Serving, suffering and rejoicing for Jesus Christ
The Apostle Peter writes about ministering to each other as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. It is very special to use our gifts to help one another and of course by doing this we are glorifying God. Jesus Christ primed me to be a writer but I first started out as a street evangelist. Very rarely did I ever get ministered to when I was using my gift to assist a person/persons in either call because it was not for me. This was for the recipient of my service. If a waiter is serving food to a family in a restaurant wouldn't it be funny if he started to eat some of the food? God never says we will feel all kinds of emotions that make us feel good when we serve but He does say every Christian should do this as a lifestyle. We should have the heart of a servant.
In our service our speech has to be from God but we as believers in Jesus Christ need to depend our assistance from the ability which God gives us as His children. If we do it with the right spirit God in all things will be glorified through His Son Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches the Son of God is worthy of praise and dominion for ever and ever.
I think it is very interesting that the Apostle Peter first talks about being good stewards in our service to God and people but then writes beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try us as though some strange thing happened to you. If this happens a painful ordeal or test from God has come into our lives. Sometimes this overwhelms us and sometimes it just makes us think very deep in our mind and spirit.
If God did not throw these tough circumstances in our life we would just eventually walk after our flesh but when we go through these difficult times if we corporate with God we will listen to Jesus Christ and be empowered by the Holy Spirit with His presence. If Peter starts out with our service and then talks about our serious trials isn't it obvious that God desires us to be the profitable servants as we walk in the Spirit? If we think difficult trials in the middle of our service to God and people are an interruption then the spiritual point has been missed. I can already tell you what would happen if God did not do this to us --- we would do our duties to God and people but Jesus Christ would not be in the center of our hearts. We would eventually say, "This is me" but I can only speak for myself because I can be very boring. We need to be interested in glorifying God through His Son Jesus Christ in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
We as Christians should be rejoicing because we are partakers of Christ's sufferings because when His glory shall be revealed we will be glad with exceeding joy. We share in the sufferings of Jesus Christ. Notice this verse writes which I will quote very soon says ... "When His glory shall be revealed" is talking about the rapture of the church. Some Christians say the rapture/ Blessed hope is only mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 - 18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51 - 55. I wrote an article very long ago listing seventy verses in the New Testament that talk about the rapture of the church. I did not even include the four gospels because in some contexts it is conjecture whether the verse is writing about the rapture or the second coming/advent. These are two different events.
The Apostle Peter switches tones in the last verse that I will be going over because he says if ye be reproached for the name of Christ we are supposed to be happy because the Spirit of glory and of God does rest in our spirit. This is when we are insulted because of our faith in Jesus Christ. First Peter talks about us having a servant spirit then he writes that God may allow a serious trial in our life. Then the Apostle warns us that people may insult us for our faith in Jesus Christ. I am at the point that if someone does this to me I get comforted because it tells me that I am living in the will of God. It is a small thing to be judged by people but it is a big reality to be judged by Jesus Christ Himself. Let me quote the original text so you can read the passage and perhaps make reference to it in this particular study of the Bible.
(10) "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (11) If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (12) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (13) But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (14) If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified." 1 Peter 4: 10 - 14.
Whatever gift of doing good is given to us by God we should use that talent to minister to one another. There are many gifts but our job is to look to ourselves as stewards before God. It seems to me that Peter focuses on one particular gift as an example to set the tone for the other talents. If any man teach or speak he must do it as the oracles of God. The teacher needs to have a holy private life and speak in public the pure word and oracles of God. Our obedient private life to God determines our behavior in public. The purpose is to talk about the truths of God to one another with the right spirit. The preachers are to stay very close to the Bible but they must treat the word as it matches the oracles of God. Whatever we are called to do for Jesus Christ it must be for the honor of God and the good for other people. In verse eleven the Apostle writes God in all things must be glorified through Jesus Christ. Remember Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father.
Peter switches his tone to the suffering Christian. This Apostle goes back to this principle several times. The Apostle urges them to be patient under sufferings. This is easier said than done because it is difficult. He does call them beloved in verse nine. First he says think it not strange or do not be surprised at your trials. A refinement from God as Christians is sharp and fiery. It is not designed to ruin us but to try our character. We should rejoice under our sufferings because our refinement is the sufferings of Jesus Christ. He suffers in them and feels our infirmities. The bottom line is if we are true believers in Christ we will be partakers of His sufferings but this means we will be partakers of His glory. Peter calls these believers beloved because he also went through many sufferings. We Christians shine in our adversities if we rejoice in Jesus Christ.
Believers in Christ are prone to unkind persecutions from the world but we were already told this would happen because our Lord Jesus Christ endured persecutions. We are supposed to be patient and rejoice in our sufferings for Christ. If we do this there will be eternal triumph and rejoicing with Jesus Christ in glory.
In the last verse that I am going over which is 1 Peter 4:14 Peter descends to a lower degree of persecution. Have you ever been reviled, evil - spoken and slandered for the name or sake of Jesus Christ? I have but the Apostle writes be happy. We have the Holy Spirit living in us and He is the Spirit of glory. This glory rests in us. This is how the process works --- our patience and fortitude in suffering allows Jesus Christ to glorify Himself in our spirit. If contempt and reproach are cast upon us the Holy Spirit is evil - spoken of and He is blasphemed. In many cases our rejoicing flows from our afflictions. There is a difference between suffering and being miserable. We should never be miserable because we do have the Holy Spirit living inside of us as believers in Jesus Christ. When righteous people are vilified for the name of Christ His Holy Spirit is glorified in us as His Godly remnant.
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord now may be a good time to repent of all your sins and invite the Son of God into your life. This was a tough presentation; however, nobody can argue that this is the honest way to live before God. Deceit is everywhere around us but there is something very special about living in Jesus Christ His way. We have the choice to do it our way but deception is right around the corner. If we truly know Jesus Christ we will not be deceived by any counterfeit way of God.
God bless you,
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