Recently one of our church's interns, Matthew Seymour, a student at Westminster Seminary California, preached an excellent sermon on suffering from I Peter 4:12-19. Matthew helpfully summarized how we're to understand passages that deal with suffering and persecution.
We may not face trials and suffering on the same level of physical intensity that our brothers and sisters do around the world. However there is a wider sense in which Peter’s words apply to every situation in our lives. We experience a trial any time when our faith is tested and proved true. We suffer when we feel the effects of sin in our work, relationships and our own bodies.
Peter wants to prepare these believers to stand firm in trials and suffering and so he gives them a ‘vaccination shot’ of a biblical theology of trials and suffering. Whether or not we are facing trials and suffering at this present moment, we need right thinking now so that we will respond with right responses in the future.
You can listen to or download the sermon here. It will be well worth your time.