One of the strangest verses I remember reading as a kid is Acts 5:41-42. The apostles were thrown in jail, rescued by an angel, arrested again and told not to teach in the Name of Christ again. When the apostles said they can only follow the call of God, they were then flogged and released with the order to not teach in the name of Jesus. “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.”
They rejoiced because “they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” Coming to our final week in 1 Peter, this picture of Peter rejoicing in his suffering with the other apostles brought life to 1 Peter 4:1-19. Read through this section and as yourself a few questions along the way:
What does it mean to live a life worthy of suffering for doing good?
Thinking about suffering differently: What does suffering have to do with overcoming sin in your life?
What does Peter tell us about judgment?
What does Peter tell us about how we live life together in this text?
Why should you rejoice in suffering?
Why does God’s judgment begin with his household? What does that tell us about why we should live right lives? I want to be mindful here of what we say about God. We don’t like sermons about God’s judgment. Where do you see grace in this?
Peter seems to imply that suffering is part of the Christian walk. Whether it is suffering from those around you or from confronting sin in your own life, suffering will happen. There are a lot of preachers in our culture who present a Christianity that only focuses on the “blessings” that come with being a follower of Christ. They make the Christian walk look easy. 1 Peter 4:14 says that, “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you ARE blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” He doesn’t say you WILL be blessed. He says you ARE blessed. WHAT?! This isn’t the feel-good message that we want to hear. When you know Christ, really know Christ, everything in life is reevaluated. I hear the words of Paul echoing from Philippians 3:10-11, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”
Lord, help us to live lives worthy of being persecuted.