It is Better to Suffer

It is better to suffer 1 Peter 3:13-17 

  • So far, we have heard Apostle Peter speaking to the Christians and reminding them on: 
    • How to submit to authority 
    • How slaves should obey their masters sacrificially 
    • How to wives should conduct themselves towards their husbands 
    • And like wise how husbands should treat their wives 
  • He goes to the extent of reminding us that Christ suffered for our sins. Though He has the power to stop the ones that prosecuted Him, He submitted to the will of God 
  • So, it’s not unusually that he starts vs13 with suffering 
  • He starts out by asking a question – Just like Pastor Matt did not Sunday
  • And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?
    • Is this a real question or a rhetorical one?
  • We have been told to be ok with suffering – that’s the theme of Peter’s letter here (Masters, Spouses, Christ did)
  • And I am sure no one loves to suffer or is anyone willing to sign up for suffering this evening? 
  • Why is Peter, who has just described at length – in the last 2 chapter how we will have to submit and even suffer as Christ did – asking us such a question? 
    • Who is going to harm us when we do good?
  • I will tell you why he is asking this- Because if you have been following up to this point, the suffering he speaks of is not for self-gain, but to glorify God – We are asked to imitate Jesus
  • He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” ~ Matthew 26:39(Nkjv)
  • Suffering has very little to do with us, if any- the Suffering Peter is speaking about is a sacrificial suffering 
  • In his question he is declaring that there is a mighty One who is in heaven and there is no one greater than He – and as a child of God who dare harm you?
  • Peter knows his identity is Christ – He has been with Jesus (denied him and was restored) and so the idea of someone harming you – a child of God – is silly 
  • By this very statement – Apostle Peter is saying – Fear of man is not an option – and he is speaking from experience 
  • Matthew 10:28 (Nkjv) – And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in [a]hell.
  • He is reminding us that our God – 
    • Psalms 147:5(Amp) Great is our Lord and of great power; His understanding is inexhaustible and boundless.
    • Isaiah 40:28-31(Nkjv) Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
      He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.
      Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
    • Isaiah 41:10-11( Nkjv) Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Behold, all those who were incensed against you. Shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish
  • There should never be anything or anyone that stops you from loving our God, submitting to Him, speaking about our God, doing His will and staying in His will 
  • I think about how many people die is traffic every year (~40k/year) – Yet that has not stopped us from going to hang out – leave alone work 
  • Unhealthy diet contributes to approximately 678,000 deaths each year in the U.S
  • Who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 
  • The answer is no one unless you choose to 

Apostle Peter continues:

Vs. 4 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.”

  • Now that we know what we have a Mighty God on our side and that no one can harm us
  • We are told, that even though we may suffer, we are blessed
  • This is very true – how? Thank you for asking amazing questions
  • The suffering we are speaking of here is not because of our self- driven desires, its only if you are a Christian ( Christ like – in speech and conduct) 
  • It’s not because we made some bad decisions and are paying for them 
  • Or we ended up doing things outside Gods will and found ourselves in a place where we are crying out to God for help 
  • These “should suffer” is when we are in the will of God, we are taking the enemies territory and persecution happens 
  • 2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution
  • Apostle Peter who denied Christ 3 times and Christ had mercy on him knows that there are blessings when we suffer for righteousness 
  • It’s an encouragement that we are not afraid of threats no matter where they come from and not to be troubled by them at all 
  • Our mere obligation is to stay in the will of God 
    • Doing what the Word of God says
  • The suffering you endure will be for the Glory of God and its only then that God can give you peace to receive the blessings that Peter is speaking about
  • When we suffer due to our own selfish desires, there is no peace because we expect worldly relief – And the blessing prescribed here may not be tangible until we get to heaven 

Apostle Paul continues to say: 

  • Vs 15-16 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed
  • We have established that He is mighty, and no one has power over Him 
  • And that we should count it all joy when we suffer because we are blessed 
  • And now Peter goes a step further and declares that not only do we suffer gracefully but we are charged to declare with boldness and confidence the hope we have. 
  • In the midst of our suffering – we have to sanctify (declare Holy) the Lord 
  • How is this possible you may ask? – Again, a great question 
  • Because, when we know that our God is mighty, and we are suffering is for Him, then we know for sure that the battle belongs to him – and though we may seem like we are losing – we will still come out of it blessed 
  • We Glorify God in the midst because we know that these attacks are not fresh and blood
  • Having this assurance, its not about us and so the hope that we declare is of the Lord and only the Lord 
  • Psalms 145:1(Ampc) I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever [with grateful, affectionate praise] 
  • We are then ready to give a defense – not our own personal defense but Christ’s defense 
  • That is why he says – satisfy the Lord – Praise Him – Adore Him – Love Him 
  • Peter remembers the call to Love the Lord (John 21)
    • Simon Peter, do you love me – Feed my lambs
    • Simon son of John – Do you love me -Take care of my sheep 
    • Simon son of John, do you love me – Feed my sheep
  • This is not a small task, it’s a sacrificial call – that can only be championed by the love of Jesus
  • Its only then that you can be able to give an account of the hope that you have 
  • I see lots of people speak of a hope, a read hope, a testimony hope, a feeling hope – But the Hope that we speak of is a relational hope 
  • One that says, I know my redeemer lives and he holds me in His hand and no matter what I go through He is by my side 
  • I will declare with a loud voice my redeemer lives!
  • Hebrews 10:23 ( Nkjv) – Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
  • That when people talk about you, its not an issue because they will not be talking about your character, but they will be talking about the Character of God in you!
  • Hence the Bible says that we are transformed to be like Christ – as so when they talk about our life, they are indeed talking about the Lord

Apostle Paul continues to say: 

  • Vs16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed
  • Let the Lord defend you! – They will be ashamed when they speak against the Lord 
  • In Exodus 14 the Egyptian arm is on after the Israelites and before them lies the red sea – The impossible – The Bible says. That Pharoah drew near, and the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold the Egyptians marched after them – And they were Afraid!
  • Exodus 14:13 –14(Nkjv) – And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation[a] of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold[b] your peace.”
  • The Bible says that they “The children of Israel when they saw this cried out to the Lord” 
  • Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.
  • I will ask you one last questions- Can He defend you as His own?
  • Who can be against you?
  • I love how Peter ends – For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
  • If you love Him, sacrifice is a blessing – You will not sin against beloved- and so only good will prevail!
  • John 14:15 (Nkjv) If you love me, Keep my commandments 

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