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Sermon No: 11-The Kingdom of God 6A - Part 2 - Why does God allow suffering



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SERMON TOPIC: The Kingdom of God 6A - Part 2 - Why does God allow suffering

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 21 September 2008

Topic Groups: PROPHECY, SUFFERING, KINGDOM OF GOD

Sermon synopsis: The sixth parable of 'The Pearl of Great Price' covers the period from approximately 1700 - 1900 AD or the 'Missionary Church' including Wesley, Whitefield & the Methodists.

The second half of this ministry looks at the problem of pain and why God allows suffering. Suffering for the Christian is not probable, but inevitable. “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him...” (Phil 1:29-30).
C.S. Lewis wrote: “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.”

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The 7 parables of

the kingdom - Part 6A

The Pearl of great price

Matt 13:45-46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

Like the hidden treasure, the ‘Pearl of Great Price’ has often been incorrectly linked to Jesus.

The merchant is not a lost man seeking salvation. In harmony with the other parables in this discourse, the man in this parable is Jesus.

The man “sold everything he had and bought” the pearl. We have seen how grace, faith and salvation are God’s gift. We did not earn or buy them. In contrast we are taught in 1 Cor 6:19-20 “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.”

“Before an individual can be saved, he must first learn that he cannot save himself.” - M.R. DeHaan

“Salvation is a work of God for man, rather than a work of man for God.” – L.S. Chafer

The Pearl of great price

It was battered and scarred and the auctioneer Thought it scarcely worth his while To waste his time on the old violin, but he held it up with a smile. “What am I bid, good folks”, he cried, “Who starts the bidding for me?” “One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two? Two dollars, who makes it three?” “Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three”

But, No, From the room far back a grey haired man Came forward and picked up the bow, Then wiping the dust from the old violin And tightening up the strings, He played a melody, pure and sweet, As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer With a voice that was quiet and low, Said “What now am I bid for this old violin?” As he held it up with its’ bow.

The Pearl of great price

And many a man with life out of tune, And battered and scarred with sin Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd Much like that old violin.

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine, A game and he travels on. He is going once, he is going twice, He is going and almost gone.

But the Master comes, And the foolish crowd Never can quite understand, The worth of a soul And the change that is wrought By the Touch of the Master’s Hand.

“One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?” “Two thousand, Who makes it three?” “Three thousand once, three thousand twice”, “Going and gone”, said he.

The audience cheered, But some of them cried, “We just don’t understand.” “What changed its’ worth?” Swift came the reply. “The Touch of the Masters Hand.”

How do you determine the value of any object? Ask any real estate appraiser. The value of something is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it.

How valuable is your soul?

It’s worth more than the ‘whole world’. Jesus said, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt 16:26)

We are deemed to be a ‘Pearl of Great Price’ by Jesus.

What was Jesus willing to pay to purchase your soul?

The merchant “sold everything he had” to possess the pearl.

Acts 10:28 Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

In heaven the 24 elders sing to the Lamb (Jesus), “you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God…” (Rev 5:9)

1 Peter 1:18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

The Pearl of great price

Jesus taught 7 consecutive ‘kingdom’ parables in Matthew 13. The parables, if understood, reveal the secrets of “the kingdom of heaven”.

Matt 13:10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” 11 He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.”

1

The Sower

The kingdom is sown.

2

The Wheat and Weeds

The enemy sows a counterfeit seed.

3

The Mustard Seed

Exponential growth of the kingdom.

4

The Leaven

Widespread corruption throughout the kingdom.

5

The Hidden Treasure

A treasure is found.

6

The Pearl of Great Price

The treasure is acquired.

The Seven Parables of the Kingdom

The 7 parables refer to 7 church ages.

Like the other kingdom parables, the “Pearl of Great Price” parable also represents a period in Church history from approximately AD 1700 to 1900, which can be classified as the “Missionary Church”.

No.

PARABLE

+/ - PERIOD

CHURCH AGE

1

The Sower

AD 30 – 100

Apostolic Church

2

The Wheat and Weeds

AD 100 – 300

Persecuted Church

3

The Mustard Seed

AD 300 – 600

State Church (Constantine)

4

The Leaven

AD 600 – 1500

Papal Church (Roman Catholic)

5

The Hidden Treasure

AD 1500 – 1700

Reformation Church (Protestant)

6

The Pearl of Great Price

AD 1700 – 1900

Missionary Church

The Seven Church Ages

George Whitefield – Field preaching

The First Great

Awakening

The Great Awakenings refer to several periods of dramatic religious revival in Anglo-American history. The First Great Awakening occurred primarily in Great Britain and her North American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s. This was one of the most intense outpourings of God’s Spirit in American history and the fire of God was falling everywhere.

New England’s 3 population was about 300,000 and it is estimated some 60,000 were saved during this period, a half of these being previously unconverted church members. 1

In the aftermath of the Great Awakening, hundreds of new, mainly evangelical, churches formed after separating from the established churches. 2

1 Source: web.ukonline.co.uk/ freegrace 2 Source: www.crf-usa.org/ bria 3 New England consisted of the modern states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut

The 1st Great Awakening

John Wesley was one of the greatest men of God in modern history. Secular historians credit John Wesley, together with his brother Charles, for a great awakening which saved England from the same blood-bath which was experienced just a short distance away in Paris during the French Revolution in 1789. Wesley shook a backslidden nation bound by immorality and unbelief. When Wesley was born-again, England was born-again. The revival that began among Wesley’s Methodists preceded an awakening that swept through all England. 1

1 forerunner.com 2 endtimepilgrim.org

Revival or Revolution?

The Reformation in France had been crushed. Later the French revolution crushed the church and trusted in human reason. State secularism led France into the reign of terror, dictatorship, and war. 2

In 1703, Susanna Wesley gave birth to her fifteenth child, John. It was through her convictions that John became acquainted with daily prayer, a reliance on the Lord, and a giving of one’s self to the service of others.

It was Susanna who told him that he was “a brand plucked from the burning” and was to have a special vocation given by God when he grew up. She was referring to his near death from burning when the parsonage home his family was living in went up in flames when John was 5 years old. 1

In 1729, at Oxford University, he joined the ‘Holy Club’, a prayer group formed by his brother Charles’.

Due to their methodical ways, they became known as ‘Methodists.’ They practiced daily meditation and fasted twice a week. They also visited prisoners at nearby Oxford castle to preach, give communion, and deliver food and medicine. 2

1 Source: http:// gbgm-umc.org/ UMW/ Wesley 2 Source: www.iscuo.org

John Wesley

Susanna Wesley (1669-1742)

In 1725 John was ordained a deacon and 3 years later he was ordained as an Anglican Priest.

In 1736, John and Charles volunteered to go to the colony of Georgia in America as evangelists to the native people. Instead, they found themselves working as secretaries; and their strict attitudes made their dealings with the colonists difficult. Charles returned home after only a few months. John stayed 2 years, but was plagued by troubles. 1 & 2

His stay in Georgia was, however, not without benefit. While sailing to America, he saw a group of Moravian missionaries who were unafraid of a great storm that nearly destroyed the ship. John himself was terrified but the German Christians sang and had no fear. This impressed him greatly.

1 Source: www.iscuo.org 2 Including a failed love affair and an unwanted court case.

Charles Wesley (1707–88)

John Wesley

In 1737 Wesley returned to England. He wrote, “I went to America, to convert the Indians; but O! who shall convert me? who, what is he that shall deliver me from this evil heart of mischief? I have a fair summer religion. I can talk well; nay, and believe myself, while no danger is near; but let death look me in the face, and my spirit is troubled. Nor can I say, ‘To die is gain.’”

Wesley continued to keep in close touch with the Moravians. At one of their meetings - in Aldersgate Street, London, in 1738 - he was converted while listening to a reading of Martin Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. Wesley wrote, “I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

John Wesley

John Wesley (1703–91)

Wesley found most churches in England were closed to him. Whitefield, upon his return from America, was also excluded from churches and preached in the open air at Kingswood. Wesley hesitated to accept Whitefield’s request to copy this bold step, considering such a method of saving souls as “almost a sin.” He preached his first sermon in the open air, near Bristol. The services were very successful; and he never again hesitated to preach in any place where an assembly could be gathered, more than once using his father’s tombstone at Epworth as a pulpit. He continued for 50 years — entering churches when he was invited, and taking his stand in the fields, in halls, cottages, and chapels, when the churches would not receive him. 1

“God in Scripture commands me, according to my power, to instruct the ignorant, reform the wicked, confirm the virtuous. Man forbids me to do this in another’s parish; that is, in effect, not to do it at all, seeing I have now no parish; of my own, nor probably ever shall. Whom, then, shall I hear, God or man? … I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty to declare unto all that are willing to hear the glad tidings of salvation. This is the work which I know God has called me to and sure I am that his blessing attends it.” 2

1 Source: Wikipedia 2 John Wesley the Methodist, The Methodist Bookd Concern, 1903

The world is my parish

Preaching outdoors was unusual for a priest in the Church of England. Normally, priests only delivered sermons according to the proper liturgy in a proper church. The Church also objected to Wesley’s “enthusiasm.”

