Discovering Some Purpose of Suffering - 1 Peter 4:13-16
August 2, 2023, 9:15 AM


But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 
If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.
However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

Part of the purpose of suffering is to help determine if our faith is in religion, church, or Jesus Christ. If it is in Christ, there is the commitment to Him regardless of difficulties. Faith quickly is like the seed falling on shallow ground. It has no root (Mt. 13:18ff) Part of the purpose of human suffering for Jesus’ sake is to not only demonstrate true faith in our hearts, but to other hearts as well.

Pastor Terry White told of his severe house fire. His house and virtually all his possessions were destroyed that night.  They were showered with gifts from church members and friends. What did the Whites learn?

1) That things are not as important as relationships - all family members escaped.

2) They now were called upon be to gracious receivers.

3) The fire made them more sensitive to others' hurts.

4) They learned to hold possessions lightly. They realized they owned far more than was really needed.

Luke 12:15 said, "A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possession."

This is one type of suffering. There is also the persecution that the Bible calls “partaking of the sufferings of Jesus”.

Romans 8:17 "Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Phil 3:10 “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so somehow to attain to the resurrection from the dead."

We identify with Jesus, not in His atonement, although some people believe our sufferings in some way help pay for the sins of the world. When Jesus said it was finished on the cross, He meant it. The cross is the means of His paying for the punishment of our sins and there is nothing we can add to that. To participate in His sufferings simply means that we will suffer persecution for righteousness and seek to live in God's, will just as Jesus did. He is our example.

The cross is the way to a crown. We are not saved if we suffer. We are saved because Jesus gave His life for us. We accept that free gift. We are drawn by His Spirit to repentance and confession of sin.

Application and Prayer: Pray Phil 3:10