Going Thru The Fire
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.”
Now, every time the word: “sift” shows up in the Bible [which is three times] it for the purpose of judgment.
In the book of Isaiah, it is God judging the nations of this earth.
God sifts them to cause “them to err.”
This is in Isaiah thirty and verse twenty-eight: “And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err.” [Isaiah 30:28]
God sifts the nations … to judge them.
God sifts the nations … to destroy them.
In the book of Amos, it is God … Who is judging the nation of Israel.
Yet in His judging of them “not the least grain” will “fall upon the earth”. “For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.” [Amos 9:9] Though God “sifted” them, God was caring for them. They are God’s people even while God is judging them.
The third time that we see this word “sift” showing up in the Bible, it has nothing to do with God or withGod’s judgment in the affairs of men. It rather has to do with someone else, who time and time again has been found guilty with messing with men, and in taking advantage of the misfortunes of men. This someone I am talking about is the Devil himself.
Now, the Devil greatly desires to “sift” men. Why is this so? It is because the Devil wants to destroy men. He takes pleasure in this. This is shown to us very clearly in the Bible concerning Peter in the book of Luke chapter twenty-two. This is in verse thirty-one: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:” [Luke 22:31]
The Devil desired to “sift” Peter. The Devil wanted to destroy Peter.
The Devil desires to “sift” you! The Devil wants to destroy you!
Here is where I am taking you.
There is something different coming for each and every one of us that belong to Jesus Christ, and it will come into our lives as like a sudden storm … a FIRE STORM.
The FIRE STORM will try very our foundation.
Now, a whirlwind will wipe out the wicked but the righteous will stand in the storm. Oh, for the promises of God! Amen!
The BOOK says it so well in the book of Proverbs: “As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.” [Proverbs 10:25]
Now what of a fiery trial? How does a “trial” differ from a sifting? I will give you this much. Sifting and trying are very different, and yet both sifting and trying have something very much in common. This is TROUBLE!
The nation, or the individual that is sifted, or is tried, are both affected with trouble. Now, I will you this much. There is a different motive or intention behind each of them.
Here is the difference.
Sifting is intended to inflict judgment or even to affect the destruction of the one who is sifted. A trial on the other hand, has its intended goal the promotion of the individual who is going through the trial. Something that is not tried … is something that is not proven.
God has used trials in times past to test the mettle of the Old Testament saints.
For example, we can see this in Hezekiah’s life in the matter of the visit of the ambassadors from Babylon which is found in Second Chronicles chapter thirty-two in verse thirty-one. “Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.” [2 Chronicles 32:31]
God wanted to know what was in Hezekiah’s heart. God put Hezekiah to the test. And Hezekiah failed. Is not this, what was shown by the Spirit of God to David in Psalm eleven in verse four? “The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord's throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.” [Psalm 11:4]
Principle Number 1:
Men will either turn to God … or they will turn to the flesh, the world, or to the Devil … in the times of trial. There are men who will sell their souls to the Devil to get relief from their troubles rather than to turn to God.
God is ready to give every man the fruit of his doings. This very premise is based on Jeremiah chapter seventeen in verse ten: “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” [Jeremiah 17:10]
In the midst of a trial … when trouble came, the nation of Israel over and over again had a choice to either harden their hearts or turn to the Lord. And as often as they turned to God, they had victory in the midst of trial, “He was found of them.”
This is exactly what we can see in the book of Second Chronicles chapter fifteen verse four: “But when they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found of them.” [2 Chronicles 15:4]
What will you and I do in day of our trial?
IT WILL COME!
Will we be found true? Will we [OUR FAITH] stand the test of the fire?
Principle Number 2:
God uses trials to test the mettle of the believer in Jesus Christ. Remember Peter? Remember how the Lord said to him [in Matthew 26:34]: “Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.”
That was a signal to start of a trial. The Lord wanted to see what was in Peter’s heart in a time of duress or trouble. Trouble does this in a believer’s life. This is why trouble can be a friend to us. It can show to us our mettle … if we are true believers in Jesus Christ. Amen!
The Old Testament saints were tried … as gold is tried. The true Christian is in this age of grace is tried … as gold is tried. The prophet Zechariah prophesied four hundred years before Jesus Christ came that the people of Israel will be tried in Jacobs Trial [The Tribulation] … as gold is tried.
This prophecy is located in Zechariah chapter thirteen, verse nine and reads this way: “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.” [Zechariah 13:9]
For the last two thousand years all those who are born of the Spirit are not only tried but their works are also tried too, according to First Corinthians chapter three verse thirteen: “Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.” [1 Corinthians 3:13]
Everyone, and everything is to be tested or tried by the fire.
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:”
This ought to be our prayer. “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” [Psalm 26:2]
For when we are tried and found true in the time of trouble, God will be glorified … by our turning to Him for the relief from our troubles. In all our trials, even in the fiery trials that suddenly will come upon us, we ought to rejoice knowing that HE … the Captain of our salvation has already gone on before us having been made “perfect through sufferings”.
Here it is in the book of Hebrews chapter two, verse ten: “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” [Hebrews 2:10]
Here are marching orders from the Spirit of God:
1. Rejoice - We need to rejoice in our trials.
2. Happy Are Ye – We need to be happy in our trials.
The word of caution for us all here is this. If we are to suffer we ought to suffer for right doing, not evil doing. If we suffer for right doing as a Christian, then we ought not to be ashamed, but rather to be thankful for the opportunity to glorify God.
3. Suffer As A Christian – We need to suffer for right doing.