Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

Four Votes about Suffering
1 Peter 4:12-19

12 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; 13 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. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if {anyone suffers} as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God. 17 For {it is} time for judgement to begin with the household of God; and if {it begins} with us first, what {will be} the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19 Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. (NAS)

Introduction
A man made a trip to New York City. He needed to ride the subway back and forth from the conference he was attending to his hotel. He was warned about pickpockets and told that they could bump into him and he wouldn't even know that his billfold would have been taken.

Sure enough, this man was standing on the subway and someone bumped into him. He reached back and felt that his billfold was gone. So he ran and grabbed the man and got the his's coat sleeve. The man went ahead and got off of the subway pulling on his coat. The man who thought he had been robbed, held on to the coat and pulled and pulled and finally the subway started taking off and the man just took off his coat and let it go with the subway.

The visitor to New York decided, well I showed that pickpocket didn't I? When he got back to his hotel room, feeling rather proud of himself, he started over to the chest of drawers and noticed his billfold sitting on top of the chest of drawers.

Now, let me ask you to go back and think about this man on the standing on the platform of the subway. He's thinking, what on earth did I do the make that man steal my coat or want my coat. He's thinking what did I do to deserve that and obviously he had done nothing wrong.

I want us to look at the text this morning with this idea. There will be times when suffering comes and it is not a direct result of any conflict or sin or difficulty in our life. We have an opportunity to vote about our attitudes and demeanour during a time of suffering. I want to look at four ways we can vote.. We can cast our votes four ways.

Vote One Be . . Calm In Times of Suffering.

Vote Two Look for . . Compensation In Times of Suffering.

Vote Three Look for . . Contradictions In Times of Suffering.

Vote Four Look for . . Commitment In Times of Suffering.
 
 

1.    Vote One Be. . Calm In Times of Suffering. v 12 & 17-18 


A.    Testing . . of Our Calmness. v 12
12 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.    A . . Fiery Test. v 12 a
            a.    Like purifying of Gold.

    2.    A . . Familiar Test. v 12 b
 

B.    Timing . . of Our Calmness. v 17
17 For {it is} time for judgement to begin with the household of God; and if {it begins} with us first, what {will be} the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

    1.    The . . Beginning of Judgement. v 17 a

    2.    The . . Backlash of Judgement. v 17 b

C.    Testimony . . Of Our Calmness. v 18
18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?

    1.    We as saved person have difficulties.
    2.    We still remain calm and trust the Lord.
 

Illustration
There were two buckets setting on the edge of the well, One complained and said to the other. "No matter how full I come up, I always go down empty."

The other said "No matter how empty I go down, I always come up full, it rejoiced. Pessimistic or Optimistic in trials?

Application Rom 8:28

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to {His} purpose. (NAS)
 
 

2. Vote Two Look for . . Compensation In Times of Suffering.
v 13-14


Introduction
I have been in five car wrecks where I was sitting in my car at a stop sign and some one plowed into the rear of my car. After a few of these experiences I would immediately look for witnesses.

The insurance companies have always talked about compensation for my car damage and personal injury. I was compensated.

Christians are compensated for their suffering.

A. We are Compensated through the . .  Sharing with Christ. v 13 a
13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing;
 

B.    We are Compensated through the . . Second Coming of Christ. v 13 b
". . . so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. "
 

C.    We are Compensated through the . .  Spirit of Glory. v 14
14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
 

Illustration
On one occasion I was at a business establishment and the salesman gave me his card. I recognized the name and asked if he was related to a pastor I knew. He said he is my brother and then said wait a minute and he introduced me to his dad.

As I talked with this dad he began to cry and said my son is going to resign Sunday because of the antagonism in the church. He said I had no idea some so called Christian people are so mean.

Well I thought I will call that pastor and try to encourage him.

For some reason I didn't talk to him for several months. When I saw him he had not resigned and gave a testimony of God's grace in his life. He received compensation the world could not give.

Application

2 Cor 12:10
10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (NAS)

2 Cor 1:3-5
3 Blessed {be} the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. (NAS)
 
 

3.    Vote Three Look for . . Contradictions In Times of Suffering.
v 15-16


A.    The Contradiction of . . Revenge. v 15
        15 By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or
        evildoer,  or a troublesome meddler;

    1.    We should never have this kind of suffering in our life.
 

B.    The Contradiction of . . Remorse. v 16 a
        " but if {anyone suffers} as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed,"
 

C.    The Contradiction of . . Regretting. v 15 b
            ". . . but in that name let him glorify God."

        1.    We should not regret but rejoice. Col 1:24
24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions. (NAS)
 

Illustration
Several Years ago Bill Rikard and I played as partners in a golf tournament. Lonnie Leatherman was the person in charge of the tournament and he told Bill and I we had won in a particular category.

A few days latter he came and said I am sorry but I made a mistake and you did not win. I teased him about the mistake and he said" there is a Biblical reason for this turn of events." I said "Oh what is that:. He said the Lord gives and the Lord takes away."

Do you know where that verse is in the Bible? Turn to the book of Job. Job 1:21 And he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD."  (NAS)
 

Application

The Lord does give and the Lord does take away and our minds cannot understand the why of it sometimes. That does not change the fact that God is good and most of us have received much more than we deserved.
 
 

4.    Vote Four Look for . . Commitment In Times of Suffering.
v 19


19 Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

A.    Commitment . . According to the Will of God. v 19 a
        "Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God"

    1.    Commitment of Body.
    2.    To the will of God.
 

B.    Commitment . . Accomplishing the Will of God. v 19 b
        ". . . entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right"

    1.    Commitment of Soul.
    2.    Continuing of the Soul.

Illustration
At the Missouri Baptist Convention's Pastor's Conference David Miller spoke. You will remember he has been here on two different occasions. He is confined to a wheel chair.

His commitment to our Lord is unwavering. He serves God because He loves Him and does not have to know the whys of His illness. David would say "God has a purpose in his being confined to a wheel chair.

Application

Eph 3:16
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;   (NAS)

Conclusion
Vote One Be . . Calm In Times of Suffering.

Vote Two Look for . . Compensation In Times of Suffering.

Vote Three Look for . . Contradictions In Times of Suffering.

Vote Four Look for . . Commitment In Times of Suffering.