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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 13 - SUFFERING AND THE CHRISTIAN / FINAL EXHORTATIONS
(1 PETER 4:12-19; 5:1-14)

INTRODUCTION:  THIS IS THE LAST WEEK OF OUR STUDY OF 1 PETER. OUR
STUDY IS 1PETER 5: BUT I AM VERY CONCERNED ABOUT FINISHING UP
UNFINISHED BUSINESS FROM LAST WEEK.  LAST WEEK WE LOOKED AT THE
TOPIC OF OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS SUFFERING -- AND WHEN OUR TIME WAS UP
SEVERAL PEOPLE HAD THEIR HANDS UP AND WE HAD NOT FINISHED THE
DISCUSSION.  

     BECAUSE WE ALL HAVE OR WILL HAVE TO FACE SUFFERING, AND
BECAUSE IT IS SUCH A TEST OF FAITH, I WANT TO GO BACK AND FINISH UP
LAST WEEK'S DISCUSSION BEFORE WE MOVE FORWARD TO CHPT. 5

I. REVIEW

     A. LAST WEEK PETER STARTED OUT BY TELLING US NOT TO BE
SURPRISED IF WE SUFFER. HE THEN MADE TWO LINES OF ARGUMENT WHY WE
SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED.  
     
[MAKE A CHART WITH 2 COLUMNS.  AS DISCUSS, WRITE IN "CHRIST
SUFFERED"  "JUDGMENT/PURITY"]

.
II. SUFFERING BECAUSE WE ARE SERVANTS OF CHRIST.

     A. READ v. 13--16.
     B. THE FIRST LINE OF PETER'S ARGUMENT IS THAT "CHRIST
SUFFERED." SIMPLE CONCEPT: WE SHOULD NOT OBJECT TO SUFFERING
BECAUSE CHRIST SUFFERED.  WE ARE CERTAINLY NOT BETTER THAN HIM, WE
DESERVE IT AND HE DID NOT.

     C. BUT I WANT US TO DIG DEEP HERE AND GO BEYOND THE SURFACE.
v. 16 SEEMS TO CLEARLY INDICATE THAT WE WILL SUFFER AS CHRISTIANS:
FOR BEING AND DOING GOOD.  
          --NOT AS ANY SORT OF JUDGMENT OR PUNISHMENT.

     D. JUST WHY DID JESUS SUFFER?

***  E. WAS IT GOD'S WILL THAT HE SUFFER? (IT HAD TO BE.  IF IT WAS
NOT GOD'S WILL, JESUS IS GOD AND HE WOULD NOT HAVE DONE IT.)

***  F. SO, IS IT GOD'S WILL IF WE SUFFER? (IF THEY SAY NO, ASK WHY
NOT IF IT WAS HIS WILL THAT JESUS SUFFERED?)
     
***  G. IS IT POSSIBLE THAT EVIL CAN BE DEFEATED ONLY THROUGH
SUFFERING? (GOD'S PERFECT WILL WAS THAT ADAM AND EVE WOULD HAVE
PAID ATTENTION, OBEYED AND LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER WITHOUT SIN AND
SUFFERING.  BUT SINCE ADAM AND EVE DID NOT OBEY AND FOLLOW GOD'S
WILL...)
     H. THEN "PLAN B" WENT INTO EFFECT.  UNDER PLAN B CAN EVIL ONLY
BE DEFEATED THROUGH SUFFERING? (PROBABLY)
     
     I. DID GOD LACK LOVE OR CONCERN TOWARDS CHRIST?

          1. IS OUR SUFFERING A SIGN THAT GOD LACKS LOVE OR CONCERN
TOWARDS US?

     J. DO YOU SEE THE SUFFERING OF JOB TO BE LIKE THE SUFFERING OF
CHRIST? (SEVERAL PARALLELS: A) EXAMPLE TO OTHERS; B) GOD CALLED JOB
A PERFECT MAN; C) CAUSED BY SATAN'S ATTACK, THE EXTENT OF WHICH WAS
CONTROLLED BY GOD.)

