1 Peter 4:12-16
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you:…
I. THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRISTIANS ARE NEITHER "STRANGE," IN THEMSELVES, NOR SO TO BE RECKONED BY THEM.
1. The nature of their principles accounts for opposition from men of the world. These are principles of holiness. They condemn, by contrast, the men of the world. Christians must cease to be what they are, or the world cease to be what it is, for them to escape persecution.
2. The genius of their dispensation renders probable a greater share of outward ills to them than to the saints of the Old Testament. They have a fuller revelation of the mind of God, and are put more upon future hopes, and less upon present things. "Prosperity was the promise of the Old Testament; adversity of the New" (Mark 10:30).
3. The partial renewal of their character calls for a corrective discipline. The buddings of evil dispositions require nipping frosts to check their growth.
II. ALL THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRISTIANS ARE INTENDED FOR TRIALS TO "TRY" THEM.
1. They detect the presence of sin, as fire brings out the latent dross in metals.
2. They make manifest the sincerity of our profession. Persecutions and afflictions keep the church from being overrun with hypocrites.
3. They purify and improve our Christian virtues.
III. CHRISTIANS OUGHT TO "REJOICE," NOTWITHSTANDING ALL THEIR SUFFERINGS, AND EVEN BECAUSE OF THEM. "Think it not strange, but rejoice," etc.
1. They increase our spirituality. The overflowing of the Nile distressed Egypt for a time, but when it retired, left behind it fertility and abundance.
2. They furnish ground for the comfortable assurance of a gracious state. If the storm that uproots others leaves us standing, it gives evidence of being well-grounded in faith.
3. They enhance our future glory.
1. Let this check the over anxiety of some Christians to avoid affliction, or to prevent themselves, if possible, from feeling it.
2. Let the subject correct our judgment respecting affliction.
3. Be brought by affliction to enter more deeply into the sufferings of Christ.
4. Let sympathy with others in their sufferings be promoted by our own.
Parallel VersesKJV: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: