Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

#21 Why Christians Suffer

As we continue our study of sanctification in Romans 8,  we are confronted with two options: that of being controlled by our selfish fleshly nature, or being controlled by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. Remember, our body, as Christians, is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  At the same time, we still dwell in a sin-cursed, self-centered body desiring to have our own way.

Though a true Christian may be carnal, self-centered and selfish at times; his basic orientation and his most innermost concerns and desires are with the things of God and to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.

 As born again children of God, we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. The first part of that inheritance, the gift of the Holy Spirit, has already been given to us and we await our bodies’ future glory in Heaven.

In the meantime, dwelling in these  carnal, physical bodies we sometimes experience failure, suffering and sorrow and we will eventually experience death.  Nevertheless, we look by faith to our future glory in Heaven.

GENERAL REASONS FOR SUFFERING 

Let’s look at the reasons for our suffering in this life. 

As children of Adam, though we may have our faith in Christ and be saved and bound for Heaven; our physical bodies still bear the curse of sin with Adam, as taught in Romans 5:12  and  must die. 8:22-23.

Evil doers who break God’s laws suffer the consequence.  I Peter 4:15

What does the Bible say about suffering saints?

We suffer in this present time, according to  Romans 8:18

We suffer for a relatively short season, when contrasted with eternity. 

I Peter 1:6

Those who live godly lives can expect suffering from Satan and his godless world system Read II Timothy 3:12,  Luke 14:25-27  and Hebrews 11:25

GOD’S  PURPOSE FOR OUR SUFFERINGS AS CHRISTIANS

 

We are never more  identified with Christ than in His sufferings  John 15:18-21.  The main reason God permits Christian to suffer is to sanctify us.

I Peter 1:6-8,  and  5:10-11

 

THE WEIGHT OF SUFFERING

 How heavy is our suffering?

It’s  a matter of reckoning or counting our suffering as light  by faith.  Romans 8:18

 

In the light of future glory, our present suffering it’s not so heavy after all

II Corinthians 4:17-18  Paul refers to  it as a “light affliction” 

In the light of eternity our suffering is  “but for a moment”

 

HOW SHALL WE ACCEPT SUFFERING AS CHRISTIANS?

 

First,  see it in its proper perspective. Romans 8:18

Rejoice in the privilege of suffering for Christ.  Matthew 5:10-12, Acts 5:41and  I Peter 1:6

Be patient. I Peter 2:20-23   Wait for God’s timing. Romans 8:19-25

Suffering builds patience. Romans 5:3,

 

Don’t be afraid. I Peter 3:14-17

Don’t think it strange.  I Peter 4:12

Suffering drives us to prayer.  Romans 8:26-27

 

CONSIDER PRAYER, OUR GREATEST NEED

 

We never experience the need for prayer more keenly  than in times of suffering and need.

Prayer is the  key to victory. Ephesians 6:18, II Corinthians10:3-5

Prayer is the key to evangelism & missions. Matthew 9:34-38

Prayer is the key to the supply of every need. Philippians 4:6-7

Prayer is the key to local and national revival and blessing.

 II Chronicles7:14

 

LACK OF PRAYER OUR GREATEST WEAKNESS

 

 

We don’t know what is good for us, Like a small child begging for a knife or matches, sometimes a young person begs God for the wrong marriage partner or for something we desire which would eventually harm us. Don’t trust your heart and your feelings. Proverbs 28:26

Rather, trust the Lord.  Proverbs  3:5-6

 

We are short-sighted. Two Biblical examples of that are Esau begging  for his favorite stew and being willing to trade off the blessings God had for him for the stew.  Genesis 25:29-34  and  a mother’s selfish desire for her sons. Matthew 20:20

We often pray for  fleshly requests.  James 4:3. The prodigal son’s request of his father “Give me!” was a prayer of immaturity. After God got finished working in him, his prayer was changed to “Make me”, a  prayer evidencing  growing maturity.

 

We often have cold hearts  and wandering thoughts. Matthew 15:8  The devil fights us on our knees harder than at any other time. He wants to keep us from fellowship with God and with  unconcern for others.

We often become  impatient with God, demanding quick answers that please us.  Like Martha in John 11:21 when her brother Lazarus died, we chide God for not doing things our way.

Like that prayer group who prayed for Peter’s deliverance from prison, we have little faith and we tend to be shocked when God answers. The story of   Acts 12:5, 13-16 would be funny if it were not so pathetically a picture of our own lack of faith.

 

GOD GIVES US TWO PRAYER PARTNERS

Jesus intercedes for us in Heaven.  Hebrews 7:22-26.

The Holy Spirit living within us helps us pray. Romans 8:26

How does He help us?

He prays with us; not by Himself.

He prays according to the will of God for we don’t always know God’s will. 

He prays with an intensity we often lack.

He groans.  I have often prayed just groaning to God when words fail.

He searches our hearts and knows our desires and genuine needs.

How terrifying to the sinner!

How comforting to the saints!

You testify to being a child of God.

Are your rejoicing in the hope of glory?

Are you presently suffering for Jesus because of your testimony for Him?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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October 20, 2011 - Posted by | Romans

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