Week 3: Sunday, 9/25/16
1 Peter 1:6-9
“Rejoicing in Difficult Days”
Last Sunday, College Park preached on 1 Peter 1:3-5 and it was crammed full of powerful, hope-giving truths. Pastor Joe Bartemus raised these excellent questions. They’re questions that not only lead us into the text but questions that can be asked today. They are meant to bring us back to what is true, firm, and unchanging. Who is in charge? Who am I? What does my future look like? A fourth one Joe threw in that I found helpful was, what is my hope? Similar to how a new swimmer can return to and hold onto the side of the pool for safety, security, and to regain their breath before diving back in, these questions point us to biblical truth about God and our relationship with him that steadies us on many days when we feel like we can barely tread water. God is in charge. I am a child of God. My future is certain, it is guaranteed and kept by God, and it includes an imperishable inheritance beyond what we can imagine.
This week we’ll be in another richly dense passage. An exile has plenty to find hope in (1:3-5) and rejoice in (1:6-9), but that doesn’t mean the journey is easy and without its fair share of detours, potholes, bumps, and close calls. In this week’s passage Peter will help us see that trials—in all their various forms—are not merely inconveniences to be survived or to get past, but trials—though painful and unwanted—can be the very things which refine and strengthen our faith, draw us near to God, and provide new levels of joy. However big, overwhelming, and relentless trials might feel—and they often do feel this way—they are only “now for a little while” and only “if necessary” (6:6). And yet, they lead to a faith that’s been tested and shown to be genuine (6:7)—thus bolstering our assurance—and real, to praise and honor (6:7), joy (6:8), and eventually the outcome when endured is that our faith—which God keeps by his power (6:5)—holds on to the salvation we have in Christ. This week we will then explore trials, faith, and what it means to rejoice.
The Bible is full of helpful and powerful passages to carry us through suffering. A few parallel passages you could read through are Romans 5:1-11; 8:18-30; and 2 Cor. 1-3-7. You might also read this College Park blog by Janice Cappuci on 1 Peter 1.
For additional things to read in advance:
- Trials: 1 Peter 4:12-19; 2 Peter 2:9; 1 Cor. 10:13; James 1:2-4; Phil. 3:9-10.
- Rejoice in suffering: 1 Peter 4:13; Matt. 5:11-12; Acts 5:41; Rom. 5:3; Col. 1:24; James 1:2-4.
Shane and Shane have a great song entitled “Though You Slay Me.” I’d encourage you to watch this music video , which includes a John Piper sermon-clip on trials from 1 Peter 1.
“There is no sweeter fellowship with Christ than to bring our wounds and sores to him.” Samuel Rutherford
“As for crosses, he does but cast us down to raise us up, and empty us that he may fill us, and melt us that we may be vessels of glory, loving us as well in the furnace as when we are out, and standing by us all the while.” Richard Sibbes
“Conceal not thy wounds; open all before him.” Richard Sibbes