Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll explains how to have hope beyond our suffering. For you who suffer, only Christ's perspective can replace your resentment with rejoicing.
I've seen it happen in hospital rooms. I've seen it happen with individuals that I've talked to. I've seen their whole perspective change when they caught a glimpse of the purpose of Christ in it all. If we polled everyone listening to this program today, we discover there's very little we share in common. We come from different backgrounds, from a diversity of countries, and from all walks of life. But there's one thing that all of us have in common, and that singular issue is suffering.
Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll addresses this universal problem. He's teaching from 1 Peter chapter 1, where we find a powerful passage designed to recalibrate our perspective on pain. Chuck titled his message, Hope Beyond Suffering, How We Can Smile Through Suffering. Beginning about verse 3 down through verse 9, the apostle Peter talks about how we can deal with suffering times and even rejoice through them. We can rejoice, to begin with, because we have a living hope.
That's verse 3. We can rejoice through the hardest times because we have a living hope. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Men and women who know Jesus Christ, the final chapter of our lives is heaven.
It is heaven. Second, we can rejoice through sufferings because we have a permanent inheritance. Verse 4. He has caused us to be born again to a living hope, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, will not fade away, and is reserved in heaven for you.
There's a third reason to rejoice. It's in the next verse, verse 5. Because we have a divine protection. This place is reserved in heaven for you and me who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. There is no way you and I will be lost in the process of these suffering times. We are absolutely saved. We are divinely protected.
There's a fourth reason. It's in the next two verses, 6 and 7. We can rejoice because we have a developing faith. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 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. This passage, these two verses tell us several things about trials. In fact, I count four things we learn about trials. First, they are needed. See how he puts it? Even though for a while, if necessary, trials are needed.
They prove the genuineness of our faith. Second, they are distressing, painful, they are not easy. Even though for a little while you have been distressed. Third, trials are varied. Notice how he puts it?
Even though for a while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials. I like this Greek word, poikoloi. I just like to say it, poikoloi.
I'm going to say it this next week a lot, poikoloi. You know what it means? It means variegated. It means many colored. Even though we are distressed by the variegated, many colored trials of life, they come in various ways. There are various diseases. There are various lusts that give people anguish. There are various strange doctrines.
There are various events that occur. They are all different. No trial is exactly like another trial. Remember, we are different. So we respond differently to trials. I can explain why certain things hardly affect me and other things absolutely knock the slats out from under me. I can explain why you go through a certain thing with such strength and other things hit that hardly affect me that just level you. We're just put together differently and we need to give each other room.
Various trials. But let me give you a good thought. The only other time that Peter uses poikoloi is over in chapter 4 verse 10 as it relates to grace. And I got a great thought on this.
No extra charge for this insight. Chapter 4 verse 10. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the poikoloi grace of God.
There's our word. Manifold. Various. Here's the thought. It means many colored. Many colors. There are many colors of trials we endure and there is a grace to match every color.
Isn't that a good thought? God gave it so he gets the credit for it. But there is a special trial that levels us and God gives out of his manifold subjects of grace a special matching color to go with that trial. Paul had a thorn in the flesh and he prayed three times and the answer was no I'm not taking it away. And then he said I've learned to trust in you Lord.
I've learned to live with it and God says my grace is sufficient for that thorn. He matched the color of the test with the color of grace. And they flowed blended together. Trials are varied. They come in different colors and they affect us in different ways. Fourth notice back in chapter one trials are revealing. They prove the genuineness of our faith. That the proof of your faith more precious than gold which is perishable though tested by fire may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. We can rejoice because fifth we have an unseen savior and though you have not seen him you love him and though you do not see him now you believe in him you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.
Remember now he's explaining how Christians can rejoice through times of suffering. He's telling us that our savior is standing with us even though we cannot see him. We don't have to see him to love him but we do have to know him. You don't have to see someone to love them.
You want a good illustration of that? The blind mother has never seen her children but she loves them. You and I have never seen a manifestation of the savior. We have not visibly seen him walking among us but we love him. And in times of trial though we cannot see him we sense he is there and though we do not see him now we believe in him and that causes us second time he's mentioned it to greatly rejoice with an inexpressible joy. Remember Thomas who had to see to believe and finally the Lord Jesus appeared and showed him the scars in his side in his hands and he told him to touch and he didn't even touch he had seen enough and he said my Lord and my God. Jesus said to Thomas in John 20 verse 29 blessed are you but more blessed are those who have not seen and believe.
You and I are more blessed than Thomas. You and I are more blessed than the disciples who saw the savior. We believe in him though we have never seen him. By the way I think we see him best in times of trial.
