Rejoice In Your Troubles

Preached by Dr. Gene Scott on June 25, 1978
     “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which
     according to his abundant Mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively
     hope by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. . .” 1 Peter 1:3
     Turn to 1 Peter 1. “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” These were the ones to whom He preached on the day of Pentecost and their converts. He must have been a symbol to those who had probably seen him only that one day, when 3,000 were born into the Kingdom. Then, they returned to their various places with the gospel and came under instant persecution.
     Peter’s first words are to let them know that, though they were rejected by so many around them, they were chosen, “Elect according to God’s foreknowledge.” These people were chosen “to be set apart,” which is what the word sanctification means. They were “chosen to be set apart through the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.
     To understand the meaning of the sprinkled blood, we have to go back to Moses, on that day when the elders had gone up the mountain with him to worship. The elders were instructed to worship “afar off.” They could not draw night to the Lord until after they had come down, the sacrifices were offered, and Moses had sprinkled them with the blood (Exodus 24:1-8).” They were called, “chosen to be set apart, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood.”
     What do they get in the midst of their persecutions? Grace: unmerited favor. What else do they get in the midst of their persecutions? Peace: peace with God. Though wars may be on every side, with enemies trying to stamp out their testimony, these chosen have peace with God. Peace is “cessation of againstness.” Peter says, “Peace, be multiplied.”
     Then immediately, Peter is on the practical side. What do you do in your persecution? Paul Rees once said that this is a letter telling God’s people, who are in the midst of suffering, how to be triumphant in their suffering. Take the time to go through 1 Peter in your King James Bible and underline all the occurrences of the word suffering. Read it in other versions. The New English Bible has it 17 times; the Revised Standard Version has it 16 times. This Epistle is about suffering saints. Peter is not telling them how to get out of their suffering, but how to triumph over their suffering. Start out by recognizing that you are chosen. God has a purpose in all that you are going through. You are chosen unto obedience in being sprinkled. Grace is yours, and peace is multiplied. Now, in the midst of your suffering, get on with “eulogizing God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
     How much eulogizing have you done since last Sunday? I survived this past week, but as I look back, I see that I did not eulogize the Lord enough. I spent more time cursing the devil than I did eulogizing the Lord. So, I am going to ease up on the devil tomorrow, and I will bless the Lord - and then let the Lord land on him! Why does the devil give us so much trouble? Have you ever seen a bully operate? When the devil finds out that he has lost you, he will still kick and bite and scratch all the time you are being ejected loose from his grip. As we have been regenerated in that war of the centuries between the “accuser of the brethren” and the God who redeems us, the devil knows that we are coming out of his grasp.
     We are to eulogize God in the midst of our troubles. Why? Because He delivered us? No. Because we know this: He “hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Literally, “He hath regenerated us.” He put that same power in us that brought forth Jesus from the tomb. God has regenerated us, “to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” We have a hope, and that hope has not changed one iota, even if this “old man” perishes. The worst that can happen to this old man is that it will be laid down like a garment, and the new life that is come, which is eternal, will have shaped around it a new creation in Christ Jesus, so we ought to be praising God.
     What else does Peter tell us? “We are being guarded,” literally, “by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” God will finish the job in us. He will guard us and He will keep us; and the only thing that can keep us form being kept is to lose faith. But if we are hanging on with only a finger, we are kept by God’s power through faith unto salvation.
     “Wherein ye greatly rejoice. . .” The literal meaning is exalt. How many of you can look back on this past week and honestly say, “All week long, every hour of every day that I was awake, I was exalting with joy?” Thank God no one can say that; I would sure hate to preach to those who didn’t need it. But if anyone said that they rejoiced, I would ask, “What did you rejoice about?” Because Peter says, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.” Literally, it is multicolored temptations.
     How many of you have had enough temptations this week to qualify you as a “Petrine exulter?” How many of you think you have had enough trouble this week, and pressure from the world, the flesh and the devil, to qualify you as one, like Peter, who should be rejoicing because you are in heaviness through manifold temptations? Or, how many of you are more like me: you know that you have not done as much rejoicing as the temptations gave you opportunity to do?
     Why should we rejoice? Because, if we had, we would have seven days of gold production, instead of seven days of “fool’s gold” that glitters until you turn it over. “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
     God has “begotten us to a hope that fadeth not away . . .“ to an inheritance that is incorruptible. We ought to eulogize Him for that. And having been begotten, “we are kept by the power of God through faith.” All I have to do is hang on to that promise, and whatever lands on me, I know I will make it in spite of that, because I am kept by Him. My part is not the keeping; my part is the faithing. He does the keeping. A one-finger grip is enough. I am kept through faith by the power of God unto the salvation that comes at the end. Thank God, if I have been delivered from a problem, that deliverance is not the salvation that is promised, because the salvation that is promised yet lies ahead. That means His power will continue to work in us until He finishes the job.
     In the meantime, this old house, into which the life has been planted in regeneration, is getting worked over. As the rod of temptation beats the wheat from the chaff, I should exult with the whackings, because coming forth is something more precious than gold that perisheth: faith that endures, faith that lasts, faith that hangs on, faith that never lets go. God sees that as gold! In the threshing, the gold comes forth; in the fire, the gold comes forth. And there is “praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
