WHAT TO DO WHEN IT HURTS?
1 Peter 3:13-17
We live in a world full of suffering and pain. Life has its own mix of joy and hurts. We can get hurt physically by a disease. Sometimes circumstances at job can be painful for us. Then there are hurts that come from people; sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. Therefore, today we will be looking at how to handle hurts and suffering as a believer.
Open your Bible to 1 Peter 3:13-17
I started this sermon at lat week titled: A Christian approach to suffering. Today, I would like to give a different title today – What to do when it hurts?
Remember, in this epistle, Apostle Peter has been giving some instructions to the hurting believers about living in a hostile world. The believers in Rome were undergoing great persecution About 20 Lakh believers were persecuted and killed; therefore, Peter gives them an approach to hurts and how to deal with it.
1 Peter 3:13-16 13Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Peter gives us a handful of ways as to how to handle our hurts and sufferings as a Christian. Well, today, I will give you five responses to human suffering and hurt.
1. EAGER FOR GOODNESS.
First of all, in the time of difficulty don’t try to ease it but do good to others. Refocus your attention away from the hurt. When it hurts, do good to others.
2. FLEXIBILITY IN SUFFERING.
When it hurts, be flexible.
In spite of doing good, we may go through pain; however, understand that it is for our good. 1 Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”
Therefore, when you go through pain in spite of doing good, what do you do? You become flexible and commit commitment for Lordship of Christ. 1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.
It means that no matter what comes against you, no matter what attacks you, you affirm in your heart that Christ is Lord. The only one I really have to fear and dread is the Lord.
Christ is my Lord even in my difficulty. So I will submit to him. When it hurts, I will submit to the Lordship of Christ.
Illustration on Lordship:
Someone once wrote and asked this question, “What is the correct procedure when one is invited to the Parliament but has a previous engagement?” The reply, “An invitation to dine at the Parliament is a command, and it automatically cancels any other engagement.”
Lordship is a command, and even in my pain I come under the lordship of Christ. This is the Christian who is totally committed to the reality that Jesus Christ is Lord, and I will honor Him as Lord even in my sufferings. He is Lord over me.
3. DON’T BE AFRAID.
1 Peter 3:14 “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”
When we go through a trial or hurt, there will be thoughts that will tend to put fear in us. When fear grips in we loose our ability to think rationally. The believers at Rome were fearful. The Romans who were after them. Peter says through the Holy Spirit, “Do not be afraid.” Are you going through hurt or pain, do not be afraid.
Now, Peter has taken this quotation from the OT. Isaiah 8:12-13 12“Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. 13The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.”
Background of Isaiah 8
Now, in that particular portion, Ahaz, king of Judah, faced a crisis because of an impending invasion by the Assyrian army. The kings of Israel and Syria wanted Ahaz to join them in an alliance against the Assyrians, but Ahaz refused. So, because he refused, Israel and Syria threatened to invade Judah.
Behind the scenes then, Ahaz made an alliance with Assyria. And the prophet Isaiah warned him against ungodly alliances, and urged him to trust God alone for deliverance. And he says to him: Isaiah 8:12-13 12“Do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. 13The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.”
In other words, king of Judah, don’t be afraid of the Assyrians like the Syrians and the people of Israel are. Fear the Lord, and set the Lord apart. That’s behind the scenes in Isaiah.
And here, Peter is quoting that and essentially saying, “Don’t fear; don’t be afraid. If you suffer you for the sake of righteousness, you are privileged and God will reward you in eternity.” Do not be afraid, do not be troubled. Face it with courage.”
Do not be afraid Illustration:
John Bunyan was put in Bedford Jail. Bunyan could have freed himself by promising not to preach but he refused. John Bunyan wrote, “I went myself in chains to preach to them in chains. This prison very sweet to me hath been since I came here and so would also hanging be if Thou didst then appear.” He considered it a privilege to suffer, and perhaps even to die because it would bring him to his Lord. He was not afraid.