“When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn.” – John Wesley

Wesley also began founding religious societies for the formation of believers. This was the first widely successful evangelical movement in the UK. Wesley’s Methodist connection included societies throughout England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland before spreading to other parts of the English-speaking world and beyond. He divided his religious societies further into classes and bands for intensive accountability and religious instruction. 1

Seeing that he and the few clergymen cooperating with him could not do the work that needed to be done, he was led, as early as 1739, to approve of local preachers; men and women who were not episcopally ordained were permitted to preach and do pastoral work. Thus one of the great features of Methodism, to which it has largely owed its success, was adopted by Wesley in answer to a necessity. 1

1 Wikipedia

Too much enthusiasm?

Wesley emphasized care for prisoners, the poor, the sick, and the uneducated. He wrote some 400 publications in his lifetime… Throughout his life, Wesley arose every morning before 5 a.m. for Bible study and prayer. He often rode up to 20 miles and preached 4-5 sermons a day. Over his lifetime, he traveled over 250,000 miles and delivered over 42,000 sermons. He also had the foresight to make plans for the continuation of his work after he was gone. 1

At the age of 87 John Wesley preached 3 times a day, in different places. He passed away in 1791 in London.

Although he didn’t want to break from the Church of England, the Methodist Church in England was formed after his death. 1

John Wesley expressed his concern about future generations of Methodists: “I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.” 2

1 Source: www.iscuo.org 2 Source: thinkexist.com

John Wesley

Congregationalist minister Jonathan Edwards moved to Northampton, Massachusetts, to become the assistant pastor to his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard. When Stoddard died a few years later, Jonathan became the senior pastor.

The behavior of the unmarried young people of Northampton troubled Edwards. They were ‘frolicking’ at the tavern, and not going to church meetings. When a young man suddenly died of an illness, in his funeral sermon, Edwards warned that even those in the prime of life could die at any moment. Unless they were spiritually born again, he preached, they would surely fall into the eternal fires of hell. Edwards spoke calmly, but intensely, and the young people listened. Some cried out, wept, and fainted at his words. Soon, Edwards was holding prayer meetings just for the young people of the town. Many asked him, “What must I do to be saved?” 1

In 1735–37, a revival swept through Northampton. Overnight, the town was transformed. The citizens sang hymns in the streets, the tavern closed, the young people pursued God in bands, and it was impossible to get into church unless one arrived hours early. 2

1 Source: www.crf-usa.org 2 Source: “Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening” - By William P. Farley

Jonathan Edwards

In 1741, Jonathan Edwards accepted an invitation to preach at the neighbouring town of Enfield, Connecticut. Despite the fact he had delivered “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” to his own congregation with little effect, he felt led to use it again at Enfield. 1

His techniques were unimpressive. He always read his sermons in an even voice, but with great conviction. He shunned shouting and theatrical antics. Nothing in his style or presentation could account for what happened that day at Enfield. 1

1 Source: “Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening” - By William P. Farley 2 Source: web.ukonline.co.uk/ freegrace

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

Jonathan Edwards (1703-58)

His text was Deuteronomy 32:35, Their foot shall slide in due time! He flashed before the people the fiery prospects of eternal damnation. The theme of the message was, “The God that holds you over the pit of Hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over a fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked.” 1

Men and women stood up and rolled on the floor, their cries once drowning out the voice of the preacher. 1 Strong men held onto their seats, feeling they were sliding into hell! Men shook, some losing their reason. 2 Some are even said to have laid hold on the pillars and braces of the church, feeling at that very moment their feet were sliding. 1

Through the night, Enfield was like a beleaguered city. In almost every house, men and women could be heard crying out for God to save them. Before it was over 500 were saved in the community that day. 1 1 Source: web.ukonline.co.uk/ freegrace

Their foot shall slide in due time!

A friend of evangelist George Whitefield, Tennent promoted spiritual revival in New Jersey and New England. Some clergymen thought that his services were too emotional. They spoke out against him. 1

Tennent saw a quite different danger. “For I am verily persuaded the generality of preachers talk of an unknown and unfelt Christ; and the reason why congregations have been so dead is, because they have had dead men preaching to them.” 1

On March 8, 1740, Tennent took as his text Mark 6:34, “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion towards them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd.” According to George Whitefield, Tennent was impressed that he should preach about Nicodemus coming to Christ. Didn’t the crowds of Jesus’ day have religious leaders? Indeed they did. So why did Jesus see the people as sheep without a shepherd? Because, like Nicodemus, those leaders were natural men. They were neither born of God nor filled with his Spirit. 1

1 Source: Christian History Institute

Gilbert Tennent

Gilbert Tennent (1703–64)

In the same way, the churchgoers of New England were like sheep without shepherds. Too many of their pastors lacked personal knowledge of Christ. “To trust the care of our souls to those who have little or no care for their own, to those who are both unskillful and unfaithful, is contrary to the common practice of considerate mankind, relating to the affairs of their bodies and estates; and would signify, that we set light by our souls, and did not care what became of them. For if the blind lead the blind, will they not both fall into the ditch?” 1

Tennent’s remarks outraged Presbyterians. A synod reproved him. Tennent and other New Brunswick preachers promptly withdrew from the association. 1

Gilbert Tennent in New Jersey and Jonathan Edwards in Massachusetts provided the climate for Whitefield’s preaching and the First Great Awakening.

Heavenly power swept from Northampton to 150 towns and cities of the North. For 20 years the revival fires blazed and from them sprang 120 new Congregational churches! 2

1 Source: Christian History Institute 2 Source: web.ukonline.co.uk/ freegrace/ library/ Edwards/ edwardsbiog.html

Sheep without a shepherd

Whitefield was the most traveled preacher of the gospel up to his time and helped turn 2 nations back to God. The thousands of converts during his ministry were a result of his extensive preaching in Scotland, Wales, and 7 visits to America.

He spent about 24 years of ministry in the British Isles and about 9 more years in America, preaching 18,000 sermons (an average of 500 a year, or ten a week) to some 10 million souls. In 1753 alone he traveled 800 miles on horseback, preaching to 100,000 souls. People usually were saved right during the progress of the service. The altar call as such was not utilized.

It is said that his voice could be heard a mile away without amplification, and his open-air preaching reached thousands. The crowds were the greatest ever assembled to hear the preaching of the gospel before the days of amplification.

George Whitefield

George Whitefield (1714-70)

George Whitefield was born in Gloucester, England, the son of a wine merchant and innkeeper. Childhood measles left him squint-eyed the rest of his life. 1

While in Oxford, he met John and Charles Wesley and joined the Holy Club. Charles Wesley loaned him a book and this, together with a severe sickness, finally resulted in his conversion in 1735. He said many years later, “Whenever I go to Oxford, I cannot help running to the spot where Jesus Christ first revealed himself to me, and gave me the new birth.” 1

One of the most famous contemporary aspects of the Methodist outreach to the poor was their ministry to condemned prisoners. The Wesley brothers and their preachers routinely attended those condemned to death and would often go with them in the cart to the gallows.

