Great thoughts on Suffering and our Worship

From Mars Hill’s blog…


Mars Hill Church | The Mars Hill Blog

Notes: Suffering to Worship

Posted: 28 Apr 2009 10:03 AM PDT
TEXT: 1 Peter 4:12–19
PREACHER: Pastor Mark Driscoll
DATE: April 26, 2009


1 Peter 4:12–19 represents the culmination of Peter’s teachings regarding suffering as a magnificent opportunity to grow as a worshiper of Jesus Christ. This passage includes three statements about worship: “rejoice” (v. 13); “rejoice and be glad” (v. 13); “glorify God” (v. 16).

  • Worship emanates from God. The Trinity–Father, Son, Holy Spirit–lives in ongoing, perfect, unceasing love and communication. Worship.
  • We are made in the likeness of God; we can’t help but worship, living our lives for the good and glory of someone or something.
  • When we live for God, that’s worship. When we live for something besides God (self, status, knowledge, money, power, sports, a relationship, etc.), that’s idolatry.

In suffering, our worship and our identity are tested. Suffering is a trial (v. 12). Peter identifies five reasons why this is cause for worship.

1. Worship God Because You Are Loved (1 Pet. 4:12)

  • If you are for God, some people will be against you.
  • Jesus suffered. As his followers, we should expect to suffer as well. In this life, suffering is neither abnormal nor temporary.
  • Joy cannot be found in people–whether or not they love you. True joy is in the fact that Jesus loves you.

2. Worship God Because Glory is Coming (1 Pet. 4:13)

  • For Christians: this life is the closest you will ever get to hell.
  • For unbelievers: this life is the closest you will ever get to heaven.
  • This life and its troubles will pale in light of eternity.

3. Worship God Because the Spirit Rests Upon You (1 Pet. 4:14)

For Christians, the same Spirit that rested upon Christ is resting upon you (Matt. 3:16). Christians may be insulted by the…

  1. Hopeful Irreligious – those who are misinformed or blinded by their sin
  2. Less Hopeful Irreligious – those who blatantly deny the truth of the Bible, Jesus as God, etc.
  3. Hopeful Religious – those who are new Christians, poorly taught but open and humble
  4. Less Hopeful Religious – those who see all issues as either closed to debate (fundamentalist) or open to interpretation (liberal)

4. Worship God Because You Are A Christian (1 Pet. 4:15–16)

  • The word Christian originated as pejorative slang, like a racial slur. The first followers of Jesus appropriated the label as a badge of honor, since their goal was indeed to live as “little Christs,” living for and like their Savior.
  • The New Testament uses the word Christian three times: Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16.
  • Are you suffering as a consequence of something you have done, or are you suffering because you follow Jesus?
  • For the unbeliever, suffering is punishment. For Christians, Jesus already received our punishment in our place; our suffering is purification…

5. Worship God Because Suffering Is For Your Good (1 Pet. 4:17–19)

1. Suffering Exposes Our Idols
An idol is an object of worship from which we draw (false) meaning, value, and purpose. Oftentimes the idol is good thing (i.e. not bad in and of itself) elevated to a god thing.

Three kinds of idols (source: Tim Keller):

  1. Personal Idols – money, romance, family, friendship, self expression
  2. Religious Idols – doctrine, morality/self-righteous behavior
  3. Cultural Idols – everyone is right; truth is personal, not public; feelings rule; ideology

2. Suffering Helps Us Do Good

  • Suffering reminds us of the good Jesus’ suffering has done for us.
  • Suffering causes us to be more compassionate and empathetic.
  • Suffering makes us consider how we have caused others to suffer.
  • Suffering compels us to repent of the suffering we have caused.
  • Suffering helps us to be more cautious with our words and actions in the future.


  • Is there any suffering you have caused (or are causing now) that you need to repent of?
  • Are you more appreciative of Jesus?
  • Are you ready to worship Jesus?


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