And have you noticed if you've dealt with the dying the closer people get to death the more visibly they envision the savior. I don't know how many times I've had people say in the last hours of their lives I can see him do you see him there? Do you see him there? And I can't see him.
I used to be critical even a little cynical of people like that I'm not anymore. I believe they see him. I believe as death comes increasingly more close increasingly closer the invisible becomes visible and I believe the presence of Christ becomes real as he moves us from time to eternity. We can rejoice because we have a living hope we have a permanent inheritance we have a divine protection a developing faith an unseen savior we have a guaranteed deliverance verse 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the ultimate deliverance would you allow me a little rendering of salvation like that paraphrasing obtaining as the outcome of your faith the ultimate guaranteed deliverance of your souls. Now this is a deliverance not like United Airlines promises you when you check your bags in or American Airlines or some airline never forget the trip to Canada lasted eight days I had my clothes for two days because they originally went to Berlin.
First time my bags were ever marked Berlin I wore the tags on them for months to impress people into Berlin. My problem was I needed the bags by the end of that first week less and less people got close to me I noticed my bags were thousands of miles away oh guaranteed arrival no problem that's why when you travel now you see people walking to the airplane with these bags all over them hanging down and they shove them here in the car don't check the bags because they don't get there that won't happen with you and me guaranteed deliverance of your souls you can rejoice you're going to get there guaranteed. Peter suddenly steps into a little literary interlude maybe it was an issue in his day it is not an issue now at least right now in our lives but maybe it was then regarding the prophets and angels as relates to salvation and his thoughts are triggered with the thought with an idea that he needs to mention to these scattered saints and in verses 10 11 and 12 he deals with the subject of the prophets regarding salvation just a little interlude he as to this salvation almost like you'd say if you're teaching by the way or in addition or let me mention this as to this salvation the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry seeking to know what person or time the spirit of Christ within them was was indicating as he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow 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 preach the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven things into which angels long to look I love the way that says it here are these prophets and here are the angels longing to see what this is all about you see we can't appreciate the day in which we live because we have history to look back on it is all recorded for us and it's past events we look back and we see clearly Mount Calvary and we see clearly the beginning of the church and we can see clearly the development of the church through time and the work of the Holy Spirit in individuals lives and we can look ahead and we can see Mount Olivet and the coming of the Savior and the fulfillment of his plan but back before there was a Calvary they couldn't see all this stuff in between the mountains and they would stare intently into the future wondering what was this all about they could see Calvary and they could see Olivet and they could see this Messiah's coming and something about his suffering but they couldn't see it all put together they saw his coming again in glory but it wasn't clear and they longed to know what it was about in fact as I read this I see a couple of things that the prophets did not have first they did not have a clear picture of God's full plan like we do wasn't clear to them as to this matter of salvation the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come made a careful search and inquiry why you know they would I mean imagine writing these wonderful truths and and sitting back after writing them under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and thinking now what what is that going to be like how's that going to transpire they didn't have a clear picture of the whole thing Christ's death was clear his glory was clear but how it all fitted together in the work of the church was not clear to them see they were seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as as as he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow the second thing they didn't have they didn't have the person of the Holy Spirit permanently indwelling them he came for blessing he came for inspiration and then he left that's why David prayed don't take your Holy Spirit from me in a time of sin the Holy Spirit would depart and return and depart and return they didn't have the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit so their knowledge was limited the inspiration that we received from scripture the illumination wasn't theirs and you know what what encouraged them to go on look carefully I just got this this past week it was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you in these things Isaiah you write that you may not understand it but you write it Jeremiah you add that you write that and Jeremiah under God's inspiration wrote those truths and prophesied what was coming and it was clear to them they were serving someone else when I was in London I heard stories of the days of the lamp lighting every evening about dusk was a tradition for the old lamp lighter to come and to light the lamps on the street corners in the city of London and as I thought about that and as I read verse 12 I thought that would be what it would have been like had you been a blind lamp lighter making your rounds in the streets of London in the 18th and 19th centuries you did it for someone else's benefit not your own you didn't benefit from the lamp that was lit but you lit it for someone else so it is with the prophets and even the angels the angels long to know what our salvation is all about or what the experience must be like I don't know if you've heard the gospel song holy holy is what the angels sing the chorus says holy holy is what the angels sing and I expect to help them make the courts of heaven ring but when I sing redemption's story they will fold their wings for angels never felt the joy that my salvation brings and that's true when we sing redemption's story the angels will stand beside us and listen for the first time witnessing in the portals of heaven the glory of the saints as we join our voices in antiphonal song with those saints of all generations singing the glories of our redemption