Sermon on May 15 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: 1 Peter 4 : 17-19
What is the point of suffering? To say that suffering is a mystery does not mean that it is mysterious to God.
Endure suffering because :
1. BY SUFFERING GOD IS PRUNING YOU FOR HEAVEN!
- Pain that hurts gives perspective
‘it is time for judgement to begin with God’s household’ (v17a)
Learn from Job. What appeared to be judgement was God’s discipline drawing him even closer. (Job 42:5)
- Pain with God bears much fruit
‘… if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly’ (v18)
Salvation is not over until we get to heaven. When branches are trimmed right back, watch out for fruit (John 15:2)
2. IN SUFFERING GOD IS PROVING ALL HE IS!
- Hang on – God won’t let you go even if you do
‘… should commit themselves to their faithful Creator’ (v19a)
Jonah can help us! When he needs it most, God provides a whale, a tree and a worm to show how faithful He is.
- Look up – God controls what you cannot
‘… those who suffer according to God’s will’ (v19a)
In Jesus the Creator becomes the Sufferer who can be with use in pain and use it for our eternal good.
How happy are they who can resign all to Him, who see His hand in every chapter; and believe ‘Lord, you choose better for me than I could possibly choose myself!’
(John Newton, who wrote the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’)
3. THROUGH SUFFERING GOD IS MAKING YOU STRONG!
- Grow – by handing it all to God
‘… should commit themselves to their faithful Creator…’
Suffering is not only in the crises that come – the trouble with life is that it is so daily (2 Cor. 12:7-10; Isaiah 40: 31)
Every day is not a day to feel that you are in control but that you cannot go on – then we experience God’s power.
- Grow – by using your pain for good
‘…and continue to do good’. (v19b)
When God give your glasses back intact in an explosion (Fred and Janet Young March 22, Zaventem airport) He is strengthening you to do good amid your suffering.
Remember, there will always be big bumps in the road and steep valleys through the mountains. What is a mystery to you, is not to God! As you suffer, Jesus is with you and for you – the ultimate proof that your suffering will not be wasted.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
- Why do you think Peter makes a big deal about suffering in a book intended to encourage Christians? How does his view on suffering differ with how the world generally views suffering?
- We use the word ‘salvation’ a great deal. From what does God save us and for what? How would God’s judgement of Christians in this life differ from His judgement of those who are ungodly in this life and the next? (Read Hebrews 12).
- Read Job 1 to see how suffering came to a ‘righteous’ man. If Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing, what more does he need to learn about God through His suffering?
- Ask the Lord not so much to remove your suffering but to deepen your devotion and trust in Him. In this week, think of someone you know who is suffering with health issues, or family problems, or generally discouraged. How can you come alongside to help and do good?
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Photo credit FreeImages.com/Joakim Buchwald