1 Peter 4. Forum Discussion

Suffering

Chapter 4 begins with a call to arm ourselves with the same purpose as Jesus. That is a pretty tall order when we consider what Jesus’ purpose was in coming to earth. He came to save that world!

Obviously Peter is not talking about us saving the world. What Peter is talking about here is suffering as part of God’s larger plan. Just as Jesus came to serve others and was willing to endure suffering along the way, Christians too can expect to suffer.

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.” – 1 Peter 4:12.

“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12.

Suffering can come in many different forms. As Christians, we may experience physical suffering, persecution, isolation, or any number of things. What is particularly interesting, is Peter says that when we suffer in the flesh for Christ, we have ceased from sin.

“Because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.” – 1 Peter 4:1.

Peter is not saying that those who suffer in the flesh will never sin. That would go against what Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans:

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23.

What Peter is talking about is a lifestyle change; a fundamental switch from living to satisfy our own desires of the flesh, to becoming servant of the Lord’s.

Peter is imploring us to say, “Enough is enough,” and to make the life-changing decision to put God first in our lives.

It is important for us to be aware of the following scriptures and understand what the Bible tells us about our salvation. God’s word teaches us that only a few are going to stay on the path that leads to salvation. Many more will sadly perish and spend eternity in hell.

“For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.” – 1 Peter 4:3.  

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” - Mathew 7:13-14.

There is a particularly interesting scripture found in Peter’s first epistle that talks about our spiritual gifts and how we are to use them:

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” – 1 Peter 4:10. 

Peter does not say that some have received a special gift, he says that each one has received a gift. He also says that we are to use our gift to serve others. This brings up two questions:

  1. What special gift has God given you?
  2. How can you employ it to serve others and glorify God?

Later in the chapter Peter returns to the topic of suffering. Verses 12-14 state:

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.  If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” – 1 Peter 4:12-14.

 There are two points to focus on here:

  1. “Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you.” We are all going to suffer at times. Knowing that this is the case can help prepare us for our time of suffering. We also can read about Christ’s example and strive to be more like Him in how we handle lives challenges and hardships.
  2. Peter shares with us that suffering, “Comes upon you for your testing.” How we behave in hard times says a lot about our character and our values. When we shift our focus from ourselves to glorifying God, we please God and can positively influence those around us. As the Bible says in Mathew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

There is one more point that we will cover in today’s study. In verse 8 Peter says:

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”

None of us are perfect. Over the course of our lives we all are going to sin and fall short. Peter is writing to tell us that when we trip up, we need to focus on love. Love for God, and love for one another.

We will conclude today’s lesson with Jesus’ response to being asked what is the greatest commandment? His answer is all about love!

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” – Mathew 22:36-40.

Thank you for joining us today. Please join us again tomorrow as we look at 1 Peter 5 and the topic of humility. May God’s blessings be upon you until then. Amen

Comments

Donna JesusFollower

7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 1Peter4 7-8

Even in these uncertain times, we as Christians are called to be of sound judgment and sober spirit- for the purpose of prayer. We are also called to have love for one another and be hospitable to one another... even when we may disagree on things like politics.

God is bigger and more important than all of it, as Christians we need to focus on thoughts on Him and continue to practice our love of each other.

Reply
Mustang

Looking at ourselves to identify the special gifts that God has given us is the first step to being able to put those gifts into service to glorify God.

Reply
Michael
Mustang

Amen Mustang!

Reply