In this sermon, Pastor Babij teaches from 1 Peter 4:17-19 three special reasons why Christians suffer:
1) To refine and cleanse the Church
2) To forewarn the world of impending judgement
3) To cause Christians to trust in God completely
Note: Video sound quality improves at 18:05. Please use the audio file to hear the first part of the sermon.
Let’s focus our attention on 1 Peter 4:12-19, and it says:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? 19Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
Lord, as we look at Your word, we want to be ready to receive it, Lord, and we want to pay attention. We want the word of God to challenge our hearts, expose us if need be, and to put us in a place where we know where we stand before You. If suffering comes our way, we know what we ought to do. I pray, Lord Jesus, that You would enable and strengthen us to follow the command in the last verse, which is to entrust ourselves to a God who is faithful, always will be faithful, and can only be faithful. Thank You, Lord, for that. Encourage, challenge, and teach us from Your word. I pray, in Christ’s name, Amen.
As we continue in this passage, keep in mind that for the believer, suffering is part of the Christian’s life. In fact, we are going to look at special reasons for end time suffering. Christians are strangers and sojourners in an alien world where satan is the god and prince. Anything a Christian does to glorify God will be at some time met by an attack of the enemy.
For some Christians, suffering will be to a lesser degree, and for others, it will be to a greater degree. As the Gospel of John 16:33 reminds us:
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Then, in 1 Peter 4:12, it says:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you
These fiery trials come because we are faithful to God, and we want to do what is right by living a life that is pleasing to Him. Now, the reasons Christians can be of good cheer and rejoice in suffering are twofold. Suffering means fellowship with Christ. When the hatred that came against Christ comes against us, then we are fellowshipping with Christ. When the rejection that came against Christ comes against us, then we are also entering, as a human being, what Christ went through when He was rejected.
Remember, if we suffer for Christ, it is not a penalty or that God is against us. Rather, it is a privilege. Then, the proper attitude to suffering will resort in greater rejoicing. 1 Peter 4:13 says:
but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.
In other words, present joy comes from following Christ, and future joy comes at the great day when it really counts. We know from Scripture that the end of the world is coming. The purpose of rejoicing in the midst of trials is because the Lord is coming again. The glory of Christ will be shared with believer’s when Christ’s full glory is unveiled.
We have not seen Christ in His full glory yet, but we will. When all the glory of the deity of Christ shall shine forth in His human nature before the whole universe of angels and peoples, we will be there with Him, and that glory is going to be reflected off of us, which will be a time of rejoicing and exultation.
Think for a moment: if suffering and persecution has come upon the believer to test the genuineness and maturity of their faith, then it also points to something more significant, so what is it? Well, we have reached a critical point in time in which the judgement of God has begun. A judgement once started that cannot be stopped. A judgment that has a beginning and an end, which is the end time judgement of God – eschatological judgment of God. The Apostle Peter has been pointing this out throughout his whole message. 1 Peter 4:7 says:
The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.
In thinking of that, we are in a time in which God’s judgement from the Cross, until now, and until the end will be experience by not only the church, but also the ungodly – those who reject the Gospel. So, the design of the end time suffering has a couple of special reasons connected to it.
The first reason for this suffering is that it is designed to cleanse the church. In 1 Peter 4:17, judgement first has a refining purpose to it:
For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
Judgement begins with the household of God, and it moves outward and forward. The purpose for this judgement is to cleanse and refine the church, but why? Well, because apostasy, complacency, and hypocrisy along with distortions of Scripture and false gospels find their way into the church. In some cases, they have made their home in the church. So, there is need for the church to be cleansed and cleaned out of these things in preparation for the coming of the Lord.
Believers are called to examine and judge themselves. In fact, at every Lord’s table, we are called to judge ourselves, look at how we are doing spiritually, confess our sin, and to see how our relationships are growing in maturity to Christ. Once we do that, we are to adjust. If we don’t make those adjustments, then the church body ought to make those adjustments. If not, God would use persecution as a means to winnow out the chaff – the bad stuff must be cleaned out.
