How to Suffer Faithfully
Scripture: 1 Peter 4:12–19
Good morning, church. Nice to see so many of you braving the cold to be here today. Yes, it is it is really cold out there.
I saw on my drive in it was like 5 degrees or something it said, and I saw a dude out running. like a psychopath. I don't know what's wrong with these people, but I mean, I guess you got to admire the discipline, but it's great to be here in a warm place to worship God together in a fellowship with each other.
My name is Michael. I'm the lead pastor and it is just a joy to be here to continue our series in the book of First Peter. And the theme of the book is hope in the midst of suffering. And for our text today, it's kind of like the pilot doing the initial descent into the airport. Peter's doing his initial descent.
He's preparing to land the plane with some concluding remarks. And so, we have today and then two more weeks to finish first Peter, and then we'll just keep going to second Peter, but for first Peter here, he's going to, he's reemphasizing and summarizing some of the earlier points that he's made.
There's not a whole lot of new content here. Not a lot of new teaching. But rather it's a, it's a, here is a summary of where we've been. And the main point, the big idea here is that every faithful Christian should be prepared to suffer for Christ and also to be prepared to be rewarded by God for their suffering.
That's, and that's been taught throughout the book. And so, he's summarizing that here. So, what I want to do today is, is to be more practical if we can, and I have five things from this text, five ways that to think about and to respond to suffering. Five ways to think about and respond to suffering and I want to steal one of these Water bottles sitting up here on the stage like when it's cold like this.
I get a little dry mouth. So, let's dig in turn in your Bible or tap there to 1Peter 4:12-19.
Let's listen to God's Word 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 but rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed. But let him glorify God in that name. 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?
And if the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? Therefore, let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful creator while doing good. This is God's word. First point. Don't be surprised. Don't be surprised. Verse 12, I'll read it again.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes, comes upon you. Not if, but when it comes upon you. There will be times, and we should prepare for it, be ready for it, when some fiery trial comes upon you, so that when it does, you should be surprised about it. We should be prepared and expect it.
So do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, that's God's purpose in it, as though something strange were happening to you. It's not strange. So, to put it another way, we should have the expectation in our heart, expect the world to reject you and to malign you and to make fun of you for being a Christian.
Because being a Christian, you belong to Christ and a servant is not greater than the master. If the world rejected Christ, you should expect the world to reject you. So, Jesus said this in John 15:20. Remember the word that I said to you, a servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept my word, they would also keep yours. So as believers, they don't honor or believe in Christ, and yet they have a, they have no problem calling you an evildoer. So, 1 Peter, this is just earlier in the same book, 1 Peter 2:12, keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable. The Gentiles here are unbelievers.
So that when, there it is again, when they speak against you as evildoers. They may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. So eventually, as Wade mentioned earlier, eventually they will glorify God, whether it be by voluntarily submitting to the Lordship of Christ or being overwhelmed by His wrath whenever God comes in judgment.
Either way, they will glorify God. So, they're, they're not going to have a problem calling you an evildoer because they called Jesus an evildoer who was perfect. So just from my own experience in the past year or so, I've been a lot more vocal speaking and writing about things that are sins celebrated in our culture.
So, it's things that are done wrong, sins that our culture celebrates, but is condemned in scripture. So, I've just, I've spoken out about it, and more times than I can count, I've been called a bigot. That's, that's one of the, the most frequent words that I hear, bigot, abuser. Evil, hateful, hypocrite, liar, that's just, those things are just par for the course.
And you know, it's not pleasant. It's not like I enjoy it, but nevertheless, I do get used to it to the point where I kind of expect it. Yeah, there's, that's, that's going to happen. And that should, that shouldn't surprise any of us because if they called Jesus those things and he's perfect, you know, they have more ammunition to use against us.
And so, it's, that's to be expected. So, Peter is telling us, he's not telling us to be terrified or paranoid. There's a, there's a version of this where there, somebody is not surprised in that they're always kind of in this paranoid state of terror, expecting something to happen at any moment. That's not the posture.
