Facing Adversity: Hostility to Christianity
1 Peter 3:17
1 Peter Lesson #103
August 24, 2017
“Father, we’re thankful we can come together this evening to study Your Word, to be reminded of Your faithfulness to us and of the fact that we live in a hostile environment. In this nation, for the last 300 years, it has not been a hostile environment for Christians, but it is in many ways now, and that will only intensify.
“Much as it was a hostile environment in the first century, second century, and in many areas of Christendom today where believers are living in hostile environments—in Muslim-controlled areas, as well as areas where paganism and hostility to Christianity through various worldviews reign supreme—Father, strengthen us by Your Word.
“Father, we pray for us, for those in this congregation, and for those who live along the Texas Gulf Coast, with this storm coming in. We pray that You would guide and direct it to areas that are least populated and that you would watch over us, protect us. We pray that, if possible, this storm could bounce back out into the Gulf and not wreak havoc along the coast here in Texas.
“Father, we pray that You would give us opportunities to witness, even in the midst of the adversity of this storm, that You might be glorified. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
Open your Bibles with me to 1 Peter 3. The last time we were doing verse by verse exposition in 1 Peter 3 was in Bible class on Thursday night, February 9, before I went to Kiev, so tonight we’re back there. We have had a diversion for the last six months as we’ve been studying the topic of apologetics and how to give an answer for the hope that is in us.
Tonight, what I want to do is a bit of review and focus our attention on a topic that is quite timely. That is the topic of facing adversity. Specifically in this context, the adversity isn’t just the adversity that is normal to living in the devil’s world and living with the sin nature, but the adversity that comes from systems that we’re involved in—whether it is employment, whether it is government and national, or whether it is some other organization that we are a part of that’s becoming more and more hostile to Christianity and those who hold to a Judeo-Christian worldview.
1 Peter 3:17 comes at the end of the paragraph that we’ve been studying and reflecting upon. At the end of that paragraph, with this statement, Peter is once again reiterating the theme of suffering, which is a major theme throughout 1 Peter. He says, “For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
We need to analyze this a little bit. We did this before in 1 Peter lesson #082, which was the last time we were going verse by verse through Peter.
When he says, “For it is better,” he’s telling us as believers that in terms of adversity, there are different kinds of adversity. Sometimes we suffer because we deserve it—because we make bad decisions, because we are letting our sin nature control us and dictate to us and move us in the wrong direction. Here he says, “For it is better, if it is the will of God ...” and that’s a first-class condition.
I want to remind you that in Greek, there are basically four ways in which a conditional clause can be expressed. It’s this idea, “If something, then something.” A first-class condition sometimes has the idea of “since.” It might be that way here, because you do have a passage, for example, 1 Timothy 4, that those who desire to live godly will suffer persecution. That’s a promise.
Living godly means pursuing spiritual growth and spiritual maturity, and you will suffer for that. That could be what Peter is saying here, that it is the will of God, and we will, to one degree or another, suffer for doing good rather than for doing evil.
The words here that are on the screen are the keywords we find throughout Peter. Basically, the verb PASCHO which means “to suffer,” but it can mean “to endure persecution or hostility.” It’s the word that is used of Christ’s sufferings, both physically and spiritually, on the Cross.
I think it’s interesting that as we get into the next paragraph, 1 Peter 3:18 begins, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.” We are in the midst of studying His agony in Gethsemane in Matthew on Sunday morning. As we go through the upcoming verses, it fits together and complements what we’re studying on Sunday morning. I love it when God’s plan comes together like that!
We have the word PASCHO. Then we have the word for doing good, which is the verb form of AGATHOS, which is the noun. This is AGATHA—that’s the first part of this compound word—and POIEO. It means “to do good.” In many cases, the idea of doing good has to do not just with doing relatively good things but doing that which is intrinsically good, that which has value in our spiritual life and will count for eternity and will be rewardable at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Then the other word is KAKOPOIEO. POIEO again is the word for doing something, but KAKOS has the idea of doing evil, doing harm, and in a number of contexts has the idea of going through persecution. Where the reason you’re going through suffering—the reason you lose your job, not just because the economy is down but because you’re targeted because you’re a Christian. Or the reason that something is happening negatively in your life is because you’re a Christian. We will talk about that a little bit more as we go along.