     Now, the modern view would say, “I don’t see any of that. Peter’s situation is not like mine.” Peter was fishing away and the Lord came by and said, “Follow me” (Matthew 4:18-19). Peter had exposure to the miracles. He had exposure to Jesus’ love and grace. He had the experience of failure and the experience of God, in the person of His Son, embodying the love that He reveals through His Word, as Jesus sought Him out on the shore of the lake (John 21:15-22). And then Jesus let peter, the one who had failed the most, preach on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-36). So, someone might
     say, “it’s easy for Peter to say this, but not so easy for me. It sounds good as it comes out of the Bible, but you ought to be where I am on Monday morning.”
     That is what this next verse is for. Peter is amazed, I am sure. He had seen his Lord, and he had failed Him. But now, to these same people, he says, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing,” faithing is the word in the Greek, “ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory,” in the midst of the pressures.
     I preached on a Sunday, “We are kept by the power of God through faith!” Then, come Monday, the Lord lifted the shield from around me to say, “Put your body where your mouth is,” and the devil said, “Get him!” and I said, “Ow!” That means I have to get another treatment until, when the Lord says, “Lift the shield a bit,” and the devil says, “Get him!” that I will say, “Hallelujah! Let the Lord be praised.” Then, I’m arriving! As Paul said, “I have not yet attained;” that is obvious, “but I press toward the mark” (Philippians 3:12-14).
     The church is now under combined attack. The devil wants to destroy the instrument through which the glory of God will take the gospel to the ends of the Earth. But in the midst of this persecution, you are “receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” We will be there when God finishes what He started. In the midst of our persecution and in the midst of our trouble and in the midst of our pressures, God has given us the opportunity to do what Peter said that those in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia must do to an on looking world. They won; Rome fell.
     As our enemies turn up the heat, instead of saying, “Ow!” we have an opportunity to say, “Glory to God!” The life in us will survive the fire, the power of God will keep us, and one finger hanging on is enough. Why do we take a stand on God’s Word at risk of all? Because we know the One “Whom having not seen,” we love; in whom, I would add, “we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
     “Though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith.” That is what faith is all about. You ought to go home and tear up every book you have in your house that says, “How to make faith work for you.” In their place, put what the apostle Peter says: “The end of your faith is the salvation of your soul,” as this regenerated life comes forth, and the old man gets whipped to death.
     “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently.” The Old Testament prophets did not fully understand what God was saying through their lips. Many of them would try to apply their prophecies to an earthly need, like Isaiah did as he prophesied the deliverance of Hezekiah. But then, the prophet would be caught up and his prophecy would speak of a day that lay ahead (Isaiah 37:22-36). “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace,” unmerited favor, “that should come unto you.” This is the message of grace that was foreshadowed in the tower of Hananeel: Its very name spoke of God’s favor to us (Nehemiah 3:1, Zechariah 14:10).
     “Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them,” that is, in the prophets, “did signify,” or “give sign to,” “when it testified,” before it ever happened, “the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” What is the glory that follows? You and me coming forth in His image.
     “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister . . .” As great as those happenings were in the Old Testament, these prophets had this future day revealed to them. “It was revealed,” to these prophets, that “they did minister” to you and me today, as well as to those to whom Peter preached. That is why we preach so much on the prophets Zechariah, Haggai and Malachi. “Unto us they did minister the things . . .” What things? The things “which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” Literally in the Greek, the angels “bend down low to look into.”
     “Do you mean that while all this happened to me this past week, angels bent down to look with amazement?” Well, some of them might have closed their heavenly windows when they saw a few of the things I did, but today is another day. I have another chance for them to see “praise and honour and glory” unto Jesus. And God is going to sit there like Big Daddy and say, “See, he’s making it.” And then He will say, “Lift the shield and hit him again. I know what he can take.” Then I cry out, “Ow!” And God will say, “Well, he can take it, but he doesn’t know it yet. Try him again.” This is not a popular Christian message to preach, is it? People would not fill a stadium to hear it.
     “Unto whom it was revealed, that unto us they were ministering.” When God through Zechariah said, “You are the apple of My eye,” the prophet was ministering unto us (Zechariah 2:8). Man! All week I have been feeling like a prune somebody is trying to take the pit out of, and I’ve been fighting the operation. But I’m the apple of
     His eye! In Zechariah’s vision, God laid a stone before Joshua the High Priest, and he said, “upon one stone shall be seven eyes.” Those seven eyes of His attention are looking at me (Zechariah 3:9). There is a plumb line that is held (Zechariah 2:1). Therefore, you ought to do something. Do what? Have a “whoopee fit?” No. “You must therefore be like men stripped for action, perfectly self-controlled.” Look the gale in the teeth and say, “We’re making it.” The King James Version reads, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober,” literally, “be steadfast, and hope to the end for the grace,” unmerited favor, “that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
     Stand up tall, every one of you, and march out the door in the knowledge you will be put on display as the sons of God when Jesus appears. Our Father will smile and say, “These are the ones who will fill that third of Heaven that was vacated by Lucifer when I cast him out” (Revelation 12:9). He was the crowning cherub on the mountain of God. He was the song leader of the angels in the eons that were past (Ezekiel 28:14). But there will be a new song, as we fill Heaven’s galleries with the church singing the song of the redeemed!
     ***************Reprinted with permission of Pastor Melissa Scott**************

