ROOTED | Living Scattered, Not Shattered ROOTED in Suffering | 1 Peter 4:12-19
Topic: New Testament Passage: 1 Peter 4:12–19
Christopher Rich – May 8, 2022
ROOTED: Living Scattered, Not Shattered
ROOTED in Suffering | 1 Peter 4:12-19
Introduction | Fruitfulness vs Frictionless
Good Morning! Happy Mother’s Day! Welcome to Mercy Fellowship where we are Saved by Jesus Work, Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. This week we are going to resume our series ROOTED: Living Scattered, Not Shattered. Many of us are realizing our roots are too shallow and weak to sustain us in the storms of life. We need good news greater than our current events. We need to be rooted in what is real, true, and eternal. When we are rooted in the transcendent, we are not reactive to the temporary.
Planted in Wilderness - We are not rooted in a perfectly cultivated orchard or in a climate controlled biodome. We exist in a world with difficulties, and even direct opposition to our fruitfulness. Christians are Elect Exiles, two identities that are in direct contrast with one another. We are BOTH the redeemed by God and reviled by the world. We are both fully know and received by God as heir to eternity AND rejected by the world. We are seen as obstacles to progress. Remaining rooted in wilderness means being realistic about where we are and who we were, while also remembering who we are called be and how we have been gifted by God’s grace in Jesus. But we forget quickly we have been called to fruitfulness, we want a life that is frictionless. Uber Docudrama “Super Pumped,” and really all tech advances “Prime” “Streaming”, are all about the mission of creating a “frictionless” society. We love the concept of that because we think it will help us avoid suffering and prevent conflict as interactions become less personal and more transactional.
Suffering is Not Theoretical – A “frictionless” life is not possible where our hearts, actions, and sense of purpose are orientated away from how we are designed and destined by God. Where there is sin and brokenness in the world suffering will be experienced. This side of Heaven suffering is not the exception but the rule. However, being Rooted in our identity, our dignity, and our destiny helps us enduring suffering. At times we may be shaken, saddened, or unsettled, but we shall not be shattered. We will be ROOTED in Suffering.
PART I | Beloved & Beleaguered, Not Burned |1 Peter 4:12-13
1 Peter 4:12-13 |12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
Frist, we remember our Identity. Our eternal identity is beloved, while our external reality is conflicted. To stay rooted in suffering we first remember we are “beloved” by God even and especially when we are beleaguered. Beloved = Dear Friends. This is not a throw away word, but an essential truth to be rooted in as we process the concept of suffering. We want to be significant by settling down and having deep roots in a place and space and that is important, but we are not at our forever home. We are passing through and we have an eternal impact in the temporary lives we live. Rooted life includes navigating the realistic challenges of being an embodied soul. Peter will conclude the result of being built up together and scattered in the world is we abstain from evil, and we pursue what is Good. The war in our soul may rage in the world around us may revile but our response is one of both practicing and proclaiming peace in, with, from Jesus Christ.
No Surprises - We may endure even fiery trials and suffering should be expected, if not embraced. This is not defeatist pessimism leading to discouragement and despair. Life is really gonna suck, Happy Mother’s Day. It is a settled Gospel realism about the condition of the world to set clear expectations. The people he is writing to are in a society that is not inline with the truth, love, mercy, and justice of God so he wants them to not be naive about their life in this word. If you have believed that life with Jesus in this world would be “frictionless” you need to have your expectations refined so that we may rejoice WHEN friction comes. But…
“God will not give you more than you can handle.” This is not good news and it simply isn’t true. We are not called to be self-reliant people but rooted resilient people because we are Christ Reliant. This means Second.
Purifying Fire - Fiery Trial is not a wrath furnace but a refining fire that both purifies us and produce change and growth God has for us. So when you see “test” here it is not pass/fail or graded like God is just handing you a test and either hoping you make it, indifferent or uninvolved with the outcome. If you are like me, you can think of dozens of times you’ve “failed” a “test” or have not lived up to what you know God has called you to be and do. This section can be anxiety producing and insecurity feeding if we don’t see the purposes of God are not to trip us up but to lift us up. The “test” word means “trial” the purpose of a trail is to reveal what is already true. In this God is working to reveal and refine the change and identity He desires to produce in you. We all want to grow we all want to change but without the heat of the fire. We cannot hope to successfully avoid affliction, but we can be promised we will be given what we need to endure it. In this the Bible, is incredibly realistic about the nature of pain and suffering in the world. We are on a cruciform path.
