Scatterlings entrust their souls to God while doing good – a sermon on 1 Peter 4:12-19 by Rev. Colin Pretorius.
In the South-western part of Russia lies the town Saratov. It’s about 4 times the size of Ipswich, and prior to 1991 it was perhaps best known for being a city that was closed to all foreigners. That changed after the fall of communism, and it opened the way for church groups to send missionaries into that previously forbidden city. Andrew Propst and Travis Tuttle were two such missionaries. One day they went to an apartment to witness to the friend of a young man whom they had met a few days earlier. They were on a high, thinking of the great opportunity to share the news of Jesus. But when they arrived at the apartment, things went from great to terrible, for the invitation to the apartment turned out to be a setup for their kidnapping. Two thugs were waiting for them, and they were bashed in the head with a metal club, handcuffed and their eyes & mouths were taped shut. Then they were taken to a shack somewhere outside of town where the kidnappers kept them and mentally abused them while waiting for their ransom demands to be met. They were quite clear that if the ransom wasn’t paid, these two would be executed. After it became clear the church and the families would not bow to their demands, the kidnappers bundled the two missionaries into a car and took them out into a field. Let’s leave the story there for the moment.
Friends, why do things like this happen? These two men were willing to give their time and their effort to spread the good news of Jesus to unbelieving gentiles. They left their families and friends to proclaim Jesus in this far-off part of the world, yet they suffered for it. In a sense they were persecuted for their faith. Why does this happen, and what do we do when it happens? How do we cope with it? The apostle Peter writes about this in our passage for today. He reminds his readers that they shouldn’t be surprised when things like these happen. He reminds them also of their blessings as scatterlings, and he instructs them to keep entrusting their souls to the Lord.
• Anticipate fiery trials (v12)
• Rejoice & glorify God (v13-16)
• Trust in the Lord (v17-19)