Friday, November 8, 2013

Its Time

1 Peter 4: 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[a]

19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

Its time. Judgment has begun. In fact, it has been going on for some time. But as we edge nearer to the end of time, it will increase. Just as those in Peter's day were facing "fiery ordeals," we face some today. Believers like our pastor friend Cedric are boldly preaching Christ in increasingly dangerous environments. We can pray for them.

We also will and do face some testings of various kinds. And what words of encouragement do we find here?

1. We get to share in the sufferings of Christ. And as we do that He reveals His glory in it. Notice what is said: When we are insulted for the sake of Christ, His Spirit of glory and of God rests on us.

2. We get to praise God for the opportunity to bear His name.

3. We get to understand the concept of eternal rewards. In quoting Proverbs 11:31, Peter is underscoring that the righteous will receive some of their rewards while here on the earth. This is in keeping with Jesus' teaching that the meek will inherit the earth. So while we receive some blessings now, the rewards that await us later are far greater. In the same way, the consequences the wicked receive now are only a taste and will be far greater for them in eternity.

This is why we are encouraged in the face of suffering to commit ourselves to our faithful Creator and keep doing good. Ever wonder where the phrase "whole hog" comes from? I believe it came from a conversation a chicken and pig had one time about a ham and eggs breakfast. The pig reminded the chicken that for the chicken that breakfast involved a contribution but for the pig it meant whole hog.

Let's not grow tired or discouraged but rather rejoice that we can be whole hog for our Savior, keeping eternity in view. Its time.

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