We had a God-blessed series of revival meetings last week. We thank the good preachers, Vicki Braun, Josh Lindsey and Dennis Ivey, and we thank all who came. May God bring revival to our county and country!
The Sunset pastor continued our series, “First Peter—Trials, Pilgrimage, Courage and Hope” with a message, “Painful Trials.” The text, 1 Peter 4:12: “Dear friends, do not surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice….”
We’ve come to a Scripture having to do with pain and suffering—which for most of the world for most of human history is a familiar and accepted theme, but which for us in America—a nation historically extra blessed by God—is not as familiar and not as accepted.
The pastor made three points: (1) Five Sources of Suffering; (2) No Surprises; (3) What to Do.
(1) Five Sources of Suffering. In our text Peter mentions one source of suffering for Christians, but in the Bible there are at least five sources of suffering which I want us to note.
(a) Natural Degeneration. The first and most obvious source of our suffering has to do with the fact that we all eventually die. God said to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2): “You must not eat from the tree…, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” They ate, and they died.
(b) Wrongdoing. Peter says, v15: “If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.” Sometimes people bring suffering on themselves in this life by doing wrong.
Paul wrote (Galatians 6): “We reap what we sow.” If we do wrong, suffering will follow.
(c) Caught in the Net. Sometimes in the judgment of God, good people might be caught in the net—suffering alongside their wicked neighbors.
The good prophet Daniel, and his three godly friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, were caught up in the net of God’s judgment on Judah and Jerusalem. They went to Babylon in the captivity, and there they served the Lord, experiencing some suffering along the way.
If God judges America for our great sins (and judgment may have already begun), God’s people may be in the mix, but God will take care of them there.
(d) Chance Suffering. Ecclesiastes 9:11: “Time and chance happen to them all.” Sunset leaders Grady Edge Sr. and his wife Xemina died in a 1971 car accident. Sometimes Christian people die in a tornado or a hurricane. God receives them in heaven.
(e) Suffering for our Faith. V13, “But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
In many places in the world today—where it is illegal to build a church building, have a cross on it, own a Bible, or teach their children about the faith—God’s people are rejoicing that they are participating in the sufferings of Christ.
V14: “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, … If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God….” There is no higher calling—and no higher honor—than to be called a Christian.
(2) No Surprises. V12: Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” In a world mixed with God’s people and the devil, anything can happen. Jesus came to save a lost world, and in so doing, he was killed. We follow in his steps.
(3) What To Do. V19: “Those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” Commit your way to God. Continue to do His will. He will take care of you.
“It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.” [Psalm 92:1-2]
May we all praise God daily—it’s the best antidote for the devil’s work—our prayer for you from your friends at Sunset Christian Church.