Sunday 6th February 2011 – Pastor Mark Ballosingh
1 Peter 5 1-10 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
In order to succeed one may have to suffer first.
2 types of suffering:-
1) Those who despise God – the end of suffering is damnation
2) The Believer – we suffer for this is a process for the believer which leads to success. When we suffer we must remember even Christ suffered.
The word suffer is used in 3 ways:-
(i) To tolerate, to allow, to permit – when Jesus fasted in the wilderness He permitted suffering Matthew 3. Matthew 19:8 and Mark 10:4 talks about being able to tolerate suffering – He saith unto them, Moses for your hardness of heart suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it hath not been so. Mark 10:4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put [her] away.
(ii) To feel pain 1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin
(iii) To endure / sustain
FACTS ABOUT SUFFERING:-
1) Suffering in the life of the believer is not an unusual thing. Suffering was a trademark of the early church for she was persecuted for her belief in Christ. When believers suffer they should rejoice for the greater the suffering the greater the joy Matthew 5:10 Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2) When we suffer to a point which in the natural it becomes too much it gives room for the Holy Spirit to take His rightful place in our life and give us the strength to endure Romans 6 26-27Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what [is] the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to [the Will of] God.
1 Corinthians 3 14-15 When believers suffer Christ is glorified, suffering for the believer ends in reward. 15 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire
3) Suffering builds patience.
1 Corinthians 6:9-18 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
4) Christians suffer for righteousness, godliness and holiness, we suffer for doing the right thing and for the word’s sake. John 15:20, Mark 10:30, Matthew 5:10 & 13 -21. We suffer because we are not evil doers.
5) Believer, think it not a lost when you suffer for righteousness think it as a gain for there is a great reward. Acts 13:45, Matthew 5 11-12, 10:25
6) Blessed are you who the world hates Matthew 10:22, John 15 18-21
7) You suffer because of hatred by relatives. Matthew 10 21-36
8) Part of suffering will bring martyrdom – Acts 7 stoned Stephen to death for his love for Christ.
9) We suffer through temptation James 1 2-16
10) Suffer for shame of His name – Acts 5:41
11) Suffering meant imprisonment for the Apostles for Christ sake – Acts 4:3, 5:18, 12:4
12) Great tribulation for the name of Christ – Acts 14:22, 1 Thessalonians 4
13) Suffering through misunderstanding and defamation of character
What should I do during this suffering?
– Be happy in your suffering – Matthew 5:10, count it all joy Matthew 10:28
– Keep your eyes on God…..do not be afraid of men who cause you to suffer, do not focus on the source of the suffering but on Him who will ease the suffering.
– Do not be troubled by trouble, especially when the source of the trouble is for your belief in Christ 1 Peter 3:14
– Maintain a good conscience by demonstrating good behaviour
When you start seeing trouble for Christ, hold unto Him, let your life and conduct be a testimony of the Christ you are being persecuted for.
Christ himself suffered the suffering we go through today, Christ went through it all. Psalm 69 19-21 – outlines the areas Christ suffered;
– Broken heartedness
– Gall for meat, vinegar to drink
– Adversaries and liars in His trial
Christ suffered for –
• Sin….He who knew no sin became sin. To deal with sin Christ had to go through a process of suffering. Jesus had to suffer for the sins of the world, “Behold the lamb, who taketh away the sins of the world.” Galatians 1:4, Matthew 26:28, Ephesians 1:14, 1 Corinthians 15:3, 1 Peter 2:24. When Jesus knelt in the garden of Getsemane, He sweat drops of blood, so great was the burden of sin.
• Christ suffered so He can bridge the gulf between man and God. He suffered, bled and was ashamed. No man wanted to watch Him so great was His disfiguration to bear our sin. Romans 5 6-28.
• He suffered for the unjust.
• He suffered to bring us back to good standing with God Colossians 1 20-22, Colossians 2 14-17, 2 Corinthians 5 14-21/24.
• He suffered unto death
Today we do not have to suffer to come into the presence of God, we just need to come to the altar and cry out to God and ask for forgiveness.
3 Reasons Christ suffered to death:-
1) We may be dead to sin, Romans 6 6-7 – knowing this that our old man be crucified. As our sins were nailed to the Cross, so to we must suffer daily to be dead to sin, bringing members of the body under subjection so that sin doesn’t come into us…
2) We live to righteousness – some of us who are struggling to live right is because we have not become dead to sin, Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fallen short….To die in Christ is to live in righteousness, we are bought clear of sin and ungodliness.
3) We might be healed – by His stripes we are healed…39 stripes were recorded in the Bible and at that there were 38 known diseases, the extra stripe was a prophetic stripe for the unknown disease – aids/HIV
REWARDS OF SUFFERING (1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you)
1) Make us perfect – we suffer towards perfection. As the potter spins the wheel and the imperfections start to show up, he crushes it to eliminate that which isn’t clay and starts to rebuild it to perfection. Christ is our potter and we are the clay being moulded to perfection.
2) Makes us established – 2 Corinthians 13:15, Romans 1:11. In the process of suffering every human dependence deserts us as we hold on and focus on God.
3) Strengthen us – to bind together to the point where there is no splitting / falling apart. God passes us through the process of suffering to bring us to that place where we will line up perfectly with the will of God.
4) Settle us – we go through suffering to build a good foundation to be laid, for we will have no substance if we do not go through suffering. A good foundation is found in a place of suffering, if you have never suffered for Christ, you do not have a good foundation. Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Suffering brings with us experience and brings us into the presence of God. Count it all joy for it is only for a while.