Christian... What's In A Name?

1 Peter Our Hope for Today  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  40:58
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“What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” William Shakespeare uses this line in his play Romeo and Juliet to convey that a name is nothing but a name… OR IS THERE???
Is there something more to this name “Christian”???… follow along as we read from 1 Peter 4:12-19
1 Peter 4:12–19 NASB95
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
I read the heading over our passage we’re looking at today and was initially bummed… it read, “Share the sufferings of Christ
As we have a focus today on our graduates I always strive to focus a little on them in the message.
It’s kind of a bummer to talk about suffering as they start out on their own
Then I thought… what if they really understood who they were well and in understanding this they would be able to face
TEST… TRIALS… able to TRUST God because they understood who they were and who He is???
How cool would that be?!!! Wow… what if we all could do that!!!???
Quickly I grew excited to share with not only our graduates… but each of us in the family of God
It’s true… taxes and death are certainties in life… BUT SO ARE test and trials
JUST AS CERTAIN… we can face these things with the Lord and REJOICE!!!
We are going to look at TEST, TRIALS & TRUST but first I want each of us to have a firm grasp on our IDENTITY!!!

Our Identity

Right away Peter addresses those struggling as “BELOVED”… Peter is writing to the church, brothers and sisters in Christ, the body of Christ, the family of God
BELOVED= to be loved, the object of one’s affection, very dear to someone
Peter had first hand seen the love of Christ
Peter had seen the love even in the midst of his own failure
Peter had declared his love for Jesus knowing nothing he said or did could come close to the love Jesus had for him
Consider this for a moment: There is NOTHING you can do to make God love you less… Equally there is nothing you can do to make him love you more!!!
God demonstrated His love in such a powerful way… and Peter reminds them of this by addressing them asOne’s that God Loves deeply!”
We come today to our passage and we see another identifying term, a name, a title… that used to mean something. That should still mean something even today!
CHRISTIAN: one who is identified as a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ
First called this at Antioch Acts 11:26 (Little Christ followers/imitators)
A distinct group of people to the watching world around them
Only used 3 times in NT and most likely a derogatory name/title given
Now Christian means quite less...
A religious person
One who believes in God… James says whoop-dee-doo “the demons believe, they even shudder
A person who goes to a “church” building on Sundays and sometimes even other days
They have a cross on their neck, a fish on their car, a bible in their home, or even religious symbols in their home!!!
OR… they post scripture verses on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
Peter is clear what not to be… NOT TO SUFFER FOR!!!! verse 15!
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains 88.245 ἀλλοτριεπίσκοπος, ου

one who busies himself in the affairs of others in an unwarranted manner

However… Consider verse 14 & 16:
You are blessed for being reviled on the basis of His Name Christ
WHY?… because the Spirit of God rest on you
To emulate Christ, follow, believe in and live a life that is in contrast to the world
DON’T be ashamed
Glorify… GOD in this name Christian...
How is it your life is bringing Him glory as those around you know you are a Christian
Are you able to really bear that name? (only those who have a relationship can or should!)
Are you a true follower of Jesus Christ?
Are you giving the name Christian more than lip service?
If so… HOW do we glorify God in this name? Peter has been telling the church this throughout his letter… now he tells us one other significant way… through our response to testing and trials...

Test & Trials

Graduates… ask any adult here. Just because High School may be behind you, TEST have just begun and most of them will be surprise exams!!!
These Trials are for your testing Peter states in verse 12
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains 27.46 πειράζω; πειρασμός, οῦ; ἐκπειράζω

to learn the nature or character of someone or something by submitting such to thorough and extensive testing—‘to test, to examine, to put to the test, examination, testing

These test are FOR US… consider what James says about these test James 1:2-3
James 1:2–3 NASB95
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
Notice several things:
It is brothers and sisters… the beloved who are tested
It is WITH Christ you go through this testing
Endurance and strength is only produced through frequent use and repetition
Test and trials will come often for you!
BUT Peter and James both tell us how we GLORIFY GOD in these trials and times of testing


That’s a weird response… EXACTLY!!! When this is our response we follow in the footsteps of Christ and many other saints before us!
Christ Himself with the cross Hebrews 12:2
Hebrews 12:2 NASB95
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Paul and Silas after being beaten and in prison Acts 16:25
Acts 16:25 NASB95
But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;
Consider the three men cast into an actual fiery trail of flames in Daniel 3:23-26
Daniel 3:23–26 NASB95
But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire still tied up. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he said to his high officials, “Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?” They replied to the king, “Certainly, O king.” He said, “Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!” Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire; he responded and said, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire.
They chose to stay with the Lord rather than walk out!
Peter shares from personal experience as he and John rejoiced after being flogged for sharing Christ Acts 5:41
Acts 5:41 NASB95
So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.
I don’t need to go into detail of what trials and testing looks like… it all varies yet it is hard, but you and I because of our IDENTITY… can rejoice… Peter closes this thought with our NEED TO TRUST and two reasons to rejoice and have this attitude...


Consider the focus Peter challenges his readers to have:
1 ) Our suffering is now and temporary… BUT What is coming for the ones in sin?
Verses 17 & 18 state this each as an emphasis
This should burden our hearts for the lost!!!
Our rejoicing should NOT BE that they will get hell for eternity
2 ) When we are in God’s will and suffer… TRUST GOD WHO MADE YOU!!!
You are beloved
You are His, bought with the precious blood of Christ
He IS FAITHFUL… = He will NOT fail you!
Oh church, graduates… may we truly thrive and rejoice in our IDENTITY in Christ Jesus our Lord! If you have only given Him lip service, today I challenge you to enter into this relationship that brings TRUE JOY and REJOICING… even in our testing and fiery trials!!
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