General Epistles
Azusa Pacific University
Mr. Matt Hauge
February 19, 2004
"Suffering As Christ"

I.   1Peter uses the word "suffering" more than any other book in the Bible
II.   Persecution of the Early Church
A.   Legal standing of Christians
1.   Starting a new cult was not illegal
2.   Criminal law was carried out by local government
B.   Disturbers of the peace (Christians)
1.   Christianity made exclusive demands on the participants
2.   Closed societies are always seen as suspicious
3.   They refused to participate in local cults and the state cult
C.   Official Persecution
1.   Active opposition began by Nero in 64 AD
2.   Trojan & Plany the Younger (early 2nd century)
3.   Sanctioning of persecution by Marcus Aurelius (late 2nd century)
4.   Emperor Decius declared Christianity illegal (250 AD)
III.   Early Christian Apologists
A.   "Apology" = a reasoned defense
B.   Early Christian Apologists
1.   Justin in Rome
2.   Athenagoras in Athens
3.   Tertullian in Carthage
4.   Origen in Alexandria
C.   Standard charges
1.   Christians are atheists: "they didn't believe in Ôthe gods'"
2.   Christians are incestuous
a.   "Brothers & sisters"
b.   Greeting with a kiss"
3.   Christians are cannibalists: "Eat body & drink blood of Christ"
IV.   Romans believed "the Way" was a mystery religion
V.   1Peter
A.   1:3-4
1.   Now = sad
2.   Future = joyful
B.   2:18-25
1.   Slaves were beaten = sad
2.   Because Jesus was beaten = joyful
C.   3:8-17 - in order to move from sad to joyful Christians should respond to persecution with good & love
D.   4:1-5
1.   Christians
a.   Now = sad
b.   Future = joyful
2.   Pagans
a.   Now = joyful
b.   Future = sad
E.   5:6-11 - the church should find joy in the fact that the entire church is suffering
VI.   Theodicy
A.   God's characteristics
1.   All-loving
2.   All-knowing
3.   All-powerful (?)
B.   Fact of life: life has unjust suffering
C.   Question: how can God have all three characteristics and still have unjust suffering
VII.   Sometimes our present experience doesn't make sense
A.   Christ = suffer
1.   Do we seek out suffering?
2.   Can we follow Christ & not suffer?
B.   Christ follower = suffer