Sermon on February 14 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: 1 Peter 3:18-22
This could arguably be the most difficult passage in the New Testament. So don’t lose the wood for all the trees. We will get to the ark next week….
When suffering squeezes you:
1. BE BOLD – JESUS HAS ALWAYS TASTED THE WORST! (v17-19)
- What Jesus endured once is no longer so
Jesus has the power to reverse anything! His life on earth was submission to the worst evil authorities could do. His suffering led to His victory and now all are in submission to Him
- Where Jesus has gone only He could go
At the Cross Jesus tasted hell for all who believe. If He has tasted the worst, then He will sanctify our worst sufferings to shape us for heaven
2. BE PATIENT – JESUS ALWAYS CONTROLS THE STORY! (v20)
- If Jesus is King, the fog of suffering will lift
It is not easy to see Jesus in suffering. Remember, the gloom of Easter Saturday lifted with one glimpse of the Risen Jesus
- Since Jesus is King, enduring is never loss
Suffering is no sign that you have been forgotten. If you have been brought to God through Jesus, suffering will bring gain.
3. BE STRONG – JESUS ALWAYS WINS THE DAY! (v21b-22)
- Rejoice – whatever you face, Christ is greater
‘Father don’t do me the injustice of having a traitor as a parent..’ (A teenage martyr , ‘Tortured for Christ’ Richard Wurmbrand)
- Resist – whatever you face will make you stronger in Christ
The very waters that swallowed up the ungodly in Noah’s day, carried those in the ark to safety to face another day.
Remember! In the forest of life we must see the wood for the trees. Jesus tasted the worst so anyone who hangs onto Him may have the best. Are you suffering? Fix your eyes on Jesus without whose sufferings our faith could never be perfected.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
- No-one likes suffering. Think about Jesus’ suffering. What made His suffering the very worst in history? Why did He suffer and how does this impact us?
- What are the two main interpretations of Jesus ‘making proclamation to the imprisoned spirits’? (Read 2 Pet. 2:4, 5 and Jude 6). Did Jesus literally descend into hell? In what way?
- In what ways do the verses we read emphasize the victory of Jesus? How would this help you when you are treated unfairly, or when you are ridiculed for following Jesus?
- Think about the different type of suffering you have experience in your life? How does your study of this passage give you courage?
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Photo credit FreeImages.com/Alessandro Bisceglie