George Whitefield’s ministry began with his preaching in jails to the prisoners and doing missionary work in the colony of Georgia. 1

He loved Georgia and was not discouraged there as were the Wesleys. He was burdened about orphans, and started to collect funds for the same. He opened schools in Highgate and Hampstead, and also a school for girls in Savannah. 2

1 Source: www.believersweb.org 2 Source: CCN

George Whitefield

Upon returning from his first American trip to London, he thought that the doors would be opened and that he would be warmly received. Instead it was the opposite. Now many churches were closed to him. His successes, preaching, and connection with Methodist societies - in particular his association with the Wesleys - were all opposed by the establishment… However, he preached to as many churches as would receive him, working and visiting with such as the Moravians and other non-conformist religious societies in London. However, these buildings were becoming too small to hold the crowds. Alternative plans had to be formulated. 1

Whitefield wondered if he ought to try preaching in the fields. He concluded he was an outcast anyway, so why not try to reach people this ‘new’ way? Just outside the city of Bristol was a coal mine district known as Kingswood Hill. Whitefield first preached here in the open in 1739. The first time about 200 came to hear him, but in a very short time he was preaching to 10,000 at once. Often they stood in the rain listening, with the melodies of their singing being heard 2 miles away. 1

“The first discovery of their being affected”, he says, “was by seeing the white gutters made by their tears, which plentifully fell down their black cheeks.” 2

1 Source: www.believersweb.org 2 www.nndb.com

George Whitefield – Field preaching

One of his favorite preaching places was just outside London, on a great open tract known as Moorfields. He had no designated time for his services, but whenever he began to preach, thousands came to hear - whether it was 6 a.m. or 8 p.m. In the morning some 20,000 listened to him, and in the evening some 35,000 gathered! Whitefield was only 25 years old. Crowds up to 80,000 at one time gathered there to hear him preach for an hour and a half. 1

The largest audience he ever addressed was at Cambuslang, near Glasgow, where he spoke to an estimated 100,000 people! He preached for an hour and a half to the tearful crowd. Converts from that one meeting numbered nearly 10,000.

More than anything else, Whitefield spoke with deep emotion in a loud and riveting voice about the need for sinners to convert to Christ in order to save their souls. His listeners often screamed, rolled on the ground, and fainted when he described burning in hell forever. 2

In 1769, he made his last voyage to America. He arrived in Philadelphia in May 1770, traveling on to New England. Never was he so warmly received as now. The crowds flocked in great numbers to see him. 1 1 Source: ww.believersweb.org 2 Source: www.crf-usa.org/ bria

George Whitefield

He went from Portsmouth to Newburyport preaching en route at Exeter. Looking up he prayed, “Lord Jesus, I am weary in thy work, but not of thy work. If I have not yet finished my course, let me go and speak for thee once more in the fields, seal thy truth, and come home and die.” 1

On reaching Newburyport, Massachusetts, on a balcony not far from his deathbed, he preached his last message to more than 2,000 people and died within an hour after extending the invitation. 1

“How sweet is rest after fatigue! How sweet will heaven be when our journey is ended.” - George Whitefield

John Wesley preached at the memorial service which was held for Whitefield in England. 1

Although George Whitefield disagreed with John Wesley on some theological matters, he was careful not to create problems in public that could be used to hinder the preaching of the gospel. When someone asked Whitefield if he thought he would see Wesley in heaven, Whitefield replied, “I fear not, for he will be so near the eternal throne and we at such a distance, we shall hardly get sight of him.” 2

1 Source: www.believersweb.org 2 W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching and Preachers

George Whitefield

A circuit rider

The Second

Great

Awakening

The Second Great Awakening (1790–1840s) exercised a profound impact on American religious history. The numerical strength of the Baptists and Methodists rose relative to that of the denominations dominant in the colonial period—the Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Reformed.

In the 1760s, Methodist preaching began in America under the leadership of lay persons. In 1769, Wesley started sending ministers to the New World. But when the Revolution began, all but Francis Asbury returned to England. Still, under Asbury’s leadership and lay preachers, the number of Methodist followers had tripled by the end of the war. 1

Following the example of Wesley in England, American Methodist pastors were sent out to cover circuits … Their usual mode of transportation was the horse, and they became known as Circuit Riders. 1 The circuit riders sought out people in remote frontier locations. They came from among the common people, which helped them establish a rapport with the frontier families they hoped to convert.

By the mid-19th century, the Methodist Episcopal Church was the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. with over 4 million members. 1

1 Source: www.iscuo.org

The Methodists in the U.S.

Francis Asbury (1745–1816)

Charles Finney was a fiery New York Presbyterian preacher and an important figure in the Second Great Awakening.

As a young law student, his conviction of sin increased. One night he imagined that he was about to die and sink into hell, but he quieted himself as best he could until morning. The next morning on the way to the office, the Holy Spirit presented Christ: hanging on the cross for him, in a vision so clear that he almost unconsciously stopped in the middle of the street for several minutes. He went to the woods, fell on his knees and accepted the Lord. 1

Although he had been fond of law, Finney now lost all taste for it. His whole desire now was to preach the gospel and to win men to Christ. Nothing else seemed of any consequence. He hardly ever used written sermons as he believed that it hindered the Spirit of God from speaking through him. 1 1 Source: J. Gilchrist Lawson, “Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians” (1911)

Charles Finney

Charles Grandison Finney (1792–1875)

At his first regular meetings in New York people praised his sermons, but for 2 or 3 weeks no one decided for Christ. Then Finney urged all who were willing to accept Christ to rise to their feet and all who were willing to reject him to remain on their seats. This was very unusual in those days, and made many people very angry. He spent the next day in fasting and prayer, and in the evening preached with such power that a great conviction of sin swept over the people. All night long they were sending for him to come and pray with them. Even hardened atheists were brought to Christ. 1

While preaching at Sodom in the state of New York, Finney recalled that “the congregation began to fall from their seats in every direction, and cried for mercy… Nearly the whole congregation were either on their knees or prostrate, I should think, in less than 2 minutes from the first shock that fell upon them. Every one prayed who was able to speak at all.” Similar scenes were witnessed in many other places. 1

Enormous numbers were saved in his meetings in the Eastern U.S. In London, England, between 1,500 and 2,000 persons were seeking salvation in one day in Finney’s meetings. One of the greatest revivals in the world’s history (in 1858-1859), was the direct result of his meetings. It is estimated that 600,000 persons were brought to Christ in this revival. 1

1 Source: J. Gilchrist Lawson

Charles Finney

Research showed that over 85% of persons professing conversion to Christ in Finney’s meetings remained true to God. Finney seems to have had the power of impressing the consciences of men with the necessity of holy living in such a manner as to procure the most lasting results. It is said that at Governeur, New York, not a dance or theatrical play could be held in the place for 6 years after Finney held meetings there. 2

Finney is also remembered for innovations such as the ‘anxious bench’ (a place where those considering becoming Christians could come to receive prayer), allowing women to pray in public meetings of mixed gender, and public criticism of individuals by name in sermons and prayers. 1

He was also involved with the abolitionist movement and frequently denounced slavery from the pulpit. Beginning in 1821, he denied communion to slaveholders in his churches. 1

In 1835, he moved to Ohio where he would become a professor and later president of Oberlin College (from 1851 – 1866). 1 Finney continued to preach and to lecture to the students at Oberlin until 2 weeks before he was 83 years of age, when he was called up higher to enjoy the reward of those who have “turned many to righteousness.” 2

1 Source:Wikipedia 2 Source: J. Gilchrist Lawson

Charles Finney

Andrew Murray Jr. was born and raised in Graaff-Reinet in SA. It was here, after his education in Scotland and 3 years of theological study in college in Holland, that he returned as a missionary and minister. 2

As a young man, Andrew Murray wanted to be a minister, but it was a career choice rather than an act of faith. Not until he had begun his theological training did he experience a conversion of heart. In a letter to his parents, Murray wrote, “Your son has been born again… I have cast myself on Christ.” 1

For some years, Rev. Andrew Murray, Sr. longed and prayed for revival in South Africa. Every Friday night he spent several hours in prayer. The revivals of 1858 in the US and 1859 in Northern Ireland were reported in the Dutch Reformed journals. Individuals and prayer groups in various places across SA began to pray specifically for revival. 2

In 1860, a conference attended by 374 people was convened at Worcester. Representatives of 20 congregations- Dutch Reformed, Methodist and Presbyterian gathered. The main topic was revival. Andrew Murray, Sr. was moved to tears and had to stop speaking. Andrew Murray, Jr. prayed with such power that some say the conference marked the beginning of the revival. 1

1 Source: www.christianitytoday.com 2 Source: www.gloryofhiscross.org

Andrew Murray

50 days after the conference, revival fires began to burn. In Montague, near Worcester, a revival began in the Methodist church. Prayer meetings were held every night and on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, sometimes as early as 3:00 a.m. People who had never prayed before began to pray. Young and old began to cry to God for mercy and continued until midnight. 1

For weeks, the village of Montague experienced great conviction of sin. Men cried to God in anguish. 6 prayer meetings were going on throughout the village. The report reached Worcester, and prayer meetings began there as well. Whole families, both European and native African, were humbled before God. 1

The SA revival then scattered like buckshot and spread to other areas. One pastor reported something of “the glory of the church in the first century”. Some churches could not hold all who came to worship. Spiritual awakening came to places up to 200 miles away. 1

1 Source: www.gloryofhiscross.org

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray (1828-1917)

The gifts of

the Holy Spirit

Cessasionists claim that supernatural gifts ceased after the completion of the NT as they were no longer required. They claim that this is supported by Church History but we have repeatedly seen that this cannot be substantiated by the historical evidence.

The Huguenots (16th-18th Centuries) … exhibited the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit. Thus they were called, ‘The French Prophets.’ They affirmed, “God has nowhere in the Scriptures concluded Himself from dispensing again the extraordinary gifts of His Spirit unto men.” 1

They “fell on their backs, they shut their eyes, they heaved with the breast, they remained a while in trances, and coming out of them with twitching, they uttered all that came into their mouths.” 2

John Venett, one of them, also was amazed that his mother could speak French, “because she never before attempted to speak a word in that language, nor has since to my knowledge , and I am certain she could not do it.” 3

Sir Richard Bulkey, a wealthy English nobleman, tells how he heard John Lacy, one of their leaders, “repeat long sentences in Latin, and another refugee speak in Hebrew, neither one of whom could speak a single word in these languages when not in spiritual ecstasy.” 4

In the 1700s Wesleyan revivals across Europe and North America included many reportedly miraculous events, including speaking in tongues. 5

1 Michael P. Hamilton, The Charismatic Movement 2 Hamilton – answers.com 3 Lacy – answers.com 4 Cutten, Speaking With Tongues 5 Source: Daniel R. Jennings supernatural occurrences of John Wesley - www.answers.com.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit

John Wesley defended the contemporary supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit to one doubter by referencing the example of the French Prophets, “Sir, your memory fails you again… It has been heard of more than once, no further off than the days of Dauphin.” 1

Under George Whitefield’s ministry “often as many as 500 would fall in the group and lay prostrate under the power of a single sermon. Many people made demonstrations, and in several instances men who held out against the Spirit’s wooing dropped dead during his meetings. Audible cries of the audience often interrupted the messages.” 2

The intensity of Jonathan Edward’s preaching “sometimes resulted in members of the audience fainting, swooning, and other more obtrusive reactions. The swooning and other behaviors in his audience caught him up in a controversy over ‘bodily effects’ of the Holy Spirit’s presence.” 3

In the 1800s Edward Irving, a minister in the Church of Scotland, wrote of a woman who would “speak at great length, and with superhuman strength, in an unknown tongue, to the great astonishment of all who heard.” 4 Irving further stated that “tongues are a great instrument for personal edification, however mysterious it may seem to us.” 1 Vol. 10 of The Works of John Wesley 2 Source: www.believersweb.org 3 Wikipedia 4 Source: “Edward Irving: An Ecclesiastical and Literary Biography”

The gifts of the Holy Spirit

On the evening of the same day in which Finney received the pardon of his sins, he received a mighty overwhelming baptism of the Holy Spirit which started him immediately to preaching the gospel. He describes it as follows: “But as I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any recollection that I had ever heard the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Ghost descended on me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed it seemed to come in waves and waves of liquid love; for I could not express it in any other way. It seemed like the very breath of God. I can recollect distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings… No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart. I wept aloud with joy and love; and I do not know but I should say, I literally bellowed out the unutterable gushings of my heart. The waves came over me, and over me, one after the other, until I recollect I cried out, ‘I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.’ I said, ‘Lord, I cannot bear any more;’ yet I had no fear of death.” 1

1 Source: J. Gilchrist Lawson, “Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians” (1911)

Charles Finney

The “Autobiography of Charles G. Finney” is perhaps the most remarkable account of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s power since apostolic days. It is crowded with accounts of spiritual outpourings which remind one of the day of Pentecost. 1

Sometimes the power of God was so manifest in Finney’s meetings that almost the entire audience fell on their knees in prayer or were prostrated on the floor. When in the pulpit he sometimes felt almost lifted off his feet by the power of the Spirit of God. In Finney’s meetings remarkable physical manifestations seemed to accompany the work of the Holy Spirit… Often a hallowed calm, noticeable even to the unsaved, seemed to settle down upon cities where he was holding meetings. Sinners were often brought under conviction of sin almost as soon as they entered these cities. 1

Finney seemed so anointed with the Holy Spirit that people were often brought under conviction of sin just by looking at him. When holding meetings at Utica, New York, he visited a large factory there and was looking at the machinery. At the sight of him one of the operatives, and then another, and then another broke down and wept under a sense of their sins, and finally so many were sobbing and weeping that the machinery had to be stopped while Finney pointed them to Christ. 1

1 Source: J. Gilchrist Lawson, “Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians” (1911)

Charles Finney

According to R.A. Torrey, “Moody knew he had ‘the baptism with the Holy Ghost’; he had no doubt about it. In his early days… he had a tremendous desire to do something, but he had no real power. He worked very largely in the energy of the flesh. But there were 2 humble Free Methodist women who used to come over to his meetings in the Y.M.C.A. … These 2 women would come to Mr. Moody at the close of his meetings and say: ‘We are praying for you.’ Finally, Mr. Moody became somewhat nettled and said to them one night: ‘Why are you praying for me? Why don’t you pray for the unsaved?’ They replied: ‘We are praying that you may get the power.’ Mr. Moody did not know what that meant, but he got to thinking about it, and then went to these women and said: ‘I wish you would tell me what you mean’; and they told him about the definite baptism with the Holy Ghost. Then he asked that he might pray with them and not they merely pray for him… Not long after… he was walking up Wall Street in New York… and in the midst of the bustle and hurry of that city his prayer was answered; the power of God fell upon him as he walked up the street and he had to hurry off to the house of a friend and ask that he might have a room by himself, and in that room he stayed alone for hours; and the Holy Ghost came upon him, filling his soul with such joy that at last he had to ask God to withhold His hand, lest he die on the spot from very joy. He went out from that place with the power of the Holy Ghost upon him…” 1

1 R.A. Torrey – “Why God Used D.L. Moody”

D.L. Moody

Once he had some teachers at Northfield - fine men, all of them, but they did not believe in a definite baptism with the Holy Ghost for the individual. They believed that every child of God was baptized with the Holy Ghost, and they did not believe in any special baptism with the Holy Ghost for the individual. Mr. Moody came to me and said: “Torrey, will you come up to my house after the meeting tonight and I will get those men to come, and I want you to talk this thing out with them.” Of course, I very readily consented, and Mr. Moody and I talked for a long time, but they did not altogether see eye to eye with us. And when they went, Mr. Moody signaled me to remain for a few moments. Mr. Moody sat there with his chin on his breast, as he so often sat when he was in deep thought; then he looked up and said: “Oh, why will they split hairs? Why don’t they see that this is just the one thing that they themselves need? They are good teachers, they are wonderful teachers, and I am so glad to have them here; but why will they not see that the baptism with the Holy Ghost is just the one touch that they themselves need?” 1

1 R.A. Torrey – “Why God Used D.L. Moody”

D.L. Moody

R.A. Torrey (1856-1928)

I shall never forget the 8th July, 1894, to my dying day. It was the closing day of the Northfield Students’ Conference… Mr. Moody had asked me to preach on Saturday night and Sunday morning on the baptism with the Holy Ghost… It was just exactly 12 o’clock when I finished my morning sermon, and I took out my watch and said: “Mr. Moody has invited us all to go up to the mountain at 3 o’clock this afternoon to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit.” 1

At 3 o’clock we all gathered in front of Mr. Moody’s mother’s house… There were 465 of us in all… Mr. Moody said: “Have any of you students anything to say?” I think about 75 of them arose, one after the other, and said: “Mr. Moody, I could not wait till 3 o’clock; I have been alone with God since the morning service, and I believe I have a right to say that I have been baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 1

When these testimonies were over, Mr. Moody said: “Young men, I can't see any reason why we shouldn’t kneel down here right now and ask God that the Holy Ghost may fall upon us just as definitely as He fell upon the apostles on the Day of Pentecost. Let us pray.” And we did pray, there on the mountainside… as we began to pray our prayers seemed to pierce that cloud and the Holy Ghost fell upon us. 1

1 R.A. Torrey – Torrey was an American evangelist and pastor who headed the Bible Institute of the Chicago Evangelization Society (now Moody Bible Institute).

