What Causes Christians Difficulties

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1 Peter 5:1-11 (VS5-9)
Faith Baptist Church/7 Sep 03/pm-FBC of Westminster/5 Apr 2009/pm – FBCW 22 Feb 2015/pm- FBC Lafayette/6 Mar 2022/pm
INTRO: In the first few verses, Peter is speaking to the elders/older in age and/or faith like himself, but that the elders who are the pastors/leaders have the responsibility to have oversight/oversee the flock/members of the local church humbly w/o compulsion/constraint but willingly/voluntarily. Never to be or desire to rule with a heavy hand like a tyrant but live/practice what they preach as a servant/minister of God. When that is accomplished and Jesus comes again, they will be rewarded with a crown of glory. Next, in our text verses, we see the instructions of the congregation especially the younger Christians to submit, to elders/by age and position as well as others, to be humble and to resist pride and the prideful. They/We must strive to work together to combat the world and satan from hindering our relationship with the Lord. He is warning that many of our difficulties are often caused by:
I. VS 8,9 The devil and his demons, which are never sleeping. Eph 6:12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Like Adam and Eve, we can’t see ourselves being influenced by the devil, so it must be something/someone else’s fault. “The devil made me do it” we might say. The devil is active in this world and all too often in the life of a Christian and even in churches.
A. He is always on guard and seeking. Job 1:7Going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” We must also beware of satan, he is always on the prowl and seeking to deceive and destroy.
B. He doesn’t need to spend time with backsliders/carnally minded people, they are already weak and away from God.
C. He attacks active Christians, Pastors, active members, laypersons, etc (as in Job) Notice I said active, the inactive are no threat to the devil’s agenda.
Who is satan – fallen angel, once God’s powerful and special angel, who through pride, greed and selfishness and not knowing that God is not only a creator, but His creator. He is now angry, bitter, and the great deceiver.
D. Satan attempts to destroy the testimony of Christians walking the talk. Be watchful/sober, vigilant/awake and watching and resist him.
E. He can dwell within/possession the unbelieving. But not the believer!
F. He can imitate and take the form of an angel of light. (2Cor 11:14 The world will be fooled and is fooled today. Rev
G. He is not the prince of Hell, he is not in hell, yet. He is walking the earth and visiting the heavenly’s, tattleing on us to the Lord. (Job 1:6)
1. When he is cast into the Lake of Fire, he will not be the leader and have happiness like in the contemporary stories of hell and satan.
2. He will be miserable, “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Just like all the others in hell. Alone, separated from God.
H. Know that a Christian cannot be possessed.
1. But he can be oppressed.
2. The Bible only speaks of the lost being possessed by demons.
3. The Holy Spirit dwells in us, so there is no place for a demon. “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 1Jn 4:4
II. VS5-6 By What we do or more accurately what we don’t do with what we have in Christ. Humble self: Recognize our true relation to God and to others. Be content with what we have, and who we are (ability/s) Rightly esteem others better than self. He Humble in all things. Therefore:
A. We should not be pessimistic or have a negative attitude. Have a right attitude, rejoice even in the hard times. “There is no such thing as a bad day, just a bad attitude” God makes each day and we are to be glad and rejoice in it. Psa 118:24 God wants us to:
1. Be happy – Psa 145:15b, 146:5Blessed/happy are the poor/distressed & humble in spirit (they seek God/salvation) ……..Mat 5:3-9
a. Jamaicans might say: “Don’t Worry be happy!” Christians have every reason to be happy, though they often aren’t.
b. According to the Bible, we have the joy & peace of Jesus in our hearts.
c. Jam 5:11Behold, we count them happy which endure.” Endure in your faith, endure in trusting & believing God at His word, endure to the end.
d. True happiness is in the Lord. Psa 144:15
a. It is doing what the Lord tells us to do. Jn 13:17 By doing as Christ has done for our example, we can.
e. Obedience and service/ministering are blessings/happiness. It was for Jesus, why should it not be for God’s children.
2. Rejoice in hope – Rom 12:12 Be happy, rejoice, we have a living hope!
a. Pray and have communion/fellowship with the Lord.
b. Be patient in tribulation.
c. Patience can mean many things, forbearing, waiting calmly, but it also means, to be diligent; steady; persevering.
B. We need to set our affections (desires) on things from above. Have a positive attitude. – Col 3:2
1. Love God and do as he commands. Jn 15:10
2. What can the world do for us that God can’t?
3. When our eyes are on the world, so are our hearts and it becomes our treasure and not the things of God. Mat 6:21
C. We should not be depressed. Though we may become discouraged sometimes. Col 3:20-21 God does not try to discourage or depress us!