Christ’s Suffering and our Salvation - Third, we remember we follow a God who suffered for us. Christ’s path to glory was paved with humility, trial, and suffering, we will follow a similar path. Christ has suffered for our salvation. Christ has suffered for us so we can be comforted in Him and be a comfort to others. Greek God’s were distant and indifferent to human suffering, they cared little of forgiveness or comfort. Our God is intentional about addressing our affliction so much so that He showed up. God show up in the flesh. God lived a life like ours. He knows and understands our affliction. He experienced hunger and loss, betrayal and anxiety, He was slandered, and abused, He endured condemnation and suffered consequences for our sin He did not deserve. Christ has experienced comprehensive afflictions so he can comprehensively address us in our trouble and pressure. When the pressure of affliction mounts, Christ is that deep reservoir we have been given to be connected to as the abundant source of pure pressurized comfort to flow into us and flow through us. We are Rooted because Christ is in us. We share in His suffering, but we will also share in His glory. Because our destiny is with Christ in glory, the heat of fiery trials may refine us rather than burn us. When our destiny is glory, we can rejoice in trials because we know where we are going is better than where we are. We can and should savior when and where things are good and we get glimps of glory because they remind us of a place and time where refinement is over and rejoicing is forever. We are beloved, not burned.
PART II | Not All Suffering is Created Equal | 1 Peter 4:14-15
1 Pet 4:14-15 |14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.
Not all Suffering Is Created Equal (4:14-15) – The suffering in view here is not the suffering as a result of our sin or just consequences for harmful actions. It is specific to how Christians are responded to in society. Persecution, unjust treatment, being misunderstood and mischaracterized are THE normative reaction to living out the new life God has called you in Christ. In some places it is intense codified in law, systemic, and even violent. Other times and places it is overt mocking, cultural maligning, or societal marginalization. The word “insulted” means “reproach, reviled, abused, or slandered”. None of us want that! When our deepest desire or aim in “Frictionless” over “fruitfulness” than we will see the insults coming and do all we can to avoid them. Blessing or Curse? We see insults as a curse. What is true is counter intuitive. It is better to suffer for what is right than surrender to what is wrong. Receiving reviling for the name and fame of Christ is a blessed affirmation of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power in you. We receive glory and blessing from God, not men.
Resistance does not equal Righteousness. Not all resistance is because of righteousness. Weather a result of murder or meddling, some suffering can be a consequence of sin. You do not get to claim the vaunted victim status when your suffering is a result of you own harmful actions. Some ways of being are simply not in step with the flourishing life God has called us to. So, you are frustrated when you are rejected when you are unloving. Or you don’t understand that loving means maintaining what is true. You steal life or property, or dignity from others, you are engaged promoting or participating in what is false, wrong, or evil. Meddler is someone who is getting involved in affairs/matters that are not theirs to engage with. Not every matter or battle is yours to engage with. As a Christion, one whose identity and actions flow from Christ, you should not suffer that way but rather repent. Our lives with outsiders are to be honorable even as we are seen by them as shameful. If we are hated let it be because of what is true about Jesus and God’s word.
PART III | Suffering, Not Shame |1 Peter 4:16-18
1 Peter 4:16-18 |16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
Suffering, not Shame (4:16-18) – We should walk in humility towards ourselves and others as the purpose of suffering is often concealed in the present only to be revealed in the rearview. We can easily equate suffering with shame and blessing with honor as if each are always earned. They are not, sometimes our suffering is meant to produce great fruitfulness (Sweet Grapes) some of the most amazing people I have encountered are not those who have experienced great success but those who have endured great suffering.
Christian “Follower of Christ” When we suffer for following Jesus, we do not bear a mark of shame as we are instead bound for glory. Do not concern yourself with the labels the world places on you as if they supersede the Identity given to you by the God who created the world.