D.L. Moody

Historian Walter Hollenweger considers the South African Dutch Reformed minister Andrew Murray to be a forerunner of Pentecostalism. 1

One Sunday evening, during the youth fellowship meeting, an African servant girl arose and asked permission to sing a verse and pray. The Holy Spirit fell upon the group and she prayed. In the distance, there came a sound like approaching thunder. It surrounded the hall, and the building began to shake. Instantly everyone burst into prayer. The assistant minister knelt at the table. 2 Andrew Murray had been speaking in the main sanctuary to the service there. He was notified and came running. Murray called in a loud voice, “I am your minister, sent from God. Silence!” No one noticed as all continued calling out loudly to God for forgiveness. Murray asked his assistant to sing a hymn, but the praying continued undiminished. 2 All week long, the prayer meetings were held. Each service began with profound silence. “But as soon as several prayers had arisen the place was shaken as before and the whole company of people engaged in simultaneous petition to the throne of grace.” The meetings often continued until 3:00 a.m. and as the people reluctantly dispersed, they went singing their way down the streets. 2

1 Source: www.christianitytoday.com 2 Source: www.gloryofhiscross.org

Andrew Murray

Services were moved to a larger building because of the crowds. On Saturday, Andrew Murray led the prayer meeting. Again, the mysterious sound of thunder approached from a distance, coming nearer until it enveloped the building. Everyone broke out in simultaneous prayer. Murray walked up and down the aisle trying to quiet the people, but a stranger in the service tiptoed up to him and whispered, “Be careful what you do, for it is the Spirit of God that is at work here.” Murray learned to accept the revival praying. 1

In the face of criticism Murray insisted that the believer can expect to receive the fullness of the Spirit. As Murray put it, “I must be filled; it is absolutely necessary. I may be filled; God has made it blessedly possible. I would be filled; it is eminently desirable. I will be filled; it is so blessedly certain.” 1

He often prayed, “May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence and may not a moment without the entire surrender of my self as a vessel for Him to fill full of His Spirit and His love.” 1

“I have learnt to place myself before God every day, as a vessel to be filled with His Holy Spirit.” – Andrew Murray 1

1 Source: www.gloryofhiscross.org

Andrew Murray

Suffering for

the Christian

This great church of the 18th and 19th century was not immune from suffering and persecution. In fact they seemed quite prone to it.

The Bible gives a good deal of attention to the reality of suffering. It does not regard it as an illusion as some religions and sects do, nor deal with it superficially. One of the larger books of the Bible, the book of Job, is given solely to this question. The books of Jeremiah and Habakkuk have much to say about it. About one third of the Psalms, the prayers of the OT, are cries that arise out of doubt, disappointment, or pain. 1

Much of the epistle of 1 Peter is about the suffering and persecution of Christians.

CAN SUFFERING BE GOD’S WILL?

YES!

Peter writes, “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator…” (1 Pet 4:19)

It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Pet 3:17)

1 www.christianity.co.nz/ suffer8.htm

Can suffering be God’s will?

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33)

Paul wrote, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.” (Phil 1:29-30)

Paul tells Timothy that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12).

During the persecution of the Emperor Nero, in which he was later crucified, Peter wrote, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Pet 4:12).

Suffering for the Christian is inevitable

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. (John 15:18)

The writer of Hebrews says that our heroes of Faith suffered:

“Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated — the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.” (Heb 11:35-38)

In this context dealing with suffering we are then pointed to Jesus as an example of overcoming in the face of suffering. The ‘witnesses” referred to are those who had faith in the midst of suffering.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

The suffering ‘witnesses’

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

(Heb 12:1-3)

Jesus

The Messiah is described in Isaiah 53:3 as “a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering”.

Jesus told his disciples, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18)

The apostles

The Lord tells Ananias the following about Paul, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” (Acts 9:15-16)

Paul writes, “We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition.” (1 Thess 2:2)

2 Tim 2:8-9 This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.

When banished by the Emperor Domitian to do hard labour on the island of Patmos, John writes, “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” (Rev 1:9)

You’re in the company of:

The prophets

Luke 6:22-23 Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil… For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.”

The early Church

1 Thess 2:14-15 For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.

2 Tim 1:8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God

The true church throughout the ages.

We’ll look at some notable men of God during this period like John Wesley, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, David Brainerd, John Williams, David Livingstone, Adoniram Judson, William Carey, Joseph Scriven, Horatio G. Spafford, Hudson Taylor and D.L. Moody.

You’re in the company of:

Sunday morning, May 5. Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back anymore.

Sunday p.m., May 5. Preached at St. John’s. Deacons said, “Get out and stay out.”

Sunday a.m., May 12. Preached at St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there, either.

Sunday p.m., May 12. Preached at St. George’s. Kicked out again.

Sunday a.m., May 19. Preached at St. somebody else’s. Deacons called special meeting, said I could not return.

Sunday p.m., May 19. Preached on the street. Kicked off the street.

Sunday a.m., May 26. Preached in a meadow. Chased out of the meadow as a bull was turned loose during the services.

Sunday a.m., June 2. Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.

Sunday p.m., June 2. Afternoon service. Preached in a pasture. 10,000 people came to hear me.

1 Source: www.backtothebible.org

A few entries in John Wesley’s diary

The town of Wednesbury was the scene of the worst anti-Methodist riots of the period. The local Anglican Vicar encouraged the disturbances, which lasted intermittently for over 6 months with little interference from the secular authorities.

Wesley was courageous and regularly placed himself in situations of extreme physical danger. This account by Charles Wesley indicates how he won over rioters who had been trying to kill him just moments before.

“My brother, they told me, had been dragged about for 3 hours by the mob of 3 towns. Those of Wednesbury and Darlaston were disarmed by a few words he spoke, and thenceforward laboured to screen him from their old allies of Walsall; till they were overpowered themselves… Three of the brethren, and one young woman, kept near him all the time, striving to intercept the blows…” 1

“When I devoted to God my ease, my time, my fortune, my life, I did not except my reputation.” – John Wesley

1 Journal of Charles Wesley, 25 Oct 1743

John Wesley - Persecution

Initially Wesley had avoided marriage feeling that it might distract him from his ministry. However in 1751, at the age of 48, he finally married a widow called Mary Vazeille. His wife traveled with him for some time, but soon grew dissatisfied with a life so restless.

Unwilling to travel herself, she became equally dissatisfied with her husband’s habitual absence. Her discontent took at last the form of a monomaniacal jealousy. During 20 years she persecuted him with unfounded suspicions and intolerable annoyances. She repeatedly deserted him, but returned at his own earnest instance. She opened, interpolated, and then exposed to his enemies his correspondence, and sometimes traveled a hundred miles to see, from a window, who accompanied him in his carriage. At last, taking with her portions of his Journals and papers, which she never restored, she left him with the assurance that she would never return. 1

1 History of the Religious Movement of the 18th Cent. Called Methodism. (Abel Stevens)

John Wesley’s marriage

Mary Vazeille Wesley

In 1739 the Bishop of London denounced him. 1

At Moorfields one lout climbed a tree overlooking the preacher and urinated at him. Ever the master at turning opposition into gospel-advantage, Whitefield rhetorically asked the crowd, “Am I wrong when I say that man is half devil and half beast?” – and then commended anew that gospel whereby anyone at all may become a child of God. 2

In 1744 George Whitefield almost became a martyr. He was attacked by a man uttering abusive language, who called him a dog, villain, and so forth, and then proceeded to beat him unmercifully with a gold-headed cane until he was almost unconscious. 1

In 1753 he was struck on the head by stones and knocked off a table upon which he had been preaching. Afterwards he said, “We are immortal till our work is done,” a phrase he would often repeat. 1

1 Source: www.believersweb.org 2 Victor Shepherd

George Whitefield

God speaks to us through suffering

God speaks to us through suffering

C.S. Lewis wrote: “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.” 1

It deepens our relationship with Jesus

Phil 3:10-11 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead

“Let trouble come if it will drive us nearer to God.” – D.L. Moody

1 The Problem of Pain 2 www.bulletininserts.org/ htaylor.html

Hudson Taylor was the 19th century missionary who opened up inland China to the gospel. His second wife was Miss Spaulding of the China Inland Mission. His evangelistic journeys kept him away from home for months at a time; and there were yet longer separations when Mrs. Taylor and the children were in England. “Sometimes it seems hard,” he wrote to his wife, “to be so long away from you and the children. But when I think of One who spent 33 years away from His home and finished them on Calvary, I feel ashamed of my selfishness.” 2

