Defend the Faith in Difficulties but Do It with Respect

August 7, 2022 Preacher: Phil Courson Series: Hot Topics

Topic: Suffering and Evil Scripture: 1 Peter 3:14–17

Hot Topics
Suffering and Evil
Sunday, August 7, 2022

1 Peter 3:14-17

Defend the Faith in Difficulties but Do It with Respect
“Always begin prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you…”
Defense - apologia - literally means, “to talk one’s self off from".
“yet do it with gentleness and respect…”
“There are many people who state their beliefs with a kind of arrogant belligerence. Their
attitude is that anyone who does not agree with them is either a fool or a knave and they
seek to ram their beliefs down other people’s throats. The case for Christianity must be
presented with winsomeness and with love, and with that wise tolerance which realizes
that it is not given to any man to possess the whole truth. Men may be wooed into the
Christian faith when they cannot be bullied into it. W. Barclay
I. The Problem of Evil/Suffering
“The problem of evil is probably the most difficult problem in all of theology, and for many
atheists it is the Achilles’ heel of the theistic worldview.” John Frame
Summary: How can there be any evil in the world, if God exists? Or if God is omnipotent,
he is able to prevent evil and if God is good, he wants to prevent evil, but evil exists so
the conclusion is either God is not omnipotent, or he is not good.
Genesis 3:17b – “cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the
days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…”
Romans 8:22 – “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the
pains of childbirth until now…”
Sin has brought about the moral and natural evils facing our world today!
“We need help with the emotional problem of evil, not merely the logical problem of
evil.” R. Alcorn

II. Non-theistic Worldview
Every worldview must give an account for suffering and evil.
Calling evil a problem assumes a standard of goodness; but if God doesn’t exist, then by
what objective basis can we measure morality? Many times they base their morality on
their feelings!

III. Theistic Worldview
“Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful
Creator while doing good.” 1 Peter 4:19
“Wimpy worldviews make wimpy Christians. And wimpy Christians won’t survive the
days ahead.” John Piper
1) God ‘permits’ evil and suffering and uses it for His glory!
“For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that
I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tired you in the
furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name
be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” Isaiah 48:9-11
2) God permits evil and suffering to transform us
Suffering brings us into deeper intimacy with God.
3) God permits our evil and suffering for the good of others
4) God permits evil and suffering to drive us to repentance!
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains:
it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” C.S. Lewis
5) God permits evil and suffering to remind us that nothing can separate us
from His love!
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or
persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be
slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved
us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor
things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be
able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39
IV. God’s Answer for Suffering and Evil
“God has done something about the problem of evil. He has done the most dramatic,
costly, and effective thing possible by giving His Son to die for evil man. It is possible for
man to escape God’s inevitable judgment on sin and evil. It is also possible to have its
power broken by entering into a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. The
ultimate answer to the problem of evil, at the person level, is found in the sacrificial death
of Jesus Christ.” Little