Our posture as Christians is victorious and confident and hopeful. So, he is telling us to be unsurprised and unafraid and to be ready. And that means we're not surprised when it happens. Do not be surprised. Number two, choose to rejoice. Choose to rejoice. Next verse, verse 13, but rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings so that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
So crazy as it sounds, you can rejoice. And you're suffering. You can rejoice even though you don't feel like it rejoices a choice. It's a, it's something that you, you choose to do that does not require you to feel a certain way about it. It's a, it's an act of obedience and discipline. Now notice there's the word rejoice here occurs twice.
Here's the first one. And here's the second one. The first one is a command. Rejoice! It's something that we're commanded to do. Rejoice! So it is, it is a command that we do now. Rejoice in your suffering. That's something you do now in your suffering. Rejoice. The second one here is a result So it is it is that you may rejoice again Rejoice more sometime later when Christ returns and this word that That connects the two so there's a link between The rejoicing that you do now, when it is exceedingly difficult, when you don't feel like it, when you're angry, upset, hurt, bitter, frustrated, you rejoice in those moments, because you are, you are, you are connecting yourself to Christ, you are sharing in the suffering of Jesus.
And in doing that, there is a rejoicing that awaits you when his glory is revealed. When Christ returns, when his glory is manifest, there is a rejoicing that you will do then, that in some way is proportional to the rejoicing that you do now faithfully as an act of obedience. So, when you suffer now, rejoice.
You're going through something that the Lord went through. You're sharing an experience. And so, we can be comforted in that. Psalm 30:5 says, Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. Meaning that whatever you experience now, no matter how bad it is now, there's something better on the horizon.
That doesn't mean tomorrow morning. It means in the future ultimately; we'll definitely be fulfilled at the return of Christ. So, there is this anticipation of better things that God has in store for us and that we should hopefully expectantly wait for, and knowing that is what's coming, that can encourage us and empower us to rejoice.
Now knowing that rejoicing now leads to greater rejoicing later. So, your happiness in eternity can increase. Because of your faithful rejoicing and suffering in the present. So, take heart in that. The pain is temporary. The weeping tarries a short while. Joy is permanent and eternal. So, every trial, every, every hardship that you encounter as a Christian, your response to it should be regarded as an opportunity to increase eternal joy.
Number three, receive it as a blessing. Receive it, receive the trial, the suffering. Receive it as a blessing.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed. Just, just think about how, how kind of, if you're familiar with this verse, it may not land on you, just how counterintuitive that is. It says, if you are insulted for the name of Christ, you're blessed. Congratulations. You know, enjoy it. That's what he's saying.
Well, why? Because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. So being insulted for the name of Christ is actually a blessing. Now, of course, we don't do it as a thief or a murderer. It's like we don't seek it out. We don't sin against people as Christians in order to provoke the insult and then count ourselves blessed.
That's not what he's saying. He's saying if you, whatever your faithful Christian duty is. If or when that invites from the world hostility, that is a blessing. That is a blessing. Now, this, this phrase, the name of Christ, that, that refers to not just the fact of being a Christian, but, but to the totality of, of your Christian life.
It's the name of Christ you suffered because you are identified with and in alignment with the truth of scripture and the Christian life All of these things are encapsulated there So your faith words obedience That's all part of this and if you following Christ faithfully invites insults when you are insulted It's a blessing.
There is a unique grace That God bestows upon the believer because they are insulted for their Christian faith and obedience. So, you are blessed because the spirit of glory and the spirit of God rests upon you. There's this, there's this unique gift or blessing that you experience as you suffer faithfully for being a Christian.
This is a repeat of a theme that Peter spoke about earlier. So, one chapter earlier in 1 Peter 3:14. He says, but even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled. So, it is a blessing. And then, one chapter later, here's Peter 4:14.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed. Because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. So, the first one is a hypothetical. If you, if this, if you suffer for righteousness’ sake, even if that happens, you will be blessed when that comes. And then a chapter later, if you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed.
