1 Peter 4: 12-19 Insights into Suffering


Intro: We have seen that a Large part of this Epistle has dealt w/ the subject of suffering

A)Peter has talked about what the Believers attitude should be in suffering


B) He has pointed out that Christ suffered for us / and Peter has pointed to Christ as the Believers example to be like when going thru those times


C) So He has encouraged the believers to keep their eyes on Jesus /

On heaven & to seek to live a Holy life

1)   Here in the 2nd half of Ch.4 – Peter sort of sums up all that he has said previously on this subject of suffering – w/ these words V.12-19



 Peter begins by saying Don’t think it strange …….

A)Alien or foreign / But natural & expected - 


2 Tim. 3:12 all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.


B) It is NATURAL & EXPECTED THING – for those who are seeking to live for the Lord – Darkness hates the light / hated Jesus


C) So don’t think it strange – and then   Peter gives  3 reasons why the Lord allows His People to suffer


1st – Suffering Produces eternal Blessing

A)In v.12 – He calls it a fiery trial – this takes us back to what he wrote in  Ch. 1:6-7


In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,


There Peter likens our faith to gold that is tried by fire /

A) Job 23:10 But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.


B)When gold is placed in intense heat – all the impurities rise to the surface

1)   Scrapped off – put back in the fire – more impurities are revealed


2 Cor 4:17 17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,


Now Paul keys in on a very important truth here – the suffering the affliction is currently working ( ACTIVE- doing something) 

A) THE RESULT IS that suffering  is transformed into glory - The suffering is NOT REPLACED w/ glory / but it is transformed into glory


B) Those moments / months / those yrs in the furnace – will bring about a glorified end !!!!


C) Think of it this way – when a woman gets Pregnant her body goes thru a lot of Changes / morning sickness / puts on weight – stretches – bowling ball

1)   Then comes the Labor –( good word)  sweating / pain/ screaming


D) But the same Baby that causes the pain & the discomfort brings forth  Joy after it is born – amazing how they forget the suffering ( I want another)

1)   The suffering is transformed into a Blessing !!!  ( Until teens)



The same is true concerning the suffering, trials& the Heartache that you go thru now that causes so much pain

A)It Will be the very thing that brings you Joy & gladness latter on


B) And Like a couple longs for that baby to be born –suffering gets us longing for heaven !!!!!!

  1) Talked at great length – first Ch. – Tape: rejoicing in the mist ……..

C) Now what if we really believed that – what Jesus said about trials / what Peter is telling us here

1)   A lot less prone to complain about our trials / a lot more inclined to REJOICE !!!!!


2nd Reasons Peter gives us here / don’t think it strange – v.13 Suffering deepens our Fellowship w/ Jesus

A)Rejoice to this extent – that you are becoming a partaker in the sufferings w/ Christ


B) This is huge – ( Rejoice in suffering not just because of what it will do for me in the future as that suffering is transformed into Glory

1)   But also for what it is doing in me NOW – Brings me closer to the Lord Opportunity for Identifying w/ His suffering


C) Quote Paul again Phil 3 – Theme- I want to Know Christ – that is the goal

  1) Counted all things loss for the excellence of the Knowledge of Christ

Forgetting what Lies behind – looking forward to what lies ahead – press on toward that upward call of God in Christ –


D)Know Him more / How?

1)   Power of His Resurrection.  – ( YES AMEN – THE POWER)

       And the FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERING – ( Someone else)



Listen every time a believer encounters any form of persecution / goes thru various times of suffering

A)It becomes an opportunity for that persons relationship w/ Christ to be deepened – because they experience a small part of His pain


B) Clues us in – a little more of what it must have been like for him to be persecuted by the very people he came to save!!!!!



C) If you have every suffered unjustly/ been ridiculed / defamed / falsely accused – everything in you wants to scream Not right / fair/ not true


D) Then you look at Jesus & what He went thru – 50,000 times more intense & you see how – He just stood there before His accusers in silence

1)   He had done no wrong / He Knew who He was / No real accusation to bring against Him


E) Maybe – in your situation the accusations were false –but if looked deep enough – find something – But not Jesus – Absolute Perfection


But that situation –gives you a small taste of what He went thru / and how He dealt w/ it in Humility – Committed situation to the Father

A)That situation draws you into a deeper more intimate Knowledge of the Lord – as you get a little better picture of what He went thru for you


B) And as you realize that He totally understands you & what you are going thru – because He has walked in your shoes !!!!!


