Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Prisoners of Hope - Part 1

This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on November 26th 2023  by Lasya. For the audio & video please click here.  For the worship please click here.

Prisoners of Hope - Zechariah

Reporter at an event - interviews all the witnesses to understand the event. There has been no greater event in the history of mankind than the miraculous birth of Jesus.  Looking back we can say that this was a turning point in history, but in reality, it was the darkest of times and as Isaiah prophesied in Is 9: 2 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” They were like prisoners who had but a glimpse of hope that they would see the light again. Zechariah, prophesying about the coming messiah, calls them in Zech 9:12 “Prisoners of Hope”. So this Christmas season we will be doing a series called Prisoners of Hope looking at the lives of some key people who were witnesses to the birth of Jesus.

While the other gospels start with the birth of Jesus or the ministry of John the Baptist, Luke takes a step back and starts with the origin story of John the Baptist - the very first witness in the story of the birth of Jesus. 

Luke 1: 5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

The story is rooted in history, during the reign of Herod, who was a puppet king of the Roman empire,  Zechariah was a priest married to Elizabeth. They were considered righteous before God and walked blamelessly - they were faithful to all that was commanded in the scriptures. But they were childless. Faithful yet unfruitful. 

Now Zechariah and Elizabeth lived in a time when the voice of God was silent for over 400 years after the prophet Malachi - it was a time of toxic religion when barrenness would have been attributed to sin. Imagine what this would have done to Zechariah and Elizabeth. Even when they were misunderstood and perhaps despised, they remained faithful. In the middle of it all they lived righteous lives. They probably waited for a long time with eager expectation that God would bless them with a child, but now it’s too late. Through the life of Zechariah lets learn about the God of hope - When hope is heavy, when hope is hurting and when hope is lost, how can we continue to be prisoners of hope? 

8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 

This was significant in the life of Zechariah because a Priest would only get to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense once in a lifetime. There were so many of them to serve at the temple that by the time it was your turn again you were most likely dead. Isn't it strange that when it comes to serving in the church today we think of it as a burden rather than a privilege? A lot of this priestly serving in the temple looked very practical - washing vessels, cleaning the altar, sprinkling the blood, etc. Today it may look like serving on sound, putting up curtains, cleaning the bathrooms, but it is still serving the house of God. Now that Jesus made a way for us to enter his presence day or night, because he has become more accessible, let us not assume that he has become common. Everything we use in the context of service to God, becomes set apart. 

AP: Let us reflect on how we view serving here at Word of Grace. Do we see it as an honourable task to the King of Kings or do we think of it as “Oh I will help out when I can” or “ I am helping these people out” 

It is in the course of this service that Zechariah has a supernatural encounter! 

  1. The Sting of Hope: 

11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

Hope feels very good when we first receive it. When a prophetic word is spoken over you, when you have a dream or a promise from God, it is exciting! But as you keep holding on to it, it starts to sting a little. Pro 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”. It is not likely that Zechariah was praying for a child when he was burning incense. He must have prayed for it in his 20s, and 30s, he would have really prayed hard in their 40s, it’s the last hope. But now, he’s beyond the point of hope. Have you had promises in your life that have become like that? 

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 

Hope stings when we give more weightage to our disqualifications over God's qualifications. Zechariah doesn’t realise that the prophetic word that is being spoken over his child is the fulfilment of the very last words of the OT. Malachi 4:5-6 “5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.” 

But Zechariah was too despondent to hear that. His heart was sick. He forgot the promises of God - he forgot about Abraham and Sarah, about Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, he forgot that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was also His God, he is also our God. But hope was not lost because the name Zechariah means God remembers. 

  1. The Silence of Hope

19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news (gospel). 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple.22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home. 24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived. 

When we struggle to believe God, sometimes it's just better to be silent. But Silence is a place of reflection, of waiting on God. Zechariah was mute, but he could still do something. He definitely had something to do with Elizabeth’s pregnancy, he must have been helping Lizzie around the house, taking care of her, he probably started pondering the words of the promise in his heart, remembers the promises of old - Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Hannah, remembers the promises of the coming Elijah, the coming messiah and his heart probably started becoming well again in that silence. Even though it looked like a punishment for unbelief, this silence must have served Zechariah well. Throughout the gospels we see Jesus practising this as well- where he would withdraw from the public and go off by himself. 

AP: If you’ve been just going through the motions and finding it difficult to believe the promises of God, can I encourage you to find time to meditate on the word of God in silence? 

