Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #284 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 1 Peter 4 today and our focus is on Trusting God in the Midst of Fiery Trials and Walking in Freedom, But Not Unrestrained Freedom. We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
1 Peter 4 – every time I just even glance at this chapter, Peter’s words on fiery trials just jump off the page at me.
Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you.13 Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory.
1 Peter 4:12
One of the major things we need to learn from the Word of God is that fiery trials/ordeals WILL COME. We aren’t supposed to be surprised by them. I am almost always surprised by these trials – but I shouldn’t be. They are part and parcel of the Christian life. If somebody has told you that following Christ will protect you from trials, then that person has lied to you. Consider 1 Thessalonians 3. Paul is writing to a church that was going through severe persecution, and he began his encouragement to them with these words:
And we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you concerning your faith, 3 so that no one will be shaken by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we told you in advance that we were going to experience affliction, and as you know, it happened.
1 Thessalonians 3:2-4
So – trials, affliction, troubles – they are coming. As Jesus promised us – In this world, you will have tribulation…BUT TAKE HEART – HE HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD! (John 16:33) What part of this passage that I have read before but not noticed nearly enough is vs. 19, which says, “19So then, let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator while doing what is good.” Two things we are show here. One- we will suffer according to God’s will. This is a difficult pill to swallow, but absolutely true. As 1 Peter 1 has already reminded us, trials have come, “so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” These trials work a good work in us – producing genuine faith. How can we behave ourselves when in the middle of those trials? Peter uses one Word that is crucial: ENTRUST. When we are going through a trial, we are to entrust ourselves to God. Maybe you remember the end of the book of Acts when Paul and his companions are on a boat on the ocean that is being pounded by a terrible storm. Ultimately the captain and the sailors had to pull down the sails, lift up the steering mechanism of the ship and just let themselves be driven along by the storm. This is what we do, except we aren’t trusting our lives to capricious weather, but to a God who is working all things for our good and His glory. The Greek word for entrust there is kind of interesting – the KJV translates it that those going through trials should “commit the keeping of their souls” and the original word is “παρατίθημι paratíthēmi,” it literally means to set down or kneel down, and was sometimes used in the same way that we use the word “deposit” as in, to deposit something into the bank. In other words, Peter is telling us to deposit or commit our suffering to God, trusting Him to make something out of it that is good – to use our fiery trial for our long term good and God’s glory.
Christians have much freedom, in many ways, and are not under a long set of restrictive laws and rules. Paul says in Galatians 5 that we are called to freedom:
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery….13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:1 and 13.
Jesus criticized the Pharisees for burdening the people with many excessive rules that weren’t from God, “4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” Matthew 23:4
And Paul follows that up in Romans 8 by declaring that Jesus Himself set us free from the law, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2
But Peter is going to show us that we should not abuse that freedom to engage in wild and reckless behavior that goes against God’s will:
3 For there has already been enough time spent in doing what the Gentiles choose to do: carrying on in unrestrained behavior, evil desires, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and lawless idolatry 1 Peter 4:3
Instead, Peter says – we should be sober minded – meaning that we don’t just avoid an excess in alcohol – we avoid an excess in everything that could be harmful or sinful:
7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be alert and sober-minded for prayer. 8 Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:7-8
As Spurgeon says, “Do not get intoxicated with anything, neither with pride, nor with covetousness, nor with the cares of this world. Maintain your equilibrium; stand steadfast and firm
C. H. Spurgeon, “Luminous Words,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 43 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1897), 622.
Wise counsel – let’s read our passage.
Bible Memory passage for the month of October: 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8
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