When the Pressure Seems Unbearable

Steve Viars August 25, 2013 1 Peter 1:5-12

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When the Pressure Seems Unbearable

Proverbs 21:5 - The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance.

2 Peter 3:18 - but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

2 resources available to followers of Christ during times of suffering

I. Amazing Joy

A. Greatly x2

v. 6 – in this you greatly rejoice

v. 8 – you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible

B. Joy beyond words

v. 8 – joy inexpressible

anaklaleto – "higher than speech"

C. Because of its source

John 15:11 - These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

“Salvation joy is not some brief, shallow, circumstantial emotion, but rather something permanent and profound.  Mere happiness comes from positive external events, but salvation joy results from the deep-rooted confidence that one possesses eternal life from the living God through the crucified and risen Christ, which joy will be fully realized in the glory of heaven.” (John MacArthur, 1 Peter, p. 40)

D. Because of your new perspective

1 Peter 1:6 - In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while…

Romans 8:18 - For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Psalm 30:5 - …Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.

E. In the midst of incredibly hard times

1 Peter 1:6 - …you have been distressed by various trials

poikilos – "many colored"

F. An opportunity to prove the value and genuineness of your faith

1 Peter 1:7 - so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

G. Believing without having to see is always best

1 Peter 1:8 - and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him…

John 20:29 - Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

II. Sustaining Confidence

A. The prophets predicted this kind of grace

1 Peter 1:10 - As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries,

1 Peter 1:11 - …what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.

B. The prophets were not writing only for themselves, but for us, the recipients of the gospel of grace

1 Peter 1:12 - It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.

1 Peter 1:23-25 - for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”  And this is the word which was preached to you.

Martin Luther’s was a life marked by enormous suffering for the cause of Christ. He suffered societal rejection and even physical pain and torment that manifested itself in various diseases at the end of his life. Here is what he said regarding suffering: “If I believe the Word, I shall on the Last Day, after the sentence has been pronounced, not only gladly have suffered ordinary temptations, insults, and imprisonment, but I shall also say: ‘O, that I did not throw myself under the feet of all the godless for the sake of the great glory which I now see revealed and which has come to me through the merit of Christ!”’

Psalm 73:26 - My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

“There are many things I hope you remember from tonight, but first and foremost I want you to remember that against all logic and against the background of the acknowledgement that God is sovereign and intensely providential, suffering in this world occurs in order for people to understand that Jesus is enough!” (Youth Pastor Chad Phelps – October 10, 2012).

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video