|1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11|
"Christian"? (4:16) -This is unusual because rarely does the appellation occur in the NT (cf. Acts 11:26 and 26:28). Thus, "Christian" suggests a late date; a time when Christians were distinguishable as a separate religious group in the Roman world. They still had no legal or legitimate status and worse, bearing the name Christian was a criminal offense. 
- Suffering? Rejoice? (4:.12-13) - the writer reinterprets suffering: while "___ happens," the writer confidently asserts that "grace happens" which renders suffering purposeful, not senseless. Christ and Christian are so identified that suffering is shared: " . . . you are sharing Christs suffering."
- The God of 1st Peter - In 1st Peter we are confronted with the God who calls us, who also restores, establishes, and strengthens us (5:10). And to this God alone belongs everlasting dominion (5:11).
Fiery Ordeal (4:12) -- Notice the image that the writer uses for suffering: "the fiery ordeal which comes upon you" (4:12). Recount the ways that fire is both useful and dangerous. Here, the image of fire recalls the writers earlier reference to gold that is tested and refined by fire (1:7). But it could also be an allusion to the celebrated burning of Rome in ad 64 and Neros blaming the Roman Christians for arson.
- Justin Martyr (2nd c) - protested the execution of three persons just because they bore the name "Christian" rather than from immoral or illegal conduct.
- Tertullian (197 ace) - "No name of a crime stands against us, but only the crime of a name."
Myths about "when Christians suffer (4:12). Define the nature of 1 Peters suffering (e.g. "righteous" vis-à-vis behavioral suffering). 
- Gospel antidote: Suffering? Rejoice! (4:13). Here, look behind the experience to view suffering as test, as redemptive, as growth.
- Eschatological dimensions: How we respond to suffering helps shape our future responses and links us to the suffering of Christ - koinoneo-"full participation!"
- Social dimensions-we can view suffering in solidarity with others who suffer (5:9). Suffering is larger than any one of us; we stand linked with the rest of humanity in our frailty and limitations.
Connect or detach - suffering can connect us with God (4:14; 5:10-11). We are promised that the God who has called us will also "restore, establish and strengthen" us (5:10, 1 Thess. 3:3).
1) Preaching the New Common Lectionary (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1986), page 230.
2) A useful resource is Joni Eareckson Tada and Steven Estes, When God Weeps, which discusses why our suffering matters to God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997).