The Lay Preacher
1 Peter 4:17-19
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us…
I. CHRISTIANS MUST EXPECT TO SUFFER.
1. Sometimes by adversity. Poverty; Christ so suffered; so did His disciples; bodily affliction, etc.
2. In their reputation. Holiness of life and zeal in religion will provoke the ungodly (Matthew 11:18; Luke 7:33; Hebrews 11:25, 26).
3. In their property. Persecution in olden times; spoiling of their goods; loss of custom; piety a bar to temporal promotion.
4. In their liberty and life. Though the age of martyrdom has passed, let us cherish and honour the memory of those, etc.
II. CHRISTIANS SUFFER ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD.
1. These sufferings are for the trial of faith (vers. 12, 13; 1 Peter 1:7). It is the day of battle that tests the valour and fidelity of soldiers. Then the believer feels his own helplessness and trusts in God alone.
2. They promote spiritual prosperity and happiness. The graces of the Spirit generally languish under worldly prosperity (Matthew 13:22). Under trials God gives "more grace"(2 Corinthians 12:9, 10).
3. They promote the glory of God. Show what His grace can do in supporting the mind of the sufferers, and in filling their hearts with gratitude. "He hath done all things well."
III. THE CONDUCT OF CHRISTIANS UNDER SUFFERINGS.
1. They should be characterised by well-doing. Obedience a sign of resignation. The more we are tried the stronger must be our attachment to Christ (Job 5:19-22) Active usefulness a cure for trouble.
2. The soul is to be more valued than the body.
3. Enlarged views of the love and care of God.
4. The actual surrender of the soul to His keeping. "What can separate us?" etc.
1. See the dignity, wealth, and happiness of God's people; He loves and protects them, and is their portion (Psalm 44:16).
2. Learn the folly of trusting in human resources amid the trials of life.
3. Note the folly of those who persecute the Church of God (Isaiah 54:17).
(The Lay Preacher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?