Suffering, test and trials are universally experienced by all of us. God not only “allows them,” but ordains and uses them for His glory and our good. In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” In this message, we will gain perspective from God’s word in order make sense out of suffering.
Glory in Tribulation
Making Sense Out of Suffering
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Aug. 20th, 2017
- Today we are going to focus on “Glory in Tribulation” as I seek to help us make “sense out of suffering.” We will end the message today with participation of the Lord’s supper.
- I don’t know any person on the planet that has not gone through some form of suffering. Christians often struggle when we try to reconcile our experience of pain, difficulty, suffering, and injustice with serving a God of love. Christians especially struggle with it when they don’t have a Biblically accurate and developed theology of suffering. Or they might embrace the teaching that following Christ leads to an easy path- one where they do not experience difficult things, but only the good things in life.
- This morning, we are going to look at scripture to see what the Bible says about tribulation so you will be equipped to deal with it in a God-glorifying way.
Tribulation is to be expected
John 16:33 ESV
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
- These are the last words we have recorded of Jesus before he prays for the 12 in the upper room and is betrayed by Judas in the garden.
- In Him, we have peace – in Him is our place of peace; In Him is our source of peace
- In the world, we have tribulation – this is guaranteed to come and should be expected
- Tribulation: pressure, narrow – tight spots and thin spots, afflictions, anguish, burdens, persecutions, troubles. sufferings, difficulties
- Our peace will not come from the world, because it cannot come from the world. The world cannot give peace, only tribulation. Our peace comes from Christ, because He has it to give and promises that we will find it in Him. Our peace will not come from outward circumstances, but from an inward relationship to Christ and in Christ.
- Being “in him,” we have the power to overcome the world because He has overcome the world. So “take heart” – have courage, be of good cheer. The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
John 15:20 ESV
Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
- If you are in Jesus and Jesus is in you, then people will treat us as they treated Him. If they persecuted him, they will persecute us. Do you think you are greater and better than Jesus?
- We should prepare for and expect this
- Paul taught the same thing when he was planning the first churches
Acts 14:22 ESV
saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God
- The pathway in following Jesus is not a nice paved road, but a narrow one with obstacles and difficulties. This is the way of the cross.
- The Apostle Peter also explained:
1 Peter 4:12 ESV
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.
- Don’t be surprised when you face difficulties, hardships and trials . . . like “I can’t believe this is happening.” Expect them and be prepared for them.
- We have a more significant issue if we are not experiencing these things . . .
- This outlook may not seem very optimistic but it is realistic. Having this understanding will equip you to handle the struggles, hardships, heartaches, persecutions, difficulties and injustices in the world with grace and dignity.
- Tribulation should be expected and it also should be embraced.
Tribulation is to be embraced
- This response is the opposite of what we naturally desire. We run away as fast and as far as we can. We try to avoid it at all costs Here are some reasons why tribulations should be embraced according to scripture.
- To identify with Christ
1 Peter 4:13-14 ESV
But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
- To prove the genuineness of our faith
1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV
though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 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.
- To develop our character and increase our hope
Rom 5:3-5 ESV
we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
- To become mature and complete through perseverance
James 1:2-5 NIV
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
- To cease sinning
1 Peter 4:1-2 ESV
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
- To receive and give comfort
2 Cor 1:3-4ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
- To share in fellowship
Phil 3:10-11 NIV
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
- To gain future glory
Rom 8:18 ESV
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
- Tribulation is to be expected, embraced and endured
Tribulation is to be endured
- How are we to endure it?
Rom 12:12-15 ESV
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer . . . rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
- Tearfully –
- Rejoicing in hope as to what God is doing in us and what is yet to come.
- We are to rejoice in, with and for each other
- Weeping with each other –empathizing as we experience the tribulation
- Patiently – waiting and preserving looking forward to what is to come.
- Prayerfully – looking to God for comfort, help, peace, joy and strength.
Questions for the Ride Home
- What from today’s message was the most helpful for you?
- What specifically are you going to put into practice as an outcome of today’s message?
Conclusion and Communion
Gen 50:20 ESV
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good,
Rom 8:28 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose