After preparing for a sermon on 1 Peter, I read through Piper’s sermon on the same text to see how he handled it. One of the things he did that I appreciated was note four reasons why if the church is going to be faithful to fulfilling the mandate of Christ we will inevitably suffer. Here are the four reasons:
- Jesus clearly taught that “you will be hated by the nations”. So, “wherever you go among the nations, your efforts to bring good news of everlasting life will be met with joy in some and anger in others”
- Paul calls evangelism “the filling up of what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions”. “God’s purpose is that the afflictions of Jesus that purchased our salvation be imitated and demonstrated in the propagation of that salvation”.
- Jesus warned the first evangelists as he sent them out saying, “If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more members of his household”
- Paul told Timothy, in the midst of church planting in Ephesus, “Do not be ashamed, but share in the suffering for the gospel in the power of God..”
As I noted when I preached on this text, Peter admonishes us in 1 Peter 4 to arm ourselves with a robust theology of suffering and then to not be surprised when we have to use it.