So it is, it is in either case. So, in chapter three, verse 14, it's a promise for the future. You will be blessed under those circumstances. And then in chapter four, it's a, it's a gift for the present. You are blessed. Jesus said the exact same thing. Blessed, here it is. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you, when they revile you, when they spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man.
Rejoice in that day. Leap for joy. Do a dance. For behold, your reward is great in heaven. For so their fathers did to the prophets. The exact same message of Jesus Christ is what Peter is teaching here. Every insult is a gift. God is giving you something. When they call you hypocrite, when they call you self-righteous, when they call you bigot, hateful, deplorable, whatever the word is, whatever name they call you, every insult is a gift.
If the insult is because of your Christian faith and testimony. So, receive them. I'm not saying seek them, receive them when they come as blessings from God, because whatever you lose here, whatever losing face, whatever pain that you lose or that you experience here, there will be more than more than compensated in eternity.
Your faithfulness to Christ may cost you job opportunities. Your faithfulness to Christ might cost you friendships, people that are very dear to you. Your faithfulness to Christ may make people think you're nuts. There may be people right now that know you and you may even have them in mind. They think you're nuts.
Oh, you believe in some fairy sky God, you know, some, some divine book that God wrote. You believe in all that nonsense. They think you're crazy. It's okay. It's a blessing. Receive it. It's the, it's sold as a gift. Your neighbors may think you're crazy. They may hate you. Peter says, when this happens, it is a blessing.
Receive it as a blessing. Crazy as it sounds, God is showing you favor. It's testing you. He said that we already read that. It's a test. And God is demonstrating a desire and a commitment to your growth. Number four. Do not be ashamed. Do not be ashamed. I'll tell you on the, here at the outset, this one stands apart as being particularly relevant.
So, I wanna, I wanna develop this a good bit more than the previous three. I wanna camp out on this one a bit more. Verse 16. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed. But, let him glorify God in that name. Don't be ashamed but glorify God. These words glory and shame are paired often in scripture, and it's because they represent two sides of the same coin.
So, God is worthy of all praise, honor, and glory, right? So, because of that, he should always be glorified. Sin and evil are shameful. They're distortions and perversions of the goodness of God. And so those things are they should be shameful. They should produce shame. And one of Satan's favorite schemes is to turn the moral order of the world upside down such that you glorify sin and you're ashamed of Christ and you're ashamed of righteousness.
To get you embarrassed to be a Christian to believe Christian things and to do Christian things Satan wants you to be embarrassed of those things. So, we got a couple weeks Super Bowl coming up and inevitably, you'll have after the game You've got the champagne party and you've got the cigars or whatever they do the winning team.
They are experiencing glory. It is a glorious moment. It is something momentous and significant and fun and exhilarating and powerful. They are experiencing glory and so they're celebrating and that's how the winners feel. And then sometimes the camera might catch a player on the bench. He's got his jersey over his head.
He's got, he's hanging his head. They walk off the field with their heads hang low. They're ashamed. Because they lost on the biggest stage, and everyone saw it. Somebody fumbled, somebody intercepted, somebody did something wrong, and the game was maybe decided on that one play, and there's shame associated with a losing team.
Satan wants to have a world where the wicked feel honored and proud, and they're glorying, and they're celebrating, and they're drinking champagne and smoking cigars because of their sin and wickedness. And Satan also wants a world where people who are committed to righteousness, and love, and beauty, and glory, and holiness, and honor of Christ, for them to feel ashamed, and to bury their heads, and to walk off the field with their heads hung low, hoping nobody sees them.
That's the world Satan wants, because he wants to exchange glory for shame. So, to glorify something is to put it on display. You want to make it seen. You want to make it known. You want to draw attention to it. You want it to be praised. You have a trophy of it, and you put it in a case so everyone can see it.
That is what glory does. That is how you glorify something. But if you're ashamed of something, you want to put it away. You want to hide it. You want to be silent about it. You want it to be invisible. You don't want to draw attention to it.
