Sunday School Material - Suffering People

(I Peter 4:12-19; 11/15/09)

Introduction: A key idea in today's lesson is believers should endure suffering with trust in God. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to develop the faith to endure suffering.

Body:
Read I Peter 4:12-13
I. The Right Attitude in Suffering
. Peter tells his readers not to think it strange that they are suffering. On the contrary, they should expect some suffering. They are to rejoice as those who partake in the suffering of Jesus Christ and expectation of His being revealed.

Applications –
- Notice in vs. 12 that fiery trails can be expected. Trials may come as financial troubles, health challenges, or relational problems. Trials may manifest itself in the form of being discriminated against. However, trials, in whatever form, should be expected. Let's work on bracing ourselves for the fiery trials that may come our way. On one side, we need to enjoy the moment. But on the other hand, we must make sure we trust God more than the enjoyment of the money, relationships, or health that we currently have.

- Notice in vs. 13 the urging to rejoice in our trials because to suffer with Christ leads to our being glorified with Him. There is nothing joyful about trails. However, there is great joy in knowing that trials don't last always. In fact, for believers, there is the resurrection and there is eternal life with Christ. Let's rejoice about the hope that we have in being with Christ, after our trials.

Read I Peter 4:14-16
II. The Right Reason for Suffering
. Peter urges his readers to make sure they are suffering for the right reason. Suffering for being a Christian is a good thing. However, suffering because of the sin in our lives is terrible.

Applications –
- Notice in vs. 15 that we are to make sure we are not suffering because of our sins. Sometimes things are rough and tough in our lives, not because of our relationship with Jesus, but because of our sins. We are reaping what we have sown. Let's work on living according to God's will, instead of sinning. At the core of God's will is to love God, ourselves, and others with the blessed assurance of having accepted Jesus as our savior by faith.

- Notice in vs. 16 that there is to be no shame, when suffering is related to our simply being Christians. However, when suffering is related to sin, we should be so ashamed that we repent of our sins. Worst than seeing so many supposed Christians sinning is to see so many who are not ashamed and consequently not repenting. There are too many who are not ashamed of "shaking," not ashamed of being poor stewards of their health, not ashamed of robbing God, and not ashamed of not witnessing like they said they would do, in the Church Covenant. Let's be examples of those who are so ashamed of our "suffering causing sins" that we repent. Let's also encourage others to do the same.

Read I Peter 4:17-18
III. The Inevitability of Suffering
. Peter says that judgment and suffering must come. It starts with the Church, but it also hits those outside of the Church. In fact, it is worst for those outside the Church.

Applications –
- Notice in vs. 18 that the suffering of those who have Christ is no joke; however, the suffering of those who don't have Christ is even worst. Let's work harder on getting our loved ones and others saved, so they will not experience the suffering of those who are lost. Every believer ought to work on being able to share the plan of salvation, in addition to inviting and bringing loved ones to church and Christ.

Read I Peter 4:19
IV. The Refuge Amidst Suffering
. Peter urges his readers to make sure that their suffering is according to God's will. He wants them to commit the keeping of their souls to God, in well doing.

Applications –
- Notice in vs. 19 the urging to commit the keeping of our souls to God. There are things in this world that make no sense to us. Some "good people" suffer so much. Some "bad people" seem to live so well. However, we must learn to trust God to work things out for the good of His people. Let's work on trusting God. Being consistent in prayerful study and obedience with the support of other believers will go a long way in this area.

Conclusion: Let's work on developing the faith to endure suffering. God has much for those who obey His will.

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