As we look at this section, we’re reminded that Peter has introduced this topic of suffering earlier. In terms of the major sections, the first major section started in 1 Peter 2:18 where he is talking about servants. He is applying it to servants, and as I taught that, I said that this probably relates. We think of “servant” as someone who is paid help. This is not someone who is paid help; this is a slave.
The command is to submit to your masters, or your owners, with all fear. That means that in some cases, they’re going to be good and kind, but in others, they’re going to be harsh. That’s the case that he makes here. 1 Peter 2:18, “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.”
We’ve studied that in detail, that when we are in authority relationships, sometimes the person in authority is not good. Sometimes they’re evil; sometimes they’re mean; sometimes they’re abusive. It’s important if we can, in a marriage for example, to separate from someone who is physically abusive and maybe, in some cases, emotionally abusive, just for self-defense and self-protection.
This isn’t saying that women should stay in a marriage where they are being abused physically or emotionally or stay physically in the same house with such a man—or a man with such a woman. Since the issue is authority, it would be the wife who is submissive to the husband. There’s a principle there of self-defense. Where that goes is another issue.
Then Peter says, 1 Peter 2:19, “For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.”
He uses the noun AGATHOS here. Just to show how these words I pointed out at the beginning run all the way through Peter. He is talking about, “Obey your masters—not only those who are good and kind, grace oriented, gentle, doing intrinsically good things, but also those who are not.”
Then at the end, he says, “… if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.” That’s an interesting phrase.
The verb PASCHO is used here in a participial form, plus the word ADIKOS. The Greek word for righteousness is DIKAIOSUNE. That which is righteous is from the root DIKE, the noun form. When you put that “a” in the front, it negates it like our English preposition “un.”
The idea here is that this is unrighteousness; this is something that is wrong, that violates a standard. You’re suffering, and you know it’s unjust. You know that the other person is totally wrong and has no right to treat you that way, but you’ve chosen for conscience sake toward God to endure that grief and that situation. That’s a choice. There may be a time when you choose not to.
The same language is used several times by Peter already. Actually, he introduces the concept of suffering, like any good writer does, at the introduction to 1 Peter, right at the beginning. In 1 Peter 1:6, he makes mention that those to whom he is writing are “grieved by various trials.” He says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials.”
I want you to pay attention. You ought to go home and read through 1 Peter. You’re not going to be coming to church Sunday morning [because of the approaching hurricane Harvey], so you can read 1 Peter two or three times. Read Matthew. You’ve got an hour plus! Read 2 Samuel. Take advantage of the opportunity.
What Peter says here in 1 Peter 1:6 is that it’s connecting joy and being grieved. Once again going through that sorrow because of testing and that juxtaposition of joy and grief. We saw the same ideas present as our Lord who never lost His joy, because He is immutable, and He was sinless. But He also experienced grief, serious grief—PERILUPEO, which intensifies that root of LUPEO—while He was in the Garden of Gethsemane.
1 Peter 2:19, “… if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.”
Then we have 1 Peter 2:7 which says that they have been tested by fire. “… that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire.” I pointed out that the vocabulary in these two verses is very close to the vocabulary of James 1:2–4.
Peter is talking about the same things that James is talking about—that the believer is going to go through evaluation testing in this life that’s presented by suffering and by adversity and, in some cases, by overt hostility and persecution. The pattern, the model, for how we should handle that opposition, that focused opposition and hostility and persecution, always goes back to Christ.
He brings Christ into this in 1 Peter 1:11. He says, “… searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them—that is, the prophets he mentioned in the previous verse in the Old Testament—was indicating when He—that is, the Spirit of Christ—testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”
Now this weekend, when you’re reading 1 Peter through three or four times, you should circle words that have to do with suffering and synonyms that have to do with suffering, such as “fiery trial, testing,” things like that, along with the word “sufferings. ” Also circle the word “joy” or “rejoice,” and along with that, “glory” because those words are linked together numerous times.
Because that’s what helps us—having that mentality to go through and to face hostility, difficulty, everyday adversity, whatever it might be—when we’re facing difficulty. If we do it walking by the Spirit, trusting in God’s Word, claiming promises, then we can have joy at the same time, and it leads to glory—to glorification of Christ. We experience some of that glory even today in our own spiritual life.
