BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday January 20, 2013
LIVING IN FAITH
(Suffering as a Christian)
1 Peter 4:12-19
To participate in CHRIST’s suffering” is something that people who choose to live a GODly lifestyle should expect. Every Christian has to embrace the fact that a certain amount of persecution will come to those who choose CHRIST, even to those of us who live in the United States of America. It can come in our schools, our churches, on our jobs, and, even in our families.
In the world, there is always going to be people who do not agree with the truth of the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST. Sometimes, those who disagree act out, or react in physically, or emotionally aggressive ways toward those who believe GOD’s Word. However, in the biblical sense, this is only considered to be “normal persecution” or normal, inevitable friction, caused by a meeting of the two adverse spiritual influences that exist in the world, good and evil.
JESUS suffered because HE had an overwhelming desire to do the will of GOD, not because of any fault or wrongdoing of HIS OWN. If we truly desire to be like CHRIST, we must be like CHRIST in our attitude toward suffering also. Not in suffering from doing wrong things, but rather, in suffering for the righteous causes that put us in opposition to the world.
As I said, sometimes our opposition can come from a worldly church, or job, and sometimes it can even come in our own home from family members (i.e. an unbelieving wife, husband, mother, father, sister, brother, or children), however, JESUS says that when it comes down to making a choice between HIM, and those people and things that we hold sacred in our lives, we must be able to choose HIM (Luke 14:25-28a). For it is considered to be a part of the cost of being HIS disciple.
That is why discipleship is something that is only going to be pursued by a select few. There is a distinct difference between “discipleship” and “salvation”. Salvation occurs when we come to CHRIST, and trust in HIM. However, discipleship means taking up one’s cross and actually following CHRIST. JESUS clearly understood that the only way back to glory was through the cross, and so it must be for those who choose to follow HIM. It requires a daily identification with CHRIST, in suffering, and, in surrender to GOD’s will (Luke 14:25-33).
And so, don’t be surprised, or saddened by the trials that you go through, as if something strange is happening to you, for we already know that trials were promised by CHRIST. Instead, we should be glad for these tests, because they make us partners with CHRIST in HIS suffering. And remember the “Christian Hope”, is that, in the end, you will be able to share in CHRIST’ glory that will be displayed to the whole world, in the process of time. So be joyful when you are insulted by religious people, and non-Christians alike, because that is when the glorious SPIRIT of GOD will come over you and protect you more closely (1 Peter 4:14-16).
There is no shame in right-suffering, or suffering simply because you chose to do the right thing according to CHRIST’ teachings. That kind of suffering gives us fellowship with CHRIST, and, brings to us, the ministry of the HOLY SPIRIT. GOD does not trust every believer with that kind of privilege, responsibility and experience, so, take joy.
It is always a life-changing thing when we get to know, and become accustomed to practicing the Word of GOD. GOD’s Word is here, and now, and it has always been. It simply cannot be, nor, will not be, disregarded. HIS WORD is synonymous with life, and thereby, effective and penetrating, when it takes hold of our hearts.
All things lay naked before GOD. HE absolutely sees all, hears all, and knows all that we do. And every one of us, Christians and non-Christians alike, will have to make an account for the deeds done in our lifetimes. Therefore, whether or not we believe HE exists, is totally irrelevant, and has no application, or effect upon GOD’s prevailing Will, and final judgment upon us. We can’t just simply “un-believe” GOD the CREATOR, out of existence (1 Peter 4:17-19).
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website