PHBC January 4, 1997

Series: First Peter, Ser. #36

PILGRIMS APPOINTED TO PERSECUTION AND SUFFERING


Scripture: I Pet. 2:18-25

TEXT: 1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.

INTRO: My subject is Pilgrims Appointed to Persecution and Suffering. Contrary to what many think of when they think of the Pilgrim life of the Christian, we are appointed to suffer in this world. I can recall hearing a few preachers painting a very rosy picture of the Christianís life. I have heard a few preachers who have assured people that if they would just be saved it would straighten out all their problems and they would have things so much better if they would just give their heart to Christ.

The opposite however, is often the truth. Troubles may just start when one becomes a Christian. But, that is of Divine appointment and we should not complain.

THE AMAZING FACT OF IT

The Lord declared that Paul must suffer many things Acts 9:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

Note that he did not say he might have to suffer these things.

He must suffer them because he was called to suffer them.

Paul informed the Philippians it was given to them to suffer for Christís sake. Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.

Jesus warned that we would have tribulation in this world; he held out no promise of a bed of roses. John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Paul indicated we must endure much tribulation. Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Paul reminded the Thessalonians that we are appointed to afflictions. 1 Thessalonians 3:3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.

Paul informed Timothy that all who live godly shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Job considered his suffering to be appointed by God and that many such things were with God. Job 23:14 For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.

He considered his many sufferings to be appointed by God.

This included the wearisome nights he spent during those sufferings. Job 7:3 So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me.

THE MANNER IN WHICH WE SHOULD FACE THE SUFFERING AND PERSECUTION TO WHICH WE ARE APPOINTED

We should accept these things as Divine appointments which are for our good and Godís glory. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Knowing that he was appointed to suffer many things for the sake of Christ, Paul readily faced these sufferings, even death for the sake of preaching the gospel. Acts 21:13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.

Paul endured these suffering for the sake of the elect. 2 Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

We should not look on our sufferings as strange. 1 Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

These sufferings and persecutions of Christian pilgrims are not strange or unusual.

Rejoice because we are partakers of Christís sufferings when we endure persecutions and sufferings.

Enduring these things as we ought is glorifying to God.

We should not let these sufferings or persecutions move us from our course in the Christian life. 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

WHEN WE ENDURE SUFFERINGS AND PERSECUTION WILLING WE ARE FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST

Christ suffered willingly.

Realize that we will experience no more than the Lord has appointed for our good and his glory and that he will deliver us out of them all when they have fulfilled their purpose in us. 2 Timothy 3:11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

Rejoice that none of these things which we might endure can separate us from the love of Christ. Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Be ready to endure and suffer whatever is appointed for it is appointed for the sake and glory of Christ. Acts 21:13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.

Donít let anything move you away from the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Acts 20:23-24 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Be of good cheer for victory is secured in Jesus Christ. John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Rejoice in being identified with Christ in his sufferings. John 15:18-21 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.

Fear not those things that may be appointed for you in the way of suffering and persecution. Revelation 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Never be ashamed of the things you or others may suffer for the sake of Christ. 2 Timothy 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.

CONC: We have been blessed by living in relative peace and safety from severe persecution. It comes now and then but none of us have yet resisted unto blood. Hebrews 12:4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. The reason that we have not experienced those things is because God has not appointed such things for us as Job and others endured.

Perhaps the challenge we endure is even greater than what Job faced. To live godly in this present evil world while having things easy and enjoying Godís material bounty is even a greater challenge than suffering persecution. Whatever by our lot, let us face it with the assurance that Christ is with us and we shall ultimately have victory. Rejoice, therefore, and remember that whatever befalls us here can only be temporary for our citizenship is in heaven and one day the great God and our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ shall come forth in his glory and receive us to himself and forever we will be with him where he is and rejoice in beholding his glory.

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