Paul says in Philippians 3:19, listen to this. He says, he's speaking of people who walk as enemies of Christ. Their end is their destruction, their God is their belly, meaning their fleshly appetites, and they glory in their shame. With minds set on earthly things,
Satan wants you to be ashamed of the Bible, of Christian teaching, of the church, of the history of the church, and ultimately of Jesus himself. Satan wants sinful beliefs and practices to feel glorious, to make wickedness seem noble and virtuous. And Satan wants Christian beliefs and practices to feel shameful, and to make Christianity seem dangerous and harmful and scary.
He wants you to feel ashamed. He wants you to feel like a loser. To be discouraged, hopeless, fearful, anxious. And yet, we know Jesus is the winner, right? Jesus is conquered. He is victorious. He is all glory, all authority, all power is His. He is high and lifted up. He is exalted. He is God. He is perfectly powerful and universal. He is glorious and wonderful and beautiful. He is worthy of everything. And Satan wants us to be ashamed of him, to be ashamed of his people, to be ashamed of his word and what he taught.
He has conquered sin and death and hell. There's nothing to be ashamed of. You, Christian saints, are our son or a daughter of the king. And so, shame, it's a social phenomenon. It is these feelings often are derived from other people. It's popular consensus that drives the things that we regard as either shameful or glorious.
And what Satan will do, oftentimes, is to even dupe Christians. Weak and anxious Christians into believing that their weakness and their anxiety and their fear is actually true Christianity. And to act like being a loser for Jesus and walking around totally defeated and in despair all the time is, is what humility is.
And that embodies true Christianity. And people like that can be more easily deceived into heaping scorn on other Christians in order to help them to save face with the world. So, here's the point then. If you are ashamed of faithful or courageous Christians, there's a good chance that you're also ashamed of Christ.
And so, people who are ashamed of Christ, they have been emotionally manipulated and socially conditioned to do so. They're deceived. Weak, anxious, timid Christians. are going to be embarrassed of bold and courageous Christians. And those things are, are socially conditioned. We pick up cues about what is shameful and what is glorious from whoever we're around, who we're listening to, who we want to impress, who we want to be acceptable to.
And so, whenever a Christian does this, they're ashamed of Christ, but they won't admit it. And so, you'll know them by their marketing because they want to. So, they want to market Jesus. They want to take all the things that the world may not like about Jesus because it confronts the spirit of the age, and they want to kind of bury those things in order to highlight Jesus's more admirable qualities.
And that will be whatever qualities just so happen to align with their priorities.
They'll package, brand them, and sooner or later Jesus will start to look and sound just like the world. And there are a lot of Christians who do this, some because they're deceptive, they're wolves, and some because they're naive. And they go along with it because somebody they respect is saying something that they, that makes them feel more comfortable about being a Christian, makes them feel more socially acceptable about being a Christian.
So whenever, so just consider whether or not that temptation is in your heart. I'll confess it's in my heart. There's, there are things that we say and believe as Christians that I'm like, man, that's going to make some enemies, especially if we say it, especially if somebody knows it. I'm tempted by that.
Surely, I'm not the only one. And so, there's this temptation to be ashamed of Christ because I don't want to suffer. None of us wants to suffer, do we? You don't want to be humiliated. You don't want to be ashamed.
So, consider whether or not if we feel that temptation, whether or not we're being deceived, maybe we're being played and maybe Satan is deceiving us using weak and anxious Christians.
So, I sense that in our time right now that this is a significant issue for us as modern Christians. It's a significant issue. A lot of people have observed that over the last 20 years or so, there has been a change in just the mood of our culture. The mood of our culture has been the perception of Christianity within our culture has gotten increasingly negative.
And that's, that's something that is a, is a shift from prior times. And so, in the last 20 years or so, people that, like people like me that are old enough to remember the time before and the time now, and we can see what has happened, the change that's happened. We recognize that there is a change that's happened.