C) He doesn’t just empathize ( feel sorry ) w/ your pain – but He can sympathize w/ your situation

1)   Because He Himself has been thru it to an even greater extent


It is our natural tendency when going thru some difficulty to gravitate toward someone who has been thru the same

A)It helps in knowing that they can understand the pain /


B) Often times a mutual suffering brings two people together in a very special way – two people who might not have mingled other wise

1)   Not much in common – but now they have this special bond because they have gone thru a similar situation


C) The person who hasn’t been thru that situation can empathize / can be there / they can offer a degree of comfort

1)   But they cannot say –I know how you are feeling – ( JESUS CAN)

For THE married person here who’s spouse has been unfaithful – that person can grow bitter – because of it – Why God / why me

A) Or see it as an occasion that brings you into the fellowship of Christ suffering


B) See He knows what it was like to be betrayed by the ones that He loved

1)   He knows what it is like to have those whom He gave Himself to / deny Him & take advantage of Him/ forsake Him 


C) And if you take it farther – the Lords relationship w/ Israel His bride  - he knows what it is like to have the one you love – go after other Lovers

1)   TIME & TIME AGAIN !!!!!  He can say – I know how you feel


For every Parent of a Prodigal son or Daughter – The waywardness of that Child is an opportunity for your walk to be strengthened

A)As you in the pain that you feel – get a taste of how the fathers heart breaks & is grieved when HIS people – walk away from Him


B) When they fail to realize that – He has their best interest at heart !!!!!

1)   And He can say to your heart I know what you are going thru / been there


C) So that tragedy caused by another persons sin – can be used in your life now – to bring you into a deeper – union w/ Christ



3rd Suffering provides an opportunity for God to be Glorified in our lives Presently v.14-16

v.14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.


A)It is Peters conviction that something of that glow of Glory rest on the man who suffers for the sake of Christ

1)   It was said of Stephen in Acts 6:15 at his trial & stoning that his face shone like the face of an Angel     

B) That Glory is far reaching: - at least 3 ways :   1st that Tragedy becomes a Platform where suddenly people are taking notice     ( Willis family )


Dad is Scott – 47 school teacher – part time minister / Wife Janet – Home school mom / 9 Kids ( 3 of which are older & out of house )

A)One day – Scott & Janet & all six of their younger kids – Rd. trip

    Large piece of metal from truck fell pierced fuel tank


B) The van Immediately exploded into Flames –engulfing everyone inside

1)   On fire Scott & Janet tumbled from the van & after rolling on the grassy Knoll to extinguish the flames


C) They sat there in horror staring down the Fwy where all six of their Children still in the van – burned to death

1)   Bruised / Burned and Bandaged / Scott & Janet – spoke at a news Conf. From the Hospital –


We know that God has purposes & God has reasons. God has always demonstrated his Love to us & our family  - And there is no question in our minds that God is good & He will see us thru this time


Incredible Faith -  Their Dark  day was an opportunity for this family that few had even known before to shine brightly for Jesus

A)This is what the reporter for the Chicago tribune wrote about this couple


“ The couple displayed extraordinary grace & courage Wed. as they calmly presided over the news conf. Explaining how their unquestioning faith has seen them thru the loss of 6 of their 9 Children “

There are only two kinds of response to the kind of loss that Scott & Janet Willis suffered last week: Utter Despair or Unquestioning faith – for the Willis's DESPAIR WAS NEVER AN OPTION!!!


B) Other people look on – Wow there must be something to this / touched by the Grace of God working in your life !!!!

Barclay – A Saint is someone who’s life makes it easier to believe in God”

2nd way the Glory is seen is that situation of tragedy or difficulty becomes an opportunity for God’s power to be Displayed

A)Either in Deliverance or in how He takes you thru that situation


B) Deliverance – Ex. 15 – Red Sea

1)   Taking thru – Shad …… in the fire – Jesus w/ them : Result ? Neb gives glory to the Lord


C) I have recently talked w/ some couples that are going thru some pretty intense stuff – So blessed by their attitudes / Strength – Eyes on the Lord

1)   The natural man would be pulling his hair out right about now !!!

    Their Response: It is all God !!!!!


3rd way that the difficulty becomes an opportunity for God’s glory to be Revealed is when the Lord uses you later on to Comfort another

A)Someone who is currently going thru that same situation – And you are able to say – Here is how I made it thru this


3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.


B) So Peter says – Don’t think it strange ……..

1)   Suffering is transformed into Eternal Blessing

2)   “”””” Brings you into a deeper fellowship w/ Christ

3)    “””” Gives you the opportunity for God to be Glorified in your life presently – thru that situation



v.15 Warning - But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters

A)It is good to suffer for the right reasons / occasion for the Lord to be glorified – but if suffer for the wrong reasons – another story – no glory


B) But I want you to notice what is in this list – Murderer / Thief / Evil doer

  1) Those are bad things -    But notice what he includes in the list

       BUSY BODY !!!! A Meddler


C) This speaks of a person who gets all wrapped up in other peoples affairs

1)   This is heavy that the Lord would include being a busy body – in this same list w/ murderer / thief / and evil doer


This is one thing that really bugs me – people who are always so interested in what is going on in other peoples lives

A)I think - Don’t you have enough problems of your own – to be worried and always thinking about so & so


B) Some people like to play 20 questions – What if they do this / what if they do that / what you think they are thinking / what if this happens

1)   I tell them you are spending way too much time thinking about all the possibilities / God loves them / they are seeking the Lord


C) If they make the wrong decision & find out that maybe they heard wrong they will learn from it !!!!

