Sermon Text: 1 Peter 4:12-19
The Problem of Pain is a well known booklet written by C. S. Lewis making the argument for why a good God would allow pain in His universe. One aspect of his argument is our culture’s confusion between kindness and love. We prize kindness with the view that we would prefer a God with more of a benign “grandfatherly” kindness over a father’s disciplinary love. The difference is mainly one of outcome. The former is seen as just watching over us to keep us content and happy, the latter is focused on making us good using whatever means are necessary to achieve that benefit. Lewis in his chapter on God’s Divine Goodness puts it this way:
“When we want to be something other than the thing God wants us to be, we must be wanting what, in fact, will not make us happy.”
Given how much Peter deals with existing and anticipated suffering in his letters, approaching this with the right calculus is extremely important. I’ve labeled it using God’s new math.
How was Peter qualified to teach on this subject?
From verse 15, what is the one way that we are not supposed to suffer?
What Fiery Trial is Peter referencing in verse 12?
What is the timing of Peter’s letter?
How does Nero fit in?
What was the nature of the suffering/persecution?
What does “his glory revealed” mean in verse 13?
What time stamp does Jesus give his disciples in Luke 9:23-27 and Matthew 16:24-28 related to his coming glory?
How does this coming in glory relate to Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24?
How was God’s glory revealed in the judgement of Pharaoh?
What is the connection between Christ’s suffering and our own in verses 13, 14, and 16?
What did Jesus accomplish in His suffering?
What is necessary if the Father is going to successfully make us like Jesus?
How are we to process God’s judgment starting with us in verses 17-19?
Who actually goes first: us or God?
Who is clearly in control of our suffering?
What is the role of the church in the midst of persecution?
How does God’s Math apply to us in our time?