Suffering - Part 3

SERMON TOPIC: Suffering - Part 3

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 10 September 2023

Topic Groups: SUFFERING

Sermon synopsis: 10 ways in which God uses suffering.
God uses Suffering to motivate us to change.
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 3).

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.

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

Can you identify with this SCRIPTUREOR DOES IT SOUND FOREIGN TO YOU? Habakkuk 3:17-19.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Sovereign Lord is my strength;

God uses Suffering to motivate us to change.

God uses Suffering to teach us obedience. Hebrews 5:7-8. 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.

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.

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.

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.

At some point we will all experience different types of suffering. It’s a reality of living in a fractured world. Everything here is touched by brokenness.

But Jesus Christ stepped into the brokenness of our world with the limitations of human flesh and gave us a new and living hope.

1 Peter 1:3-7.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.

This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

Opposition Suffering.

Grief Suffering.

Consequential Suffering.

Victim Suffering.

Empathetic Suffering.

Collective Suffering.

Preventative/Discipline Suffering.

Holiness Suffering.

Creation Suffering.

Missional Suffering.

It’s important to remember that this list isn’t exhaustive, and suffering seldom fits just into one category.

Suffering is often a combination of multiple categories and sometimes it has little, or no answer at all. However, examining these different types of suffering can help us respond well to someone who is in pain.

It can also encourage us as we examine our own pain and consider what types of suffering, we’re dealing with and look to the Scriptures to see how God responds to those with suffering like ours.

Jesus warned His followers that just following Him will lead to suffering at times.

Historically, God’s people have frequently suffered at the hands of those who oppose God.

Opposition suffering can range from taunting, getting made fun of all the way to the extreme of physically persecution and martyrdom.

John 15:18-211 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.

Early in the fourth century, a form of the religion was legalized by the Edict of Milan, and it eventually became the State church of the Roman Empire.

Christian missionaries as well as converts to Christianity have been the target of persecution ever since the emergence of Christianity, sometimes to the point of being martyred for their faith.

John 15:18-25.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.

That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: A servant is not greater than his master. 

If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also…  But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: They hated me without reason.

The persecution of Christians can be  historically traced from the first century of the  Christian era to the present day.  Early Christians were persecuted for their faith at the hands of both a small number of Jews from whose religion Christianity arose and the Romans who controlled many of the lands across which early Christianity was spread. 

To understand what is behind the persecution of God’s chosen covenant people, firstly the Jews (Israel) and then also the Church (Christians) we need to look at Scripture, particularly references to the unseen rulers of the world that Paul speaks about on several occasions.

Reference is made to the “Divine Counsel” or “The Sons of God” on numerous occasions in the Old Testament.

There are three root sources of suffering for us as Christians.

Our flesh (our physical body with its desires, weakened by our sinful nature)

The World Society: The systems of government that have been influenced and controlled by powers and authorities (gods, that man has allied himself with rather the almighty God)

Satan and The rulers of this world(fallen Angels that like Satan have rebelled against God

Reminder. 1 Peter 5:8-11 be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen..

1 Peter 1:3-7.

In all 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 the proven genuineness of your faith, of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire, may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Jesus rescued us from sin, promised to walk with us through life and to guide us into the next. As God’s redeemed people we can come to him in our suffering and rest in Him.

With that in mind let us look at some different types of suffering we find in Scripture. Hopefully, this will help us to understand our own suffering, relate to other people’s sufferings and learn how to pray and walk together as God’s people.

We can open ourselves up to attack from Satan and give him a foothold

Jesus said that Satan had asked for Peter and his fellow disciples that he might sift them as wheat, but that Jesus had prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail so that he could strengthen his brothers.

Jesus didn’t pray that Peter wouldn’t be sifted. Luke 22:31-34. Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.

This is a very broad category. Much of the suffering we encounter is because we live in a broken world, it is a product of the fall, a consequence of human sin against God All of God’s creation has been tainted by sin and its effects. Natural disasters, terminal diseases wreak havoc. We hurt along with creation itself which groans while it waits to be renewed.

