Service Video Message Video Message Audio %} Scripture Verses 1 Peter 4:12-19; 1:5-9; Romans 8:28-39, John 12:27-28 Worship Playlist God of the Promise by Elevation Worship Living Hope by Bethany WohrlePrepare Him Room by Paul BalocheForever Reign by Hillsong Study Questions Read about a fiery ordeal in Daniel 3:8-25. What was the attitude of the three men?When have you suffered for doing good? Did it strengthen or weaken your faith?Why is suffering associated with God's glory?Read Acts 6:8-60. What do you learn about suffering from the account of Stephen? Resources Read and reread 1 Peter each week over this sermon series. One of the shorter books of the Bible, it takes just 16 minutes to read. The full text is in your Stand Firm sermon series booklet. You can also read it or listen to it read in various translations at www.biblegateway.com Downloads & Resources Stand Firm in the Face of Suffering Dr. Jon Morrissette - 11/29/2020 When I went to Bible College, my parents had set aside enough money for me to get me through a few semesters. But I didn’t wait that long to begin looking for work. I turned over every stone I saw, searching for work. I did yard work for faculty, worked in maintenance, the mailroom, cleaned a dentist office at night. By my sophomore year, I was preaching every weekend at a Church of twenty people. *The only way to begin a new semester was to pay off each current semester in full. There was one job that was incredibly unique. A small business called “Rapture Inc.” was looking for workers who could squeeze in a few daytime hours. I quickly learned that Rapture Inc. was owned by a Baptist family. Every day they blasted Moody Bible radio over the speakers. I’d never met anyone more obsessed with the Rapture—the coming return of Jesus—than perhaps my mother. The father would daily quiz me about what I was learning and challenge my thinking. He didn’t want me being another Christian flake. Every word of the Bible was to be read and believed! The owner was an entrepreneur and inventor. He’d designed a process where he could take a computer image (like a school logo) and turn it into a piece of jewelry and begin manufacturing it, in days! My job was to take a ladle and pour molten sterling silver into a molding machine, that was spinning molds around, at hundreds of RPMs. If I poured too much metal into the machine it would splatter all over the place. If I didn’t pour enough, the pieces in the mold would be malformed, and the owner would yell at me for not being productive! The more he yelled, the more determined I became to master the process. He tried to fire me several times, but I refused to quit! I was most intrigued by the pot of molten metal. It was so hot. As I threw the precious pieces of molten metal into the fiery pot, the impurities would come to the surface, and I’d skim them off. New metal. Splattered metal. Not an ounce of metal ever got wasted. Here is my point. The fire could destroy any/everything, but it couldn’t destroy the metal alloy. The higher the temperature grew. The nastier the flames licked that molten metal, the more pure it became.Surviving the Fiery Ordeals of Life This is the picture of faith the Apostle Peter presents in 1 Peter 4:12 (CSB). He says, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you, as if something unusual were happening to you.” Fiery ordeal! Whatever is Peter talking about? I’ve become convinced that the fire comes from the blast furnace of the world, or perhaps even the blast furnace of hell itself. The Devil (whom we’ll hear about in chapter 5) is continually trying to melt/destroy our faith. But. . . But praise be to God! The Devil and his demons and his fire is bound. The fire, no matter how wicked or hot, cannot destroy our faith, it can only purify it. Do you remember what Peter wrote back in 1 Peter 1:5-7 (CSB)? (It’s the same thing he talks about again here in 1 Peter 4:12-19). He said, “5 You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials. 7 so that the proven character of your faith—more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire—may result in the praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Holy Smokes (literally)! Satan is doing scorched earth spiritual warfare; but through faith God is not only guarding me, he’s refining and proving my faith! Peter says in 1 Peter 1:6 that we can rejoice in the fire—because God keeps on working, sanctifying us, no matter what fiery ordeal comes upon us! In 1 Peter 4:12 (CSB) Peter says, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you. . .” “. . . Don’t act as if something unusual were happening to you.” Hey I’ll confess, I’ve done my share of moaning and crying and whining through the years. “God if you love me and called me into ministry, why you making me clean toilets, tar roofs, sort school mail, paint dorm rooms, and work for Baptists!” In 1 Peter 4:13 (CSB) Peter says stop crying! Church, are you ready to receive the word of God? Peter says, “Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may also rejoice with great joy when his glory is revealed.” Don’t you just hate that word: “Instead?” “Instead” of crying, he says, “Rejoice!” Come on Lord! Really? It’s like last week Peter commands us to, “Offer Hospitality.” Okay sure, fine. If you say so Lord. But then Peter throws that right hook. “Offer hospitality without grumbling!” Come on Lord! Do I really have to try to feel good about it? Do I really have to rejoice? YES! Peter says, “rejoice as you share in the sufferings of Christ. . .” Not only later, after the pain is gone, but “as” the pain is happening. “Rejoice with great joy!” Why? Because the glory of God is being revealed in your life and God’s world! 