Good News for Hard Times: Week 5
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key verse: I Peter 1:6 NLT So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.
Last week, we talked about the protection of God promised in His Word. Regardless of what we may face in the days to come in our lives, God has already promised He will protect us. What a great joy it is to know we have the God of the universe on our side.
1 John 4:4 NLT But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.
Today, we will look at I Peter 4:7-5:13
Reality #5: Our suffering will never end
Job 14:1 NLT How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble!
• This is true because of the presence of sin
Response #5: Jesus gives the victory
Romans 5:17b NLT But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.
Be encouraged: God calls us to encourage others
I Peter 4:7-8 NLT The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. 8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.
• As we suffer, we have been made stronger
Be encouraged: Our suffering helps us reach others
I Peter 4:9-11 NLT Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. 10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as
though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
• He will give us what is needed to overcome
I Peter 4:12-13 NLT Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
• Our suffering makes us more like Him
• Our suffering reveals His glory
I Peter 4:14-19 NLT If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. 15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s
affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! 17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those
who have never obeyed God’s Good News? 18 And also, “If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?” 19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.
• The power of God will always deliver us
• Therefore, stay focused on doing what is right
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Be encouraged: God uses our suffering for good
I Peter 5:1-7 NLT And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: 2 Care for the flock that
God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. 4 And when the Great
Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor. 5 In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.” 6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
• When we try to live without Him it always results in pride
• Pride will ALWAYS lead to opposition from God
• Humility will ALWAYS reveal the power of God
“humble” = those who acknowledge that only God is God and that they need God.
“Grace” = “favor” in this context. Contrast with “opposes” (i.e. oppose any progress they attempt to make) the proud. God will allow humble people who are dependent upon God to make progress in their spiritual lives. Believers should heed the injunction to be humble because God sets his face against the proud, but he lavishes his grace upon the humble. Those who submit to God’s sovereignty in humility will find that he will lift them up and reward them.
Be encouraged: We stand together
I Peter 5:8-11 NLT Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is
going through the same kind of suffering you are. 10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen.
• Your faith is the source of your strength
• You are called to stand with Him
• Your suffering now will result in glory later
talk...Peter himself was suffering and knew what persecution was all about. Notice the word “Babylon” in the verses below – it was a codeword to other Christians at this time in the Ancient world to mean “Rome.” But in times of persecution, they came up with code-words for where they were and where other people were. So, instead of stating they were in “Rome,” Christians code-named Rome as “Babylon.”
Babylon is a reference to the city of Rome, which was increasingly called by this name by both Jews and Christians. The nickname expressed the fact that the Christians in the city felt themselves to be in exile in a foreign land, a city of luxury and sin and the oppressor of God’s people. This identification also corresponds to Peter’s earlier description of the Christians in the city as aliens and strangers in the world (2:11).
This shows that Peter was himself dealing with persecution and suffering. Thus, ALL his advice and encouragements were not just words given by an Apostle who had it all together, he was living through suffering while he was writing this letter! Ironically, tradition tells us that Peter was found two years after writing this letter and was martyred near Rome for the cause of Christ. He rejoiced in the ultimate victory of being home with the Lord!!
I Peter 5:12-14 I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas, whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace. 13 Your sister church here in Babylon sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet each other with a kiss of love. Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.
• Even in our suffering we can find peace