And one of the results of this change has been an increasing prevalence of shame and honor in how our culture operates. So, shame is often associated with guilt. But guilt isn't the same as shame. It's a different kind of thing and the difference is important. With shame in Bible times, there was this incredible fear and dread of being put to shame.
You see it all through the Psalms, you know, praying like, don't let me be put to shame or a promise. You will never be put to shame. God will not let you be put to shame. But that idea of being put to shame was something that was a terrifying possibility. And so, guilt is the feeling that you've done something wrong.
It's an external thing. There's an idea of a standard that's external to you. And if you violate that standard, then the feeling that you have is guilt. And so, it is something that is more objective. Shame is the feeling that who you are is wrong. It's not necessarily because you violated a known standard.
But rather that something about who you are, something about your essence is wrong. So, it's more of an internal thing. Your very existence is wrong. And so, to be put to shame is to be publicly humiliated and exposed naked. To where you're surrounded by enemies and they're pointing at you and mocking you and scorning you and maligning you and they're, they're making fun of you and laughing at your misery.
That is the thought of the feeling of being put to shame. And in more of a shame, honor culture, shame, honor mindset, which we're headed, we're becoming more like that in America. That is a terrible thing. The thought that somebody's disgusted with you and they hate you. And ultimately you end up hating yourself.
So, in the past, our culture dealt more in terms of guilt. We were familiar with the sense of right and wrong, of good and bad, of legal and illegal. But now, we deal in terms of shame. Guilt is replaced with identity. There are the right kinds of people, and there are the wrong kinds of people. So, you probably already know who the right kind of people are and who the wrong kinds of people are in the eyes of the world, don't you?
Who are the wrong kinds of people? Well, Christians, for one, we're the wrong kinds of people, but also straight people, white people, men, these are the wrong kinds of people. And why are they wrong kinds of people? Because they are associated or blamed with oppression of some sort. And so, whatever is wrong is blamed on people like this.
So, who are the right kinds of people? Right kinds of people are people who aren't Christians, or It could be a minority, like an ethnic minority, women, LGBTQ people, because they can claim some status of being oppressed. And then that tells you who the enemies and who the heroes are. The enemies and the villains are the wrong kinds of people, which happen to be Christians being kind of a catch all.
Anybody who's a faithful Bible believing Christian is going to be one of the wrong kinds of people. So, if you're the wrong kind of person, and you have the wrong identity You can only be made right by affirming and align yourself with the right kinds of people. Because human beings now are in control over whether or not you're in or out.
And that's powerful because we're social creatures. We want to be accepted. We want to be affirmed and approved by others. And that's a very powerful thing. And so, if some human being and their fickle attitude and opinion gets to determine how I feel about what is shameful and what is glorious, what is honorable and good, or what is wicked and bad.
And if I can make myself a good person, an acceptable person, merely by changing what I think or what I'm willing to say and making it more aligned with them, that's a powerful thing because shame is an incredibly powerful force. This is how Satan deceives and manipulates and controls Christians. He gets them to fear being put to shame.
You know anybody who's been cancelled? Or have you ever feared being cancelled? Have you seen the videos, you know, somebody is going to speak at a college or whatever and, and they're just totally eviscerated like a crowd, an angry mob forms around them and they're just mocking and heckling and humiliating that person.
I mean, that's the stuff of nightmares. I do, for me, I mean, that's like a nightmare. That kind of scenario. To be, it kind of makes you feel like the child. That's, you know, nine years old. Out on the playground. Getting picked on, and bullied, and beat up, and made fun of. And surrounded by a circle of kids that are their enemies.
And they hate them, and that kid feels small. That's the kind of kids, that's the kind of thing that will drive little kids to suicide. Because shame is so powerful. And we are, we are not, we're not immune to that. We're susceptible to that same phenomenon. Satan threatens to ostracize people socially. To be rejected by our peers and friends and coworkers and family publicly.
To be mocked and ridiculed and hated.
Scripture speaks to this. I'll read you a couple of texts. Psalm 25 is a prayer. And just listen to what he's saying here. To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. He's directing it to God. I'm praying to the one God who knows the truth. Oh my God, in you I trust. God, I trust you because you are righteous and holy and good and you know me, your child.