December, 2011 Christmas Note
We know that this is a difficult time of the year for most of you. The memories, loss of family, it all comes floating in and depression is prevalent. But believe me, it can be the same out here in the “free world.” To a lot of people, the expectation of the holidays is always the happiest and most exiting time, more so than the holiday itself.
     We all know that Jesus was not born on December 25th. He was most likely born in September. The heathen of the time had a holiday in the middle of winter, and somehow Christians fell into their worship of Christ on the same day, because it was convenient, I suppose.
     There is certainly nothing wrong with celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. We should be thankful for that gift from God EVERY day. Just remember that satan has a way of ruining everything that was meant to be good. He twists Scriptures and is the father of lies, and he enters into what is a wonderful holiday, bringing with him depression and many bad thoughts and feelings. But remember also what the angels said: “Do not be afraid for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And then they sang “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace and goodwill toward men.” God was sending great joy, peace and goodwill to all men. That includes all of us.

Prayer Requests for December, 2011
For Anthony Grayson (Shawangunk, New York,). He received good results from his liver biopsy.
For Mikel Dillon’s (Tucson, Arizona) son, Mikel Isaiah Dillon, that he gain faith in God.
For Michael Chavez’ (Grady, Arkansas) little brother, Heath, who is acting up again.
For Johnny Carruthers (Florence, Arizona), for various health issues.
For Nolan Holland (Tucker, Arkansas). He is submitting his application for executive clemency.
For John Crutcher (in Oklahoma) who is still in need of a liver transplant.
For Ron (Buckeye, Arizona), who seeks peace and a continued faith in God.
For Calvin Watkins (McAlester, Oklahoma), who has a bad fungus problem.
For Shawn McFall (McAlester, Oklahoma), for his appeal.
For Johnny Carruthers (Florence, Arizona), who seeks Spiritual growth.
Jimmy Huff (Colorado City, Texas), for health. He has neuropathy which affects his legs.
For Richard Burns (Menard, Illinois), who has diabetes and takes daily injections.
For Mike Long (Larned, Kansas), for health.
For Willie Scott (Grady, Arkansas), for health, and for spiritual growth and faith.
For Willie Clark (Iowa Park, Texas), who still wants to be transferred closer to Houston.
For Sister Ann & all the Carmelite Nuns in Little Rock.
For Frank Williams, Jr., (Death Row, Grady, Arkansas). The Arkansas State Supreme Court has heard arguments in his case and will be ruling soon.
For Freddie Lee Lott (Dixon, Illinois), to keep his healing and stay cancer free.
For Willie Harper (Joliet, Illinois), for health, and that his cancer stays in remission.
For Robert Heffernan (Grady, Arkansas), that DNA evidence will prove his innocence.
For Pastor Scott & her ministry (The University Network) in Los Angeles.
For all of us at Wingspread
The following is from the “Berean Searchlight,” September 2011:

Question Box

“I’m witnessing to my mom, who has questions by the boxcar about Purgatory. Can you help?”

This place where men must go after death to purge their sins is an invention of religion. The word purgatory comes from the word purge, and the Bible says that Christ “by Himself purged our sin” without any help from us (Hebrews 1:3).

The Lord told the dying thief, “Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). This is significant, since the inspired Word of God calls this man a thief, and it was his own testimony to the other thief that “we receive the due reward of our deeds” (v. 41). That is, he was admitting he had not been framed or misjudged, but had indeed committed crimes worthy of the death penalty. If there was a Purgatory, this man would have gone there, yet we have the Lord’s word on it that he did not.

If anyone needed to go to Purgatory, it was the carnal Corinthians! Yet Paul told even these sinful believers that they could be “confident” that “to be absent from the body” is “to be present with the Lord” (2nd Corinthians 5:8).
-Pastor Kurth

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