Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will
entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
(1 Peter 4:19 ESV)
I think it is very important for every one of you to think hard about what you would do if cultic terrorists hijacked your plane and before they blew it up offered to let everyone off who would say, “Jesus Christ is not my Savior and Lord.” The reason I think it is important to think about this is that the resurgence of fundamentalist, anti-Christian violence in the world makes it very possible that it will happen. But more important is the fact that thinking about your own death for Christ will help you live for Christ as you should. A true Christian must be willing to say, “I will not renounce Christ, even if it costs my life.” But as soon as we say that, it makes a whole lot of things in our lives look ridiculous. I will die for you, but I can’t find time to sit and read your teaching each day. I will die for you, but prayer doesn’t seem real. I will die for you, but I can’t talk to Jim about you at work. I will die for you, but I can’t support your cause with more than 10% of my income. One of the best ways to bring wonderful Christ-honoring changes into your life is to measure your way of life by your willingness to die for Jesus.
But if you are like me, you sometimes wonder, “How would I ever have the strength and courage to die for Christ?” So I have chosen 1 Peter 4:12–19 to encourage you—not that you will escape hardship but that you will be strong enough to endure it. The Holy Spirit will see to it. He will help you die the way you should. First, let’s clarify the situation the believers are facing. Second, we will see what Peter tells them to do in the face of this situation. Third, we will focus on the source of strength to do what he says.