Suffering as a Christian

True Grace (Part 7): Suffering as a ChristianText: 1 Peter 3:13-4:6, 12-16

In this lesson, we’re going to consider what Peter said about how we will suffer as a Christian. This is a reality that we will have to deal with and there are several reasons why we will suffer in this way.

We May Suffer for Teaching the Truth (3:13-15)

  • Who is there to harm you? – question does not imply that no one will harm us; instead, the point is that no matter who they are, they cannot compare with God (Matthew 10:28)
  • Why might we be targeted? – we are “zealous for what is good“; we follow “righteousness
  • We must be ready to make a defense for our hope – this involves teaching; sanctify Christ by recognizing His authority (Matthew 28:18) and speaking as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11); do this with “gentleness and reverence” (cf. 2 Timothy 2:24-26)

We May Suffer for Doing What Is Right (3:16-17)

  • When we face opposition for teaching the truth, it will not always come in the form of arguments – our opponents will often resort to personal attacks (cf. Acts 6:10-14; 24:5-6)
  • We need to “keep a good conscience” – by doing good as our conscience has been trained by God’s word (Hebrews 5:14); this means we must consistently do what is right
  • So that our opponents will be put to shame – hopefully we might be able to win them over (1 Peter 2:12); even if we do not, we may be able to help others see the truth (Luke 23:39-42; Mark 15:39)

We May Suffer for Giving Up Sin (4:1-6)

  • We are to have the same purpose as Christ – follow His example (1 Peter 2:21-22)
  • From this day forward, we must live “for the will of God” – be “obedient children” and “do not be conformed to the former lusts” (1 Peter 1:14); some sins listed (1 Peter 4:3); the time past is sufficient for that
  • Others will notice the difference – Christians are necessarily different from the world (Romans 12:2); they will “malign you” because your obedience “condemns” them (cf. Hebrews 11:7)
  • They will be judged by God – so do not fear them (2 Thessalonians 1:5-9)
  • This is why the gospel has been preached – to convict people of their sin (John 16:8); to move them from spiritual death to life (Ephesians 2:4-5; Romans 6:4, 10-11)

We May Suffer as a Christian (4:12-16)

  • Do not be surprised by this – other warnings in the NT (2 Timothy 3:12; John 15:18-20)
  • If we are reviled for Christ’s sake, we are blessed (cf. Matthew 5:10-12)
  • However, we must be sure we are not suffering for wrongdoing (cf. 1 Peter 2:20)
  • When we suffer as a Christian, we are to glorify God (cf. Acts 5:41) – not complain to God for our plight

We Share the Sufferings of Christ (4:13)

  • When we suffer in all of these ways, we “share the sufferings of Christ” (cf. John 15:20)
  • How and why did Christ suffer? (1 Peter 3:18-22) – He died for our sins on the cross
  • We conform to His death, burial, and resurrection through baptism (Romans 6:3-4) – this is why Peter said, “Baptism now saves you” (1 Peter 3:21)
  • If we are going to “share the sufferings of Christ,” we need to make sure we are in Christ (Galatians 3:27) – we are blessed if we suffer “as a Christian,” not because someone else thinks we’re a Christian

Conclusion

  • In dealing with the subject of grace (1 Peter 5:12), many might steer clear of a topic like suffering
  • Yet Peter dealt with it – we need to understand the reality so we can “count the cost” (Luke 14:27-28)

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