20 Fire and Judgment 1 peter 4:12-19
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20 Fire and Judgment 1 peter 4:12-19

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Fire and Judgment 1 Peter 4:12-19, Adapted from a sermon by Clark Tanner http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/fire-and-judgment-clark-tanner-sermon-on-faith-102457.asp

Fire and Judgment 1 Peter 4:12-19, Adapted from a sermon by Clark Tanner http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/fire-and-judgment-clark-tanner-sermon-on-faith-102457.asp

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20 Fire and Judgment 1 peter 4:12-19 20 Fire and Judgment 1 peter 4:12-19 Presentation Transcript

  • Fire and Judgment 1 Peter 4:12-19
    Adapted from a sermon by
    Clark Tanner
    http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/fire-and-judgment-clark-tanner-sermon-on-faith-102457.asp
  • 1 Peter 4:12 NET Dear friends, do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice in the degree that you have shared in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice and be glad. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory, who is the Spirit of God, rests(Isaiah 11:2)on you.
  • 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or thief or criminal or as a troublemaker. 16 But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but glorify God that you bear such a name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin, starting with the house of God. And if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who are disobedient to the gospel of God?
  • 18And if the righteous are barely saved, what will become of the ungodly and sinners?(Proverbs 11:31) 19So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good.
    It is important for us to take note at the beginning of this section of chapter 4that Peter is talking to people who are not in Rome but in Roman controlled regions.
  • 1 Peter 1:1 NET From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those temporarily residing abroad (in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia) who are chosen
  • At the time of the writing they were already going through what he calls ‘trial by fire’.
    12Dear friends, do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you.
  • So where the persecutions by Nero and his successors have gained a more prominent and well-documented place in history due mainly to the place where they happened and the infamy of the dictator himself, still, there were Christians well before his crimes were committed who, unnamed and all but forgotten, went through difficult and torturous persecutions of their own for the name of Christ.
  • I just wanted to point that out because as a Christian you may suffer things for the name of Christ that no one but you and He will know about in this world. Be aware that a martyr is a martyr even when no one else knows but the One for whom he is martyred.
  • These words of Peter that we’re going to look at today deal with a pretty dark topic on the surface, but they offer great encouragement in that the heavenly reward of the one who suffers for Christ far outweighs the time of testing and trial here.
    Let’s look at the passage.
  • DO NOT BE ASTONISHED
    12Dear friends, do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you.
    It is significant that Peter begins this series of admonitions telling his readers do not be astonished at the occurring persecutions, even severe persecutions, among them.
  • But that is needed, isn’t it? I’m sure those folks in the first century were fundamentally no different than we; and don’t we act astonished in a way whenever some trouble comes?
  • We just don’t really feel like we deserve any adversity, do we? If someone publicly declares to his friends and family that he deserves to suffer they’re usually quick to put an arm over his shoulder, pat him a little and say ‘there, there, don’t think such thoughts’. If he is persistent in this sort of thinking they’re likely to encourage him to get counseling.
    Hey, we live in a society that teaches no guilt and no regrets.
  • If I keep my ideas of morality and righteousness to myself and do not try to push God on you, then just about anything else goes, and you won’t judge me and I won’t judge you. The magic words for social success are tolerance and acceptance, and as long as we stay on that path we’re all pretty good people. In our present day society those looked upon as evil are the religious people who try to tell folks that they do not have a right to just do anything they want, any time they want with anyone they want.
  • Then adversity comes and our knee-jerk reaction to it is “WHY ME?”
    We’re astonished. Now by that word I don’t mean that we’re totally taken aback as though we didn’t know a certain thing could happen; it just isn’t supposed to happen to us, and not now. Not in this time of my life.
    If it has to happen it’s supposed to happen when I’m ready for it.
  • Y’know what I mean? If I’m ever arrested for being a Christian and I am sent to the chopping block, I want Jesus to return as the blade is falling. Because I’m a pretty nice guy, all things considered, and I don’t want to think about dying like that. But I want you to notice that Peter isn’t telling them that they should not be astonished at adversity because after all, being sinful creatures they do deserve it, although that is true that we do deserve punishment and we do deserve Hell.
