Temple Baptist Church - 10-22-2008
2 Corinthians 11:16-33
A. One of life's greatest mysteries which is that of suffering. It is a mystery that hard to be understood. I do not pretend to know everything about suffering nor do I pretend to always be a good Christian during these hard times. Super spirituality is a thing of rare beauty.
B. I will not go into an in depth study of this subject but will try to give both myself and you some help for God’s Word. It is easy for me to preach on this subject for the Bible has much to say but it is hard for me to live in light of what I preach when these times of hardship and lack of understanding come.
C. The Apostle Paul suffered much for the cause of Christ and, as far as I can discern, did so with little or no complaining. He gives us some insight in this chapter as to the many ways that he had suffered for the Saviour.
D. In verse 30, he mentions glorying in infirmities. He also alluded to this same glorying in 12:9-10.
E. There are some things that we need to understand about our sufferings. Let us look at these few verses for a moment:
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1. Suffering is not a sign that God has forsaken us! These verses tell us that He is with us in our suffering. Hebrews 13:5 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.
2. Suffering is not a sign that God does not love us! Vs. 35, 39 both declare that we cannot be separated from His great love. As Jehovah loved Israel with an everlasting love, so He loves us. A love that never diminishes!
3. Suffering is allowed because it is for our good and God’s glory! Vs. 28
1 Peter 1:6-7 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
SUFFERINGS ARE A NORMAL PART OF LIVING
1. Every Christian Experiences Trials And Suffering
a. Every child of God shares the suffering that is common to mankind - Job 14:1-2 Man [that is] born of a woman [is] of few days, and full of trouble. 2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. (We are not immune to suffering because we are saved.)
Genesis 47:9 And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage [are] an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.
b. Christians also experience sufferings simply because they are Christians - Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
1 Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy [are ye]; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
2. Trials Are normally Both Intermittent And Short - 1 Peter 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
Psalms 30:5 For his anger [endureth but] a moment; in his favour [is] life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning.
2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory;
3. Trials Can Become Extremely Severe - 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (Job lost all that he had in a matter of a few days!)
4. Trials Come In A Myriad Of Different Ways - 1 Peter 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: (Physical, financial, spiritual, emotional, family, persecutions, etc.)
5. Trials And Tribulations Are Purposeful - 1 Peter 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: (What a blessing that trials and sufferings do not constantly rest upon us in all of their heaviness!)
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
6. Trials Are Related To Our Future As Well As Our Present - 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
SOME THINGS THAT SUFFERINGS ACCOMPLISH
1. Trials Try Our Faith - 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: [when] he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Psalms 66:10 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.
Genesis 22:1, 12 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, [here] I [am]. 12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son] from me.
2. Trials Strengthen Our Faith - Mark 4:38 -41 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
Luke 17:5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
Genesis 30:27 And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, [tarry: for] I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content.
3. Trials Are God’s Means Of Discipline - Hebrews 12:5-13 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
1 Peter 4:17 For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?
4. Trials Bring Humility To The Believer - Deuteronomy 8:2-3 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, [and] to prove thee, to know what [was] in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every [word] that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
5. Trials Purify The Believer - 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: [when] he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Trials cause us to take a close look at our lives and draw us nearer to God.)
6. Trials Prove The Sufficiency Of His Marvelous Grace - 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].
7. Trials Enable Us To Help Others - 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
8. Trials Make Us Long For Heaven - Philippians 1:21-23 For to me to live [is] Christ, and to die [is] gain. 22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
THE SECRETS TO SUFFERING
1. Trust In The Lord - Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Psalms 56:3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
2. Keep A Right Attitude - Psalms 37:1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. (It is so easy to become fretful or disgruntled.)
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
3. Continue To Do Good – Psalms 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Live for the Lord!)
4. Delight In The Lord Instead Of Indict The Lord – Psalms 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Isaiah 58:14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].
5. Commit Thy Way Unto The Lord – Psalms 37:5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
1 Peter 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls [to him] in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
6. Rest In The Lord – Psalms 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
7. Wait Upon The Lord - Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.
Psalms 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
8. Rest Assured That He Will Be There For You - Hebrews 13:5 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Isaiah 49:15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.