom 6:4
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
KJV

Paul continues with this message in

Eph 2:5
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
KJV

In other words, before you and I were saved, we were dead in trespasses and sins.  We were spiritually dead.  Peter is saying the same thing here in this verse.  The gospel is being preached, and when the gospel is being preached, two things happen.  Some accept it, and if they accept it, they are going to live for God and live throughout eternity.  Others reject it, and those who reject the gospel are the men who are dead in sins and are dead to God throughout eternity; that is, they have no relation to Him whatsoever. 

The cause of suffering for a believer is the sinfulness of the world that we live in.  We are not of this world, and because we stand against the sin of this world, we will be persecuted.  We will have lies told about us.  We will face judgment at the hands of the ones in leadership positions of this world.  Peter did.  Paul did.  Jesus did.  Therefore, we will also.  The wonderful good news is that on the other side of the grave is a Savior with His hands outstretched saying “Welcome thou good and faithful servant.”  

Listen to this podcast to learn the true cause of the suffering that a believer encounters as he stands for Christ.
WHY WE SUFFER (1 Peter 3:21 to 4:2)

WHY WE SUFFER (1 Peter 3:21 to 4:2)

August 14, 2016
A large part of this book has been addressed by Peter to people who are undergoing incredibly severe torture and death for their faith in Christ.  It is easy to understand how people who are facing this type of constant persecution would be discouraged, even asking God why He is allowing this to occur.  Peter understands this and he is writing this section of the letter to help them deal with it.  So God has provided these lessons to us, as believers, in order to show us how we are to deal with the persecution that we face, in whatever form that it takes.  

Christ has told us to expect persecution.  

John 15:18-21
18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
KJV

Peter dedicates this whole section to helping believers know why we are being persecuted for our faith in Christ, and how to deal with that persecution.  Our faith is in Christ, and we know that our Lord will provide for our needs during this time.  He will provide the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us, strengthen us, and encourage us.  This is our faith.  Christ will not fail us. The wonderful good news is that Jesus Christ is alive and enthroned at the right hand of God! It is an unfortunate fact that the history of mankind is full of monsters like Nero.  They each have their day, but no matter how strong they are, no matter how evil they are, nothing they do can alter the fact that Jesus now sits on the supreme throne of the universe.  The mystery of the suffering of God's people is a mystery as great as the mystery of iniquity.  All we see down here are the seemingly tangled threads on the reverse side of the tapestry of life.  When we get to heaven, we shall see the magnificent picture on its other side.  Meanwhile, Christ is on the throne.  That certain fact is the foundation of our promise, our hope, and our faith.

We are in enemy territory.  We cannot expect to get through it unscathed.  But we can get through it victoriously.  God expects us to do just that. We are not to spend the rest of our lives giving way to our flesh or to our fears.  We are to live in harmony with God's will, whatever that may be.  

Why do we suffer?  God says that He will use suffering in your life in order to keep you from sin, “That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”  This means that we no longer take life for granted, for we have suffered, and that God will use that suffering to keep us from sin.
THE GOD-PLANNED PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S SUFFERING (1 Peter 3:16-20)

THE GOD-PLANNED PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S SUFFERING (1 Peter 3:16-20)

August 7, 2016
Certainly, the best example we have of how to prepare ourselves to endure the suffering and persecution for our faith in Christ, is Christ Himself.  Christ is not asking us to do anything that He Himself has not endured.  In fact, the persecution and suffering that Christ endured was far greater than anything we can imagine.  But there was a God-planned purpose in Christ coming to this world knowing that He would be persecuted even unto death, just as there is a God-planned purpose in our suffering as well.  The fact that the Son of God entered into human life and became a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief is truly an awesome thing to consider.  

1 Peter 3:18
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
KJV

This verse explains exactly what Christ did when He died on the cross.  It tells us why Christ died and what the death of Christ does for man.  It is so clear, that it leaves the reader without an excuse.  Why did Christ have to suffer and die?

It was for the sins of all mankind that He died.  Man is sinful, he stands guilty before God.  Man has to be judged; he has to bear the punishment for his sins.  

What is that punishment?  Death and separation from God forever.  

But this is the glorious gospel; this is the declaration of this great verse: Jesus Christ died for our sins.  He took the sin and guilt of man upon Himself and bore the judgment and punishment for man.  Note one other fact: Jesus died once for our sins.  His death never has to be repeated.  His death upon the cross satisfies God completely and covers the sins and death of believers forever.  Notice carefully that I said believers.  Christ died for the sins of all mankind so that the question is no longer have you sinned or not?  

If you wish to have eternal life with Christ in heaven, the question is now, did you accept the free gift of grace that God has offered you by sending Christ to die in your place?  Have you made Christ your Lord and Savior?  Once you have said yes to this, then nobody can take your salvation away from you, and you cannot do anything to lose it.  For if you could, Christ would have to die again for your sins to be forgiven.

Christ died so that he might bring us to God.  It is our sin that separates us from God.  It is our sin that makes us imperfect and unacceptable to God.  But note the most wonderful truth, when Jesus Christ took our sin upon Himself, sin was removed from us.  Therefore, as believers we stand before God in the righteousness and sinlessness of Christ.  We are made righteous in Christ.

The vicarious atonement accomplished for us by Christ on Calvary's cross is the great God-planned reason for His sufferings.