Let me not be put to shame. Let not my enemies exalt over me. Those who are wicked, those who are sinful, they glory in evil things. Let them not exult over me. Let them not be victorious over me. Let them not hurt me. Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame. So, he immediately moves from fear and prayer to promise.
None who wait for you, O Lord, shall be put to shame. So, he's internalizing the promise of who God is. They, meaning the enemies, they shall be ashamed who were wantonly treacherous. That is the ultimate hope and promise that on the day of judgment, God will make all things right. On the day of judgment, glory and shame are set right according to God's perspective, and they become eternally fixed and permanent.
That's justice. Back to our text for today, Peter says, yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed. But let him glorify God in that name. Here's shame and here's glory. If you feel ashamed, it's not because of how God sees you, because you're a saint, you're covered, you're, you're righteous, you're suffering as a Christian, you're being obedient and faithful.
The shame comes from the feeling you get from your community and your surroundings. So don't feel the shame. It takes faith, right? It takes a confident hope in God in order to glorify God, meaning you, you direct your attention away from the people and towards the righteous, holy, eternal, perfect God. And you're in him.
You're righteous in him, you're, you're, you're, you belong to him and he's not ashamed of you. He will not put you to shame. That's a promise.
Nobody likes being embarrassed. Nobody likes being mocked or laughed at, treated with contempt. And the fact that we don't like it, that's a vulnerability and we can fall into this. I have fallen into this myself because it's so powerful.
There are people right now in your life, you care what they think. You may have godless, wicked pagans and you really care what they think. Maybe it's because they hold your job in their hands or some other, for some other reason, but it's a powerful thing. And so, they might say things like, oh, you believe that God, that God made the world in six days, huh?
Oh, you believe God flooded the whole world? You believe in angels and demons and spirits? You believe ancient people lived hundreds of years? You believe that God wrote some law with his finger on a rock and gave it to this dude named Moses who happened to part an ocean? You believe in that stuff? And you believe some of the stuff in that?
You believe homosexuality is a sin? How dare you? What's the matter with you? You stuck up, self-righteous, hypocritical bigot. You actually believe that? You dinosaur. Nobody believes that. Get with the picture. Get on the right side of history. Get with the rest of us who think right. We're the right kinds of people.
You're the wrong kind of person. Oh, you believe sex before marriage is a sin? Who in their right mind thinks something so absolutely insane? Do you think God calls men to lead their families and wives to submit to them? What? I'm sure you beat your wife and abused your children. Oh, and then your magical sky God became a baby.
That's stupid. And he was always perfect, always did everything right. And they crucified him. Good for them. But then, oh, he magically rose from the dead. Well, how convenient. We can't find his body now. Nobody knows where he went. He just, God took him up to heaven. Wasn't that dumb? What kind of people are you?
What's the matter with you? Nobody believes this stuff. Don't you realize how sophisticated, educated, credentialed? We've got degrees upon degrees upon degrees. We've got more degrees than Fahrenheit. We're smarter than everybody else. And you believe this stupid stuff. Oh, and you, you think depending on whether or not people believe in him or reject him, they're going to go to heaven or hell forever?
You feel the shame? Don't be surprised. Don't be surprised. Receive it as a blessing. You can be thankful for it, and you can look them dead in the eye, because you're not ashamed, and you can say, yes, I believe every word of it, and I am not the least bit embarrassed of it. Why don't you believe it? Don't you know that this God created you and you will give an account?
And I'm simply somebody who has found Jesus because he sought me. And now I can tell you how he can save you. Would you be willing to listen to that? Don't be ashamed. Satan wants you ashamed. He wants you fearful, anxious, afraid, cowering in a corner. Please God, don't let anybody find out I'm a Christian.
Or if they know I'm a Christian, don't let them find out what I believe. Don't let them find out who my pastor is.
