This is the third in the Restart series on trials, difficulties and sufferings taken from the Book of First Peter. The first installment helped us to see that our tough times can be a route to Joy if we would only stop long enough to turn from what things we don’t have to meditate on the things we do. That we can actually turn us closer to Christ, through the things He gave us to think about – to meditate over. And we were instructed that this was the pathway to joy. Below is a summary of our findings, though you can view the Sermon and Sermon notes HERE
- God’s Great Mercy
- We are caused to be Born Again
- That we possess a Living Hope Through Jesus’ Resurrection
- That we have an Inheritance Unalterable
- Reserved in Heaven, waiting now
- And inheritance that is for you, personally
- That we are protected by the Power of God through Faith
- That we have as an addition to our Salvation, a Salvation ready to be revealed
The second lesson Peter gives us is that in fact our trials are the route to holiness. Holy does not mean perfect – it means consecrated, dedicated. We learned that this route to holiness not for the lazy and that there were six things we needed to be doing. These are summarized below, but I encourage you to read the Sermon Notes or view the video HERE
- Be Engaged
- Be Obedient
- Be Fearful
- Be Reminded
- Be Available
- Be Refueled
In today’s lesson we see Peter takes a sharp turn and provides detailed instruction on how Jesus Himself suffered – the behaviors He showed, the priorities He set, the techniques He used to bear up. Peter then dares to instruct that we are to suffer like Jesus did; in the manner and custom of His sufferings. That what we learn of His path is the pathway ahead for the Believer. There are six take aways from the text that we are to practice. To suffer like Jesus…
- Means we must first prepare
- Means we must suffer for others
- Means we must learn obedience in suffering
- Means we must share His sufferings
- Means we must learn to trust in God alone
- Means we must do what is right
We must first prepare
- Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation – 1 Peter 2:1-2
Peter starts with “Therefore” which as Students of the Bible we must understand that what he is about to say is a consequence of the instruction that went before. At once our attention is drawn to context. The context of the former passage is our suffering and our ultimate victory in it. In order to have this victory – to have our trials result in the benefits of joy and holiness – we need to prepare ourselves by self assessment. Notice the phrase “put aside.” This means we must take a look at ourselves to see if we are holding the five things he mentions. As I have said many times before if the Bible instructs that we are to put something aside it means two things: First that we are first holding them and that we have the capacity to do so – that God does not tell us to do something we cannot do.
So what are the five things we are to put aside?
- Malice Evil Intention
- Deceit Guile
- Hypocrisy Pretense
- Envy Lack of contentment
- Slander Evil Speakings
Peter warns of these five things. We are to examine ourselves to look for evidence of them.
- Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you — unless indeed you fail the test? – 2 Corinthians 13:5
I want you to notice one other very important characteristic of these five things. Whereas our first two lessons in suffering (Suffering to Joy and Suffering to Holiness) had for the most part to do with addressing our internal relationship with God; these five warning behaviors all have to do with our relationship to others – how we view and behave with other people. And this then, is the first principle key in learning to suffer as Christ did – that is to suffer at the hands of, and for the benefit of, others. Our preparation to suffer like Christ means
then that we must be intentional about how we choose to deal with others.
The second key characteristic in the Believers preparation to suffer as Christ is – as it says in the verse above – to “long for the pure milk of the Word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation”. Peter instructs we long for the Word of God – the Bible – as a newborn longs for its mother’s milk. Can you find a more clear, more intimate word picture? You and I need to get our noses in the Bible – to long for it.
- My soul is crushed with longing After Your ordinances at all times – Psalm 119:20
All victory in living is found in daily, intentional, concentrated time in the Bible. Without this intense craving for His Word we hold no hope of success in taming the five wicked out workings Peter mentions. And all this is to help us prepare to get real about our views of others by rooting out those five wicked habits and behaviors. Okay – that’s how we are to prepare. Let’s begin our instruction on the path of suffering like Christ.
We must suffer for others
- For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps – 1 Peter 2:21
To follow in the steps of Christ Jesus – to follow in His steps and (what?) – to suffer. Trials and difficulties in life are not just inconveniences. Sometimes we wail “why me God”. But the crud that goes down is to be expected – something Christ left as an example. But lets read more carefully. Let me ask you a question: “Did Christ suffer for Himself?” No, He suffered for you and I – He suffered for others. So then if we are to follow His example, we too must suffer for others. That’s right – we must come to learn to suffer for others. In fact our purpose is to suffer for others – to suffer as Christ did is to suffer for others. But how does this work? Our first instruction here is found in verse 22:
- He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth – 1 Peter 2:22
So how can we live out our purpose to suffer for others – the same way Jesus did? Our first step is that You and I must live Truthfully. We cannot live sinlessly – but we can live Truthfully – we can own up to our faults – we can flee from the practice of lying. To live as a believer we must life in truth.