1. We aren’t to discourage our children nor to provoke stimulate our children to anger/wrath, which would hinder their relationship to us and more importantly with the Lord.
a. There are too many depressed children today. Let them see Jesus, not the flesh, as our example in our lives, that they might desire Him. Eph 6:4
b. We do that all by ourselves, because we forget, we ought not be depressed. (other than clinically/medically)
2. We have the assurance and promises of God.
3. We have victory and overcome the world. Be of good cheer! Jn 16:33,
a. If that doesn’t bring a smile to your face nothing will.
b. Death is swallowed up in victory. 1 Cor 15:54
c. 1Jn 5:4For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
4. Victory (by salvation) just like all of God’s promises are based on faith in Jesus.
5. VS7 “Cast all your cares on Jesus”. The only one who can meet the challenges and give us true victory. Literally, and spiritually. It takes some humility to let go and ask for help, from others but especially with God. Give our heart and heartaches to the Lord, He loves you and desires to help you.
Christian difficulties are sometimes because of:
III. He that hates his brother, & holds grudges causes problems in their lives.
1. They have an unforgiving attitude! And Not Jesus’ attitude: 1 John 2:9-12
A. Love one another, especially the brethren. Humble yourself, VS5 put
other above yourself. Eph 2:3 (esteem others better than self)
1. Love your neighbors, Mt 22:37-40, but don’t necessarily lower
yourself to their level.
B. If you hate your brother and say you love God, you are a liar. 1 John 4:20.
1. If you hate your brother, you are a murderer. 1Jn 3:15.
C. If you hate someone, will you witness to them, can you love them as you ought, can you forgive them?
1. Can you be of one mind with them. (humanly, it’s hard to)
D. Can we as Christians hate a brother/sister in the church and not cause strife and division.
1. We won’t be of one mind. We break fellowship and pick sides, and cause cliques.
E. We must stay united holding fast to the doctrines of God.
1. Love w/Christian love, forgive, be longsuffering and forbearing.
2. As Paul said 1Cor 13: I can have everything, but, “if I have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal,.. I am nothing, .. it profiteth me nothing.”
IV. When we compromise with sin it has severe consequences and causes great difficulties.
A. When we love with dissimulation (hypocrisy or feigned/hide one feelings or motives). There will be consequences. Rom 12:9,10
1. Our sin not only separates us from God, but from each other.
2. Because we harbor ill feelings, distrust, anger, unforgiving attitude, not love them. (we then become the problem, because we have now sinned. “Love thy neighbor as thy self” 2nd greatest commandment.
3. When we are not honest with our love, we don’t fool God, even though we may fool each other.
a. It will cause problems and those problems will have consequences to each other and possibly the church.
B. This is why churches die.
1. They become just like the world. (love self first)
a. We may have ulterior motives. (self-promotion)
b. Go through the motions of being a Christian.
c. May go to the wrong church. Not the one the Lord has for them.
2. When there is no love and therefore the H.S. will not work in our churches, because of our rebellion and sin in the lives of the members.
C. There are no standards being taught in many churches.
1. No longer taught in our schools
2. No longer taught in our homes.
3. We/churches must teach God’s standards.
a. It isn’t taught anywhere else. (not homes, schools, etc)
b. Make sure what we teach is true, even if it’s not popular.
D. Sin – never is good, it deceives, discourages, depresses and destroys.
1. No good can come of it.
2. It brings Christians down and destroys and robs them of the joy and peace of Christ in us.
3. It destroys men’s souls.
a. Isa 59:2/Psa 5:5– separates men from God.
b. While we live on this earth, but eternally from God in heaven.
V. VS 10,11 The God of all grace, who called us to salvation and God’s glory, has called us to work out our salvation, until He come and completes the work we have been called to. Do all to His glory, because it is all His, especially ours. When we forget that God has a plan and that He has a plan for us. We too must have a plan and labor with Christ, 1 Cor 3:9, in God ‘s plan:
A. For elders/pastors: To lead the flock given them in spiritual matters.
B. For laypersons: To love one another and edify/help one another and to be of one mind for the work of the Lord. Humble self and lift others up that we glorify God in our bodies and others.
C. For everyone: “Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Prov 29:18 It is not only good to obey the Word of God, but happy is the person who does. Psa 1:2,3
CLOSING: The causes for Christian difficulties in their personal and spiritual lives are many and varied. But one thing we must remember, often times, these difficulties don’t have to be a part of our lives. If we follow the Lord and His word, we can overcome the world and have victory in our lives on earth and eternity.
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