Suffering - Part 2

SERMON TOPIC: Suffering - Part 2

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 21 May 2023

Topic Groups: SUFFERING

Sermon synopsis: 10 ways in which God uses suffering.
- God uses Suffering to motivate us to change.
- God can use your Suffering to equip you to encourage others.
- God uses Suffering to teach us obedience.
- God uses Suffering to accomplish His purposes.
- God uses Suffering to enable us to comfort others.
- God uses Suffering to advance the Gospel.
- God uses suffering to test the genuineness of our faith.
- God uses suffering to keep us humble and to intensify our prayer life.
- God uses suffering to sanctify us.
- God uses suffering as a means for us to glorify Him.
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Suffering (Part 2).

Difficulties are not a problem when we genuinely want what God wants.

Hebrews 11:1.

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

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

Satan used Peter to try to talk Jesus out of his God ordained destiny of “Suffering and Death”.

There is a cost if you want God’s will and not your own.

We looked at the cost of Apostleship.

We looked at the cost of Discipleship.

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.

We must accept the death sentence that we symbolically demonstrated in baptism.

Hebrews 5:8-9.

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

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.

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

Psalm 119:67.

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

God can use our suffering for good and to accomplish His purposes.

Romans 8:28.

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.

God uses Suffering to motivate us to change.

God can use your Suffering to equip you to encourage others.

God uses Suffering to teach us obedience.

God uses Suffering to accomplish His purposes.

God uses Suffering to enable us to comfort others.

God uses Suffering to advance the Gospel.

God uses suffering to test the genuineness of our faith.

God uses suffering to keep us humble and to intensify our prayer life.

God uses suffering to sanctify us.

God uses suffering as a means for us to glorify Him.

Hebrews 10:32-37.

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full 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 suffered along 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. For, In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.

1 Peter 3:13-18.

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.

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 honour 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.

The only variant in the parable of the sower is the soil.

The soil represents the heart.

What kind of heart do you have.

Hard..

Stony..

Thorny..

Good..

Luke 8:13.

Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root.

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

All suffering is a test and exposes the genuineness of our faith.

There are many who choose their own comfort and pleasure above God’s purposes and plans. Some have even formulated doctrine to justify their own agenda of living a life free of trials and persecution.

Satan is not going to oppose those, who like Peter in the case of Jesus, allow themselves to be his agents.

John 16:33.

In this world you shall have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.

2 Timothy 3:12.

All that would live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

When suffering drives a person toward God, that exposes the fact that his faith is real. The prime example of this is Job.

God allowed intense and relentless suffering in Job’s life for the purpose of demonstrating that Job’s faith was indeed real and not just because there was a hedge of protection around him.

Job 2:7-9.

So, Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. 

Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.

His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity?  Curse God and die!”

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.

Proverbs 15:33.

Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honour.

Definition of humility: The quality of having a modest or low view of one's importance.

The first requirement for God to hear and answer our prayers is humility.

2 Chronicles 7:14.

If my people, who are called by my name,  will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

1 Peter 5:6-11.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is 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. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

2 Corinthians12:3-7.

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 Corinthians12:3-7.

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.

1 Peter 5:5-7.

God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10.

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.

Jesus, like Paul, also prayed three times.

Luke 22:43-44.

An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

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.

Since God is the source of all goodness, his glory is the wellspring of all joy. What God does for his own sake benefits us. Therefore, whatever glorifies him is good for us. And that includes the suffering he allows or brings (biblically, either or both terms can apply) into our lives.

God refines us in our suffering and graciously explains why: “See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this” (Isaiah 48:10).

For emphasis, God repeats this reason. If you don’t understand that the universe is about God and his glory, and that whatever exalts God’s glory also works for your ultimate good, then you will misunderstand this passage and countless others.

Some consider God egotistical or cruel to test us for his sake. But the testing he does for his sake accrues to our eternal benefit. How often have you heard people say, “I grew closest to God when my life was free from pain and suffering”?

Josef Tson, who faced much evil in communist Romania, told me, “This world, with all its evil, is God’s deliberately chosen environment for people to grow in their characters.

The character and trustworthiness we form here, we take with us there, to Heaven. Romans and 1 Peter 4:19 make clear that suffering is a grace from God. It is a grace given us now to prepare us for living forever.”

Mountain climbers could save time and energy if they reached the summit in a helicopter, but their ultimate purpose is conquest, not efficiency.

Sure, they want to reach a goal, but they want to do so the hard way by testing their character and resolve.