But I think there would've also been frustration. Mary, after receiving the good news from Gabriel, comes to visit Elizabeth. Then Elizabeth blesses Mary, Mary sings a song of praise… while the women are doing all this, imagine Zechariah, quietly in a corner, unable to speak, unable to give thanks to God for this miracle, unable to share the good news of the coming Messiah! 

Today, we too have good news that is preached to us, we know the messiah has come, we know that we are saved by the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross, and we have the words of eternal life and yet we choose to be mute. There is no angel from heaven that has caused that but we can become prisoners of our choices. It’s not that God’s promises are hindered, but our enjoyment of it can be. 

AP: This Christmas season, can we be more intentional to be vocal about the good news of Jesus Christ? Invite your friends and neighbours to the Christmas carol evenings, lets share the good news that we have been so privileged to receive.     

  1. The Song of Hope

Elizabeth delivers a child. On the 8th day, he is circumcised when he is to be named. This is when all the neighbours and relatives poke their noses and ask, what's his name? Elizabeth says, John. But they say, no one in your family is called that… i.e. it is weird. So they say, what does she know? Let us ask Zechariah. He writes it out on a tablet and says, his name is John. The minute this happens, he can speak again and he starts praising God! 

Luke 1: 67-79 - “And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

This is a completely different man from the one who encountered the angel Gabriel. This is a man whose hope has been revived!  He is not simply thanking God for giving him a son, he is filled with hope for all the promises of God. he is speaking into the future! He is remembering the promises of God right from the time of Abraham and he is releasing a blessing upon his son and upon all God's people. The song of Hope, reminds us of God's promises, revives our soul and restores our faith. We need songs of hope- we need to take hold of the promises of God, and push it forward. 

Zechariah - a prophetic picture of the nation of Israel 

Like Zechariah, the nation of Israel was waiting for the coming messiah for so long that when he appeared, their hearts were too hardened and hopeless to receive him. In fact till date there are so many of them who are unable to believe the good news of the messiah because they are carrying the sting of hope. 

Just as God was silent for 400 years until the things that he promised came to be, Zechariah was silent until the birth and naming of his son. But this silence did not mean that God was not doing anything. He was birthing the promises (over 300 prophecies of the OT came to pass in Jesus - in the fullness of time), he was working in the waiting. 

As Zechariah spoke and gave hope to people, Jesus the word himself became flesh and the living hope to all mankind. He is the inexhaustible supply of songs of hope. 

Today as we have surveyed the life of Zechariah, let us take a moment to reflect on our own hearts and our hope. Are you suffering with the sting of hope that has hardened a part of your heart? Have you silenced your hope because of the fear of rejection, or doubt? Do you have some songs of hope to release that you are unsure about? 

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English-speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto   

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

TEMPTATION - Why can't I say no?

his message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on November 19 th 2023  by Navaz. For the audio & video please click here.  For the worship please click here.

TEMPTATION - Why can't I say no?

 James 1:12-21 

13 When tempted, no one should say,“God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.


I love spy, detective, and medical dramas. What do they have in common? They both uncover the truth that lies behind the mystery of a crime or a disease.


  You may be wondering about this: why do I fall into the trap of temptation over and over again? I turned away from my sinful past and gave my life to Jesus. I am a Christ follower who is supposed to live a victorious life. Then why does this happen?

We need to go back to the beginning. Was there absolute freedom in the Garden?  From God’s perspective, YES. The world and the devil would like to tell us otherwise and therein lies the problem. This is what the devil tempted the first couple with and that is to believe that they were not truly free as long as they obeyed God and lived within the boundaries, He gave them. Satan tempted them with independent thinking outside of God’s instructions and got them to change their belief that God could be trusted and had indeed given them true freedom. The boundary around the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was a boundary of love.

Thank God the story does not end there.


God always had a plan of redemption; to set us free from this trap once and for all. He sent His son Jesus who did not fall for the tree of temptation rather he took all our sins on a tree by being crucified so that we could know freedom. The cross sets us free from the penalty and the power of sin. This is why Jesus’ resurrection is so pivotal to our faith. Just as sin could not control Jesus, so it is powerless to control those who’ve been placed in Jesus by faith.

However, many believe that a magic wand is waved over our heads when we are saved and that is why they get disillusioned when we find those old habits still around.

We know that our old nature was crucified on the cross along with Jesus. We were made alive and new in Jesus. Our old self was not raised to life. We are Born again – a new creation in Christ. The old is gone! Yet we find this struggle in our hearts. While need to realize that while we are new creations, and our desires are changing we still need to deal with sinful habits.

