February 21, 2016
Opposition and Vindication
Continuing our series Hope Is Here, Pastor Andy brought us to 1 Peter 4:1-6. This message, called Opposition and Vindication, deals with the issues that believers face when others oppose or persecute them because of their faith in Christ. The dual themes of opposition and vindication go together in Peter’s mind because of what he saw in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Those who follow Jesus, he says, should expect to experience the same kind of suffering he did. And when they do, they should endure it with the same attitude that he demonstrated on Calvary: without retaliation or threats, but rather entrusting himself to God and praying for the forgiveness of his killers.
Opposition does two things for us. First, opposition defines commitment. You don’t know how committed you are to something until you experience some opposition or persecution to it. Second, opposition refines character. Suffering transforms desire. The cross of Christ teaches that suffering educates desire, maturing it from adolescence to adulthood, from the relentless pursuit of worldly pleasure to the firm commitment to the will of God.
The vindication of believers comes at our resurrection. There are no dead Christians. When referring to believers who have died, Peter says that they live with God. Though our bodies die, our spirits live forever with Jesus. We live in a fuller, more complete existence in the presence of God than we could ever experience in this body of flesh.
Note: The video Andy showed has been removed from the audio recording. Please go here to watch it online.