1. The apostle Peter wrote 2 of the 21 New Testament "epistles" [letters addressed to groups of Christians or individual Christians]. 2. In his first letter,: a. Peter addressed a number of responsibilities that God has given to His people b. Peter showed how Christians must fulfill these responsibilities, even while suffering persecution from unbelievers c. Peter emphasized how Christ suffered unjustly for doing the Father's will. 3. This lesson is a study of the information presented in 1 Peter 4:12-19. 4. In these verses Peter revealed additional instructions that relate to the persecution that would be faced by the Christians living in Asia Minor (1:1). a. The faith of these Christians was being tried (1:6-7). b. According to 4:7a, they would soon be facing a great calamity. c. In 4:7b-11, Peter listed a variety of responsibilities that would help them. d. While fulfilling these responsibilities, they would have to face persecution correctly. Discussion: I. (vs.12) THIS "FIERY TRIAL" WAS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED "STRANGE"
A. Persecution of Christians was foretold by: 1. Christ (John 15:20) 2. Paul (2 Timothy 3:12). B. Rather than consider this trial to be a strange event, . . . II. (vs.13) PETER INSTRUCTED HIS READERS TO "REJOICE"
A. This instruction is also given in Matthew 5:12; Philippians 4:4; and James 1:2-3. B. To rejoice as Jesus, Paul, James, and Peter teach, persecuted Christians must remember that: 1. they are "partakers of Christ's sufferings" 2. they will experience "exceeding joy" when Jesus returns. III. (vs.14) THOSE WHO ARE "REPROACHED FOR THE NAME OF CHRIST" ARE "HAPPY" [BLESSED]
A. Reproach: to speak evil against B. Peter mentioned several times that his readers were being tried in this way (2:12; 3:16). C. Jesus also taught that such people are "blessed" (Matthew 5:11). D. To be blessed as Jesus and Peter teach, persecuted Christians must realize that: 1. God's Spirit abides with His children 2. the reproach of God's people provides an opportunity for Him to be glorified. IV. (vs.15) CHRISTIANS ARE NOT TO SUFFER BECAUSE OF SINFUL ACTIVITIES
A. Peter showed earlier that Christians are: 1. to be holy (1:14-16) 2. to obey civil laws and that the state is responsible for punishing law breakers (2:13-14). B. God's people are not to suffer in the sense of receiving punishment for murder, stealing, doing evil, and meddling in the affairs of other people. V. (vs.16) THOSE WHO SUFFER FOR BEING CHRISTIANS MUST "NOT BE ASHAMED"
A. Rather than be ashamed, persecuted Christians are to "glorify God." B. The apostles provided examples in this regard (Acts 5:40-42; 2 Timothy 1:12). VI. (vs.17-18) THE TIME HAD ARRIVED FOR THE CHURCH TO BE TRIED
A. This "judgment" [trial] would be so severe that even the righteous would find salvation difficult. B. If God allowed His church to be tried, there will be no hope for sinners who do not obey the Gospel. VII. (vs.19) THOSE WHO "SUFFER ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD" ARE TO "COMMIT THE KEEPING OF THEIR SOULS TO HIM IN WELL DOING"