1 Peter 1:8-9 (CSB), “Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” This is how it works folks. The Devil brings his fire. But the hotter the heat, the greater our sanctification, the purer our faith, and greater glory of God grows! If you don’t welcome and rejoice in what God does through faith, you sure won’t enjoy what the Devil and the world does to those of unbelief. Look at 1 Peter 4:14 (CSB), “If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” Oh how I love this verse! No matter what the world throws at me. . . no matter what other people throw at me. . . no matter what the Devil himself throws at me. . . The Spirit of glory and of God is with me. If we could ever get tired of hearing Romans 8, this is Peter’s version! Romans 8:35, “Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” Romans 8:38-39 (CSB), “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:28-30 (CSB) (I’m reading it slightly out of order for affect.) “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.” The devil can blast us with fire but he can’t destroy us… nor can he separate us from God… and nor can he deter God. God just keeps working for our good, working out his purpose, conforming us, sanctifying us, justifying us. . . and taking glory for himself all the way through. The only think that destroy, separate, or deter God’s work isn’t what God does, not what the Devil does, its whether we have faith or not. . . whether we believe or not. . . entrust yourselves to God! Faith is about obeying God through the fire… . . . like Daniel’s companions Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego… thrown into the fiery furnace… what did they do? They danced/praised God! . . . like the Israelites who were baptized into Moses and the Red Sea. There they stood, a million Israelites, at the edge of the Red Sea. “Gee do we trust God? Do we pass through the water into God’s promise? Or, do we get annihilated by the Egyptians?” God made a way for them and parted the water, way of faith! . . . like Noah, that preacher of righteousness Peter mentions in 1 Peter 3:18. “Gee, do I keep preaching righteousness? Do I keep building this ark?” His family eight in all saved through water while world was destroyed. . . . like our baptism. There we stand. God has made a way to save us through the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus Christ. “Gee do I confess my faith/confidence in God? Do I repent of my sin and let God bury my old self in this water grave? Do I let God’s Spirit wash and regenerate me and give me new birth? Do I let God raise me out of these waters to live a new life. . . a life justified by the blood of Christ (instead of my pathetic excuses), a life sanctified (made pure/holy) by the power of God, a life filled with promises, an inheritance yet to be made known, in the day of Christ Jesus?” Um, what are you waiting for get up and be baptized! The Devil looks scary. The Egyptians. The Fiery furnace. The Evil world of Noah. God’s made a way of salvation. It’s called faith. Trust him! When the darkness encroached upon Jesus do you remember what he prayed? John 12:27-28 (CSB), “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? No, it is for this purpose that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name! Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” Do you see what insight Jesus gave? We want to be saved “from” affliction. We want to bypass suffering, pain, hardships. But God saves us “through” such fiery ordeals, and even more, glorifies himself through such fiery ordeals. It was the recognition of God’s glory being manifest through his faith that so encouraged and sustained Jesus during the darkest hours of his life. 1 Peter 4:15-16 (CSB), “Let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a meddler. But if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed but let him glorify God in having that name.” Jesus may have died on a cross for murderers, thieves, and evildoers but make no mistake, he was no murderer, thief nor evildoer. We can’t whiplash back into evil; suffering must be a springboard to grow into greater conformity to Christ! 1 Peter 4:17-18 (CSB), “For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God? 18 And if a righteous person is saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" If you have faith, you shouldn’t worry so much about yourself. Who we should be worrying about is those without faith, who disobey, the ungodly and sinners. Without the gospel, apart from faith in Jesus Christ, they are being consumed (not refined/sanctified/saved) through fire. We must preach the gospel so that none be lost, but all be saved, through faith in Jesus. There is only one way for us, and it’s the way of Jesus/Cross. 1 Peter 4:19 (CSB), “19 So then, let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator while doing what is good.” And let them also suffer while “rejoicing with great joy" (1 Peter 4:13, CSB).