As we go through 1 Peter, the first major Christological passage that focuses on suffering is given in 1 Peter 2:19. We read, “For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.” That’s the context we looked at initially with the command for servants to be submissive to masters, even when they treat them harshly.
The explanation of that then takes us right to the Cross. Jesus is the pattern. He’s the pattern to understand love; He’s the pattern to understand suffering; He’s the pattern to understand the spiritual life as He endures suffering by means of the Word of God and the Spirit of God.
1 Peter 2:19–20, “For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? ...” We all know that when we mess up and we get chewed out, we deserve it, so we take it patiently. In this case, it was more serious than that—they would be beaten or whipped for failure and doing the wrong thing.
He says in 1 Peter 2:20, “But when you do good …” When you’re working hard; when you’re doing the right thing; when there is no just cause, and you’re singled out and you are treated harshly; he says that if you take that patiently—without reacting in pride or anger or bitterness or resentment, without gossiping and condemning and judging the person in authority over you— that is commendable before God.
He goes on to say, 1 Peter 2:21, “For to this you were called …” That’s an important word. That means that this is part of our job description as a believer in Jesus Christ. “… because Christ also suffered for us …” He did not suffer justly. He was without sin. Even Pilate recognized that and washed his hands afterwards and said, “I can find no fault with Him.” He was sinless. He did not deserve any of the suffering that He endured at the hands of the Roman soldiers or at the hands of the crowd.
He’s our pattern. 1 Peter 2:21, “… Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” He’s the pattern. How am I going to endure some person who is a jerk? Some person at work who has it out for me? Some person who spreads rumors about me? Because I’m a Christian, they’re making all kinds of assumptions about me. Because they’re a closet homosexual, they’re out to destroy me because I’m a Christian. You may not ever even know that in some situations that that’s what’s motivating someone.
1 Peter 2:23 describes Christ’s work “who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” He put it in the Lord’s hands and said, “Well, the Lord’s going to deal with it.” Here, now, or in eternity, God’s going to deal with it. Sometimes we want to watch. We want to make sure that person gets their comeuppance and that it’s worse for them. Sometimes, actually, God gives us a little glimpse; sometimes He doesn’t, but we put it in the Lord’s hands.
The next Christological passage that illustrates how to handle this sort of undeserved suffering is in the passage we’re studying and we’re continuing to study in 1 Peter 3:13–4:1.
I wanted to put this whole passage up on the board so we can see the context. Peter says, 1 Peter 3:13, “And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?” Remember who’s talking here. This is Peter who denies the Lord when Jesus has been arrested and Peter is asked, “Well, aren’t you one of His followers?” Peter says, “No, no, no! I don’t know anything about Him. I’m not with Him; I’m with these other guys. I don’t know Him at all.”
Instead of being obedient, he chooses to duck out and deny Christ because he doesn’t want to suffer persecution or hostility. He doesn’t want to be arrested with the Lord. Remember who is speaking here. He says, “I’ve been through this. It’s better to suffer for doing the right thing than for doing the wrong thing.”
In 1 Peter 3:14–15 he says, “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed.” Then he begins a quote from the psalms. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
I want you to notice the context here. I can’t remember if I brought this out before. The context, why they’re asking for the hope that is in you, is because there is a situation where you are being persecuted. It’s hostile; you’re being picked on and attacked because you’re a Christian. You don’t react in kind. You’re not going to lower yourself to the level of the unbeliever and the pagan.
You’re going to exhibit gentleness, kindness. You’re going to demonstrate grace orientation to the person who is persecuting you. People are going to notice that that’s not normal. That will give the opportunity for people to ask the question, “Why do you have this optimism? Why are you hopeful? Why do you focus on the future when everything is crashing down around you?”
1 Peter 3:16 goes on to say, “having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers …” We see that today. We see that starting more and more, where Christians are blamed for things that are going on. One example, that I’ll lump with others in a little bit, is a situation where that racist hate group called the Southern Poverty Law Center continues to identify the American Family Association and other Christian groups who take a stand against homosexual or same-sex marriage as “hate groups.”
It’s not long before anyone who believes that same-sex marriage is wrong is going to be identified as a “hater.” That’s already happening. If you’re identified as someone who doesn’t believe in same-sex marriage, and you work for any number of companies or corporations in this country, the day is going to come when you will be defined as a “hater,” and you will lose your job because you just believe the Bible and you believe the ethical moral statement of the Scripture. Unfortunately, we see that on the horizon.