          1. IS IT POSSIBLE THAT ALL UNDERSERVED SUFFERING IS JUST
LIKE THAT?  

          2. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE TWO TIMES
WHERE THE CURTAIN IS PULLED BACK AND WE CAN SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING,
IT LOOKS LIKE SUFFERING CAME IN THE SAME WAY?

III. JUDGMENT

     A. PETER'S SECOND LINE OF ARGUMENT IS IN v.17-19. READ v. 17.

          1. CAN SUFFERING ALSO BE A JUDGMENT FROM GOD?
          2. A JUDGMENT THAT STARTS WITH THE FAMILY OF GOD? (EZK9)

     B. IN OUR DISCUSSION LAST WEEK, SOME THOUGHT THAT SUFFERING
DID NOT COME FROM GOD, BUT ANOTHER SUGGESTED THAT IT "PURIFIED" THE
SAINTS: AN IDEA THAT WAS REALLY HAMMERED HOME IN SUNDAY'S LESSON:
"TRIAL IS PART OF THE EDUCATION GIVEN IN THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST TO
PURIFY GOD'S CHILDREN FROM THE DROSS OF EARTHLINESS."
     

     C. IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THIS IDEA OF JESUS MAKING GOOD
PEOPLE SUFFER SO THAT THEY WILL BE BETTER--HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN v. 17
REFERENCE TO JUDGMENT BEGINNING WITH THE FAMILY OF GOD?

     D. WHAT IS JUDGMENT? (PUNISHMENT FOR BAD, REWARD FOR GOOD.)

     E. DOES THIS MEAN THAT GOOD PEOPLE ARE PUNISHED FOR THE BAD
THAT THEY HAVE?  DOES THIS SUPPORT THE IDEA OF "PURIFYING THE
SAINTS?"

     F. SO IF WE LEARN HOW TO LIVE BY STUDYING THE BIBLE, AND DO
IT, WE WILL NOT NEED THIS PURIFICATION?

****      1. CONSIDER THIS IDEA: THE RIGHTEOUS ARE SAVED BY FAITH:
BUT GOOD BEHAVIOR CAN KEEP YOU OUT OF HARMS WAY--OUT OF THE WAY OF
THE TRIALS OF PURIFICATION!
               a. AGREE? (IT CLEARLY HELPS TO KEEP YOU OUT OF
HARM'S WAY.)
               b. CAN YOU SAY THAT SALVATION IS FREE; PUT IF YOU
WANT TO STAY OUT OF HARMS WAY, VIGOROUSLY KEEP THE LAW?
               

IV. CHANCE?

     A. NEITHER THE EXAMPLE OF JOB OR JESUS, NOR ANYTHING WRITTEN
IN CHPT. 4 GIVE ANY HINT OF RANDOM SUFFERING: BEING IN THE WRONG
PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME OR "JUST CATCHING CANCER."
      
          1. I HAVE OFTEN SAID (IN THIS CLASS) I THOUGHT THAT THERE
WAS RANDOM SUFFERING.  IS IT POSSIBLE THAT NONE OF THIS HAPPENS BY
CHANCE?

          2. WHY DO WE WANT TO SAY THAT SOME SUFFERING COMES BY
CHANCE?

          3. SUFFERING IS OBVIOUSLY A TEMPTATION.  JESUS TELLS US
THAT HE WILL NOT ALLOW US TO BE TEMPTED "BEYOND WHAT [WE] CAN
BEAR." 1 COR. 10:13.

          4. IN MATT. 10:29 NIV SAYS THAT SPARROW DOES NOT FALL
"APART FROM THE WILL OF YOUR FATHER."
          
****      5. IS IT POSSIBLE THAT WE ALL SUFFER FOR ONE OF THESE TWO
REASONS: PART OF JUDGMENT (WRONGDOING) OR WE SUFFER BECAUSE WE ARE
CHRISTIANS?