The judgement experienced by Christians is not punishment for sin. Even though there may be sins that need to get cleaned out, it is necessary purifying and cleansing of the household of God – God’s real people. In 1 Peter 4:17, the question is: who are the household of God? 1 Timothy 3:15 tells us what the household of God is:
but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.
The household of God is the church, the gathered believers. The second thing is that the household of God are those who obey the Gospel of God. Notice the language in 1 Peter 4:17:
…if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
First, let me deal with those who do obey the Gospel of God, and exactly what is the Gospel of God, which has to be made clear to us. The term Gospel of God is specifically defined in the four Gospels. Mark 1:14-15, it says:
Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
It is telling us what one is to do once confronted with the Gospel of God. Remember, the Gospel of God is going to be different than anyone would ever expect. We are not talking about religion or religious systems, but what the Bible says about the Gospel of God.
In 1 Peter 4:17, our text is telling us that the Gospel is something that is to be obeyed or not obeyed. It is a command for all people who are creations of God – human beings. Once the Gospel goes out and is preached, then to imperatives comes through the Gospel.
Found in our passage, the first imperative is to repent. It is to turn from one’s unbelief, sinful behavior, and patterns related to idolatry. It is to turn from the way you are going and what you trust in for eternal salvation to someone else, and in this case, we know that it is someone else. Really, the sin is unbelief. No matter how it manifests itself, it is unbelief.
The second imperative is that of belief – to believe the Gospel. Again, in Mark, it says that we are to repent and believe the Gospel that comes from God. A person is turning from their unbelief, sinful behavior, and patterns of idolatry. In other words, the God they made up in their own mind. Sometimes, they call that god Jesus and the Father, but is not the God of the Bible.
The Gospel of God is when you hear the message of Jesus Christ, His death on behalf of sinners, and His resurrection to give life, and you turn from whatever you are trusting and believing. Then, the object of your faith is Christ himself. To believe in something is to accept the true value of the proposition, and to modify one’s thinking and behavior accordingly.
Thus, repentance includes a redirection of one’s thinking about God. All your thinking about God has been wrong. All of our thinking has been about ourselves, our desires, our passions, our pleasures, our pursuits, and our idolatrous beliefs. Really, we didn’t spend time thinking about God as revealed in Scripture. What does His self-revelation in Scripture tell me I ought to do.
In Greek, the term repent, or metanoia, means an afterthought. Literally, it means to change one’s mind. In other words, a second thought shows the first thought was wrong. For example, once we heard the Gospel, our understanding of God was wrong. No matter how much we thought we were right, the Scripture says we are wrong. Thus, repentance is that change of mind, which shows us how much we have neglected God.
The God, who has made us, has given us breath, life, and supplied all of your needs. Until now, we have robbed Him of what is rightfully His, and we have misrepresented God by complaining that your life is unjust and cruel. Also, you think that God is the cause of your misery, but you have actually brought it upon yourself. Then, you look at God as unjust. Also, how much you have offended God because you have done the things He said you ought not to do, and you have left undone the things He commanded you to do such as repent and believe the Gospel of God.
In other words, we have all fallen short of the standard that God has placed before us, which makes us right with Him. A truly repented heart judges itself by God’s standard of perfect holiness, which is by judging ourselves by our fellow Man. We don’t look so bad if someone is worse than us, but if you judge yourself by the perfect holiness and the character of God, we all fall short. The only way that a Holy God could let a sinner into heaven is for the sin to be taken care of, and you nor religious systems can take care of it.
Thus, we come to the place where we see how much we have despised God, and we have been miserable because we have fallen short of the standard of God. We really don’t know what the Truth and Way is. Really, there is no repentance until our judgment of self is formed by a comparison with the Divine Character. Once we see God, we say:
Lord, woe is me! I am in trouble. I can’t save myself.
Then, God, the Father, says:
You’re right. You can’t. No matter what you do, no goodness or good works can save you. However, there is somebody who can save you, which is Jesus Christ.