Hudson Taylor’s first wife was Maria Dyer, a missionary located at Ningpo. One day their little 8 year old Gracie saw a man making an idol. “Oh, Papa,” she exclaimed, “he doesn’t know about Jesus or he would never do that! Won’t you tell him?” He did so, the little girl following with eager interest. Later on she prayed most earnestly for the idol maker and for all the idol-worshiping Chinese. Just a week later Gracie was dying. Their loss was overwhelming and the tempter whispered, “Your God has forsaken you.” But the father wrote a few weeks later: “Our dear little Gracie! How we miss her sweet voice… and the sparkle of those bright eyes. But He who said, ‘I will never leave thee’ (Heb 13:5), is with us… nothing can ever substitute for the Presence of Christ.” 1

Just 3 years later, after losing 3 children, Maria gave birth to her sixth child-a son who lived only one week. Prostrated by cholera, the mother was in critical condition and died at age 33. For 12 years she had been the light and joy of her husband’s life, and the deep mutual love that bound their hearts together made the thought of separation unthinkable. 1 1 Source: www.bulletininserts.org/ htaylor.html

Deepens our relationship with Jesus

Gracie Taylor (1859-67)

Crucifies the flesh & focuses us on the truly important things

1 Pet 4:1-2 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

In her book entitled ‘Blessings’, Mary Craig 2 says: “the value of suffering does not lie in the pain of it… but in what the sufferer makes of it… It is in sorrow that we discover the things which really matter…” 1

1 www.christianity.co.nz/ suffer8.htm 2 Mary Craig had 4 sons, 2 of whom were born with severe abnormalities, one with disfiguring and incapacitating Hohler’s syndrome, and one with Down’s syndrome.

Suffering crucifies the flesh

David Brainerd, the great missionary to the American Indians, suffered from tuberculosis, but he refused to put his health needs above the salvation needs of the Indians. He fell in love with Jerusha Edwards, the daughter of Jonathan Edwards, but his ill health prevented them from marrying. At the age of 29, while in Edwards home, David Brainerd died of tuberculosis. Brainerd’s work shows that God can use any vessel, no matter how fragile and frail.

Paul writes, “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life… But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Cor 1:8-9)

Hudson Taylor (1832-1905)

Suffering teaches us to rely on God

When a fellow missionary was stricken with smallpox, Hudson Taylor had barely recovered from another sickness himself but gladly volunteered to nurse the sick man. The disease proved fatal to the man and Taylor contracted smallpox, but had a mild attack since he had been vaccinated. He was forced, however, to destroy his clothes, and because he had used his funds to help another missionary, he had no money to buy more. Then a long-lost box of clothes, left behind 15 months earlier, arrived unexpectedly, bringing him just what he needed. He made this note in his journal in November 1857: “I would not, if I could, be otherwise than as I am—entirely dependent upon the Lord, and used as a channel to help others.” 1 1 Source: www.theeffectivechristian.org

14 years after the first revival in Northampton, a controversy split Edwards’ congregation. His grandfather, Stoddard, had instituted a practice of admitting unconverted people to Communion, if their parents or grandparents were converts. This was filling the church with unsaved people. Edwards came to the conclusion that a born-again experience was a prerequisite to having Communion – and not mere doctrinal knowledge, godly parents or a moral life. He began to tighten up the requirement for church membership and this caused opposition in the congregation.

In 1749 he publicly declared these matters, insisting on some statement as to conversion and convictions, refusing to administer the Lord’s Supper to those not willing to declare their faith or live a Christian life. The church and town rebelled. 1 To their shame, over 90% of the members voted to remove Edwards. 2 He had laboured at Northampton for 21 years.

At the age of 47 he went as a missionary to an obscure Indian tribe in Massachusetts. In utter isolation, he ministered to this small congregation and faithfully used these years to write most of his great theological treatises. At age 55, he accepted a call from Princeton Theological Seminary to be its next president. Shortly after the move, but before Sarah and the children could join him, he contracted smallpox and died.

1 Source: web.ukonline.co.uk 2 Edwards’ position was vindicated years later when many of his ex-parishioners wrote him, asking for forgiveness.

Jonathan Edwards

Suffering develops perseverance, character & hope

Rom 5:3-4 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

“God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.” – C.S.Lewis

Perseverance, character & hope

A Ugandan Christian named Henry was traveling by a bus that was ambushed by guerrillas. Half of his face was blown away and World Vision paid for him to go to Montreal for treatment. David Watson, an Anglican clergyman, says that when he met Henry, he flinched when he saw the mangled flesh that had once been his face. But Henry’s eyes sparkled. Unable to speak Henry wrote: “God never promises us an easy time. Just a safe arrival.” 1

1 Source: Watson, ‘Fear No Evil’

While serving as a missionary in India, William Carey’s son Peter died of dysentery, causing his wife Dorothy to suffer a nervous breakdown from which she never recovered. Carey’s second wife, Charlotte, died in 1821, followed by his eldest son Felix. In 1812, a fire in his print shop caused £10,000 in damages and lost work.

Near the end of Carey’s life, when Alexander Duff visited him to discuss his work, he finally said, “You have been speaking about Dr. Carey, Dr. Carey; when I am gone, say nothing about Dr. Carey - speak about Dr. Carey’s Saviour.” 1

One of his fellow-missionaries wrote of him, “He is ripe for glory and already dead to all that belongs to life.” 1

His self-composed epitaph on his grave simply said: Wm. Carey Born, August 17, 1761 Died, June 9, 1834 “A wretched, poor, and helpless worm, On Thy kind arms I fall.” 1

1 Source: www.wholesomewords.org/ missions

Suffering produces perseverance

William Carey (1761–1834)

Initially rejected by the London Missionary Society, Scottish-born David Livingstone, opened up ‘the dark continent’ (Africa) to the gospel and also fought relentlessly to stop the Arab slave trade. “Death alone will put a stop to my efforts!” was the exclamation of the man who died on his knees in the heart of Africa, praying for “the open sore of the world” (slavery).

In Africa, David was attacked and left permanently injured by a lion. He married Mary Moffat, but was later separated from her and the children for 4 years when they returned to England in order that Mary could recover from ongoing illness. Joining him on his next trip, Mary succumbed to fever and died. In grief he exclaimed “Now for the first time in my life I am willing to die! Take me too, O God!”

“I never made a sacrifice. We ought not to talk of ‘sacrifice’ when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father’s throne on high to give Himself up for us.” – David Livingstone

Dr. David Livingstone (1813–1873)

Suffering produces perseverance

As a preacher, Andrew Murray consistently drew large crowds and led many to trust Christ as their Savior. But Murray’s life was not without testing. As a young man, an enduring sickness left him weak and exhausted. Later at the prime of his ministry, a severe illness resulted in his absence from the pulpit for 2 years. But God used each trial to remove all that hindered his devotion to Christ. 1

Murray’s daughter wrote of her father, “It was after the ‘time of silence’ [in sickness] when God came so near to father and he saw more clearly the meaning of a life of full surrender and simple faith. He began to show in all relationships that constant tenderness and unruffled lovingkindness and unselfish thought for others which increasingly characterized his life from that point. At the same time he lost nothing of his strength and determination.” 1

1 Source: www.gloryofhiscross.org

Suffering produces character

In our lives – will suffering be a stepping stone or a stumbling block to our faith? WE CHOOSE!

“We decide whether suffering in this life will harden us or soften us.” - Lee Strobel

Trials prove if our faith is genuine

1 Pet 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

FALLING AWAY – “The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away” (Matt 13:20-21)

CONTINUING TO DO GOOD - “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” (1 Pet 4:19)

Suffering can harden or soften

When the Lord commended Job, Satan replied, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? … But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (Job 1:7-12)

God allowed Satan to inflict Job with suffering to test his integrity. When Job learnt that he had lost his livestock, servants and all his children, he “fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.’ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:20-22)

Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity…” (Job 2:3)

Genuine faith?

Can Satan still test us like he did Job? Despite the teaching of some that Satan is powerless and ‘can only roar, not bite’, the context 1 of 1 Peter (written during Nero’s persecution) makes it clear that Satan is still permitted to instigate suffering).

Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

NOTE:

We are instructed to ‘resist’ Satan and to stand ‘firm in the faith’.

God’s restoration comes “after you have suffered a little while”.