               

V. CHAPTER 5

     A. PETER CONTINUES WITH THE TOPIC OF SUFFERING IN CHAPT. 5. 
HE HAS TOLD US ABOUT THE CAUSE OF SUFFERING IN CHPT. 4, NOW HE
TELLS US ABOUT THE SOLUTION. READ 5:7-10.

     B. WHAT ARE PETER'S TWO SOLUTIONS TO SUFFERING?
(v. 7 CAST YOUR ANXIETY UPON GOD. v.10 IN HEAVEN JESUS WILL RESTORE
US.)

     C. HOW DO YOU "CAST YOUR ANXIETY" OR "CAST YOUR CARE" UPON
JESUS? (PART OF THIS IS SIMPLY KNOWING THAT JESUS CARES FOR US.)

     D. SO WE CAN TRUST HIM NOW TO CARE FOR US AND WE CAN TRUST HIM
THEN TO RESTORE US AND MAKE US STRONG, FIRM AND STEADFAST (THUS
SUGGESTING THAT IN TRIALS WE MAY NOT BE ANY OF THESE.)

     E. DO YOU THINK HIS OTHER SUGGESTIONS ABOUT RESISTING THE
DEVIL AND BEING SELF-CONTROLLED AND ALERT HELP US WITH SUFFERING?
(THIS SUGGESTS THAT ALL OUR SUFFERING COMES FROM SATAN.  KNOWING
THAT IT COMES FROM THE ENEMY, AND NOT GOD, HELPS US TO KEEP OUR
COURAGE.
          1. BUT PERHAPS MORE FUNDAMENTALLY, HE SEEMS TO SUGGEST
THAT IF WE ARE PAYING ATTENTION BY BEING "SELF-CONTROLLED" AND
"ALERT" TO EVIL, THAT WE EXPOSE OURSELVES LESS TO THE LION.)

     F. NOW GO BACK TO BEGINNING OF CHPT 5.

     G. READ v. 1-4. YOU WILL REMEMBER THAT PETER OFTEN MENTIONED
HOW LINES OF AUTHORITY SHOULD OPERATE AMONG CHRISTIANS: FREE MEN TO
THE LAW, SERVANTS TO MASTERS, WIVES TO HUSBANDS, ETC.  HERE HE
TALKS ABOUT ELDERS TO THE REST OF THE CHURCH.
          1. HOW IS IT THAT ELDERS SHOULD "RULE" OVER THE CHURCH?
               (a. AS SHEPHERDS
               b. AS OVERSEERS 
               c. WILLINGLY
               d. NOT FOR PROFIT
               e. EAGER TO SERVE
               f. NOT LORDING IT OVER THE OTHERS
               g. BY EXAMPLE)

     H. READ v. 5-6
          1. HOW IS IT THAT THE REST (THE "YOUNG MEN") SHOULD REACT
TO THIS?  
          2. HOW SHOULD THEY ACCEPT AUTHORITY?

          3. IT SAYS "CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH HUMILITY."  OUR LESSON
QUOTES A FELLOW WHO SAYS THAT "MANY WOULD BE SCANTILY CLAD IF
CLOTHED WITH THEIR HUMILITY."

          4. WHAT IS PETER SUGGESTING IN v. 6 WHEN HE SAYS "HE MAY
LIFT YOU UP IN DUE TIME?" (IF YOU ARE HUMBLE AND LEARN WHEN YOU ARE
YOUNG, YOUR TURN WILL COME TO ASSUME THE POSITION OF AN ELDER AND
HELP OTHERS.)

VI. NEXT WEEK: NEW QUARTER, NEW BOOK: SONG OF SOLOMON.
ARE HUMBLE AND LEARN WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG, YOUR TURN WILL COME TO ASSUME THE POSITION OF AN ELDER AND HELP OTHERS.) VI. NEXT WEEK: NEW QUARTER, NEW BOOK: SONG OF SOLOMON.