That repentance includes also a redirection of one’s heart toward Jesus. By the preaching of the word of God, the Scriptures reveal the status, dignity, and the significance of Jesus Christ. It is clear that Jesus is the central person, and the focus of God’s plan for the salvation of men and women. Believing the Gospel means to obey the message concerning our Lord, Jesus Christ.
He is the son of God. He is God’s own way of salvation. God sent Jesus to the Cross, put all of our sins on Him, and punished them in Him. Once a person hears the Gospel of God, then the question would be: do you believe that, and are you willingly to turn from your good works and religious systems? Believing the Gospel means that you stopped all your self-justification and reliance upon your good deeds and your own efforts. In Luke 5:32, Jesus says:
“I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
When being confronted with the Gospel of God, you come to the place where you say, “Lord, I am a sinner and I can’t save myself.” Either you are depending on your own righteousness, or you are depending on God’s righteousness. It is God’s righteousness that must save us, which is what Scripture means by obeying the Gospel of God.
The suffering of Christians is a forerunner of the coming judgment of the world. Judgement that starts at the household of God goes beyond to include the lost. In 1 Peter 4:18, the household of God are saved with much difficulty:
AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED…
The righteous are the household of God, who obey the Gospel. God has made them righteous by believing the Gospel, trusting in Jesus Christ, and repenting of their sin. So, what is the character of a righteous person? Well, they have obeyed the Gospel of God, repented, believed, and received the righteousness of Christ.
Also, they have identified themselves after they believed in Christ Baptism where they come into union with Christ. Then, they are sober minded by confusing sound doctrine in obedience. They are also not ashamed of being called a Christian as the Bible defines that. They are serious about community with the church, family, and living in accord with Scripture.
Husbands are serious about loving their wives. Wives are serious about submitting to the authority that God has given to their husbands. Parents are serious about instructing their children in the love and fear of God. Also, the righteous are hard workers on the job. As 1 Peter defines them, they are reliable and dependable workers. They are not working for a boss or someone else, but they are working before God’s eyes. They are living their life as if God sees every moment of it.
They strive to be good citizens in the community and they are ready to share the Gospel and give someone an answer of the hope that lies within them. In fact, every day they ask God to give them somebody to talk to about the Lord.
Not condemnation, but the purging, cleansing, and purifying of the church by the loving hand of God is far better and more important to the kingdom work to endure suffering as the Lord purges and strengthens the church than to endure eternal suffering of the unbelievers in the lake of fire. If God so strongly and painfully judges His church, who He loves, then what will be His fury on the ungodly?
In looking at this passage of Scripture, another thing that comes to mind is that part of the difficulty of someone being saved and being made righteous is that salvation of a sinner is a costly thing. In 1 Peter 1:18, the salvation of sinners is a costly thing:
knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,
Here, God ransomed us from the slave market of sin where sin was our master, and it was at a great cost. The way of life was dictated to us by evil desires, selfishness, and ignorance of God and His will. See, what could our parents hand down to us than what they knew? If they did not know Christ as their savior and master and didn’t respond to the Gospel as the Bible teaches, then they could only pass down to us their version of how to live life and what religious system to follow.
Where you were born doesn’t mean you are a believer and you understand the Gospel of God. You must respond to it when you understand it. We were all born into a lifestyle that was pointless and senseless because it had no lasting value to it, and it was completely void of hope. Christ purchased His children and freed them from this futile way of life by giving us the truth. Now, the truth made clear to us what we ought to do. In 1 Peter 1:19, Christ ransomed His children by the highest cost possible:
but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
This is the great cost of purchasing our souls for eternity. Christ’s blood is of inestimable, greater value than any earthly, temporary commodity like silver or gold, which we place so much emphasis on. Christ purchased us with His own blood, life, and death, not with any temporal human payment. Without the shedding of blood and Christ’s death in the place of sinners, no sin could be washed away. So, Christ ransomed His children by His extraordinary death. In 1 Peter 1:20-21, He did it for our sake:
For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
He has done that so that our faith and hope would be in the right person, not some religious systems of do’s and don’ts. God knew, long before creation, what would happen before He created mankind. Mankind would fall into sin. He chose the only way that sin laid in mankind could be brought back to Him. He foreknew His people and He foreknew Christ’s perfect sacrifice for us. God’s preparation and action were done for our sake, for the sake of His chosen, for the sake of those who are the household of God, and for the sake of those who believed in the Gospel of God.
When I study and look at these passages of Scripture, I ask: is salvation an easy thing? Of course, that is a yes or no answer. Some say that salvation is a simple thing – just follow certain steps of logic. One’s mind goes through a little system of logic and intellectually ascents to certain facts even certain facts of the Gospel such as:
Do you believe Jesus? Yes.
Do you believe He came? Yes.
Do you believe that He died? Yes.
Do you believe that He rose again? Yes.
This doesn’t mean that a person is a believer. Those are just the facts. Thus, they conclude:
This one is a Christian. They are well, and they are saved because they have ascended to certain facts.
Others say that anyone, if they choose, can be a Christian. It is as simple and easy as signing a card, raising your hand, walking down an aisle, and ascending to certain simple facts. Then, people say they believe those things, but there is no change in their life, affection for God, or repentance of sin. There is no connecting to the household of God, being faithful to the word of God, and to living like Peter described in this epistle.
If you believe those things and it has not changed you, transformed your mind, or made you into the image of Jesus Christ, then there’s a big question mark on whether a person really understands and has believed the Gospel of Christ. However, there are others who say and teach that believing the Gospel is not an easy thing. Just like it says in the Gospel of Luke 13:23-24:
And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, 24“Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
Specifically, He was talking about the religious leadership of Israel, who set up so many parameters around the truth that people never really got to the church. For instance, if you were a Jew, you were right with God because you were part of the inheritance, so the Lord is rebuking them by saying that a few will find it, not many will be saved. Matthew 7:13-14:
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
The broad road is more enticing because it is lined with attractive glitter and everything that attempts our passions and desires, which makes us feel good. Also, it has many different viewpoints, which leads to life. The reality is that many viewpoints are wrong, and it leads to destruction.
At the narrow gate, one can’t bring in the baggage of their own spun philosophy and religion. The narrow gate is narrow, and the only thing you can get through the gate is you, which God brings you through. You cannot bring all of your baggage with you. Yet, what kind of day do we live in?
We live in a day where there is relativism and no absolutes. It’s about believing what you want. We live in a day of pluralism where everyone’s opinion is equal. Nobody tests whether a person’s opinion is truth or not – your truth is your own truth. We live in a day of secularism, which is human ability without God. Narcissism are the answers within me, and all this new age religion that is in our system is all about what is inside. However, it is not about what is inside, but about God, who is outside.
Then, there is pragmatism where we can’t know reality, and we have to settle on what works for the individual. A nice USA spun philosophy is: what works for you is great, but what works for you doesn’t work for me, and what works for me doesn’t work for you. In fact, we run a lot of things off of that. We don’t ever ask what truth is, but what works. See, truth has a way of making things very narrow.
Also, there is deconstructivism, especially literary deconstructivism where the reader is the interpreter. When it comes to the Bible, some will say that what it means is what they think it means. You cannot come to the Bible like that. It doesn’t matter what you think it means, but what does it mean? We must find out what it means.
The Biblical message is that one must come to Christ alone to be saved. God accepts us only on His own provision, which is Jesus Christ. Because of the corruption and the deadness of the human heart, it is extremely difficult to believe in Jesus Christ without divine intervention. Human beings need divine help, or they cannot be saved.
Once we are given that divine help by hearing the Gospel, with the Spirit of God convicting us of sin, righteousness, and judgement, then our job, as believers, is to wake people up and to get them to think on what road they are on – are you on the broad road that leads to destruction or are you on the narrow road that leads to life?