Then we get to the point where we find ourselves starting up again in 1 Peter 3:17, “For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” Notice how he talks about being a follower of what is good—intrinsically good. That’s the same word AGATHOS. He talks about suffering for righteousness’ sake, that which is consistent with the character of God.
He talks about “hope” as well. That hope comes from the gospel and knowing what our destiny is, that even if we lose our life for following Christ, we have a future that is secure. Christ lost His life because He was doing the will of the Father.
It contrasts “evildoers” with the “good conduct” in Christ and, again, “good” and “evil.” This word “evildoers” and “evil” is the word KAKOS, which has, as part of its meaning, the indication or connotation of those that are persecuting Christians.
This section ends with the conclusion in 1 Peter 4:1 which reads, “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind.” If you are going to be able to withstand hostility and persecution, you need to think the same way.
Can you think of another passage where we are told to have the same mind that Christ had? Philippians 2. It’s the same thing—that He humbled Himself by being obedient to the Cross. That what we’re supposed to do is submit to the authority of God, and it may cost us our life in a miserable way.
The third section where we get another focus on Christ, another section with lessons on Christology tied in with suffering, is in 1 Peter 4:12–5:10, where we have these words for “suffering” again linked together in this section.
In 1 Peter 4:12, Peter returns back to his topic. He says, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you.” That word for “try” is to test you, to examine you, to see what you’re made of spiritually.
Then, in 1 Peter 4:13, he says, “But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed …” I’m going to help you with your homework for this weekend. You’re going to read through 1 Peter three or four times. Here you have sufferings, Christ’s sufferings, you have the word “glory,” and at the very beginning you have the word “rejoice.” All three of those words that I told you to focus on as you read through 1 Peter because that’s an important, important connection.
1 Peter 4:15 mentions our suffering again. “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody …” That’s deserved suffering—suffering because we have committed sin or a crime, and therefore, we are facing consequences for bad decisions, wrong decisions, criminal decisions, sinful decisions. That verb in verse 15 is not repeated in verse 16. In most English versions, it adds it because it makes sense, and they put it in italics, so I put that in the list here.
Then, in 1 Peter 4:19 we read, “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” Just a little reminder there that the doctrine of Creation is not just some secondary, tertiary doctrine in Scripture; it’s foundational to every doctrine in Scripture. If God isn’t the Creator of all things, then just throw your Bible away. That’s why there’s been such a historical attack on those first 11 chapters in Genesis.
In this section not only are there passages talking about our suffering, but that the pattern for our endurance of suffering is the suffering that is mentioned in relation to Christ.
1 Peter 5:9–10 also talk about the same sufferings that we have “experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Peter 5:10, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” Those are the last two verses related to our suffering.
Do you notice anything in those two verses? You have the word “sufferings” in verse 9, you have “suffered” in verse 10, and you have “glory” in verse 10. You see the patterns again and again.
For the pattern for our handling suffering, we go back to 1 Peter 5:1. “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that was revealed.” Again, you have “sufferings” and “glory” mentioned, but this time in relationship to Christ.
This gives us a lot to think about. This helps us to take what Peter is going to talk about in terms of suffering in 1 Peter 3 and following and put that within this context as he’s developing what he’s teaching us in these sections.
You have three major sections. Each time he starts talking about suffering in a different context, he always takes us back to Christ and His sufferings. That’s good that we’re studying through the time of Christ from the garden to the grave on Sunday morning.
In 1 Peter 3:9 and following, Peter is reminding them of how they should handle adversity and, specifically, hostility from the king—he’s reviewed that—masters, owners, and wives to husbands. Each of these groups has application to any kind of adversity, but the context of Peter indicates that this suffering, the way he’s talking about it, is the result of targeted opposition because they are Christians. It’s not just because they’ve got a mean boss or a physically violent owner, but that he’s targeting them, specifically, because they are Christians.
He quotes from Psalm 33 in this section, which shows that this is an important teaching even in the Old Testament. We are not to speak out, we are not to be verbally abusive to those who are persecuting us in this way. 1 Peter 3:10–11, “For ‘He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good ...’ ” In other words, don’t lower yourself to the level of the person who’s attacking you or persecuting you; let God take care of it.
