Suffering - Part 1

SERMON TOPIC: Suffering - Part 1

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 2 May 2023

Topic Groups: SUFFERING

Sermon synopsis: Somehow, in the Western church, Faith has become “Believing that God will do what we want” instead of “What He wants”.
Difficulties and suffering are not a stumbling block, when we genuinely want, what God wants.

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Suffering (Part 1).

Somehow, in the Western church, Faith has become “Believing that God will do what we want” instead of “What He wants”.

Difficulties and suffering are not a stumbling block, when we genuinely want, what God wants.

The Biblical definition of faith is found in Hebrews 11:1.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

What am I hoping for?

Are my hopes vain or focused on God and His will?

Do I believe that God knows what is best for me?

Is it my desire to see God glorified in my life and situation?

Satan will use Christians to try to talk you out of doing what God wants so it is important to know His will.

Peter tried to talk Jesus out of his God-ordained destiny (Suffering and death).

Matthew 16:21-25.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. Never, Lord! he said. This shall never happen to you!

Matthew 16:21-25.

Jesus turned and said to Peter, Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Acts 9:15-16.

But the Lord said to Ananias, Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.

Acts 20:22-24.

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me, the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

There is a false gospel that is preached from the pulpits of many of the big churches and it has infiltrated the church worldwide. It has been tagged “The health and wealth gospel” because that what the message is, but it is a poison that leaves many would-be Christians disillusioned by the wayside.

Contrary to God’s Word these false teachers preach that we don’t have to suffer, and that God supposedly wants to bless us with worldly wealth.

The true shepherds have a duty to make sure that these poisonous seeds don’t take root in their pastures.

False Teachers.

Titus 1:9-12.

He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group.

They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach, and that for the sake of dishonest gain. One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.

This saying is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth.

There is a place for righteous indignation in the church when false doctrine destroys the faith of immature believers.

But many people in the “Western World” don’t want to hear the “True Gospel”, they want to have their ears tickled with false promises from men who live in the lap of luxury and know nothing of the trials that the Apostles experienced.

1 Corinthians 4:9-13.

For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena.

We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings.

We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.

1 Corinthians 4:9-13.

We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world right up to this moment.

Luke 14:25-33.

Large crowds were travelling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, even their own life, such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.

Luke 14:25-33.

Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.

In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.

This is what Jesus taught and we should be teaching it as well.

The Good News is that our Creator suffered and died for our sins, but that isn’t the end.

There is a cross for you and for me too, and we have the privilege of sharing in His sufferings.

Philippians 3:8-11.

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.

I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

I want to know Christ, yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Hebrews 5:7-9.

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.

And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him

Hebrews 5:7 (AMP)

In the days of His earthly life, Jesus offered up both [specific] petitions and [urgent] supplications [for that which He needed] with fervent crying and tears to the One who was [always] able to save Him from death,

and He was heard because of His reverent submission toward God [His sinlessness and His unfailing determination to do the Father’s will].

So, if Jesus learned obedience through the things that He suffered, so can we.

1 Peter 4:1-2.

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

If we want to do God’s will, we don’t need a life of comfort and ease, what we need is suffering.

Have you every prayed what is known as “The Lord’s prayer”?

Thy will be done on earth. Is that what you want or if you are honest, isn’t it your own will that you want?

Psalm 119:67.

Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I obey your word.

Psalm 119:71.

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

The reason lepers lose their limbs is not because the leprosy destroys them; it is because the lepers themselves destroy them because of their lack of sensation.

They lose the feeling in their skin, so every time they grab something that is hot, or sharp, or they have a rock in their shoe, things like that destroy their hands and feet because they feel no pain, so they don’t know to stop doing what is causing harm.

Pain is a gift. It motivates us to stop what we are doing and figure out what is wrong so we can avoid doing damage to ourselves. God uses pain to protect our souls as well.

Crucifixion is a slow death and that is how God sanctifies us.

If we are Born Again, we have come to realize that we cannot do anything to come into a relationship with God, we have to accept that He has done it all. Yet somehow, we think that we can assist God in the process of sanctifying us.

