Getting ready for Sufferings
1 Peter 3:13 – 14
Christian living is indeed a very broad topic and the previous lessons we have taken here is not the complete but only a portion. As we have learned at the beginning, Peter wrote this Epistle to exhort Christians who are suffering. Christians, in fact all people living here on earth will experience suffering regardless of whether who he is. It doesn’t matter what color you are, rich, poor, smart, not smart, beautiful, ugly, strong, weak, healthy, sickly, etc., we will all somehow suffer. No one is exempted from suffering and some will suffer more than the others. Peter gives us some pointers on how to respond to suffering.
I. Be followers of what is good – 1 Pet. 3:13
A. Be Godly or Spiritual
B. The Word of God tells us that suffering come because people are living Godly lives. (2 Tim. 3:12).
C. In our society at present, it is unusual for people to harm those individuals who are zealous in doing good, though it still happens.
D. Even then, living according to the Word of God is the best way to live.
E. However, it is still not an assurance that our godliness or spirituality will please a lot of people who may hurt your feelings but they cannot harm you because Jesus Christ will always protect you. Nothing happens to us outside God’s providential care.
F. The word “harm” in the first part of this verse means discrediting our testimony. Truly people can hurt us cannot harm our testimony.
G. To be “follower” means to be an imitator, one who is deeply committed to something and is therefore zealous.
Illustration: Zealous Men
Zeal in religion is a burning desire to please God, to do His will, and to advance His glory in the world in every possible way. It is a desire which no man feels by nature-which the Spirit puts in the heart of every believer when he is converted-but which some believers feel so much more strongly than others that they alone deserve to be called ‘zealous’ men.
We must be zealous in doing what is good even in the midst of sufferings.
II. Remember you are blessed if you suffer for Christ. 1 Pet. 3:14
A. The word happy here is blessed in Greek.
B. It is different from the word “blessing” as used in 1 Pet. 3:9
C. Suffering for the sake of Christ is a blessing or a privilege.
D. Suffering for righteousness or suffering for Christ is suffering for taking a stand for what is absolutely right.
E. In a special way, God blesses people who suffers for His sake.
F. If you suffer for Christ sake, the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 1 Pet. 4:14
G. Suffering for doing well is better than suffering for doing evil. 1 Pet. 3:17.
H. Suffering for Christ is only temporary but suffering for evil is for a long time, eternal.
Illustration: Suffering for Christ
1. Suffering for righteousness’ sake – 1 Peter 3:14
2. Suffering for Godly living – 2 Tim. 2:12
3. Suffering for the kingdom of God – 2 Thess. 1:5
4. Suffering as a Christian – 1 Peter 4:16
5. Suffering for Christ’s sake – Phil. 1:29
6. Suffering and glory- 1 Peter 5:1
Illustration: What Became of the Twelve Disciples?
1. John died of extreme old age in Ephesus.
2. Judas Iscariot, after betraying his Lord, hanged himself.
3. Peter was crucified, head downward, during the persecution of Nero.
4. Andrew died on a cross at Patrae, in Achaia, a Grecian Colony.
5. James, the younger brother of the Savior, was thrown from a pinnacle of the Temple, and then beaten to death with a club.
6. Bartholomew was flayed alive in Albanapolis, Armenia.
7. James, the elder son of Zebedee, was beheaded at Jerusalem.
8. Thomas, the doubter, was run through the body with a lance at Coromandel, in the east Indies.
9. Philip was hanged against a pillar at Heropolis (Abyssinia).
10. Thaddeus was shot to death with arrows.
11. Simon died on a cross in Persia (now Iran).
III. Do not be afraid of their terror. 1 Pet. 3:14b
A. In Greek, “Do not fear their fear”, a term difficult to translate.
B. The fear here is the fear that causes “terror” or “panic”.
C. I think the idea here is we are not to be scared of whatever people will use in intimidating us.
D. We are exhorted by the Bible to “Fear not”. (Isa. 41:10, Isa. 43:1, Ps. 23:4)
Illustration: The Hermit
Seeking to know God better, John Chrysostom became a hermit in the mountains near Antioch in A.D. 373. Although his time of isolation was cut short by illness, he learned that with God at his side, he could attend alone against anyone or anything.
That lesson served Chrysostom well. In A.D. 398 he was appointed patriarch of Constantinople, where his zeal for reform antagonized the Empress Eudoxia, who had him exiled. Allowed to return after a short time, Chrysostom again infuriated Eudoxia, who sent him away again. How did Chrysostom respond to such persecution? With these words:
“What can I fear? Will it be death? But you know that Christ is my life, and that I shall gain by death. Will it be exile? But the earth and all its fullness are the Lord’s. Poverty I do not fear; riches I do not sigh for; and from death I do not shrink.”
IV. Nor be troubled
A. Troubled here means to stir, to agitate.
B. Thayer defines it as to cause one inward commotion, to take away his calmness of mind, disturb his equanimity, to disquiet, to make restless.
C. This portion of the verse means that we do not allow ourselves to be disturbed, disquieted.
D. People can trouble our minds. We must not allow them according to this verse.
E. Three verse I usually look or remember when I’m in trouble:
1. Psalm 34:6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
2. Psalm 34:17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
3. Psalm 50:15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
Suffering for Christ’s sake is better than suffering for doing evil. We all will suffer. The question is will you be faithful to Christ in the midst of suffering? Will you still be zealous in doing good? Will you call Christ in times of trouble?