Romans 8:18-23.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the Firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

The Fall and its consequences as well as the redemption and reconciliation of all things lie at the heart of the gospel message (see Colossians 1:20; Romans 8:21).

Because of man’s disobedience toward his Creator, death and suffering entered into the world. But it is by the suffering, death, and Resurrection of His Son that we can gain salvation so that we are no longer condemned to live forever in a fallen world.

Scripture also gives us an eschatological hope that the curse that accompanied sin in Genesis 3 will be reversed and removed as death, sorrow, crying, and pain will be no longer (Revelation 21:4; 22:3).

Colossians 1:15-20.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.

For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.

Revelation 21:1-4.

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Revelation 22:1-5.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

JOB 1:16-19 One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, Where have you come from? Satan answered the Lord, From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.

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. Does Job fear God for nothing?  Satan replied. Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face. The Lord said to Satan, Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man, himself do not lay a finger. Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Are all natural disasters ACTS OF GOD?.

While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them, and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you

JOB 1:16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

The painful reality is we’re all going to see sin take a lot of things away from us. Sin and death and suffering has a traumatic impact on the human soul and the right response is grief. This is an emotional suffering, a heart-wrenching sorrow and even anger at times.

People we love die and we grieve.

Relationships fall apart and we grieve.

We fight and struggle with sin and we grieve.

1 Peter 1:6.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

Jesus was tried and tempted and suffered in every way that we as humans are.

Hebrews 4:15-16.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet he did not sin.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

1 Corinthians 15:21-22.

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

But this life came at a great cost to God.

Jesus went through immense emotional suffering in Gethsemane as He contemplated what lay ahead of Him.

Matthew 26:38-39.

Then he said to them, My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.

Stay here and keep watch with me. Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.

Yet not as I will, but as you will.

Isaiah 53:2-5.

He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.

He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely, He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God and afflicted.

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

Psalm 31:9-10.

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.

An interesting feature of this psalm is that it is often quoted in other passages of Scripture.

The author of Psalm 71 (possibly David himself) quotes the first three verses of Psalm 31 to start Psalm 71.

Jonah seems to quote Psalm 31:6 in Jonah 2:8, his prayer from the belly of the great fish.

Jeremiah quoted Psalm 31:13 six times, in Jeremiah 6:25; 20:3; 20:10; 46:5; 49:29, and Lamentations 2:22.

Paul quoted Psalm 31:24 in 1 Corinthians 16:13 (according to Adam Clarke, this is clearer in the Septuagint).

Stephen, the first martyr of the church, also alluded to Psalm 31:5 (Acts 7:59).

Most significantly, Psalm 31:5 was quoted by Jesus Christ on the cross as His final words before yielding His life (Luke 23:46).

Enduringword.com

Sin has consequences eternally for the unrepentant.

Romans 3:23.

For the wages of sin is death.

But sin also has consequences in this life ; both in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. These consequences are often very painful.

2 Samuel 12:9-14.

You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.

Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.

2 Samuel 12:9-14.

This is what the Lord says: Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight.

You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel. Then David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. Nathan replied, The Lord has taken away your sin.

You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.

  Leviticus 26:3-8.

If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. 

Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land.

I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove wild beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country. 

You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you...

  Leviticus 26:14-17.

But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then I will do this to you:

I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength. 

You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it.

I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you...

Matthew 18:32-35.

Then the master called the servant in. You wicked servant, he said, I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?

In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.

When we are born-again , brought to life by the Spirit of God, we are still bound and inhibited by things that pertain to our unsaved life, the life of darkness and death.

The Lord wants us to be freed from these grave-clothes that inhibit us and prevent us from experiencing the life of abundance that He has promised.

We’re still confined by our burial wrappings–old habits, old behaviours, old patterns of thinking, old wounds—and we’re not able to freely move about.

All these restricting sheets and cloths and strips are part of our grave wardrobe, and we need to be unbound in order to walk freely in our new life.

We can’t free ourselves, so Jesus calls us to find freedom in spiritual community. In community, we are to help each other get unwrapped, unbound and set free.

And the freer we are from our own wrappings, the better able we are to help loose others from theirs.