What we know by faith we must act upon.

We need to distinguish between temptation and sinful habits that we form because of giving in to temptation repeatedly.


Even as a Christ follower there are behaviours, sinful habits lifestyles, and thought patterns that we need to work on. This process is called sanctification. Our behaviour is influenced by how we think which is influenced by what we believe.

I want to pause and ask a question. What are your core beliefs?


Firstly, understand that God does not tempt us nor make us sin. (James 1:13). God may allow us to be exposed to temptation as Jesus told us that in this world you will have many troubles.


James shows us the structure so that we can slow down and examine what is happening in our hearts. You must have seen this while watching cricket/football on TV. They do a replay in slow motion to show you how the wicket was taken or how the goal was scored. So, we are doing a slow motion to the process of temptation. This will help us detect the presence of the evil one, resist, stand firm or flee.


We see things or experience things through our senses, and we are then lured by “our own evil desires” (James 1:14a) which lead us into temptation. As one preacher put it so well, we need to see everything through our ears!! This is true from the beginning of scripture. The devil gets Eve to rely on what she sees rather than God’s word spoken to them.

David saw Bathsheba and the rest followed.


V16. Don’t be deceived. Satan deceives us by blurring our vision. When we think and start to rationalize our behaviour repeatedly and then the reasons we give ourselves become truth rather than ‘THE TRUTH’.


Each person is tempted when he is lured or enticed by his own desire. What does enticement do? It draws you in. It is like holding something so close to your eyes that you cannot see anything else (tunnel vision) and it fills up your mind.


This is the real clue to what James is thinking. Then desire when it is conceived gives “birth to sin”. Sin begins in the thoughts and emotions before we act upon it.  


Ironically the very freedom that you chased eludes you. You become a prisoner of your sin and the consequences thereof. Sin results in bondage to that sin.




We must get rid of old beliefs and thought patterns and replace them with new ones. What do we replace them with? We replace them with the truth found in the Bible. In John 8:31-32 we are told that we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.

You might say that you read your Bible Day in and out, yet do not experience freedom. Why? This knowing is not head knowledge. It is not information. Information that challenges us to change our beliefs and thoughts will lead to transformation.

Do not try it on your own because you will give up. We need His empowering enabling Grace in our lives that comes by being immersed in the Holy Spirit.


What you believe about God, yourself, the world etc will affect how you think. Beliefs are like the filter or lens through which we perceive life. If you believe you are unloved it will be the filter through which you experience the world, and it will colour your thoughts. The Bible tells us as a man thinks so he is. What this means is that your thought life dictates how you live and respond to your environment.


What the mind is preoccupied with will preoccupy the emotions.  Feeling can only respond to thoughts and through what lens we experience our world. If my thoughts about a situation change my feelings will soon follow feelings are very subjective, and we can control them by what we feed our minds on.


Our behaviour is a sum of what we believe, think, and feel. The former three are the drivers of our behaviour. That is why it is so important to renew our minds. James clearly shows this progression in his text.



What I have seen is that the battle for freedom from wrong beliefs which lead to wrong behaviour is one of the biggest battles, we face as Christ followers.

Let us look at only 3 patterns or idols of the heart that become strongholds of thinking. An idol is anything I over-desire and desire more than God.


 This is all about keeping up appearances. You live life pretending to be someone else. This happens when we do not live out of our identity in Christ. So, you lie, cheat, deceive and create false impressions.

Because you want people’s approval you find it difficult to say “NO” because you want the maintain the image of the ‘nice guy’.

This idol will mask itself in good works. Also, because I want to feel good about myself, I indulge in comparison and unhealthy competition.


We live in a very sensual world. You can make some harmful lifestyle choices if everything is about making you feel good. You can’t always feel good. God has given us a lot of emotions. God feels angry, grieved, jealous, sad, happy, joyful etc. So, while we are NOT ruled by our emotions, they are markers about how we are experiencing the world around us.

Our feelings are a response to our thoughts which are dictated by our beliefs. If we believe that all negative emotions are from the devil or an indication that we do not have faith; the result will be that we deny those emotions and live with unreality. I suppress my true feelings masking it with religious mumbo jumbo. There is a place for the right confession. While we declare the truth, we do not deny the fact. E.g.) I am sad that my daughter is unwell (FACT) but I know God can and will heal her (TRUTH). I am sad I lost my job (FACT) but I know God is my provider (TRUTH)

Feeling driven people don’t like to move out of their comfort zone. Comfort and pleasure are idols. The need to feel good can also result in self-medicating addictive behaviours that give you that constant “high”.  This is seen with overconsumption of social media, movies, gaming, and porn.



