6: Suffering for Christ – Discussion starters

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  1. Persecution for the Christian: coming? going? or always there? When things are going great and you feel good–really good–does the idea of being persecuted for being a Christian have any appeal? In the New Testament book we’ve named 1 Peter, how real was persecution to the early Christian believers? Why do you think Peter felt that it was important to deal with this painful topic in his ministry not only to those troubled by religious persecution but to all of us anticipating the future?
  2. Persecution of early Christians. How extensive was the persecution of Jesus’ followers at the time Peter addressed this topic? Instead of all-out campaigns to imprison or murder Jesus’ followers, what modes of persecution were more common at that time? A month or so ago I saw a youngster maybe ten years old walk past my church shouting at the “stupid” people inside. Do you think children with such messages can wreak damage to Jesus’ followers? Why or why not? Does the idea of religious persecution trouble you? What are you doing to obliterate fear of persecution because of your loyalty to Jesus?
  3. Suffering and Example of Christ. Is it in any way good news if you are reviled or persecuted in any way because you love Jesus supremely? How does the “Spirit of Christ” work to bring on harsh words of judgment and reproach upon God’s people? What does Peter states boldly (Chapter 4) about the result of life lived by people who are punished, ridiculed or in other ways persecuted because of their deep-seated love of God? What does that mean for you and me?
  4. Judgment and the People of God.  What do you think about standing before God the Judge at the end of time? Frightened? Sick? Reassured? Not concerned at all? As the Judge, what is God’s primary purpose in dealing with His people who are being judged by others? Can we be joyful thinking of the final days of retribution when the devil and his followers will face the judgment?
  5. Faith amid Trials.  Think for a moment about people you know who suffer from physical or financial disasters. Are some of those people faithful and happy Christians no matter what has happened to them? What can you and I do to seek out our relatives, neighbors and others and share with them our conviction that no trials are too serious to give up our faith in an ever-loving and powerful Savior?
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