a. 1 Peter 4:12-19
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.
16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
18 And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"
19 So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
1. What kinds of insults and sufferings have you endured for Jesus?
2. What should your attitude be?
3. What does Satan want you to think and do when you are being persecuted?
b. Hebrews 10:32-34
32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.
33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.
34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
1. Have you gone through suffering like this?
2. What you doing to encourage other Christians who are going through insults and persecutions?
3. Hebrews 11:32-40
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets,
33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions,
34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.
35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection.
36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison.
37 They were stoned ; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated--
38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.
40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
1. Have you faced lions, flames, swords, armies, tortures, flogging, imprisonment, chains or even banishment for Jesus' sake?
2. How did God regard these people?
4. 2 Corinthians 11:23-29
23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.
24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,
26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.
27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
1. What kind of life did Paul live for Christ?
2. How did he feel about his sufferings?
3. Have you been rejoicing or complaining as a Christian?
Would Jesus say you are worthy of the name "Christian"?