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Sep 11, 2016 | Allen Hern

1 Peter 4:12-19 - Suffering for God's Glory

So I guess that Christians aren’t exempt from suffering after all!

    It is true that Christians here in Canada and the west have been protected from real suffering for Jesus more than those in many lands. I shared with the folk at Prayer Meeting on Wednesday a quote from Christians in prison who were saved by hearing the Word of God over radio transmissions from Far East Broadcast When they heard of other Christians suffering in other lands they actually rejoiced because it told them that they were not alone in suffering for Christ.

    Well we have been marvellously protected up to now, but we are the exception rather than the rule.

    From the first chapter of First Peter, when we learned about rejoicing in spite of being grieved by various trials, we have seen that the Christian life is no easy street to glory. Instead this book has been teaching us to be triumphant in the midst of trials. So let’s make sure that when we do go through difficult experiences that we are “Suffering for God’s Glory”. I have 3 main points:

  1. Showing God’s Glory in Extreme Trials
  2. Showing God’s Glory in Every day, Garden Variety Trials.
  3. Showing God’s Glory to Those Who Don’t Believe.


  1. Showing God’s Glory in Extreme Trials


  1. Don’t be surprised by Extreme Trials:

    1 Peter 4:12 “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;”

    The believers Peter was writing to were no strangers to suffering. They were

scattered abroad through many countries because of the persecution which had taken place in Jerusalem. Peter and the other apostles had experienced imprisonment and beatings. James had been put to death, and Herod had planned to kill Peter also. Then Stephen was stoned to death for his faith and Saul went on his rampage against the Christians. That persecution caused the believers to be scattered abroad, and they went everywhere preaching the gospel. Saul was converted and became a great preacher of the gospel, suffering many beatings and imprisonments for his faith.

    But now, the believers were about to face a fiery trial greater than they had even imagined. In 64 A.D. Rome burned, and Nero placed the blame on the Christians. By every conceivable means, Christians were put to death. They were crucified; they were burned at the stake, they were thrown to wild beasts. Peter himself was crucified in that persecution. Two years later Paul was martyred also.

    And this began a series of 10 major persecutions under various Roman Emperors down to the 4th century. Small wonder that peter wrote to these Christians”    Down through the centuries, Christians have suffered intense persecution for believing in Jesus Christ. Some of it was at the hands of the Romans. Believe it or not, much of it has been at the hands of those who claimed to be Christians. The Roman Catholic Church  persecuted the Reformers. Incredibly, the Reformers persecuted the Anabaptists who insisted on re-baptizing those who became believers. You may have heard of the Waldenses, or the Lollards, or the Huguenots. Whole populations of evangelical believers have been wiped out through these 2000 years.

    And what of today? Have we escaped the days of martyrdom? No, in fact, it is claimed that there have been more Christians slain for their faith in the 20th century than ever before in history. In many lands, to be baptized as a Christian, is to invite beatings, and even death.

    How are Christians to glorify God in the midst of fiery trials? They are not to be surprised by these times of testing. Instead, Peter encourages them to 13 “rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

    You note that the suffering of believers is called the sufferings of Christ. When Saul was persecuting the church of God, Jesus appeared to him and asked him “why are you persecuting me?” In other words, when the millions of believers in many lands are experiencing extreme suffering, Christ is with them receiving their suffering as His own.   

    Christians must always remember that death is not the end of the story. Christ is coming back. His glory is going to be revealed for all the world to see. Those who have stood fast for Jesus will experience a joy and blessing far greater than anything they have suffered.


    But we have not all been called upon to lay down our lives for Jesus. Here in Canada, we have enjoyed freedom to believe and to go to church, and to share our faith with others. Christians do experience reaction and rejection. I call this:


  1. Showing God’s Glory in Every day, Garden Variety Trials.

    14 “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.”

    There is a big difference between persecution and reproach. Reproach sounds more like being laughed at, or taunted, or bullied. You probably have experienced some of this right here in Kamloops. Family members can make life miserable for a Christian. Unsaved husbands or wives or parents can mock and ridicule the believer’s faith as much or more than other unsaved people in our acquaintance.  Don’t expect everyone to admire you for being a Christian. Some can be downright nasty, and it is not true that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me!” Words do hurt. Angry looks hurt. A feeling of being rejected hurts.   

    After you become a Christian and turn away from bad language, it hurts to hear people use foul speech ridiculing God and God’s work and God’s grace. It hurts to hear Christian faith ridiculed and the name of Jesus blasphemed.

    So how do we deal with these garden variety trials?

    The Word of God says that you are to consider yourself blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. Do you remember the Shekinah glory in the Old Testament? There was a cloud of glory over the tabernacle which demonstrated the presence of God. And do you know what? If you are living for Jesus Christ as you ought to be, there is an aura about you, there is something about you, that people recognize. It may be that you don’t use bad language as others do. It may be that there is something loving and kind and gracious and generous about you. It’s not a matter of shoving our Christianity in people’s faces. But the love of Christ should show up on your face, it should shine out through your eyes, it should be evident in your speech.

    Some will be attracted to you because of it.

    Others will be repulsed. For a reason they can’t even understand they may dislike you, even hate you.

    Jesus told us what to expect. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you. A servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you..” John 15: 18 - 20

    Luke 6:22  Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, and revile [you], and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.23  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward [is] great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.”

    None of us like to be hated or reproached. We want to be liked by people. On the other hand, if everyone likes you, if you are popular with everyone, it may be because you are too much like the world.

    Again, just make sure that you are suffering for the right reason. 15 “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”


  1. Showing God’s Glory to Those Who Don’t Believe.

    But what does this next sentence mean? 17  For the time has come for judgment to be gin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18  Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"

    Some have suggested that this is talking about the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70. I don’t think that is it at all. Do you remember where we find God’s temple, God’s dwelling place, God’s house, since Jesus went back to heaven? Do you remember that God’s temple today is made up of believers, of living stones?

    What I think this passage is saying, is that God does not even spare those who are part of His body, part of His temple. God watches over us. He disciplines us, and when we do wrong, His Spirit convicts us. He even allows circumstances to put us to the test, and to refine our faith.

    So, if God even allows His own people to be tested by fire, what about those who have not trusted Christ? This is a most solemn sentence: “ what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18  Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"

    Oh, dear ones, when you watch the t.v., when you watch sitcoms, it appears as though living for this world is the way to be riotously happy. When you watch people under the influence of alcohol, it may appear for a while that life without God is fun, and is full of joking and laughter.

    But, oh, dear ones, listen to these words: Romans 1:18 “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,” Again the Word speaks of a day when God “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:8     Dear ones, life without Christ is no laughing matter. Death without Christ does not let people join “the party in the sky”. There is a judgement day coming, and there is a hell that involves eternal separation from God..

    Yes, Christians may have to go through trials here on earth, but our period of suffering is temporary, and we know that we shall have all eternity to rejoice in God our Saviour.

    But what does the unsaved person have to look forward to? No wonder it has become increasingly popular to believe that life ends at death, and that there is nothing beyond it. But that belief is not based on truth, dear ones. The Word of God tells us the truth about the future. Jesus is coming back, and all will be judged according to His righteous and all knowing judgement.

    Ought you not to make sure that you meet Him now in grace, rather than then, in judgement?

    That is why I invite you week by week to receive Jesus Christ as your own personal Saviour.


    Messages on suffering are not a lot of fun to listen to; they are not a lot of un to preach, but even lessons on suffering are full of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    So, as you face whatever the Lord may allow in your life, remember: 19 “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”

    This is the way to make sure that we are truly “Suffering for God’s Glory”.


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