Sermon on May 1 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: 1 Peter 4 : 12-19
Our attitude to suffering can be a powerful witness. What do others see in you when you go through your darkest valley?
When God puts you through the fire:
1. PAUSE – AND THINK CLEARLY!
- Don’t be surprised, trials will hit you from all sides (v12a)
‘… do not be surprised’
For Jesus, entering into eternal glory meant going through the Cross, not escaping it. (John 17:1)
Abraham, Joseph, Ruth and David all had their moments of pain before their moments of glory – so it will be with us.
- Don’t be downcast, God is nearest when trials are fiercest (v14b)
‘… for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you’
The apostles were strongest when suffering most for the name of Christ. (Acts 5:41)
God’s power in the gospel is not only for salvation – if Jesus got through worse, you will get through this!
2. PRAISE – AND GROW GRACIOUSLY!
- Be glad, suffering shows that God is shaping us (v13)
‘… but rejoice … so that you may be overjoyed’
Joy does not have to know why God dies what He does. It is trusting that a good God never has an evil purpose.
‘If you can’t get a miracle, be a miracle’.
(Nick Vujicic, evangelist with no arms and legs; preached 3000 times in 57 countries)
- Be patient, the heat exposes who you really are (v13)
‘… inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ’
You become like whom you love. If you suffer and can still praise the Lord, your character shows you really love Jesus.
- Be wise, suffer for loving Jesus- not for being a pain (v15)
‘… it should not be as a murderer … or even as a meddler’
Some suffering can be of our own doing…
‘Fools give full vent to their rage but the wise bring calm in the end.’
What is the trial you are suffering saying about your desire to make much of Jesus?
“I thank God for the mountains, and I thank Him for the valleys, I thank Him for the storms He brought me through; For if I’d never had a problem, I wouldn’t know God could solve them, I’d never know what faith in His Word could do; Through it all I’ve learned to trust in Jesus… I’ve learned to trust in God… I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.”
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
- What is your gut reaction to suffering? Why? Can a Christian dare to speak of pain as a gift from God?
- Who is your favourite Old Testament character? Did he or she suffer? When and how? Why should we expect suffering, and especially for the gospel as a normal part of our life and Christian experience?
- Read Romans 5:1-5 and James 1:2-4. What do both Paul and James indicate that suffering produces? Now think of your own life? How did your time of trial and pain cast you upon the Lord? What else did it do for you?
- Spend some time in prayer. Ask the Lord, ‘What do you want to teach me through this pain? How may I make much of you in this time?’ Now pray for the persecuted church and those whom you know are enduring terrible trials for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Download the sermon (save link as…) .
Photo credit FreeImages.com/Joakim Buchwald