This lingering question remains about suffering, particularly when it is unjust. The fiery trial is a refining fire of God’s judgement. We do NOT like this word at all. The WORST thing you can be in judgmental! You will get severely judged by “non-judgmental” people for being judgmental. This is in part because we confuse judgement with condemnation rather than simply evaluating and naming what is true. The sense here is either a good or bad evaluation. According to Wayne Grudem, the result of this judgement could be approval, discipline, or condemnation. In the family, in the “household of God” Son & Daughters are experiencing judgement that might include discipline for the purpose of greater growth and fruitfulness. Our final evaluation when we are in Christ is “well done good & faithful servant.” Outside the family the judgement is different. Justice happens for all… the consequences are either absorbed by Christ or endured by those who reject Him. There will be a time of either contrition (A contrite heart God will not despise) or final condemnation. Judgement will come from God alone, as does mercy and grace.
PART IV | Well Placed Trust |1 Peter 4:19
1 Peter 4:19 |Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Well Placed Trust (4:19) – How should we respond when we are suffering? We trust our souls to the One who is trustworthy. When experiencing suffering according to God’s will, we have great comfort it is both temporary and limited.
Temporary is such good news because we know that even in the worse seasons of suffering there is an end point coming, each moment moving us closer to a time of final deliverance. This too shall pass.
Limited is such good news because we can know that we may not be crushed because it is in the preview of the Father who is our savior, provider, sustainer, and is present with us in our furnaces of trail.
2 Corinthians 4:8-10 | 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
You are secure! – Entrust is so much more than you are not lying, I believe you or even I trust you. It is a deep security, you are the steward, captain, guardian, shepherd of our souls so we are incredibly secure “Soul = Self” means our identity and our eternity are safe. “we are safe” so we can endure when we feel unsafe. More than locked in a safe away from danger we are cared for. God is present and active in our lives.
Our Creator is Good so we can be good. We have hope in a good God who is also so powerful He raises the dead. The God who raised Jesus from the Dead, is historic but also present. The resurrection 2k years ago is the power active in our lives today. The God who raises the dead can deliver us from our affliction. When we have seen God work in our difficulties in the past, we are given greater courage to endure the next challenging season that may arrive. We do not have this confidence alone but share it with a community who has been delivered by God. His argument isn’t just God is good (He is, all of the time, God is good) It is not just that He is Good AND Powerful He is THE CREATOR (He is) It is that He’s good, He’s powerful, AND He’s shown BOTH in action to bring real relief to real suffering. So we can live lives of reliant wholeness and action. Doctrine of God goodness and power displayed in the past can bring us hope for deliverance today.
When have you seen God work in your life in ways that brought you life, comfort, deliverance? That wasn’t just a one-time deal that same God who worked in your life then didn’t forget about you or run out of mercy compassion or comfort for you. That means nothing is hopeless with the God of all comfort. So we look back on what God has done. How he has delivered us in the past. We have greater faith that He can and will do it again in the future (both near and far). So we set our hope in the present in the character of God who is the Father of Mercies what He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Past deliverance, future promises leads to present hope.
Our final future is always better than our Present. One day there will be no more affliction, we will dwell with God and His people in a place where it says there is no more sin, sickness or suffering. Tears of sorrow or pain will not be present or possible. It’s not a race we need to win or a destination that we arrive it instead it will be a new Heavens and new earth that comes to us. Until then we pray. We pray individually, we pray together, we pray for one another. Praise God who is the Father of Mercies who has given us greater comfort in great affliction. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you comfort others with the resurrection power of God. Thank Jesus for enduring suffering for us and giving us unshakable hope. He is faithful to us, and we are empowered to live for Him with souls and identities secure as we continue to Trust Jesus.
More in ROOTED: Living Scattered, Not Shattered | 1 Peter
May 22, 2022ROOTED | Living Scattered, Not Shattered | PART XI | ROOTED and Resolved | 1 Peter 5:8-13 | Christopher Rich
May 15, 2022ROOTED: Living Scattered, Not Shattered ROOTED Leadership | 1 Peter 5:1-7
May 1, 2022ROOTED | Living Scattered, Not Shattered | ROOTED Love | 1 Peter 4:1-11