How should a Christian respond to suffering. In this sermon, Pastor Mark Driscoll describes 4 weights that help bring balance to the suffering of life.
TEXT: 1 Peter 3:8 – 17
PREACHER: Pastor Mark Driscoll
DATE: March 29, 2009
People are hurting (emotionally, financially, relationally, mentally); Peter informs Christians how to suffer well.
h3. Three Categories of Suffering:
Some suffering is deserved.
Some suffering is mysterious.
Some suffering is undeserved.
h3. Three Responses to Suffering:
Ignore – deny your own suffering, avoid the suffering of others, put a band-aid on it, try to forgive and forget
Exalt – suffering becomes your identity; an all-consuming victim mentality that can be used to excuse and overlook sin
Outweigh – there are four weights of glory that ultimately outweigh suffering
Discussion Question #1: How heavy is your suffering?
h3. Weight # 1: Suffering Makes Fellowship Actual (1 Pet. 3:8)
When Christians suffer it causes them to focus on what matters most, which fosters unity of mind (not uniformity).
Suffering enables Christians to show sympathy and compassion to others.
Suffering makes love among Christians possible.
Suffering cultivates tender hearts.
Suffering cultivates humble minds.
_Community Group Question #2: How sweet is your fellowship? _
h3. Weight #2: Suffering Makes the Gospel Credible (1 Pet. 3:9 – 11)
The natural way to respond to evil is with evil.
The supernatural (gospel) way to respond to evil is with good.
At the heart of the gospel is a man dying to love his enemies.
It takes more courage, strength, and dignity to be like Christ than to instigate further evil.
_Community Group Question #3: What is your suffering teaching you about the gospel? _
h3. Weight #3: Suffering Makes God’s Love Tangible (1 Peter 3:12 – 14)
God sees your life, hears your prayer, opposes your enemies, blesses your suffering, and can remove your fear.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, the fear of everything else is the beginning of folly.
_Community Group Question #4 What fears does suffering expose? _
h3. Weight #4: Suffering Makes Evangelism Possible (1 Pet. 3:15 – 16)
Suffer in such a way that you learn about Jesus and that other people may learn about Jesus too.
Many Christians are good at winning arguments but could care less about winning people. Build respect and trust with people, and answer their questions with humility and honesty.
People want to see if Christianity works, as demonstrated in relationships and community.
Suffering allows us to be a humble, loving, considerate, respectful, gentle people that embody the gospel.
Community Group Question #5: Who can you evangelize? How?
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For
“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.