There is a life of abundance that is on offer for every born-again Christian, but you first must take off those grave clothes.

  Even when we’re not sinning and suffering our own consequences, we will often suffer as other people sin against us; sometimes in really harmful ways. Abuse, trauma, oppression and other forms of evil are painful realities throughout the world. Psalm 9:9-10. The Lord reigns forever; He has established His throne for judgment. He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.

Suffering allows you to get off the treadmill of this material world, where you are running all the time and getting nowhere and to focus on what really matters.

Watching someone you love suffer is one of the most painful experiences on earth.

God calls His people to identify with the hurting; to mourn with those who mourn.

Those who work in helping professions (counselor, social work, medical, etc.) will walk in this consistently.

(2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Romans 12:15)

This is when you suffer because you belong to a larger group of people who are suffering.

We are part of families, nations and ethnic groups. When our group hurts, we hurt.

Collective suffering often has a disproportionate effect on minorities. (Judges 21:1-3)

In “Concerning the Jews,” Mark Twain mused on the hatred of Jews, on one hand, and their persistence, on the other hand” The Jews constitute but one percent of the human race.

Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone.

Other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, the Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?

Not less bewildering than the survival of the Jews is the fact that from Pharaoh to Hitler, virtually every detractor of the Jews sealed his doom in persecuting them.

Some were even aware of the fact that the Jews are indestructible, yet could not help themselves, as if compelled by a force greater than themselves.

In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler wrote, “When … I scrutinized the activity of the Jewish people, suddenly there arose up in me the fearful question whether inscrutable Destiny, perhaps for reasons unknown to us poor mortals, did not, with eternal and immutable resolve, desire the final victory of this little nation.”  Despite this premonition, Hitler tried, and almost succeeded in exterminating European Jewry. But he, too, eventually failed.

Hated or loved, Jews were always treated as different. They are judged by different standards, revered, admired, and hated more than any other nation on the face of the Earth.

British Bishop, Thomas Newton wrote about Jews: “What but a supernatural power could have preserved them in such a manner as none other nation upon earth hath been preserved?”

The State of Israel wishes only to be a nation in the family of nations. Instead, it is rebuked time and again, especially by the entity representing the entire world: The United Nations.

THE PROTECTION OF THE Jews is supernatural but the hatred of the jews is also fueled by a supernatural source “Satan “

Some pain is a small pain now that warns us of greater pain coming if we don’t heed the warning (e.g., abdominal pain that indicates appendicitis).

Another example is when a loving parent gives their child a small yet painful consequence now to prevent much greater pain later in their life. (Hebrews 12:7-11)

Paul’s thorn in the flesh: To prevent him from becoming conceited.

Hezekiah’s father Ahaz.

2 Chronicles 28:1-2.

Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and also made idols for worshiping the Baals.

2 Chronicles 28:22.

In his time of trouble King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord.

Hezekiah’s son Manasseh.

2 Chronicles 33:10-13.

The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. So, the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so, he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.

1 Corinthians 11:29-32.

For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 

That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 

But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 

Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

Hebrews 12:5-9.

My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 

If you are not disciplined, and everyone undergoes discipline, then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 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 spirits and live!

When we follow Jesus for the sake of walking in Gods footsteps, we will experience the suffering of laying down our fleshly desires and fighting our sin. This battle with the flesh will hurt, and our suffering for righteousness’ sake reveals what an incredible treasure Jesus is. Romans 5:13-8 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,,

1 Peter 4:1-4 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. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you.

Jesus endured suffering to show off how much God loves those who are far from Him.

We will sometimes be called to do the same to sacrificially love people far from God. (Romans 5:6-8, Paul writes in Colossians 1:24-25.Now I rejoice in what I am suffering 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.

EXPECT Great things from GOD

ATTEMPT GREAT THINGS FOR GOD

My jogging around the parking lot

Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee Take my moments and my days Let them flow in ceaseless praise

Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold. Take my intellect and use every power as thou shalt choose,

Take my will and make it thine; it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart it is thine own; it shall be thy royal throne,

Take my love; my Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure store. Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for thee, ever, only, all for thee.




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