  • No, he’s telling them donot be astonished for a very different reason. It is because it is sent, not for their punishment, but for their testing.
    This ‘trial by fire’ of suffering is sent to them by God to test them!
    Now that’s kind of funny,
    if you think about it.
  • He doesn’t want them to be astonished at the ordeal because it is sent to test them, and because of the way we generally understand things in the flesh, the fact that it comes to test is the part that astonished us the most! Not the ordeal, but the reason!
    We generally have a very poor view of God, don’t we? And I don’t mean the unsaved world. They have no view of God at all. Some of them know gods, but nothing about God.
  • But in the church we often worship a god, small ‘g’, because the god we worship and think we understand is our own little fantasy god because our silly, sinful minds don’t want to have a God who is different than we think He should be.
    Would He, before the world was made, choose His elect as vessels of honor and actually make vessels of dishonor; people through whom to show His wrath and His judgment against sin and unrighteousness?
  • The Bible says He would. That He did. We don’t like that.
    Would God send great suffering and pain and seemingly unbearable grief on His own, His elect, to test them? To test their faith? The Bible says He would. That He did. That He does.
    We don’t like that.
    But a number of things are being accomplished through the suffering of God’s saints, not the least being that it separates true believers from pretenders.
  • The church has always had and always will have, until He takes His bride home, pretenders. Religious people. Wolves in sheep’s clothing.
    Nominal Christians – meaning, Christians in name only.
    Card carriers.
    When strong persecution comes against believers because they are followers of Christ, the phonies will always be weeded out.
  • If they don’t really know Jesus and they don’t have the Holy Spirit in them, they have no real reason to suffer for His name and in fact, will not have the strength, the desire or the endurance, all of which come from the Holy Spirit.
  • And when I think of some of the silly, childish, selfish reasons I’ve heard for people turning their back on the church and Christians, I have to believe that as it becomes increasingly unpopular to be a Christian in society and true persecution comes, there will be a large exodus from the church by people wanting to avoid being pegged as a follower of Christ.
  • In fact it is my belief that many of them will turn out to be the most vicious persecutors.
    There is no viper deadlier than a frightened hypocrite.
    Just as testing in the life of the individual believer causes the dross to rise to the surface so it can be scraped off and the child refined like gold, so God does the same in the church as a body. In the end He will present to Himself the purest vessel for His glory.
  • NO STRANGE THING
    12Dear friends, do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you.
    The term that Peter utilized that is translated ‘strange’, can also be translated ‘surprising’. So we get the sense that he is repeating himself for double emphasis. ‘Do not be astonished as though something surprising is happening’.
  • Remember what I was saying about the question we ask? Why me? Well the Biblical answer is, ‘why not?’
    Jesus promised it, John 16:33 NET I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage — I have conquered the world."And then He Himself suffered. And since no servant is greater than his master, why would we expect better treatment?
  • We will not suffer the ultimate punishment for our sins. He willingly took that suffering for us. We may very well suffer terribly for His namesake. I have conquered the world… so that in me you may have peace. That’s rearranging the wording a bit, but the message still rings true. Perfect peace will not come in this world, but He has guaranteed peace for us. That guarantee will bring us peace when we suffer.
  • Jesus demanded a change in order to follow Him to that peace.
    Mark 8:34 NET Then Jesus called the crowd, along with his disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
    Luke 14:26 NET "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
  • Bunyon got it right in the beginning of chapter 2 of Pilgrim’s Progress when Christian, broken-hearted as it made him, ran away from his own wife and children who would not believe when he said destruction was coming to the city and went on his own, leaving them behind, to find the Celestial City.
  • Folks, we of the church of Jesus Christ have gotten completely off track when we neglect a call to share the sufferings of Christ.
    And how are we ever going to get that message across to the unchurched and unsaved when so few of us are ready and willing to obey the mandate ourselves.
  • NO SHAME FOR THE GODLY
    Well, it may soon be coming to all of us whether we are willing to have it come or not. As I said, there will be a great weeding out.
    I want to skip to verse 17 and we’ll come back before we end; but there is a phrase here over which I’m sure there has been a lot of confusion.
  • 17aFor it is time for judgment to begin, starting with the house of God.
