Read verses 12-19
Q: What is the key benefit of suffering as revealed in v.13-14?
A: Suffering glorifies the Lord.
Point: Suffering for the sake of being a King’s Kid is something God turns around and ultimately uses to glorify Himself through Christ.
Q: So what should we recognize when it comes to the issue of persecution and suffering?
A: According to v.10, it should come as no surprise to us; in fact, it should be expected.
Point: Trials are a part of God’s will and not some kind of warning that we’re somehow disobeying Him. They are God’s tool for perfecting His own. It’s hard to find a biblical example of a man or woman of God who does NOT undergo spiritual purification by means of trials and suffering.
Q: According to v.13-14, what should our attitude be when it comes to suffering?
A: To actually rejoice in trials.
For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
— Philippians 1:29
Point: The suffering we now endure is actually nothing more than a prelude to the glory we will share in at His return. The “payback”, so to speak, is not guaranteed for this life, but the one to come.
Q: What does it mean that “the Spirit of glory and of God RESTS on you”?
A: This could literally be translated, “the Spirit of God rests with refreshing power”. It’s the image of what happened to Daniel’s companions when they were thrown into the fiery furnace – God not only delivered them, but walked with them in the midst of it all.
Q: How do v.15-16 address the wrong attitude Christians sometimes take towards trials?
A: Christians sometimes are incorrectly ashamed to undergo trials, falsely believing they’ve come about as punishment or judgment.
Point: There’s a big difference between suffering because you’ve sinned and are experiencing the consequences of that sin, and suffering solely for the sake of being a Christian.
Q: In Peter’s day of his originally writing this letter, what happened annually to test every Christian’s loyalty to Christ?
A: Roman law required every citizen to pledge loyalty to the emperor by presenting an incense offering at an authorized altar and proclaiming, “Caesar is Lord”. Real-life persecution came to thousands if not millions of Christians in those days who refused to bow before Caesar and who were, at the least, publicly humiliated for bearing the name of Christ.
Q: So what actually results from suffering, even in the midst of the worst persecution according to v.17-18?
A: The true Christian is a witness. They have the opportunity to preach and be an example of the Gospel.
Point: The prophets and apostles never interpreted persecution – even to the point of being thrown into prison – as an excuse to focus on themselves, but always saw it as merely another opportunity to preach and witness to the Gospel. Our personal suffering never absolves us from the duty to minister to others.
Q: So what is one of the greater messages God is sending when suffering is allowed to take place in the true Christian’s life?
A: It’s evidence that God will someday judge the lost.
Point: Christians have trials now and glory later; the lost have their glory now and their suffering later. The only “heaven” the lost sinner will know is on earth today!
Q: What is another unique, greater work of suffering?
A: According to v.17, God begins judgment at His own house. Persecution in the name of Christ is but the beginning of a greater judgment coming upon the lost. It has eternal overtones for everyone.
“Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary.” So they started with the elders who were before the temple.
— Ezekiel 9:6
Q: The old saying is whenever you come across the word “therefore” as in v.19, look to see what’s it’s “there for”. What is Peter’s overall conclusion of what to do about suffering and trials?
A: Entrust yourself to God.
Q: What is unique about the Greek word here translated “entrust”?
A: It’s actually a banking term describing the act of leaving an amount on deposit for safekeeping.
Point: God sends the fiery trial to burn away the dross and we commit ourselves to Him for safekeeping, knowing He will not fail us.