1 Don’t build your doctrine from ‘one-liners’ in the Bible – look at the context! Beware of those who use one verse out of context simply as a launch pad for unbiblical teaching.

Genuine faith?

1 Pet 5:8-10 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Joseph Scriven was born in Ireland but migrated to Canada at age 25 after his fiancée drowned the night before their wedding. His association with the Plymouth Brethren estranged him from his family. Thereafter he took the Sermon on the Mount literally and gave freely of his limited possessions, even sharing the clothing from his own body, if necessary, and never refusing help to anyone in need.

Upon learning of his mother’s serious illness and unable to be with her in far-off Dublin, he wrote a letter of comfort enclosing his poem:

“What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” 1 1 It wasn’t intended by Scriven for publication until a friend who chanced to see the poem showed a keen interest in it. In 1869 it was published with a collection of his poems and subsequently put to music by Charles Converse in 1875. Its simply stated truths have brought solace and comfort to countless numbers of God’s people. So relevant to the basic spiritual needs of people are these words that many missionaries state that it is one of the first hymns taught to new converts.

Joseph Scriven (1819-86)

Genuine faith?

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, Cumbered with a load of care? Precious Saviour, still our refuge; Take it to the Lord in prayer. Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In his arms he’ll take and shield thee; Thou wilt find a solace there.

Genuine faith?

Horatio G. Spafford was fairly well-known in 1860’s Chicago, and this not just because of his legal career and business endeavors - the Spaffords were also prominent supporters and close friends of D.L. Moody.

In 1870, however, things started to go wrong. His only son died of scarlet fever at the age of 4. Horatio had invested heavily in real estate on the shores of Lake Michigan. In 1871, every one of these holdings was destroyed by the great Chicago Fire.

Aware of the toll that these disasters had taken on the family, Horatio decided to take them on holiday to England. And not only did they need the rest – D.L. Moody was traveling around Britain on one of his great evangelistic campaigns and they planned to join and assist him later.

Just before they set sail, a last-minute business development forced Horatio to delay. Anna and the children left with Horatio to follow on later.

Horatio Spafford (1828-88)

Genuine faith?

9 days later, he received a telegram from his wife in Wales which read: “Saved alone.” Their ship,the ‘de Havre’, had collided with another ship and sank in only 12 minutes, claiming the lives of 226 people. Anna had stood on deck, with her 4 daughters clinging desperately to her. Her last memory had been of her baby being torn violently from her arms by the force of the waters. Anna was only saved from the fate of her daughters by a plank which floated beneath her unconscious body and propped her up.

When she was rescued, her first reaction was one of complete despair. Then she heard a voice speak to her, “You were spared for a purpose” and she immediately recalled the words of a friend, “It’s easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God.”

Upon hearing the terrible news, Spafford boarded the next ship to join his bereaved wife. During the voyage, the captain called him to the bridge to point out the spot where the ‘de Havre’ had gone down. Horatio then returned to his cabin and penned the lyrics of his great hymn.

“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way When sorrows like sea billows roll Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say It is well, it is well, with my soul”

Genuine faith?

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

The doing ‘all things’ or ‘everything’ that Paul refers to is being “content whatever the circumstances” - including hunger, need and want. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things

I.e. we are more than conquerors even though we face trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and death.

Here are 2 verses often quoted out of context by the “health and wealth” proponents to show that we should all be prosperous and company CEOs:

Phil 4:11-13

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Rom 8:35-37

we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

I can do all things through Christ

Suffering is used by God as a form of discipline (It is a sign of sonship.)

Heb 12:4-11 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Heb 5:8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered…

Heb 2:10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.

Sons get discipline

“God calls some of his children through long seasons of extremest suffering, obviously as a means of purifying their hearts; yet many pray for pure hearts and for the Spirit to purify their hearts, who would rebel at once if God should answer their prayers by means of such a course of providence. Or, God may see it necessary to crucify your love of reputation, and for this end may subject you to a course of trial which will blow your reputation to the winds of heaven. Are you ready to hail the blessings of a subdued, unselfish heart, even though it be given by means of such discipline?” – Charles Finney

Sons get discipline

Paul writes that “we also rejoice in our sufferings” (Rom 5:3-4) and “Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.” (Col 1:24) He tells the Thessalonians, “You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Thess 1:6)

1 Pet 4:13-16 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed… if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name

Heb 10:34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

“I think there is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is caused by things which happen around me, and circumstances will mar it, but joy flows right on through trouble; joy flows on through the dark; joy flows in the night as well as in the day; joy flows all through persecution and opposition; if flows right along, for it is an unceasing fountain bubbling up in the heart; a secret spring which the world can’t see and don’t know anything about; but the Lord gives His people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to Him.” – D.L. Moody

Our response to suffering is JOY!

Jesus said “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.” (Luke 6:22-23)

When the apostles were flogged and ordered not to speak in the name of Jesus, they “left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” (Acts 5:40-41)

Not all who attended George Whitefield’s outdoor meetings were fans, as evidenced by his testimony about preaching at Moorfields outside London, “I was honored with having stones, dirt, rotten eggs and pieces of dead cats thrown at me.” 1

In 1756 George Whitefield almost met death in Ireland. One Sunday afternoon while preaching on a beautiful green near Dublin, stones and dirt were hurled at him. Afterwards a mob gathered, intending to take his life. Those attending to him fled, and he was left to walk nearly a half a mile alone, while rioters showered him with stones until he was covered with blood. He staggered to the door of a minister living close by. He later said that in Ireland he had been elevated to the rank of an Apostle by having had the honor of being stoned. 1 1 Source: www.believersweb.org

Our response to suffering is JOY!

God has promised to comfort us in our suffering

2 Cor 1:3-6 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

Paul tells Timothy, “You, however, know all about my … persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.” (2 Tim 3:10-11).

1 Pet 5:10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

God’s comfort

Jesus promised peace in the midst of trouble, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

In October 1871 the Great Chicago Fire destroyed Moody’s church, his home, and the dwellings of most of his members. His family had to flee for their lives, and, as Mr. Moody said, he saved nothing but his reputation and his Bible. His church was rebuilt within 3 months at a near-by location as the Chicago Avenue Church. 1

“Sometimes I am amazed to see how little it takes to drive all peace and comfort from some people. Some slandering tongue will readily blast it. But if we have the peace of God, the world can not take that from us.” - D.L. Moody

1 Source: www.wholesomewords.org/ biography

God’s comfort

D.L. Moody (1837-99)

God did not create suffering, evil and death. Even though suffering is never good, God can and does use it to accomplish good. - Lee Strobel

Once, on a journey to an inland city, Hudson Taylor was robbed of his traveling bed, spare clothes, surgical instruments, and a Bible given to him by his mother. Taylor decided not to prosecute the thief because of the harsh Chinese penal system, but wrote the culprit a letter instead, urging him to repent. He described his plea to the errant servant in a letter sent home to England. That letter somehow fell into the hands of George Mueller of Bristol. He was so impressed by the spirit of the writer that he became a supporter of the mission. Taylor’s sacrifice of the right to prosecute the man who stole his bed resulted in a supporter who would provide over $10,000 per year for the mission and would be a friend and advisor in times of trial. Looking back, giving up the right to justice did not seem like a sacrifice. 1

Taylor endured many hardships including arrests, insults, slander and poverty, but lived his life believing what Christ said in Mark 10:29 and 30—that if we give up anything for the sake of the gospel we will receive blessings one hundred times better in this life, and eternal life in the world to come. With that perspective, he could truly say, “I never made a sacrifice.” 1

1 www.bulletininserts.org/ htaylor.html

God’s comfort

The Bible does not teach the absence of suffering for believers, but God’s sustenance during suffering and the obligation on our part to endure and overcome through suffering.