1 Peter 3:11, “ ‘Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.’ ” It takes two to have peace; but we are to seek peace. At some point, maybe, we have to do something else, but that is determined by the circumstance.
1 Peter 3:12, “ ‘For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’ ” God is going to go to war for us on His terms because He actually knows the battlefield and the circumstances a lot better than we do.
That leads us up to the paragraph we’ve been looking at. Peter says, 1 Peter 3:13, “And who is he who will harm you ...”
The word there for “harm” is KAKOO, from KAKOS, to do evil. When he says, “And who is he who will harm you …” it’s not just someone who’s going to hurt your feelings or cause you the loss of a job or something that is simple but also painful. It’s someone who specifically is doing this to cause you suffering and to persecute you because you’re a believer. That factor is what’s entering into this.
It applies, of course, if your Christianity isn’t the issue. Peter, again and again, is talking about somebody who is being persecuted for their righteousness, for doing the right thing, and that means their stand for Christ.
To show you that this word has that meaning in many places, in Acts 7:6 it’s translated “oppress.” This is in Stephen’s sermon, his indictment of the religious leadership in Israel. He’s reminding them of God’s grace in their past and the fact that they were slaves in Egypt, and they were “oppressed.” That’s the same word, KAKOO. Acts 7:19, “This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers …” That’s the pharaoh. Again, it’s persecution.
Other passages. Acts 12:1, “Herod harassed.” This was Herod Agrippa; he persecuted those in the church. It is also used in Acts 14:2, “stirred up the Gentiles” and Acts 18:10, “to hurt you.” This all comes from this word, KAKOO.
1 Peter 3:13, as I’ve already said, is talking about “who will persecute you if …” Maybe you will; maybe you won’t. It’s up to you whether or not you’re going to be a follower of Jesus. First you have to make a decision as to whether or not you’re going to trust Christ. That’s how you get justified; that’s how you’re saved.
After that you have to decide, “Am I going to be a student of Jesus? Am I going to be a disciple? Am I going to be a real follower of Jesus, or am I just going to be happy that I’m not going to go to the Lake of Fire?” 1 Peter 3:13, “… if—maybe you will, maybe you will not—you become followers of what is good?”
That word “follower” means to imitate the example of Jesus.
What we see here is that though severe persecution occurs, it’s not the norm. The norm is that people do not attack you because you’re good. In this case, they are attacking you specifically because they are offended by our righteousness. I want you to pay attention to that because in our world today, there are a lot of people who are becoming more and more vocal because they despise the righteousness of Christians. They want to call bad good and good bad.
I was doing a little bit of research on this today, and I ran across one article from 2001. What caught my attention was the first example that the writer gave.
A woman in Houston, Texas was ordered by local police to stop handing out gospel tracts to children who knocked on her door during Halloween. The officers told her that that was an illegal activity (which is not true). But she was facing opposition.
In Madison, Wisconsin there’s a group that’s called the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and they distribute anti-Christian pamphlets to public school children called We Can Be Good Without God. That group has grown in power and influence over the last 15 years.
You also see a number of things that are said in various entertainment media by comedians that are hostile to Christians because especially conservative Christians hold values that they despise, that they hate. I’ve already mentioned the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is just an absolute abomination.
There is also a group called the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago that some years ago warned that if the Southern Baptists held a convention in their city that it would foment “hate crimes” against minorities. This is only intensifying.
There is an article from the Washington Times on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. I just want to read a couple of things to you from this article. It says that, “A poll finds that, in just two years, the number of Americans who think Christians are facing growing intolerance in the U.S. has drastically increased. Sixty-three percent of respondents in the LifeWay Research survey said they agree or strongly agree that Christians are facing growing levels of persecution, up from 50 percent in 2013.”
It’s gone from 50 percent to 63 percent.
“The bulk of that surge comes from respondents who said they “strongly agree” with the statement … A similar number, 60 percent, said that religious liberty is on the decline in America, which is up from 54 percent in 2013.”
Further on in the article, there is a quote from one of the people involved with the poll. They said, “As the diversity-inclusion movement grows, and more and more companies become diversity-centric, what you really begin to see is a glaring gap that exists. As a Christian, you begin to see that you’re being excluded from the culture and excluded from the conversation.”
“We’re seeing language that changes ‘free exercise,’ which is the Constitution, to ‘freedom of religion,’ which means you can do what you want within the four walls of your church, but you can’t bring it out into the marketplace of ideas.”