This behaviour is fuelled by the belief that I need to be perfect. Perfectionism drives what I do and how I relate with people. It keeps me from being who I truly am because there is no place for weakness.

So, we need to be right at any cost. This leads to lying, cover-up, deceitful behaviour, rationalizing our faults, blaming others, and inability to take responsibility for our behaviour. Apologizing and owing up is the hardest thing for them to do because their identity and self-worth are attached to what they do and not to who they are in Christ.

All of us have elements of all 3 of these wrong belief systems. But as we renew our minds, we will get healthier and learn to walk in true freedom.



God has given us several means of Grace viz His Word, His Grace and His people.

Knowing the word is critical because it changes our thought patterns. People need to know that the Word does its work through the Word. We are transformed by the renewing of the mind. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

God’s Grace is always sufficient. He will not allow us to be tempted more than we are able to resist. His grace is empowering and gives us the strength to say no to sin and yes to godly living. Titus tells us that the Grace of God that has appeared to all men teaches us to say no to ungodliness. Those who call this legalism have not understood grace.

Community – We are not called to live in isolation but in community. There are so many ‘one-another’ verses in the New Testament. We are told to confess our sins one to another so that we might experience healing.

We also need to change our appetites. If you have eaten junk food all your life you will not know how good gourmet food is till you have experienced it. We do enjoy our sin till we begin to cultivate a new appetite and then the old sin will not be enjoyable anymore.

So it is quite simple. What we feed our minds with will fuel our behaviour. Is it the world or the Word?


What does renewing the mind look like?

Renewing involves removing and replacing.

Recognise – First, we need to recognise or acknowledge the area of sin we are struggling with. What beliefs have helped the sin stay in my life?

Repent- Realize that your sin breaks the heart of God. Seek His forgiveness and decide to change what you believe and do.

Replace – You cannot leave that space in a vacuum. Replace your beliefs and thoughts with the Word of God and find new patterns of behaviour or responses to situations. It will take time and you might slip into old habits but don’t worry. A step each day is 365 steps in a year! If you read James carefully, he gives you the clue in v21. God speaks to us and saves us through His Word.  The Holy Spirit may remind you of His word while you pray. In Ephesians we are told that we attack every flaming dart of the evil one with the Sword of the Spirit, the word of God. In Romans, we are told to renew our minds by soaking it in the WORD.

Renew- When you replace your beliefs and thoughts a renewed cycle of behaviour will be easier to follow.



I respond by changing my beliefs by identifying the patterns.

Here are two samples of how you can track what you believe, think, feel, and do. You can do this exercise for any temptation. Just ask the Holy Spirit to shine His light into your heart.

Remember, we will never reach perfection on this side of eternity, but we can get healthier. One day when Christ returns, or we go to be with Him we will never have to fight temptation ever again. But till then, fight the good fight of faith for God is also as work in you.

Be blessed in your journey of faith.

 Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English-speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto  




Friday, November 3, 2023

1 Peter Part 7


This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on October 29th 2023  by Navaz. For the audio & video please click here.  For the worship please click here.


1 Peter 3: 8-13

Peter comes back to the theme of suffering. He gives his readers’ perspective by reminding them of who they are – strangers and the elect. He tells them how they ought to live and respond in the face of suffering, how to respond to anyone in authority. And he circles back to this theme because he knows it's something they contend with daily!


V8. Finally, all of you, be like-minded (live in harmony with one another), be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Peter, in the face of suffering, encourages the saints to live in harmony with one another, be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate, and be humble!

FINALLY – Teleos – The principal aim or end goal is the above. Peter tells them to be alert in their minds, to get rid of any double lifestyle, he tells them how to respond to all kinds of authorities with humility and submission. In view of all this (finally) live in harmony (1 Pet 1:22 – love each other deeply from the heart)


Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. (Phil 2:3)

Romans 12:16
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud but enjoy the company of the lowly. Do not be conceited

HARMONY:  One mind – One mind of Christ (1 Cor2:16) To be of one mind we need to know the mind of Christ, to know that we need to know the Word. And a part of that is being of one mind with the body of believers you are united to. We are all unique and we are all a part of one body therefore have the same DNA at the core of each cell.


Peter lists out four ways: be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

Sympathetic – the more accurate word is Empathy. Sympathy is an emotion where you feel sad for the person. Empathy is to have an accurate understanding of what the person is going through and identify with the pain. Are we aware of what our brothers and sisters are going through? Send them a text, call, do something.