For a believer, continuing in the faith is extremely difficult. We are in enemy territory. All of our striving is not over once we enter the narrow gate. There is still the narrow way. A plethora of things can distract us. Riches can distract us. Problems in our life can distract us. Pleasures lure us off the straight, narrow way.
The enemy’s strategies are to bewitch our minds, steal our will, and divert our attention off the will of God, and he is good at it. It is a profoundly real thing that with difficulty the righteous is saved. The salvation of sinners is a costly thing, not a cheap thing. Religion is easy, but salvation in Christ is not easy.
A second end time reason for suffering is that suffering is designed to forewarn the world. In other words, judgement for a rejection of the source of the Gospel. The Gospel originates from God himself. If that message is rejected or substituted for something else, then it is an outright rejection of God himself, which means that God will reject them. Again, 1 Peter 4:17 says:
For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
If God judges His own church, who are part of the household of God whom He loves, then what will happen to the unbelievers, which are those who do not obey the Gospel of God. They could be very nice people, they could be good people, they could be generous people, they could be honorable people, but they have rejected the Gospel of God. Those other things are great in our society, but they don’t save you.
For those who do not obey the Gospel of God, judgement will fall with terrifying vengeance on those who refuse to believe in Christ and will become more severe as it spreads. If that is true, which it is, then look at what 1 Peter 1:18 says:
AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?
What will become of the unbeliever, the murderer, the drugged, the drunkard, the liar, the thief, the adulterer, the idolater, or the practicing sexually immoral person? What will become of the morally-good unbeliever or the religious person, who has been faithful to the belief and practice of their religion? Well, Scripture talks about the house that is built on the rock and almost swept away when the storms come. Thus, the house built on the sand will be washed away.
Some people are building their lives on sand. When the storms come, which is the judgement of God, and the person has been trusting in their own belief system where they thought they lived a good, moral life, then the only thing God can do to them is to send them away from Him into a place that is called hell.
If God does judge His own church, which are His own people, then God will not hesitate to judge the ungodly and the sinner. It may appear that the wicked escape, but rest assure that their judgement is only postponed to a later time.
After the great flood of Noah, Noah had a vessel, and with the other seven righteous people, they were saved. However, the multitude that had no vessel was swept away in the flood. For one hundred and twenty years, Noah preached the Gospel, but nobody believed except seven people. Again, we see that not many will be saved. Don’t think that you or anyone else can live in ungodliness, unrighteousness, and unbelief and make it into God’s eternal kingdom. Because of who God is and His character, He cannot let that happen.
The terrible outcome that awaits those who stumble over Christ because of their rejection of Him was addressed in 1 Peter 2:6-8:
For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 7This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” 8and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.
In other words, Christ is either an honored cornerstone, from believer’s perspective, or He is an obstacle to stumble over. For those who believe, the Bible says that they will not be disappointed. They will have no adverse influence towards them because of what Christ has done. There will be no shame, disgrace, embarrassment, rejection from God, or dishonor. God’s way and design of salvation brings joy to some, who believe, and judgement to those who do not believe.
If this cornerstone, Jesus Christ, is rejected, then there is nothing, but ruin left. If there is no cornerstone, then the whole building’s structure crumbles. Thus, the rejected stone, Christ, has become the head stone of the corner. This passage expresses, in the very strongest way, the seriousness of ignoring and rejecting Christ.
In the end, God abandons such people to the error of their own way and the emptiness of their own systems of belief. In 1 Peter 2:8, their chief reason for unbelief and stumbling is that they are disobedient. The devastating part is that the Gospel has come, and they did not obey. The most devastating sin in the universe is the sin of unbelief. That is the sin that will condemn all those who do not trust Christ.
Stumbling at the Word is the penalty for not believing. The inevitable consequences of rejecting Christ are believing a lie such as: There are many ways to God besides Christ. There are many good religious systems out there that are moral and ethical. There is no hell because God is a God of love, and He would never send people to hell. Also, I have been a good person, so I think I am OK. In fact, nobody knows what is right. Somebody might say:
I will take my chances with the man upstairs.