    Now if we take that phrase just as it is and not in the context of the verse it is in or the rest of the passage, it could cause some consternation and not a small amount of trepidation.
    Judgment?
    If judgment of some kind is coming, who is this judgment against? Just who is the ‘house of God’?
  • Some commentators try to make it the Temple in Jerusalem, since this letter was written around 63-64 A.D. and the Temple was destroyed by the Roman General, Titus in 70 A.D. But that doesn’t work.
    Peter was an Apostle of Jesus the Messiah and no longer thought of the Temple as God’s house, but of the church as God’s house.
  • He said it in 1 Peter 2:5 NET you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
    The writer to the Hebrews also used this terminology in reference to true believers.Hebrews 3:6 NET But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. We are of his house, if in fact we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope we take pride in.
  • It’s used again in Hebrews 10:21 NET and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
    So if we, the church, are the house of God, what sort of judgment is Peter talking about?
    Well certainly not a judgment of condemnation. We know that because Romans 8:1 NET There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
  • We do get some help from
    1 Corinthians 11:32 NET But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned with the world.
    Paul was talking there about some inappropriate behaviors in the practicing of the Lord’s Supper.
  • The judgment he was talking about is the sort that a father uses to assess his children’s actions and discipline them accordingly and appropriately in order to correct them and purge them of wrong behavior and wrong thinking.
    So to get to what Peter was talking about we back up a step and read verse 16But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but glorify God that you bear such a name.
  • 17bAnd if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who are disobedient to the gospel of God?If the coming persecution is tough on us, who are true believers and therefore sharing in the sufferings of Christ and can rejoice and glorify God,how much tougher will it be on those who are disobedient to the gospel and have no promise and no reward waiting; whose life cannot glorify God because in truth they are not of His household?
  • The judgment coming on the house of God was the persecution that would test and strengthen the faith of true believers and purge out the dross.
    Now that does not mean that the dross, the hypocrites, would escape the judgment. He asks a question and then uses Old Testament scripture to repeat the question. 18And if the righteous are barely saved, what will become of the ungodly and sinners?
    (Proverbs 11:31)
  • So now we can back up some more and put this whole picture together. 14If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory, who is the Spirit of God, rests(Isaiah 11:2)on you.
    This is why I called this sermon
    Peter is promising true believers that the ordeal they are suffering and will suffer is all from God, to test and to purge.
    “Fire and Judgment”
  • Fire, in the Bible, is always symbolic of God’s wrath against sin.
    His fire refines true believers and destroys those who are under condemnation for their sin.
    His judgment disciplines His children and shuts the godless up under wrath.
    So our concern, Christians, is not to ask who is persecuting us. Whoever the tool is that is being used, persecution and suffering for the believer come from a loving Father to test and purify.
  • Peter gives us a warning our suffering should be for doing right & sharing in the sufferings of Christ instead of suffering because we deserve punishment. 15Butlet none of you suffer as a murderer or thief or criminal or as a troublemaker.
    And we need never fear the trial by fire that comes upon us, for we are only sharing in the sufferings of Christ, and that, says Peter, is cause for rejoicing.
  • More than that, if you look closely at verse 13 again, not only can we rejoice that we are tested in this way, but later, at the revelation of His glory, which is His second coming to rule and reign, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice and be glad. In other words, our joy will be even more joyful.
  • 13But rejoice in the degree that you have shared in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice and be glad.
    A verse from 2 Chronicles; gives us something to cling to for strength.
    2 Chronicles 16:9a NET Certainly the LORD watches the whole earth carefully and is ready to strengthen those who are devoted to him.
  • Don’t be surprised, believer in Christ, that God would send a trial by fire to test you. Don’t be surprised that He would continue to judge His own household in order to correct and discipline the children He loves.
  • He is Holy and His house must be holy. But the testings that He sends as a just God, prove who is truly His; whose heart is completely His; and He is always looking for someone like that to show His strength to and through.
  • Therefore, as Jesus the Son of God did, as the Apostles did after Him, as the thousands upon thousands of Spirit-filled believers have done after them all over the world and through the many years that have followed, be willing to suffer according to the will of God, and entrust your soul to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
    19So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good.