Love as brothers We cannot say we love God and hate our brothers. We are called to love sacrificially and reciprocally. Both are needed. Jn13:35 By this shall all men know you are my disciples if you have love one for another.

Love is also demonstrated in a commitment to our local church. Are you faithful? Can you be counted in and counted upon i.e., do you belong here? And can you be called upon to serve?


The Greek word for tenderhearted is “good -gut” – the inference is good emotions. Have a good feel for what is going on. We can only have the right emotional response if we know the Father's heart. It is a response of grace.


Some translations say “courteous” – humble-mindedness. You can only be courteous if you have a sober judgement of yourself. Only then can you treat others better than yourself. First, realize how much you have been forgiven before judging others. It will make you more patient with other’s shortcomings and failures.

 V9. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Again, Pete gives a principle of how to respond when you are badly treated by both Christians and non-Christians alike. Do NOT do evil or repay evil with evil. He shows them that the blessing we receive (or walking in favour with God) is contingent upon how we behave. He reminds them of the Torah. (Ps 34:12-16- Keep your tongue from evil, seek peace, the Lord opposes those who do evil. He listens to the righteous) Does this not remind you of someone else saying this? Peter is referring to Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount.

“It is not without significance that the disciples are to be known by their love, the world by its hatred.” (Morris)

This is the response of a mature Christian. They will not retaliate when someone does evil to them. This is such a hard thing to follow, and one might feel that people take advantage of it. Peter is referring to being mistreated for the sake of the gospel.

The context is suffering for your faith. Yes, if injustice is done to you at your workplace, you can address it through the proper channels. If someone is physically, or mentally sexually abused you must report it. There are laws in place for your protection. If someone violates your trust, you must forgive but you are not required to entrust them again until they can prove themselves faithful. If someone is trying to manipulate you need to either talk to the person or stand up against it. 

13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?  Verse 13 is a rhetorical question. Who will harm you if you do good? Meaning if you have done evil and you are harmed you have only got what was coming to you.

14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[b]; do not be frightened.” V14 Be ready to suffer even if you have done the right thing. Another translation says – Do not be afraid of their threats but in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. This is in contrast to verse 13. IF you suffer for good you suffer for God. (It sounds like Peter is saying something to these Christians. Were they bringing trouble upon themselves because of the way they were behaving and then saying oh we are being persecuted because of our faith!) Sometimes we can bring it on ourselves for our unwise behaviour (When we argue with relatives over religion, we lose the relationship).

The godly will suffer! This is a sharp contrast to the prosperity preachers who wrongly use Psalm 91 saying no harm will befall them. Jesus never said you will never suffer. In fact, he said if they have persecuted me, they will persecute you as well.

Mt. 5:11, Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.”


But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.’” 1Pet 3:14

Do not be afraid. We need to remind ourselves that God is with us during our troubles. When we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil.


CH4:12 -19

 Peter tells his readers not to be alarmed that they are suffering and are being persecuted. We are to embrace suffering as a part of God’s eternal plan. 

1 Pet 2:20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Peter uses the word “strange was happening to you”. He tells them that they are strangers in the world, strangers to this culture but they should not be strangers to suffering.

13 But rejoice in as much as 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.

Peter is not saying that they should rejoice for being persecuted or for suffering. He is saying rejoice that you get the honour to suffer for the sake of Christ. Rejoice in.

See the apostle's response to suffering.

Acts 5:40, “And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus and let them go. 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

God has called us to be partakers of His divine nature, to be partakers of His inheritance. If we are partakers of this, we cannot exclude suffering. (Colin and I were beaten in Goa, and the sharp reactions to us by the Society for standing for justice, and slander from disgruntled church people)

Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2Pet1:4

Paul also talks about suffering as being light and momentary compared to the glory that we will partake of when Jesus is revealed. Brothers and sisters let us have an eternity perspective. Let living for eternity be that guiding star that keeps us from being distracted or discouraged.


 1 Pet 4:17-19 ( READ)

What a strange set of words to tag at the end of a passage on suffering. Christians will not face the Great white throne of judgement (our faith will not be judged; our works will be). However here on earth, God will discipline us if we do not mend our wayward ways. And that ought to make us think soberly about our lives. So many Christian leaders in the last few years have given in to moral failure. This happens when we lose the fear of God and become casual about His love and Grace to the point of abuse and neglect. Let us be careful about how we live.

Once again, He reminds us that if we are suffering for our faith, we need to trust God with our lives and not stop doing good.

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English-speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto