Listen to this sermon: 04222012FirstPe1.6-9DonRuhl

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Why We Have Many Trials

What have trials done to your faith?

First Peter 1.6–9

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • April 22, ad 2012

Scripture Reader and Reading: Dysen – First Peter 1.3–5

Prelude

  1. Let us bless God because 
    1. He has begotten us again to a living hope,
    2. He has reserved an unsurpassable inheritance for us in heaven, and
    3. He guards us in His power for that time.
  2. Why do we have to wait for it? 
    1. Why can we not enjoy it now?
    2. Peter answers that question next.
      1. Our inheritance in heaven is incorruptible, undefiled, and does not fade, but
      2. that cannot be said about us, yet,
        1. it has to be said about us because
        2. we have to match our inheritance and
          1. be incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading.
          2. How do we get that way?
            1. God has already begotten us again, but
            2. we still have to mature and
              1. Peter shows how that happens,
              2. which also makes us match our inheritance.
  3. Therefore, Peter shows 
    1. that whatever God does with our lives now,
    2. He does in preparation for our lives in heaven later.

Persuasion

  1. First Peter 1.6, 7 – The Reason for Trials

    6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that 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… (1Pe 1.6, 7).

    1. We rejoice greatly at our heavenly prospects, because
      1. of the griefs we have here, and
      2. griefs and trials do not exist in heaven,

        15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev 7.15–17).
    2. Focusing on our incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading heavenly reward
      1. helps us endure the grievous trials now,

        18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom 8.18),
      2. remembering that regardless of the length of our trials, they are temporary,

        16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2Co 4.16–18).

          1. Paul’s point and Peter’s point is that trials are temporary.
          2. Therefore, view all things from the vantage point of eternity.
            1. Moreover, consider that the magnitude of our trials
            2. do not even come close to the magnitude of the glory to come.
    3. Notice in verse 6, in reference to trials that Peter said, “If need be…”
      1. At times throughout life,
      2. it is necessary for us to experience trials,
        1. not that God persecutes us, but
        2. He does allow the trial to happen, because
          1. trials do something for us
          2. that Peter mentions in verse 7.
    4. In verse 7 Peter teaches that trials purify us,
      1. making us aware of our shortcomings,

        67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
        But now I keep Your word.
        (Psa 119.67)
        71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
        That I may learn Your statutes.
        (Psa 119.71)

        2 Better to go to the house of mourning
        Than to go to the house of feasting,
        For that is the end of all men;
        And the living will take it to heart.
        (Ecc 7.2)

      2. In verse 5, Peter had said that God guards us in His power, but
        1. verse 6 shows
        2. that does not mean we shall never suffer.
    5. Peter said that trials can come in various ways,
      1. trying us in
        1. religious areas and
        2. non-religious areas.
          1. Everything has to do with religion,
          2. so what I mean by that is this.
            1. Those trials that are explicitly religious, and
            2. those trials that are not explicitly religious.
      2. The explicitly religious trials make themselves obvious.
      3. The non-religious trials do not appear to be attacking our beliefs,
        1. although further contemplation shows that they do.
        2. The trials of Job provide good examples of non-explicitly religious trials.
          1. Since they do not seem to have anything to do with our religion, and
          2. the temptation is we do not seek the help of our religion.
    6. Peter explains that faith is like gold that needs testing for its genuineness.
      1. Impurities in gold devalue it and deteriorate it.
      2. Impurities in our faith devalue it and deteriorate it.
        1. However, purified faith far surpasses the purest gold.
          1. Fire-tested gold lasts for centuries.
            1. Just look at King Tut’s gold.
            2. The gold I saw in Peru.
              1. Yet, give it enough time
              2. it will perish.
          2. Whereas pure faith lasts forever.
        2. Then even as the worker of gold praises purified gold,
          1. so the overseer of our faith
          2. will praise, honor, and glorify our faith when Jesus Christ returns.
  2. First Peter 1.8, 9 – Jesus and the End of Our Faith

    8 …whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls (1Pe 1.8, 9).

    1. Peter had just referenced the revealing of Jesus Christ, something yet future.
      1. We have not seen Him, but
      2. Peter assured us that we shall see Jesus Christ.
    2. Though we have not seen Him, we still love Him.
      1. We do not have to see Him to love Him.
        1. Atheists demand to see Him before they can love and accept Him.
        2. That is like saying a blind man cannot love his family until he sees them.
      2. If we love Jesus without having seen Him,
        1. what shall it be like when we finally meet and see Him?
        2. We love Him now because
          1. we know that He shed His blood for us (v. 2), and
          2. He was raised from the dead to give us a living hope (v. 3), and
          3. we anticipate praise, honor, and glory from Him (v. 7).
    3. Though we have not seen Him, we still believe in Him.
      1. By believing Him without having seen Him,
      2. He knows that we have staked much upon Him, and
        1. He will not disappoint us, for
        2. we know that He commended those who believe without seeing,

          29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20.29).

          1. What is that blessing?
          2. It is praise, honor, and glory from God!
    4. Peter had seen Jesus, but
      1. neither Peter or any other New Testament writer,
      2. provide us with the natural appearance of Jesus, because
        1. it is not important, and
        2. He is now glorified.
    5. Do you not agree with Peter in verse 8 that we rejoice with joy inexpressible?
      1. Are you not filled with glory for believing and loving Jesus?
      2. What gives us greater reason for rejoicing?
      3. What gives us greater motivation for living?
      4. What provides us with better reasons for enduring all our trials?
    6. Then Peter finished off his thought with revealing the end of our faith,
      1. the salvation of our souls,
      2. something that he addressed in verse 5.
        1. Notice that faith is the means to an end,
        2. not an end in itself.
          1. Many people say it does not matter what you believe
          2. just so long as you believe.
            1. Faith is powerful, and that is why people say that, but
            2. it is powerful because
              1. it connects us to the power source,
              2. even as a wire can be powerful, but
                1. only when it connects to the source of power,
                2. otherwise, the wire is dead and so is unconnected faith.

Exhortation

  1. Paul said something that gives us insight into how we know Jesus now. 
    1. We cannot see Him in the flesh, but
    2. we still know Him, and
      1. observe what that means for us,

        16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2Co 5.16, 17).
      2. We do not currently know Jesus according to the flesh, and
        1. we should not know one another according to the flesh.
        2. Recently, Louis Farrakhan said that Jesus was a black Muslim.
          1. It does not matter to us what color of skin Jesus had, but
          2. I know that He was not a Muslim.
            1. That would be like saying Moses was a Christian.
            2. Christianity came after Moses, and
              1. Islam came after Jesus.
              2. Jesus was a Jew who lived under the Law of Moses.
  2. Peter tells us in our text what Job had already affirmed,

    8 “Look, I go forward, but He is not there,
    And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;
    9 When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him;
    When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.
    10 But He knows the way that I take;
    When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”
    (Job 23.8–10)
  3. Being a Christian does not take away trials, but 
    1. it gives them new meaning.
    2. Being a Christian might even bring on trials.
      1. When you convert to Christ,
      2. some trials go away.
        1. When you convert to Christ,
        2. some new trials enter your life.
          1. When you convert to Christ,
          2. some trials stay because
            1. it has nothing to do with whether you live a Christian life, and
            2. we cannot always tell why suffering exists.
    3. Look at Job’s suffering.
      1. He suffered things that anyone can suffer because that is life.
      2. Yet, the Bible reveals that his trials had to do with his faithfulness to God.
        1. If you suffer the unexpected loss of a loved one,
          1. it might be just the result of living here, or
          2. Satan might be attacking you.
        2. You can say that about the various trials of life,
          1. unless it is explicit,
          2. someone tells you they are persecuting you because of your faith.
    4. What do you do if you do not know the reason for your trial?
      1. Remember the words of Peter.
      2. Maintain your faith, for
        1. doing that helps regardless of why you have a trial, because
        2. even if your trial initially had nothing to do with Satan, yet,
          1. he will still use it
          2. to tempt you to fall.
  4. Trials grieve us all, but 
    1. we can help one another
      1. by praying for one another,
      2. by reading Scripture to one another,
      3. by listening to one another or
        1. by something else.
        2. Present your trials to your brethren.
    2. Whatever, just be sure that your trials do not turn you away from Christ,
      1. rather let your trials drive you to Him, and
      2. to His Church, for
        1. that is the reason that He left the church on the earth.
        2. We are here to help one another.
  5. The joy with which Peter wrote, 
    1. is not something pursued, but
    2. it comes from pursuing something else, and
      1. once we have that other thing,
      2. joy comes naturally,
        1. just as sleep falls upon one who has worked hard, and
        2. not sought sleep.
  6. Therefore, have faith that leads to inexpressible joy.