“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through” 1 Peter 4:12
Kathy attended the large church a few blocks from her apartment, feeling an emptiness in her life. She sensed finding God may prove to be the answer. After several months, Kathy decided to become an official member, to get truly involved instead of sitting on the sidelines. She knew something spiritual was missing so this seemed the best answer.
She was wrong! After volunteering for several age-group functions; serving coffee drinks at the Abundant Life espresso bar; and becoming vice-president of the Spirit-led Singles, Kathy’s life was still missing something. Her search for spiritual meaning remained unfulfilled until she was introduced to faith in Jesus Christ on a missionary trip. It was then that she realized her need was for a Savior, not an organization or singles group. Her life changed by her faith, not her membership.
1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
1 Timothy 4:8 Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.
“Joining” the Church of Jesus Christ is the total opposite of attempting to live by a set of rules, it is accomplished by our faith in what Jesus has done for us. Faith, not works we are cautioned in Ephesians
Eph 2:8-9 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
Phil. 3:8-9 I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have thrown everything away; I consider it all as mere garbage, so that I may gain Christ 9and be completely united with him. I no longer have a righteousness of my own, the kind that is gained by obeying the Law. I now have the righteousness that is given through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God and is based on faith.
Jesus calls us to follow Him which may mean suffering, denial, humiliation, rejection and being ostracized by many. In return, He gives us forgiveness and eternal life with Him.
Luke 6:27-49 (Jesus Speaking) “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.
“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
Then Jesus gave the following illustration: “Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
1 Peter 4:1-2 So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer too. For if you are willing to suffer for Christ, you have decided to stop sinning. And you won’t spend the rest of your life chasing after evil desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.
1 Peter 4:12-14 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead be very glad—because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world.
1 Peter 4:19 So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.
Following Jesus is an agreement established by the letting of blood…His, not yours.