right now they long to look into it they long to know what it's about let me close with a very personal word first of all to you who suffer and second to you who seek for you who suffer only Christ's perspective can replace your resentment with rejoicing I promise you that only the perspective Christ can give will replace your resentment with rejoicing I've seen it happen in hospital rooms I've seen it happen in my study with people I've seen it happen with individuals that I've talked to outside the walls of this church I've seen their whole perspective change when they caught a glimpse of the purpose of Christ in it all you take that away it's a bitter terrible experience you put it in then there's reason behind it now let me say something to you who seek only Christ's salvation can change you from a spectator to a participant see that's what the angels don't have they aren't participants they're only spectators only Christ's salvation can change you from a spectator to a participant well I don't know who of you needed to hear these things some of us more than others perhaps I don't know where you are in your in your pilgrimage some of you it's it's trying to get settled in a home and it just isn't working out for others of you it's it's trying to get settled in a marriage and there have been one there have been disappointments after disappointments some of you you're trying to learn what it's like to live alone it's tough very few understand and those who do want to tell you too much you want counsel but you don't want to be given a script to follow some of you are going through tough times with your job your occupation is now becoming a study in futility it's requiring more and more hours and more and more time and it seems less and less fulfillment you feel scattered feel fractured the wonderful thing about God's book is that it applies in whatever area we are maybe not in all of those places but there's one or two things that you'll take with you as we close our study as we turn our attention to our Lord join me in prayer with you by the way before I pray are you real sure you've you've you've got the Savior very clearly fixed in your life are you absolutely sure about that inheritance you sure you know the master are you absolutely sure that you've come to the cross and just like a child taking the hand of a father or mother you've taken God's hand in faith you've got that sense of assurance if you're not real sure this is the perfect time to take care of that just linger for a while think it through turn your life over to him Lord talks about hope and encouragement and and purpose can really fall flat if things aren't right in our lives if we're consumed by revenge or feelings of rage and resentment somehow these words just sort of spin through our heads and go in one ear not the other when the heart is right there is a sense of magnetism within us and we embrace the truths we hear we appreciate them we love you for them I pray for every person going through a trial right now that means every person hearing these words our trials are all over and they're all different but Lord they're there nevertheless give us grace color to match the color need to meet the need and give us a sense of hope and purpose beyond the pain and the sting of pain today help us who are on our feet and feeling a special sense of energy and determination to maintain a compassion for those who can't seem to get their lives put together rather than judgment give us tolerance and grace and a word of encouragement in a season of need I pray for Jesus sake and all but the people said amen. Finishing his second message in our study of first Peter Chuck Swindoll titled today's message hope beyond suffering how we can smile through suffering I'm sure you'd agree that Peter's wisdom is so relevant to our lives well bear in mind that every sermon Chuck presents on insight for living is paired with online study notes we call these free Bible study resources searching the scriptures studies to take a deeper look at first Peter go to insight world dot org slash studies look for the series called hope again we know that many people listening right now are living through a season of suffering some are still processing their grief let me give you an example one of your fellow listeners explained that she and her husband have been listening to insight for living for many many years and then she said Chuck in 2018 our only child and son died very suddenly of a heart problem we knew nothing about he was 37 and full of life needless to say we were devastated I felt abandoned by God for a good part of that year but through our church and by listening to your daily devotionals I've been helped greatly thank you even this grieving mother has reason to hope again and it's because of God's promises let me pass along her thanks to all those who financially sustain insight for living in many respects your generous giving has impacted mothers like this one and so many more so thank you to give a donation today call us if you're listening in the United States call 800-772-8888 or you can give online at insight dot org slash donate your contribution is the fuel that's needed to provide Chuck's teaching right here on your station and around the world we look forward to hearing from you soon again you can give online at inside.org slash donate treat yourself to a vacation you'll never forget on the inside for living ministries cruise to the great frontier with Chuck Swindoll honestly I had no idea that a cruise to Alaska could be so much fun and without a doubt the stunning views took my breath away God's artistic genius is on full display in Alaska in fact I guarantee this you'll come home refreshed and filled with all for his majestic creation yeah at one point our ship was getting chased by dolphins they were playing and spinning in the waves it was amazing you'll have plenty of time for adventures on shore lingering conversations around mealtime and strolling through the idyllic ports of call you'll be a part of some of the best parts of our day laughing singing and celebrating our God plan to come with us won't you the dates are July 1st through July 8th 2023 to learn more call 1-888-447-0444 that's 1-888-447-0444 or visit insight.org slash events the tour to Alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend I'm Bill Meyer join us again next time when Chuck Swindoll talks about staying clean in a corrupt society on insight for living. The preceding message hope beyond suffering how we can smile through suffering was copyrighted in 1988 1990 1996 2005 and 2010 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2011 by Charles Arswindoll Inc. all rights are reserved worldwide duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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