To underscore this point, Faith Driven Consumer …” Remember that. Look that up on the Internet. Do a search on it.
“… Faith Driven Consumer publishes a Faith Equality Index, which rates how welcoming specific businesses are to religious people.” (In other words, does the culture of the company make you feel comfortable as a Christian who believes in biblical values, or is there subtle opposition or hostility to you as a company?)
“For example, AT&T scores a perfect 100 with the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index but received only an 18 [out of 100] from Faith Driven Consumer.”
You can look it up; you can evaluate it. I didn’t have time to read all their criteria, but it was a very interesting thing, so you can take a look at it. Apple made a decision just this last week that they were going to give an inordinate amount of money to this racist Southern Poverty Law Center.
I’ve heard a number of Christians—especially me because I love Apple—say, “You need to get rid of your Apple because look what they’re doing with the money they make.” My response is, “Hmmm. I wonder what the alternative is? Microsoft. I wonder how they’re rated on this website?” It turns out that Apple was rated at 42. Microsoft was rated at 18. So you would have to go look at everything. Now that’s before this last decision, so that may change, but it was just interesting.
Interstate Batteries. Some of you may have an Interstate battery in your car. I know that the CEO and founder of the company, the man who owns the company, is a strong Christian. He has been on the board for Dallas Theological Seminary for many years. That organization got an 83 rating.
Pepsi got a 35. Hobby Lobby, which was well known as a Christian family, the Green family, a driving force behind the Museum of the Bible, but they have a rating of 74.
Chick-fil-A has also been getting a lot of publicity because of their stand against same-sex marriage. They got a rating of 76.
Some of you go to Academy. They get a rating of 54. I’m beginning to think anything over 50 is pretty good.
Southwest Airlines gets a rating of 23, and United gets a rating of 27. If you work for those companies, that’s going to become more and more of a problem. There has been a lot of stuff in the news lately about policies within Google and how much you’re pressured within that organization.
Jim [Myers] and I were talking about this just last night. He was talking about the son of a doctrinal church pastor up in Washington State. He was an engineer and worked for Boeing, and he decided the culture at Boeing was evil. It’s what they promote. It’s the kind of things that they pressure their people to go through, the kind of touchy-feely things that you’ve all experienced in your jobs.
I had a guy in my church back in the 80s who was just livid because of the New Age indoctrination he had to go through with Southwestern Bell. It’s up to each believer to determine how much they can handle that, but that pressure is there.
We have to determine how we’re going to handle it, and sometimes we’re going to have to handle it by saying, “I’m just going to have to go get another job,” as this one man did. He left Boeing, left a high income, and he is working in a warehouse because there his Christianity is not under pressure. This is what we have to face, and this is what we have to deal with.
I want to close by looking at 1 Peter 4:12–13 before Jim comes up. Peter closes out this letter and he says, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try—test—you …” We’re living in the devil’s world. We’re living with people who are sinners who are hostile to God, so we should not think it strange that we are being targeted more and more.
Then he says, 1 Peter 4:13, “but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”
How many words are you going to circle in those verses? Rejoice. Does that remind you of any verses? James 1:2–4, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work—maturing result …” That’s how we grow as Christians.
“Father, thank You for this time that we’ve had to study Your Word. It is harsh and hard for many of us to face the reality that the tide seems to have turned against our Judeo-Christian heritage and that there are corporations, and that there are, in some parts of this country, huge masses of the culture that are virulently opposed to Christian morals—biblical morals and biblical ethics and biblical standards. They shake their fist at You, a foreshadowing of what will come in the Tribulation.
“Father, yet they did this to our Lord. They persecuted Him. They beat Him mercilessly. They tortured Him. They nailed Him to the cross, and then He was crucified.
“Father, He was rejected not because He did anything wrong but because He did everything right, so we ought not be surprised when the hostility of the world turns against us. We do know that our Lord has given us what we need because, as He said, He overcame the world, and we can also.
“Encourage us. Strengthen us spiritually from Your Word.
“Father, we pray also at this time for Jim as he comes up. We pray for his ministry. We are thankful for his faithfulness and all that he has done—because he’s willing to serve You— all that You’ve been able to accomplish through him and through those that he has trained there in Kiev. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”