This weekend I’ll be preaching to over 200 men incarcerated at the Bent County Correctional Facility. Here’s the message God has given me to share with them:
The Burden of Being Burned
1 Peter 1: 3-7
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Textual background: Peter is writing from Rome in the early to mid 60’s just as the emperor Nero began his persecution of Christians. He writes to the Greek or gentile Christians spread throughout the region. People newly saved by faith in Jesus who either had just started to or soon would face persecution for their faith.
The Troubles of life: our lives and our walk with Christ are not immune to trouble. We will face trials and tribulations and times will get rough. In fact, sometimes, it may feel like we’re living in hell itself
Non-believers: the trials and tribulations of life are enough to make any man give up. Hope is hard to come by without a loving savior. I could not do anything if were not for christ
Believers: but the tests faced by the righteous are orchestrated by God. Remember psalms 37:23
How much can you bear?
Temptation is different that trials: People say god will never put more on you than you can bear… this is false. The verse found in 1 corinthians 10:13) has to do with temptations. It reads, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” It does not say he will not let you be tried beyond what you can bear.
God will allow you to be tested beyond what you can bear. God WILL put you through some things that you cannot bear so that you will rely on him completely and he can bear it for you. Matthew 11:30 jesus tells us that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. If ou’ll just put on the yoke of chirst, he’ll bear the weight of your situation for you. No tribulation is too much for god and thus it will not be too much for you.
Test of faith: that doesn’t mean that you won’t walk through some dark times. In fact, Our faith will be tested and that is good for us. Why?
You’re imperfect: no matter how holy you are right now, no matter how righteous you appear to be on the outside all of sinned and fallen short of the glory of god. All of us are filthy rags and out sinful nature keeps us impure. There are so many things that god wants to use you for… but he can’t do it if you still walk in impurity.
It’s beautiful to god! Your imperfection is what makes you so unique. Your flaws and scars are really just the intricate details of a perfectly created creature and when God sees you… he doesn’t see the raw and dirty ore… he sees the fold inside of you.
Burning out impurities: Just like the refiners fire purifies the ore into gold so to must our lives be refined in Christ.
Every trial is meant to perfect you: God is using these tests and trials to burn of the impurities that will derail you for your purpose. He loves you so much he will not let you stay in a state of impurity. H loves you too much to let you stay that way and HE WILL burn off the imperfections.
You’re golden but not for you
Blessed to be a blessing: God loves the imperfections in you and as soon as he burns them out of you he can use you to help others over come them. You cannot heal others when you are sick.
You cannot serve as an example of what God can do if you don’t let him first do it in you.
You suffer and overcome not merely to overcome yourself to but to show others that they can overcome.
Your faith in the midst of trials is the prize you offer god. The message bible tells us: Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.
Where are you now?
Is he burning some things out of your life right now? Does it hurt! Good! Consider it pure joy dear brothers and sisters whenever you face trials! Your reward is on the way!
Impure and terrified of the fire? Maybe you’re sick of living a life of trouble. Maybe you’ve been through enough hell already and it’s time you saw some gold already! I came here today to tell you that Giod is ready and willing to melt away that old way of living. Here is ready to bring you through the fire into your purpose and the fullness of a life with Him. Will it be easy no… but it will be easier that living alone and…
You don’t have to carry the burden of being burned. It belongs to Jesus
God is mighty to save and his power can shield you from the flames if you live by faith!