Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verse: I Peter 1:6 NLT So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.
For the next five weeks, we will be walking through the book of 1 Peter. This book was written by the Apostle Peter in about 62-64 A.D. to Christians in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) who were facing an ever-increasing wave of persecution and suffering as a result of their faith.
While this book is quite short compared to many of the other 65 books in the Bible, this book is packed with great truths on how to turn your trials into triumph. During our time together, we will focus on three different areas of wisdom given in this book. These include:
1) Realities about suffering we need to understand
2) Proper responses to those realities for the Christ follower
3) Encouragements to embrace as you are go through suffering in your own life
TODAY, we will look at I Peter 1:1-12.
Reality #1: We are not yet home
Even though your citizenship is in heaven, we are not yet there. Until then, believers will suffer because they are strangers in a foreign land. We live in a broken world caused by sin. As a result, we must recognize we will face hardships, trials, pain and suffering. But all along the way, we must remain focused on what is yet ahead.
Response #1: Rejoice in what lies ahead
When you focus on your promised future, you will be able to endure uncertainty today!
I Peter 1:1 NLT This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
Peter writes this letter with authority as an APOSTLE, which is a representative of Christ Himself. In fact, the Holman New Testament commentary defines APOSTLE in this way: “An apostle is “one who is sent out with a message.”1 Peter was given this message by God to encourage believers because he is fully aware of the suffering which existed for followers of Christ. Peter himself had been persecuted. He had been arrested and even faced the potential of execution. Therefore, this letter is one written to bring hope and light in the midst of certain darkness.
Like Peter, the Apostle Paul encouraged the believers in Philippi to focus on the assurance their citizenship is in heaven to endure the increasing uncertainty of today:
Philippians 1:27-30 NLT Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. 28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. 29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. 30 We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.
NOTE: “This will be a sign…that you are going to be saved” (v.28) – Meaning, when people persecute you for your faith and you are suffering because of living life God’s way, it is yet another way you can be assured that you are saved. You can know this will not always be the case for you will soon be delivered from the presence of sin. The trials we face in this world are not all there is for us to look forward to, God has given us a great promise of a future gift which is Heaven.
Six Encouragements to Christ-Followers who are suffering:
1. Be encouraged: He will give you grace
I Peter 1:2 NLT God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.
- We have a hope which comes from God
- He will give us everything we need to make it through in victory
- Not only for today, but for eternity
2. Be encouraged: He has prepared a home
I Peter 1:3-5 NLT All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
- Our “great expectation” is what Jesus talked about in John 14
- Nothing can destroy what God has prepared
- Until then, we are safe
3. Be encouraged: This too shall pass
I Peter 1:6. NLT So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.
- Joy is promised even in the midst of our pain
4. Be encouraged: He will give you strength
I Peter 1:7 NLT These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
- God uses our pain to increase our faith
- Our faith is perfected through the suffering of this world
James 1:2-4 NLT Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
5. Be encouraged: He will give you joy
I Peter 1:8-9 NLT You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
- God uses our pain as a pathway to Joy
- And, as a pathway to His promise
6. Be encouraged: This was God’s plan
- God is in control and He has a perfect plan for you
- He has you perfectly positioned in that plan
- It was planned from the very beginning
- So, don’t worry be happy
I Peter 1:10-12. NLT This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. 12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.
- Even Heaven rejoices over what God has in store for us all
- The “Good News” makes all the difference
- God Knows what’s ahead