God wants you to die on the cross, He doesn’t want your assistance. He isn’t going to prop you up on the cross so that you can get some air and give your input, He wants you to stop struggling and die.

Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ”.

Galatians 2:19-20.

For through the law, I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Romans 6:5-7.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

God’s remedy for sin is the blood but His remedy for the sinner is the cross (Death). We must die so that Christ can live through us, but this is a process, and just like crucifixion, it is a process that brings about death.

Hebrews 10:14.

For by one sacrifice, he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

Jesus said if you want to follow Him then pick up your cross and follow Him.

Accept the death sentence that you symbolically demonstrated when you were buried with Him in baptism so that you can enjoy the resurrected Christ living out His life in you.

God can use your pain to be a tool to encourage others who are suffering. This week Sam put a video on our siblings and spouses group titled God doesn’t waste your pain, but sadly we often do.

Jesus used His pain and suffering to redeem His bride and wash her from her sins to enable her to spend eternity with Him.

Paul writes the following

1 Corinthians 2:9.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Some have asked me how I am coping with my wife being on the other side of the world. I miss her a lot, but it has also been a blessing in that my relationship with the Lord has deepened and become richer.

19 years ago, when my ex-wife divorced me, the Lord taught me a valuable lesson, and that is to never allow another human being to become the centre of your life.

It may sound very romantic that someone can hold that position, but it is not Biblical, that place is reserved for God.

If you live long enough you will lose your spouse and some don’t even have to wait long, or even wait for death, divorce will do the job and sometimes it is worse than death because it leaves a wound that often takes longer to heal.

Last Sunday I thanked the Lord for what I am going through.

Now that may sound crazy, but it is Biblical.

1 Thessalonians 5:17.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Unbelievers suffer in ways that do not benefit them, but all our suffering as believers can beneficial.

These benefits are enjoyed in greater or lesser degrees depending upon the person’s response to the suffering, but the benefits are always available to believers when we suffer.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

Romans 8:28-29.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Psalm 119:73-75.

Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.

I know, Lord, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.

Philippians 1:12-14.

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.

Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

2 Timothy 1:8 &11-12.

Join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God … of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am.

In His wisdom, God has chosen suffering as one of the primary tools He uses for the effective spread of the gospel and the encouragement of the saints.

We can gain this benefit by considering how much more important the work of the kingdom of God is than our temporal comfort.

Let us rejoice in God’s ability to bring about eternal fruit through our suffering even when we don’t always see the fruit.

Acts 19:11-12.

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured, and the evil spirits left them.

Galatians 4:13-14.

As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn.

Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.

Imagine how you would feel if you were in the church at Galatia.

The Apostle that you have heard so much about, who even when aprons and handkerchiefs touched him, and were sent out to sick people, they got healed and delivered from demons, he is the guest speaker at your church, and he turns up sick.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

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 receive from God.

This verse does not say that you will automatically be able to comfort people just because you went through suffering.

It only works if, in your suffering, you succeeded in finding comfort from God.

But if you do suffer and find comfort from God, you now have the ability to show others how it’s done.

Imagine someone is sick, or has lost their employment, or has lost a loved one, and you pray for them to be comforted and then you end up sick, or lose your job, or there is a death in your family.

The Lord then says to you, find your comfort and your strength in me so that you can comfort them.

That doesn’t fit into our theology, but it is Biblical and God has unique ways of qualifying us for ministry

1 Peter 1:6-7.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 4:12-13.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Luke 8:13.

They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.

All suffering is a test. Each trial exposes the genuineness or lack of genuineness of our faith.

When a trial pushes a person away from God, that exposes the fact that faith, in that area, is not real.

When suffering drives a person toward God, that exposes the fact that his faith is real. The prime example of this is Job. God sent intense and relentless suffering into Job’s life for the purpose of demonstrating that Job’s faith was indeed real.

Romans 5:1-5.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

James 1:2-4.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Job 23:10.

When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.

Suffering increases our sense of dependence on God and protects us from becoming puffed up with self-reliance, which is our greatest enemy.

2 Corinthians12:3-10.

And I know that this man, whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows, was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.

I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth.

2 Corinthians12:3-10.

But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

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