Let None of You Suffer as a Thief
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
Life is full of suffering that occurs for various reasons. Yet, the Christian is admonished never to suffer as a result of his wrongdoing. Christians frequently suffer wrongfully and should never be ashamed for suffering for the name of Christ. Yet every Christian is admonished not to suffer “as a thief” (1 Peter 4:15). When a man puts his faith in the finished work of Christ, he becomes a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17) and should live differently. The Bible says, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Ephesians 4:28). This means that a saved man, although previously a thief, should labour so that he may have to give to others rather than taking from them. Only the power of the gospel can take a thief and make him a generous person. What an amazing witness to the transformation of the gospel!
• (For children): Part of suffering is bearing shame when we do wrong. This includes theft (Romans 6:21). There is no shame in suffering for Christ (1 Peter 4:16). Paul did not want to be ashamed in anything (Philippians 1:20). God expects us to work for what we get.
• (For everyone): It is thought that Onesimus stole from Philemon (Philemon 1:11, 18-19). Did Paul expect things to be different when Onesimus returned to Philemon (Philemon 1:15-16)?
• According to Ephesians 4:28, a man goes from stealing to giving and labouring when he gets saved. Why are labouring and stealing considered opposites?
• Ask the Lord to give you a heart to labour and give.
• Thank God for the transformation of salvation.
SONG: AMAZING GRACE!