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

LESSON 12 - SUFFERING AND THE CHRISTIAN (1 PETER 4:12-19)

INTRODUCTION:  THIS WEEK OUR STUDY IS 1 PETER 4:12-19.  LAST WEEK
PETER TAUGHT US IN THE FIRST 12 VERSES OF CHPT. 4 THAT WE SHOULD
HAVE THREE ATTITUDES TOWARDS LIFE: 1) THAT BECAUSE OF JESUS DEATH
AND RESURRECTION AND OUR BAPTISM, WE ARE DEAD TO SIN; 2) THAT AS A
RESULT OF OUR NEW LIFE, OUR OLD FRIENDS WILL ABUSE US, BUT WE NEED
TO KEEP IN MIND THAT GOD WILL JUDGE AND MAKE ALL THINGS RIGHT; AND
3) WE SHOULD HELP EACH OTHER BY BE LOVING AND COMPASSIONATE.  THIS
WEEK HE CONTINUES--AND HE TALKS ABOUT OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS
SUFFERING -- LETS LOOK AT IT.

I. TRIALS

     A. READ 4:12. PETER SAYS THAT WE ARE LIKELY TO BE SURPRISED IF
WE SUFFER. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT? WHY NOT BE SURPRISED?  MAKE THE
ARGUMENT FOR THOSE WHO ARE SURPRISED ABOUT SUFFERING--AND THINK
THEY SHOULD BE SURPRISED?  (LEV. 26:3-13; PROV 2:6-12; 3:21-26; IS
40:31)(THAT GOD IS STRONGER THAN SATAN AND THAT HE WILL PROTECT
US.)

     B. WHEN PETER FIRST HEARD JESUS SAY THAT HE WOULD SUFFER, WAS
PETER SURPRISED? (MATT. 16:21-23.)
          1.  JESUS SAYS SOMETHING VERY INTERESTING TO PETER (ASIDE
          FROM CALLING HIM SATAN), HE SAYS THAT HE HAS IN MIND THE
          THINGS OF MEN AND NOT OF GOD:

               a. WHAT ARE THE "THINGS OF MEN?" (PEACE, POWER.)

     C. PETER WAS SURPRISED BY JESUS.  HE LEARNED SOMETHING FROM
THE EXPERIENCE OF JESUS' SUFFERING, AND HE IS TRYING TO TEACH US
WHAT HE LEARNED.

     D. PETER SEEMS TO MAKE TWO LINES OF ARGUMENT WHY WE SHOULD NOT
BE SURPRISED.  
     
[MAKE A CHART WITH 3 COLUMNS.  AS DISCUSS, WRITE IN "CHRIST
SUFFERED"  "JUDGMENT/PURITY"  "CONFLICT"]

     E.THE FIRST, IN v. 13-16 ESSENTIALLY SAY "CHRIST SUFFERED." 
WE WILL GO INTO THAT IDEA IN DETAIL LATER.

     F. THE SECOND LINE OF ARGUMENT IS IN v.17-19 AND I WANT TO
START WITH THIS ARGUMENT FIRST. READ v. 17.

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

     G. IF YOU STUDIED THE LESSON THIS WEEK, IT HAMMERS THE IDEA
THAT GOD SENDS THESE TRIALS TO PURIFY US.  IT SAYS (SUNDAY), "TRIAL
IS PART OF THE EDUCATION GIVEN IN THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST TO PURIFY
GOD'S CHILDREN FROM THE DROSS OF EARTHLINESS."
     
          1. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT?

          2. WAS JESUS BEING PURIFIED BY HIS TRIALS?


     H. OR DOES SUFFERING COME FROM THE SCHOOL OF THE DEVIL? 
( 1) IF YOU SKIP AHEAD, AS OUR LESSON DOES, 5:8 SAYS THE DEVIL
PROWLS LIKE A ROARING LION LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO DEVOUR; 2) 4:15
& 16 GO BACK TO THIS THEME THAT WE SUFFER FOR BEING GOOD--AND THERE
IS NO MERIT FOR SUFFERING FOR BEING BAD.  THIS SEEMS TO CONTRADICT
THE IDEA THAT WE ARE SUFFERING TO GET RID OF THE BAD.)

     I. 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?

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

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

     L. 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?

     BUT--BUT--BUT
               
               
II. SUFFERING BECAUSE WE ARE SERVANTS OF CHRIST.

     A. LETS GO BACK AND READ v. 13--16.

     B. THE GENERAL THEME IS THAT WE SHOULD NOT OBJECT TO SUFFERING
BECAUSE CHRIST SUFFERED.  WE ARE CERTAINLY NOT BETTER THAN HIM, AND
WE DESERVE TO SUFFER 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?  DOESN'T IT WORRY YOU 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?

     K. 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. IS IT POSSIBLE THAT WE ALL SUFFER AS PART OF JUDGMENT
(WRONGDOING) OR WE SUFFER BECAUSE WE ARE CHRISTIANS?

III. JUDGMENT IN GENERAL

     A. LETS SKIP AHEAD AGAIN: WE DID NOT FINISH v.17-19, WE JUST
DISCUSSED THE FIRST PART OF v.17.  READ v. 17-18.

     B. WHO DO THESE VERSES SAY ARE SUBJECT TO THE JUDGMENT? (THE
FAMILY OF GOD AND THE UNGODLY--SO EVERYONE.)

     C. HOW DOES PETER SUGGEST THAT THIS IS GOING TO TURN OUT FOR
THE TWO GROUPS?  WHO HAS THE BETTER CHANCE OF SURVIVING JUDGEMENT?
(HE SAYS THAT IT IS "HARD" FOR THE RIGHTEOUS, BUT SEEMS TO SAY
WORSE FOR THE UNGODLY.)

     D. IS IT JUST A "BETTER CHANCE" FOR THE FAMILY OF GOD? (NO.
HIS MESSAGE HERE IS THAT HIS FAMILY IS GOING TO MAKE IT.  THAT THE
OUTCOME IS ULTIMATELY GOING TO BE JUST FINE!)

     E. READ v. 19.  WHAT IS HIS CONCLUSION THEN? (HE SAYS THAT IN
LIGHT OF THE JUDGMENT, WE SHOULD COMMIT OURSELVES TO GOD AND
CONTINUE TO DO GOOD.)

IV. NEXT WEEK: OUR LAST LESSON IN 1 PETER.  WE STUDY CHPT.5.
N LIGHT OF THE JUDGMENT, WE SHOULD COMMIT OURSELVES TO GOD AND CONTINUE TO DO GOOD.) IV. NEXT WEEK: OUR LAST LESSON IN 1 PETER. WE STUDY CHPT.5.