  1) Well I am just concerned and I want to Pray – great – then talk to God & quit talking to me !!!!!


So  let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.


D)How can you make sure you are not going to suffer for those things ? Don’t get involved in them


16Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.


Here is the contrast – the word Christian here is very significant

A)It means much more here than what we think of it today


B) Today a lot of people call themselves Christians – which could mean they are Mormon / they are religious / they believe in God / American

1)   But in Peters day – this really stood for something – it wasn’t very common & was never confused


C) This is one of 3 places in the whole N.T. where the word is used

1)   Appears first in Acts 11:26 – there in Antioch – the Believers were first called Christians – It wasn’t  a compliment


D) The term was originated  by those who hated the believers & it was used in a derogatory sense – the  Reason was they reminded people of Jesus


There are those people who remind us of Jesus – they are just like Him so loving / gracious / righteous – little Christ – Christ like / holy ones

A) So Peter says – if you are suffering for those reasons because you are so much like Christ it is bugging people- don’t be ashamed by that


B)BECAUSE – in Reality God is being glorified in your life

1)   So for those reasons don’t think it strange ………. Try you



Now Peter says something here in v.17 that I believe has been widely misunderstood

17For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?


A)I think there has been a lot of erroneous teaching related to this verse

Over the yrs

1)   In the History of the Church this verse has been used a lot to call the Church to repentance & to get right


B) Judgment begins w/ the house of God !! So get your act together


C) But That approach to this passage – ignores the context of the verse as well as the wording that is used

I personally don’t believe that this is a warning that Peter is giving to the Church to get ready to be Judged by the Lord – several reasons

A)1st the Word Judgment is –Kremah – which speaks of a vengeance & Condemnation / different word could be used for correction


B) For that reason  I don’t think this is referring to  judgment that is from God against His Church 

1)   because the judgment we deserved was already poured out on  Christ at

       the cross


C) 1 Thes. 5 Not appointed unto wrath but to obtain salvation

1)   And Rom. 8 there is therefore now no Condemnation for those who are

     in Christ Jesus


D) Now if this was speaking of a Judgment of Correction – there is another grk word that could have been used !!!!!



2nd –Reason not a Judgment from God is – the context of its place in this letter – Now is the time

A)Peter has been talking throughout this letter about suffering for the right reasons


B) And he has also been alluding to this event that was about to occur where their suffering was going to get a lot worse

  1)He is writing from Rome – hostility against Christians rising


C) He is discerning the situation that is about to occur – writing to warn the believers to hang in there – Knowing it is going to get worse

1)   And it did Nero – over 250 yrs & over 6 million Christians killed


D) Nero launched the first of 10 persecutions that continued over the next 250 yrs until the time of Constantine in 300 AD


E) I think that what we know from History – that the Context is clear that Peter was writing about that wave of persecution that was about to begin

  1) When He says – For the time has come for Judgment to begin at ….


Now if I take the position that this Judgment that Peter is referring to is from God I then have to conclude that God was actually responsible for the actions of Nero & the other emperors who persecuted the Church


A)Yes but didn’t the Lord use outside forces to Judge Israel in the O.T. for

    their rebellion? /Bring them to repentance – Answer is yes


B) But here is the thing – the Church as a whole was thriving in A.D. 64 it was strong / Pure / it was effective / not rebellious

1)   It  was Changing it’s world – which is one of the reasons that it was persecuted


C) For those reasons I think it is clear that the vengeance & Condemnation  that is about to come – is not from God / but from Satan via Nero

  1) it was Hellish & Demonic


D) Satan always begins w/ the Church – His first action is not to come against his own – but to wage war on the Church


 Now it is true that God allowed that to happen & that Persecution always has a positive affect on the Church / Weeding out the Chaff

A)God demonstrating His grace in strengthening people to stand


B) In fact the Church didn’t become corrupt until after this persecution stopped when Constantine came into power


C) So to say that this judgment that Peter is referring to was by the hand of God is erroneous

  1) But how does that fit w/ v.17b &18 -  Read


I think it is very clear when you see it in this context that Peter is making a contrast

A)Saying look the Judgment that you are going thru at the hand of the enemy is nothing compared to what people who don’t know Christ are going to go thru at the hand of God – Rev.6-19 example



What is meant by if the righteous is scarcely saved –

A)Word scarcely saved = w/ difficultly -  hard thing -  


B) Not hard in the sense of you have to work for it – but hard or scarce in this sense Jesus says that the road to heaven was narrow few find it

  1) But BROAD is the road that leads to destruction many on that road


C) Those saved – One way – By faith in Jesus – thru Grace

1)   In order to do that God had to pour out His judgment on His son


D) So if you consider what the Father did to Jesus in order to save us

1)   What do you think  it is going to be like for those who reject His Son


E) I CAN  tell you this it is not going to be pretty ( that is the idea here)


V.19 Peter raps up the Whole section on suffering w/ these words


19Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.



Commit = to Deposit for protection

NLT 19So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.