1 Pet 2:19-23 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 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. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

God’s comfort

The book, ‘Why Do People Suffer?’ relates the story of a school that collapsed, killing all the teachers and most of the children. A little boy, badly maimed, was rescued from the rubble and rushed to hospital. For hours a team of doctors and nurses fought to save his life while his mother waited anxiously outside the operating theatre. After 7 hours of painstaking surgery the little boy died. Instead of leaving it to the nurse to tell the mother, the surgeon went himself. As he broke the dreadful news the mother became hysterical in her grief and attacked the surgeon, pummeling his chest with her fists. But instead of pushing her away, the doctor held her to himself tightly until the woman’s sobbing subsided and she rested cradled in his arms. And then in the heavy silence the surgeon began to weep. Tears streamed down his face and grief racked his body. For he had come to the hospital the moment he heard that his one and only son had been killed in the same school. 1

The godly Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, once put it like this: “There cannot be a God of love,” people say, “because if there was, and he looked upon the world, his heart would break.” The church points to the Cross and says, “It did break”. 1

1 Source:www.christianity.co.nz/ suffer8.htm

God suffered too

Lisa Goertz was a Jewish lady who lost most of her family in the Nazi holocaust, including her mother, husband, brother, son and daughter. At one point, when 16 members of her family had disappeared, she decided to end it all. In her book, ‘I Stepped into Freedom’, she tells what happened: “I walked out into the night, feeble with hunger, half crazy with fear and fatigue, and made my way down to the river Neisse. In a few hours all would be over, I told myself. What a relief! And there it happened. Across the dark river I saw the Cross and Jesus Christ on it. His face was not the face of a victor; it was the face of a fellow-sufferer, full of love and understanding and compassion. We gazed at each other, both of us Jews, and then the vision disappeared.” For Lisa this was the beginning of the road that led to faith and personal healing. 1

1 www.christianity.co.nz/ suffer8.htm

God suffered too

When he was man, he played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it all worthwhile… During President Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign in 1979, a woman of about 80 spoke out from the audience at the end of one of his campaign speeches. “Mr. Reagan, everything you’ve said sounds just fine. But what about the old folks? Haven’t you forgotten us?” The man who was to become the oldest president of the US smiled down at her and replied, “Forget you? Heavens, how could I ever forget you? I am one of you.” Does God know our pain ? Yes he does because he became one of us! 1

When Jesus saw Mary weeping “he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” and “Jesus wept” (John 11:33-35 )

As Jesus approached Jerusalem “he wept over it” (Matt 19:41).

To the mocking question “Where is your God?” when we face pain beyond expression, we do not have all the answers. But we have a God with wounds. 2

1 www.sermoncentral.com 2 “Nothing Else to Fear” – David W. Ellis

God suffered too

John Wimber was one of the founders of the Vineyard church movement in southern California. He tells of a Christian man whose teenage daughter was brutally murdered by a young man who attempted to rape her. Utterly desolate, the father went back to his house and gathered his family and prayed, “Father, I don’t understand. But I trust you.”

Over the months and years that followed, he experienced a profound motivation to make Christ known. The story of his daughter’s murder, the pursuit of her killer, the trial, and the father’s forgiveness of the young man were front-page news for months in the Los Angeles area. People knew about him and were willing to listen to him. Through his testimony to Christ, hundreds of people came to faith in Jesus. Some years later, his 22-year-old only son who had just graduated from college - a wonderful Christian, a fine athlete, a brilliant student – was in an auto accident and his skull was crushed. Today this father cares for his big, handsome boy, who functions with significant handicaps and must be watched at all times. 1

1 Source: Christianity Today

John Wimber

God uses suffering

However, the mysterious working of God’s purposes, which would have driven many into unbelief, has driven this man on. He continued to pray, “Father, I don’t understand, but I trust you.” He continues to lead people to Christ. Wimber says: “I am one of them. One evening years ago I knelt in this man’s living room, and he prayed for me as I turned my life over to Christ… I am sure that if I were designing a program to prepare an evangelist, I would never come up with anything like that… But God’s action in this man’s life produced a broken and contrite heart, and a highly motivated personality. He went out and has done the job the Lord gave him from that day forth. If we are going to pursue the things of the Lord, we will often not understand what he is doing… As my friend always used to tell me, ‘Sometimes God crushes a petal to bring out its essence.’ Sometimes he offends our minds to reveal our hearts. God may not remove our suffering, but he can transform it into something that will bring benefit to us and glory to him - if that is what we desire, and if we will trust him to do so.” 1

Suffering, with dignity, may enable you to mark more lives for Christ than anything else you say or do for Christ. - Bill Hybels

1 Christianity Today

God uses suffering

God uses suffering

Speaking at the dedication of the Judson Memorial Church in New York City, a son, Edward, spoke referring to his father: “Suffering and success go together. If you are succeeding without suffering, it is because others before you have suffered; if you are suffering without succeeding, it is that others after you may succeed.” Judson probably illustrated this truth as much as any man who ever lived. 1

Adoniram Judson was a 19th century American missionary to Burma. At age 37 he endured 17 months of imprisonment. Little food was given to him. His feet were bound to a large bamboo pole, his hands to another, and at night his feet were lifted higher than his head. Thus he was to swing suspended on the small of his back, his feet tied to a raised pole. His heroic wife brought little bits of food to him, although she and the baby were near death at times themselves… What was Judson doing during these days in prison? Translating the Bible, hiding his work in a hard pillow which nobody investigated. 2 Anne Judson died in Burma because of the strain of the work, the persecutions, and the wasting tropical diseases. His second and third wives also died because of the physical strain of life in the tropics. Judson buried several children in Burma.

1 www.believersweb.org 2 Source: www.swordofthelord.com

The first Christian missionary to the New Hebrides Islands was John Williams. As soon as he arrived on the Cannibal Island he was clubbed to death and then devoured at a cannibal feast. 1

His labour was not in vain. God had a purpose in allowing this. The news of this tragedy filled the London Missionary Society, which had sent him, with sorrow but also with a strong determination not to be defeated by this event. Immediately 25 new workers volunteered to take the place of Williams. 1

50 years after Williams was murdered, the son of his murderer was laying the corner- stone of the martyr’s memorial, while another son was preaching the gospel for which that martyr died! 1 1 www.middletownbiblechurch.org/ missions

John Williams (1796–1839)

God uses suffering

“The Touch of the Master’s Hand” was a poem by Myra Welch. She was in a wheelchair suffering from severe arthritis, which had taken away her ability to make music and so she spoke through her poetry. She would take a pencil in each of her badly deformed hands and, using the eraser end, would slowly type the words, the joy of them outweighing the pain of her efforts. Her words were a joyful expression of a soul that was touched by the Master’s Hand.

The Touch of the Master’s Hand

We are blessed

Matt 5:11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

1 Pet 3:14 … if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.

1 Pet 4:14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you..

James 5:10-11 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.

We will share in His glory

Rom 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Any suffering we experience in this life will pale in comparison to what God has in store for His followers. - Lee Strobel

Rom 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Suffering: Promises

The day is coming when suffering will be ceased and evil will be judged. -Lee Strobel

If we are faithful in suffering, we will receive a reward

Rev 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Heb 10:32-38 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

Matt 5:11-12 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…

Suffering: Promises

Look! The power of God and the life of his Son are manifested in your weakness.

Look! The life of Jesus is flowing through your suffering into the lives of other people.

Look! God sustains you in your afflictions and will not let you be destroyed.

Look! Your afflictions will not have the last word; you will rise from the dead with Jesus and with the church of God and live in joy for ever and ever.

Look! Your afflictions are momentary. They are only for now, not for the age to come.

Look! Your afflictions are light. Compared to the pleasures of what is coming they are as nothing.

Look! These afflictions are producing for you an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison… 1

1 John Piper (Reformed and Baptist theologian, preacher and author)

Suffering: Promises

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http:// www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For the other ministry in the “Kingdom of God” series:

Part 1 - The good seed and the inevitability of persecution

https:// agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?mId=3

Part 2 - Persecution & heresy

https:// agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?mId=4

Part 3A - The mustard seed, Constantine & the State Church

https:// agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?mId=5

Part 3B - Birds in the tree & corruption in the Church

https:// agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?mId=6

Part 4A - The woman with the leaven & the Great Harlot

https:// agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?mId=7

Part 4B - Tradition & the leaven of the Pharisees

https:// agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?mId=8

Part 5A - The reformation & the doctrine of grace

https:// agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?mId=9

Part 5B - The Radical Reformation and the Five Solas

https:// agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?mId=10

Part 6A - (1) - Who is "The Pearl of Great Price"

https:// agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?mId=111

Part 6A - (2) - Why does God allow suffering

https:// agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?mId=11

Part 6B - Missions

https:// agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?mId=12

Part 6C – Missions

https:// agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?mId=13

Part 7A - Self Esteem and Success-based Christianity

https:// agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?mId=14

Part 7B - Positive Confession and Prosperity

https:// agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?mId=86

Part 7C - Every nation, tribe, people & language

https:// agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?mId=281




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