by J. Gerald Harris

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A Theology of Suffering (16 of 18)
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
I Peter 4:12-19

As we come to our text for tonight, Peter gives us a theology of suffering. And may I say that Peter was imminently qualified to speak on the subject of suffering, and how a Christian should handle suffering. Peter himself had suffered much for the cause of Christ. Turn with me if you will to the Acts of the Apostles. Look at Acts, chapter 4, verses 1-3. Here we read of Peter being captured by the authorities for preaching and teaching about the resurrection of Jesus (read).

Now turn in the same chapter to verses 17 and 18. Here we read that Peter and John were threatened (read). In verse 21 we read that they were further harassed and threatened (read verse 21).

Now turn to Acts 5:18. Here we read that certain apostles, including Peter, were placed in prison (read). Now continue on through chapter 5 to verses 40 and 41. Here we read that some of the apostles, including Peter, were beaten. We also read about the reaction to such ill treatment (read).

Now turn if you will to Acts 12 and let's read verses 1 through 5a (read). Peter may very well have been a witness to the execution of James. Peter himself is placed in prison to await his own execution. So in these few verses that we have read we discover that Peter was threatened and harassed and imprisoned and that he endured much suffering for the cause of Christ. Truly he is imminently qualified to give us a theology of suffering.

You see, it was out of this kind of background that Peter was able to write his epistles. Verse 12 of our text is easily understood in light of Peter's experience and personal suffering and harassment. Look in verse 12 (read). This brings us to our first point.


Peter says, "Don't be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you as though something strange were happening to you." Peter is saying, "You can just expect ridicule. You can expect pe ...

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