- God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth – John 4:24
Verse 23 helps us to discover three additional insights as to how Christ suffered – what the manner and practice of His actions while suffering for others:
- When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly – 1 Peter 2:23 NIV
He did not retaliate. He made no threats. He entrusted Himself to God. To suffer like Christ means we must first live truthfully. But then we must not retaliate when harmed. We must not threaten others – to get one up on them after they hurt us. And we must give ourselves, our defense, our situations to God. These are the things Christ did when He suffered at the hands of others – it is our purpose then – it is in our design – to do the same.
Peter offers another helpful summary of how we – as suffers like Jesus – are to deal with others in the passage below:
- Now finally, all of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, should love believers, and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult – 1 Peter 3:8-9a HCSB
Combining these verses then, if we are to handle our trials in the same manner as Jesus then we are to live truthfully, non retaliatory, non threatening, given to God, harmoniously, charitably, lovingly, tender-hearted, humbly, not returning evil for evil or insult for insult.
We must learn obedience in suffering
Our purpose – if we are to go through our difficulties as Christ – is to learn obedience in suffering. Whoa; hold on there Pastor Bob. Are you saying that Jesus had to learn obedience? Wasn’t He perfect? He never sinned, right? Yes, that is right, He never sinned.
- For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin – Hebrews 4:15
- Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered – Hebrews 5:8
But He had to learn, as we do, not to sin – but to live in obedience to the Commands of God. Although fully God – He was fully Man. He had to deny Himself, He had to suffer neglect and abuse for the sake of living truthfully – He had to learn obedience through the earthly trials He went through. And if He walked that path, then certainly must His Followers:
- Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, equip yourselves also with the same resolve because the one who suffered in the flesh has finished with sin – 1 Peter 4:1 HCSB
How can sin be finished? Because like Christ – you and I must learn obedience. Not just read a verse and let it go – but to follow the Jesus Path: the denial of self through the things we suffer. Obedience is the pathway to purity. Our souls get purified when we live in obedience. Look back in chapter 1 where Peter said:
- Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart – 1 Peter 1:22
We must share His sufferings
- Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 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. If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you – 1 Peter 4:12-14
Not much ambiguity here. Peter writes clear enough. The crud you go through is nothing strange; nothing unique; nothing unusual. It happened to Jesus and it is going to happen to you and I. We are to share His sufferings – and not only that to the degree we share them we are called to rejoice
(NIV- overjoyed – KJV – exceeding joy). This is definitely not the path you and I routinely take in the face of the stuff we endure. But yet, there it is. We would not be instructed to rejoice unless it were in our power to do so – that God with this directive will supply the means to obey. But notice in your reading of the passage above, the important reference in verse 14. No only is sharing His suffering a source of Joy but it says in plain text that it is a source, a wellspring, a promise of blessing! Suffering like Christ means we must share His sufferings – because He shares our sufferings. But our trials are a source of blessing. We don’t always find the blessing – sometimes it feels hidden. But does that mean the blessing is not there? You don’t see oxygen – and yet you breathe it. Your biscuit is held in your chair by forces you don’t see.
We must learn to trust in God alone
- Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator – 1 Peter 4:19 GNV
To face our sufferings in the same manner as Christ did is to commit ourselves – our souls – our will, our mind and our emotions – to God. The key to trust in God alone is in the giving of your heart in spite of what your mind says! In fact, to do so is not to lean on your own understanding. The key to Trust is not to think you know it all. The key to Trust is not holding back, but to entrust yourself to God. This is not a one time thing. It is something that needs constant attention. We need to keep entrusting – this trust business is an ongoing thing – an ongoing struggle. – it takes effort. This is how Jesus behaved.
- While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously – 1 Peter 2:23
We must do what is right
My final point of instruction on learning the methods of Christ to combat our sufferings is that we must simply “do right” in all of it. We are not to sit idle while we are in the midst of our difficulties –
not if we want to go through our pains and trials like Jesus did. To suffer like Jesus is to make love a verb – to being doing.
- Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right – 1 Peter 4:19
Check out these other translations:
- NASB – doing what is right
- HCSB – while doing what is good
- KJV – in doing well
- NIV – continue to do good
When you are in the middle of the junk of life… do right. Who gets blessed when you help someone else? You do! Suffering the way that Jesus suffered means to make a verb out of love – by doing. I think the boldest example of this is found in what Jesus said at the very height of His suffering –
while He hung there on the cross for 6 hours! He did what was right:
- Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do – Luke 23:34
What about you and I? Do we fail to see that those who hurt us are living deceived – that they know not what they do? Or are we quick to cut and lash out at them? To suffer like Christ is to grow past all that – to do what is right because what we do we do for the Lord. We are called to be part of all this – it is our purpose! Do you have the courage to accept this? Do you want to face your trials and sufferings like Jesus did? Then you must address the way you think about them. Or as Paul wrote:
- That we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead – 2 Corinthians 1:9
This then is the Restart Church look at the method and approach to address our difficulties as Christ did – after the instruction from the Apostle Peter. Please take a moment to listen to the Video to get more out the lesson. Thank you for taking a moment to read these notes. It is my prayer – right now – that your faithfulness in following the Jesus Path in this area of our trials will become more fruitful. May the Lord Bless You as You Go!