How have we helped someone be real and belong in Christ this week?

WHAT DID GOD SAY IN HIS WORD?

7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies– in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.

16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Recall from Sunday:

Because our suffering shares in Christ’s suffering, we love more deeply (4:7-11) and rejoice more fully (4:12-15) to bring glory to God (4:16-19)

Reflect:

What are the most significant notes you took during the sermon?

What did you learn about God and his plans for us from the Bible passage?

WHAT DID GOD SAY TO ME THROUGH HIS WORD?

Suffering can paralyze us and draw us inward on ourselves, but Peter encourages the suffering church to love one another, show hospitality and serve each other in God’s strength. Share with each other times when you’ve been (or been tempted to be) paralyzed or isolated during suffering rather than stepping into community.

Suffering can also rob us of our joy, preventing us from praising, but Peter calls us to rejoice even in our sufferings because they unite us with our suffering savior Jesus. Have your sufferings ever made you able to relate more closely to Jesus in his suffering? What has been your experience of trying to praise while in pain?

Suffering can also seem meaningless, but Peter encourages us that even our sufferings are something God uses to refine us like gold (see 4:16-19, and 1:6-7). How has God grown you in the character of Christ through periods of suffering?

WHAT DOES GOD WANT ME TO DO ABOUT IT?

If suffering can draw us in on ourselves, paralyze us, and rob us of our joy, then we’ve got to be on the lookout for friends, coworkers, and neighbors who are pulling away from community. Who do you know who is going through a hard time? Can you show the love of God to them by persisting in reaching out, even if they pull away at first? How can you bring the joy of our savior Jesus into their suffering?