Spiritually dead people are characterized by unbelief and rebellion. They are set in their way, they don’t want to hear it, they are going to die what they were born in, and they will face the consequences.
In our passage, Peter is also speaking about the verdict on the enemies of God’s house. Ungodly men and sinners like Nero in Rome and all other persecutors throughout history are calling out the divine verdict on themselves by persecuting Christianity, which is on the rise in the world.
All over the world Christianity is under attack. It hasn’t really reached America yet, but it is coming. In these last days, we will see much more of this. Are we ready for that? If it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, then what will become of the godless man and the sinner? John MacArthur said:
If a justified sinner is saved only with great difficulty, suffering, pain, and loss, what will be the end of the ungodly?
In other words, no one can get away. There is no escape, so where do you stand with God? Have you come to a place that you know for sure that you heard the Gospel of God, have repented of your unbelief, and trusted Christ alone for your salvation? From that point on, followed Him throughout your life, and baring fruits of the Spirit of God. Are you sure you have done that?
Don’t believe the old lie of satan where he says to the young people:
Ah, don’t worry about it! You are young, and you have plenty of time.
To the old people, he says:
Ah, you old, crusty, set in your ways. You don’t need any of that. You already know what you believe.
Really, it’s what lie are you believing or what truth are you shunning? The truth of the Gospel is clear, and we cannot get away from what it says. There is no wiggle room for anyone. Either you know Christ, or you don’t.
God wants us to call upon Him to be saved. If we believe in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead, the Bible says you will be saved. If anybody is a Christian, that is how we got saved. Then, God cleared our whole mind out of the garbage and junk that confused us on how to be made right with God. We see it clearly, believe in Him, God gives us His spirit, and everything is changed. Our life is different because of Christ. Anyone who is a true believer knows that, and someone who’s not a believer, does not know that.
In closing, the passage says in 1 Peter 4:19:
Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
Firstly, Christian suffering is linked with the will of God. Secondly, Christian’s are to entrust their souls to a faithful Creator. In other words, Christians must trust their lives to God, who will never fail them. As Creator, He has both the power and compassion to care and protect His people, so we can trust Him in the present no matter what is going on, we can trust Him in the future, and we can trust Him for our eternity. He is a faithful creator. Faithfulness is His character. He cannot be anything other than who He is.
Lastly, Christians are to continue to do what is right by living a life of holiness, goodness, and good works according to what is pleasing to God, which is after salvation. Christians are not to take matters into their own hands. If suffering comes, we are not to retaliate or hold revenge. That is God’s department. Even though every single movie is about revenge, we must fight against that mindset by committing our situations and cause to God, the Father, who judges righteously, so we follow in His steps.
In closing, have you obeyed the Gospel? If you have, then it is a source of rejoicing, but if you haven’t, repent of your sin of unbelief, sinful behavior, and believe in Christ alone, which is God’s only provision for sinners.
Yes, salvation is difficult, but when we understand the truth of the Gospel, what we need, and what God gives us to come to Christ, it is simple. It is narrowed down to these simple principles: to repent, believe, and then to follow. I pray that you know where you are at today.
If you were to die tonight, and if I get a phone call that you know where you are going, that gives me great confidence, as a pastor, to know that this person was a believer. That is joy, and if they weren’t, that is grief because I know the outcome. Let’s pray:
Lord, I thank You for the hard passages of Scripture that get a hold of our heart and squeezes it. I ask You, Lord, that You would take Your word and use it however You see fit in the lives of those who are here. I pray that You would bring those who don’t know You to Christ. I pray that as they repent of their unbelief, sinful behavior, and idolatry, that they would turn to Jesus Christ, who died in their place as a sinner, who has turned away the wrath of the Father, who has completely fulfilled the justices of our condemnation, and who has granted us, by His work, eternal life. Thank You for them. I pray this in Your name. Amen.