God could create scientists, mathematicians, athletes, and musicians. He doesn’t. He creates children who take on those roles over a long process.

We learn to excel by handling failure. Only in cultivating discipline, endurance, and patience do we find satisfaction and reward.

We think to “love” means to “do no harm,” when it really means “to be willing to do short-term harm for a redemptive purpose.” A physician who re-breaks an arm in order for it to heal properly harms his patient in order to heal him.

In his book, A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis wrote,

But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless. …

What do people mean when they say, “I am not afraid of God because I know He is good”? Have they never even been to a dentist?

If cancer or paralysis or a car accident prompts us to draw on God’s strength to become more conformed to Christ, then regardless of the human, demonic, or natural forces involved, God will be glorified in it. A friend whose husband died wrote,

One thing that I’ve become convinced of is that God has different definitions for words than what I do. For example, He does work all things for my eternal good and His eternal glory. But his definition of good is different to mine. My “good” would never include cancer and young widowhood.

My “good” would include healing and dying together in our sleep when we are in our nineties. But cancer was good because of what God did that He couldn’t do any other way. Cancer was, in fact, necessary to make Bob and me look more like Jesus. So, in love, God allowed what was best for us … in light of eternity.

When Christ’s disciples asked whose sin lay behind a man born blind, Jesus said, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned” (John 9:3).

Jesus then redirected his disciples from thinking about the cause of the man’s disability to considering the purpose for it. He said, “This happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

Eugene Peterson paraphrases Christ’s words this way: “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do” (The Message).

Nick Vujicic entered this world without arms or legs. As told in his life story on his website, www.lifewithoutlimbs.org, both his mom and his dad, an Australian pastor, felt devastated by their firstborn son’s condition.

“If God is a God of love,” they said, “then why would he let something like this happen, and especially to committed Christians?” But they chose to trust God despite their questions.

Nick struggled at school where other students bullied and rejected him. At that stage in my childhood, he said, I could understand His love to a point.

But … I still got hung up on the fact that if God really loved me, why did He make me like this? I wondered if I’d done something wrong and began to feel certain that this must be true.

Thoughts of suicide plagued Nick until one day the fifteen-year-old read the story in John 9 about the man born blind:

“but that the works of God should be revealed in him”(NKJV).

He surrendered his life to Christ. Now, at age twenty-six, he’s earned a bachelor’s degree and encourages others as a motivational speaker.

Due to the emotional struggles, I had experienced with bullying, self-esteem and loneliness, Nick says, God began to instill a passion of sharing my story and experiences to help others cope with whatever challenge they might have in their lives.

Turning my struggles into something that would glorify God and bless others, I realized my purpose!

The Lord was going to use me to encourage and inspire others to live to their fullest potential and not let anything get in the way of accomplishing their hopes and dreams.

God’s purpose became clearer to me and now I’m fully convinced and understand that His glory is revealed as He uses me just the way I am. And even more wonderful, He can use me in ways others can’t be used.

In her book When God Weeps, Joni Eareckson Tada writes, “Before my paralysis, my hands reached for a lot of wrong things, and my feet took me into some bad places.

After my paralysis, tempting choices were scaled down considerably. My particular affliction is divinely hand-tailored expressly for me. Nobody has to suffer ‘transverse spinal lesion at the fourth-fifth cervical’ exactly as I did to be conformed to his image.”

God uses suffering for His glory.

God uses suffering to purge sin from our lives, strengthen our commitment to him, force us to depend on his grace, bind us together with other believers, produce discernment, foster sensitivity, discipline our minds, impart wisdom, stretch our hope, cause us to know Christ better, make us long for truth, lead us to repentance of sin, teach us to give thanks in times of sorrow, increase our faith, and strengthen our character.

And once he accomplishes such great things, often we can see that our suffering has been worth it. God doesn’t simply want us to feel good. He wants us to be good. And very often the road to being good involves not feeling good.

1 Peter 2:19-23.

For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are 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.

John21:17-22.

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, Do you love me? He said, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.

Jesus said, Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go. Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, Follow me!

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, Lord, who is going to betray you?) When Peter saw him, he asked, Lord, what about him?

Jesus answered, If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.

John 9:1-3.

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

Neither this man nor his parents sinned, said Jesus, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

IMAGINE LIVING YOUR WHOLE LIFE UP INTO ADULTHOOD BLIND AND THE REASON WAS

“So that God could be glorified”

1 Peter 4:12-19.

If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.

However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.




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