So, the Christian approach to hurt or suffering is to face hurts and suffering boldly and not be afraid. When it hurt we need not be afraid.
4. A PREPAREDNESS TO ANSWER.
1 Peter 3:15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
A true believer has a different approach to the sufferings of life. When a Christian face trials, when we face difficulties, when it hurts, a believer faces it different than the world. We have hope. We do not fear. Therefore, people will surely question you regarding our hope. How are you able to cope up with your pain? I see that there is joy in you in the midst of your suffering. Be able to give an answer to anyone who asks you. In all situations, you are to be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you. You are to give a speech of defense. Apologetic or to defend your faith.
Paul said: Philippians 1:16 Knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.
This does not mean you need to talk theology; however, be able to give a simple explanation and defense of why you are a Christian and your hope. Peter has been talking about our hope.
Our hart times gives us an opportunity to shine brighter. How can you be happy when the doctor says you are having cancer? How could you be joyful when you have lost your job? Be ready, people are going to ask you why you have hope in the midst of your bad days.
Condition of the People:
People around us live in a world that is hopeless in four ways.
People are essentially empty.
There is a vacuum inside every man. Romans 8:20 KJV For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.
Everyone is essentially empty unless they have salvation. Every person that you work with is empty. They need to hear the reason for the hope that you have. It is like an ignition in the car. They ignition is Jesus Christ. Only through Jesus can man have that emptiness filled.
People are desperate lonely.
Man is looking for a solution for their loneliness in life.
People are painfully guilty.
Psychologists are trying to take the guilt of their clients. People are guilty. The reality of the issue that every single person has failed, there is no one who is perfect. All are guilty.
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 3:10 There is no one righteous, not even one.
So people are feeling guilty because we are guilty, but here is the good news. God provided a solution. 1 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus Christ became sin for us so that we might be the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Jesus took our guilt and died in place of you and me. Every man is guilty.
People are anxious.
People all around us are full of stress and anxiety. They are looking for hope to hold on to. The greatest fear of people is death and after death thoughts.
Hebrews 2:15 (Jesus came to) free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
People are afraid of death. Did you hear that, everyone is afraid to die.
Illustration on Death:
April 1988, NBC News had a story of a bunch of men getting ready for skydiving. A Journalist joined the group of skydivers to film them. The flight took off. The journalist was busy capturing every moment in camera. Everyone put on their diving vests and parachute and it was time to dive. As the team jumped, the journalist too jumped. He was floating in the air and capturing videos and pictures. When the time came to open the parachute, the journalist realized that he had forgotten to put on his parachute in the midst of filming. He crashed landed to his death. The journalist’s film showed his expression moments before his death. He was screaming and loudly wailing, cursing and calling out to others and God in desperation. That is the way the world sees death.
People say, “Hey, I am enjoying life, and make merry.” But in reality as people inch closer to death into eternity, people are afraid of death.
1 John 5:12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
We know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I am so glad we are all believers. When we face death or when the doctor says it is terminal, we do not have anxiety because we have the life of Christ in us. People are afraid to die and we should be able to answer to them the hope of our salvation.
5. A PURE CONSCIENCE.
1 Peter 3:16 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Above all, keep a pure conscience. When it hurts it is very easy for us to defile our conscience. We tend to be rude, behave indifferently, get angry and loose control of our tongue and even accuse God. Our conscience is a device that God has planted within us to act as a source of accusing us or excusing us. Conscience convicts you or affirms you. Peter is saying, “No matter who hurts you, live with a clear conscience.
1 Peter 2:12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 3:17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. So, it is good when we suffer for doing good. So, what do we do when it hurts? How to handle hurts and suffering as a believer?
We know better how are we to handle suffering now from God’s word. Be eager for goodness. Be flexible in Suffering. Don’t be afraid. Give an answer of our hope. Keep a pure conscience. So the key is when suffering comes, don’t be afraid, be under the lordship of Christ.
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