Jesus our Lord went to the cross and on top of the excruciating physical agony, he was also put to public shame, humiliated. They say that they crucified men naked. I mean, it was ashamed if that's true and, and torture and execution and crucifixion was a form of entertainment. They enjoyed it. They made a public spectacle of him, but he did raise from the grave.
He conquered sin and death and hell, and we are his so that we would be spared from that outcome so that we would not be put to shame. So, you've got nothing to be ashamed of. Don't let yourself get bullied. GK Chesterton said a man who has faith must be prepared not only to be a martyr, but a fool. And just incidentally, I, because it is a social thing, social stigma, it's, it is, it travels along relational lines.
The church is a very powerful inoculant, and it's a way to immunize ourselves from shame because we know that there are other people, brothers and sisters in Christ, my family in Christ, that they're not ashamed of these things. And so, there are other people that I'm with, we support and encourage one another and we're not ashamed.
And if the world hates us, that's okay because I've got friends in my city group, friends on Sunday morning that I see, we sing about it, we worship, we lift up our hands and we have a place that is for us where we're not ashamed. And so that can be a safe Harbor for people that are refugees. that are seeking some shelter, and the church community can be that for them.
One more point, this is a, I'll make this one short. Trust God's faithfulness. All of these things require us to trust God in his faithfulness. So, 17 through 19, 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?
And if the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? Therefore, let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. So, God is a God of justice. Sin does not get the final word. Suffering never gets the final word. God works everything according to His purpose.
For Satan, suffering is a weapon. That he will use to damage our faith, to try to knock us off course, to get us to doubt God and to shame us into submission. But for God, suffering is a disinfectant. For God, suffering is a tool that he uses to purify his people and to glorify his name. So, whatever you suffer, you suffer according to God's will.
I mean, he's in control of it.
Suffering never catches him off guard. The trials that you experience are something that he knew would happen. And whenever it happens, you can know he's up to something good in it. So, when you experience suffering, you can be like, God, I know you're doing something good here. It isn't random. It's under his control and it's always temporary, never final.
You can believe God just showed up and God's going to do something. So, we worship a God who knows what it feels like to suffer. Jesus Christ suffered for a good and glorious purpose. And whenever we suffer, that means our, as our world shrinks down. Because of the pain, we can, by faith, have an eternal fixed reference point that can interpret our suffering.
It can lift us out of our predicament and help us to look down on our experience from a divine vantage point. Because we, we need hope to survive. We can't live without hope. And that's, a lot of times, intense suffering can cause people to feel hopeless. But for Christians, our suffering is never meaningless.
We're linked to Christ in a special way. And so, God uses that suffering. to produce a good result in your life. So don't be surprised when it happens. When it happens, rejoice. Receive it as a blessing. You have a unique fellowship of the Lord in it, so He knows what it's like to suffer. Don't be ashamed.
You keep your honor and shame compass calibrated to the true north of God's glory and our Lord Jesus Christ. And trust His faithfulness as you suffer. He knows what He's doing and He's not abandoning you. He's not forgotten you. And He's not going to put you to shame. From God's perspective, the insults, the derision, the crushed dreams, the lost friendships, the sleepless nights, those aren't wasted.
God's going to get the maximum glory out of those things. So, trust Him in it. Take the pain, trust God in it, knowing He'll turn it into something good and beautiful and glorious. Now let's pray. Thank you, Father, that You are the God who is sovereign over all of our pain and suffering and threats. We thank you especially God in a world that is using shame as a particular weapon of the devil to try to get Christians to Reject what they believe and to be afraid and ashamed of you of other Christians and what we believe We thank you for the promise of Scripture that helps us to see what Satan's schemes are and to not be unaware of them And Lord, I pray that you will help every man and woman in here To know, love, and obey you to be fully committed to Jesus Christ as Lord and for their Christian testimony that they will not be surprised when trials happen for their Christian faith.
They will receive it as a blessing. They will rejoice in it, that they won't be ashamed. And that they'll trust you, our faithful creator God, who is sovereign over it. Help us, Lord, to be those kinds of Christians. And we ask this in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.