Key points from the sermon:
At the beginning of verse six, we’re reminded that we “rejoice” in the living hope and sure inheritance we have in Jesus Christ. At the same time, we “have been grieved by various (multiple, varied) trials.” How can we grieve and rejoice simultaneously? The trials are real and the grief is real. Yet we remember that the trials are “now for a little while” - the trials are temporary! They have an expiration date. We also remember that the trials are sometimes “necessary” - they have a purpose! They are sanctifying us and making us more like Jesus as we “take up (our) cross and follow” Him (Matthew 16:24).
Furthermore, we see in verse seven that the trials reveal genuine faith. Just as fire removes the impurities from gold, the fires in our lives remove the impurities of our faith. As Jackie Hill Perry says, “Trials refine and reveal. The true believer is strengthened by suffering. The false convert is undone by it.”
Finally, we see that the trials “result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” In God’s abundant grace, when we share in Christ’s suffering, we also share in his glory and honor! Jesus is coming back and He’s turning our suffering into glory!
Scripture to meditate on this week:
“Then they (including Peter) left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name (of Jesus Christ).” -Acts 5:41
What do you notice in these verses? What challenges you in these two verses?
How do these two verses reframe our view of trials?
What trials are you facing today? How can you experience hope in the midst of today’s trial?
How is our suffering missional? Have you ever experienced or witnessed “missional suffering”? If so, share your story.
Think of the trials you’ve experienced in your life - big trials and little trials. List them out. Now think of the fruit they’ve produced. List out the fruit. Have you seen purpose in your trials? If so, write a prayer of thanks to God. If not, call out to God for help! Share your lists with a friend or family member. Together, choose a Bible verse to memorize in preparation of your next trial. Heed Randy Alcorn’s words of caution: “Be forewarned. If your faith is based on lack of affliction, it’s on the brink of extinction and is only a frightening diagnosis or a shattering phone call away from collapse. Token faith will not survive suffering. Nor should it.”