The Battle of Suffering


1 Peter 4:12-19

October 21, 2018

By Jim Eschenbacher

This past Sunday, Drew was out of town, and he had a man from the congregation speak. That man was Ray Chester. Ray spoke the word of the Lord and did a fine job. I have known pastors who made sure that whoever was in their pulpit didn’t do a very good job. They chose untenured speakers, so that they, the pastor, would always look good. Drew does not do that. Ray was very qualified and did a masterful job. He focused our attention on verse 19 from the reading… Therefore, let those who suffer according to God’s will, entrust their souls to a faithful creator while doing good.

The point of significance is that though our bodies are suffering, our souls are cared for by God. And it is our souls that Jesus died for. Every ‘body’ is predestined to die; but the soul will live for eternity… either with God or without. And that is our job… to invite people to live with God in eternity.

Ray painted a picture of suffering that is part of the plan of God. Jesus suffered and we will suffer. The purpose of suffering is not only and specifically to learn how to suffer; it is to separate our body and soul.

1 Peter 4:1-2… (from last week) Since, therefore, Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

Suffering is like a prelude to death. Welcome it.

Romans 5:3… More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance.

Suffering reminds us that we are battling our flesh and it is a serious battle.

1 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.

Ray spent a good deal of time talking about being insulted for the name of Christ. Went that happens, remember, you are blessed. But, don’t be insulted for being an evil doer.

Verse 15… But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or am evil doer or as a meddler.

I find it intriguing that meddler is included with the other three. Are you a murderer? Most would say, “No.” Are you a meddler? Most would say, “I don’t think so.” We don’t even know for sure if we do it and yet it is included in the list of things to not do. “Meddling” often includes judging. Most of us avoid judging, but do we feel equally about meddling? This is a big takeaway from this sermon.