Romans 242: Romans 8 - Suffering is JOYFUL Part of Being a Christian
a Christian Church
Welcome to Barah Ministries…a worldwide Christian Church based in Mesa, AZ…my name is Pastor Rory Clark.
There is More to Life Than Good and Bad and Right and Wrong
There is a book entitled, When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner. I can’t remember if I have read it or not…if I did, it was a while ago when I was obsessed with the unfairness of suffering…and only when suffering was happening to me, of course…but I do know I have always resented the title a bit. First of all, it’s as if bad things aren’t supposed to happen to good people. Bad things DO happen to good people. Real people DO have real problems. Secondly, it’s as if life can only be evaluated as good or bad, or as right or wrong. The apostle Paul tells us that there is more to life than good and bad and right and wrong…in Philippians, Chapter 4, Verse 11…
…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
There is a place called contentment. Whether in JOY or in SORROW… whether in SUFFERING or in GLORY…believers in Christ have the spiritual capacity to be content, regardless of circumstance. Contrary to the world’s opinion, which sees suffering as bad and wrong…as believers in Christ, we know that God allows suffering for our good. And the outcome of suffering is always the same for believers in Christ…First Peter, Chapter 5, Verse 10…
After you have suffered for a little while, the God and Father of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in union with Jesus Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
As believers in Christ, we know that environment is nothing…we know that circumstances are nothing…we know that our choices in the environment and in the circumstances have a great deal to do with our success in any endeavor…but mainly, it is contentment regardless of circumstances or environment that is the Lord’s wish for us.
Welcome to a place where you can learn to see the life beyond right and wrong and good and bad by studying the Word of God.
MUSIC AND REFLECTION
Be Occupied with the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ
Enjoy the Singing of His Praises
The opening song is BEYOND ME by Toby Mac.
Let us pray...
We’re grateful, Heavenly Father, for the privilege of studying Your absolute truth...the Word of God…
Father, in the midst of an overwhelming sense of the true magnitude of the battles we face every day, we bow our heads, and bend our knees, and seek Your wisdom through the Word of God...thank you for counting us worthy to know You and Your Word…
Thank you that we are not frightened by the battles because Your Word teaches us the purpose of suffering…so we fix our eyes on Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, our God, and He helps us make sense of the confusion, the ridicule, the despair, and the feelings of hopelessness we encounter when we suffer.
Give us wisdom, Father, in God the Holy Spirit’s power, to recognize how deadly Satan’s counterfeits are... and show us the ways the Spirit defeats
The kingdom of death’s attacks against us...
We ask this through the power of God the Holy Spirit in Christ’s name... Amen.
Suffering is JOYFUL Part of Being a Christian
I’ll bet you never considered that. Or else what is it that would cause an eighty-five year old man like Caleb to say, in Joshua, Chapter 14, Verse 12…
Now then, give me this hill country (the mountain) about which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that the Anakites were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I will drive them out as the Lord has spoken.”
Caleb was asking for suffering…asking for a task that had struck fear in the hearts of his fellow men. Caleb knew what we know…that the Lord causes us to suffer…and the Lord delivers us from suffering. Therefore we, as Christians, are to consider suffering a permanent part, and a joyful part of the Christian experience.
Let’s begin this lesson by taking the offering. In just a few moments we’ll welcome up Deacon Denny Goodall.
Deacon Denny Goodall
BARAH MINISTRIES FINANCIAL POLICY
We are sanctioned by God to charge for anything we provide so you can worship God. God expects you to provide wages for your Pastor and support for the ministry.
BARAH MINISTRIES FINANCIAL POLICY
We choose not to charge for the things we provide so as to reflect God’s
grace. We invite you to help yourself to bibles, to music, to books, to pamphlets, to anything that would help you, a family member, or a friend learn about God. No price appears on any material from Barah Ministries so that anyone who wants to learn about God can do so free of charge.
BARAH MINISTRIES FINANCIAL POLICY
Even though the materials are free of charge, they are not free of cost. We appreciate the financial support you provide so we can continue to share the Word of God with the hearers God brings to listen. Please be generous in your support of God’s work through this ministry.
Let’s welcome up Deacon Denny Goodall.
Deacon Denny Goodall
PHI 1:27 (New Living Translation)
Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.
FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE
Dave McClure, Instrumental
Suffering is JOYFUL Part of Being a Christian
We begin our study of the third passage of Romans, Chapter 8, which extends from Verse 18 to Verse 25. Paul’s letter to the Romans, of course, is the foundational letter of biblical Christianity in the Church Age…a letter about salvation, and a letter about the key factors in the Christian Way of Life. Let’s look at this third passage and listen to it together, as the Word of God speaks to our souls…
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (RIGHT NOW) are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us (IN THE FUTURE).
For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope…
…that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
Two subjects are in view in this passage…SUFFERING and GLORY. One is happening to us now…SUFFERING…one will happen to us in the future…GLORY. One is temporary…SUFFERING…one is permanent for the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ…GLORY. What happens when we suffer? We groan. So because we groan a lot, as humans, we must conclude that we suffer a lot. But why does God let bad things happen to good people? Whine…Whine. Because suffering is a JOYFUL part of the Christian experience. Let’s continue our look at Romans, Chapter 8, Verse 18…which we began in the last lesson…
For I consider that the SUFFERINGS of this present time (RIGHT NOW) are not worthy to be compared with the GLORY that is to be revealed to us (IN THE FUTURE).
A lot of our suffering as Christians comes when we try to turn Christianity into a religion…when we think Christianity is about an over concern with sin and the law…this happens when we forget about what we learned in Romans, Chapter 6…beginning with Verse 11…
Even so (believers in Christ) consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God the Father in union with Christ Jesus.
Romans, Chapter 6, Verse 14…
For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but you are under the sphere of grace.
The Christian Way of Living…the resurrection life…the ZOE life…the eternal life is much bigger than good and bad (the over focus on sin)…it’s much bigger than right and wrong (the over focus on the law). It’s a life of freedom…freedom to make your own choices…freedom to make errors… freedom to be loved UNconditionally by God…freedom to be forgiven by God…freedom to live in God’s sphere of grace…freedom to be a child of God… freedom to be a son of God… freedom to be an heir of God… freedom to realize you are adopted by God…freedom to accept an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and reserved for you in heaven…an inheritance that you did not earn or deserve….but God gave it to you anyway.
Life presents us with one DICHOTOMY after another. What is a DICHOTOMY?
Two completely opposed and totally contradictory viewpoints being offered for your consideration at the point of decision.
What are some of the dichotomies of this life?
Guidance from God or guidance from His Enemy, Satan
Believing Absolute Truth or Creating Relative Truth
Christianity or Religion
Faith in God or Faith in Self
Freedom or Slavery
Suffering or Glory
Christians have always been the object of blood lust. The enemy of God, Satan, is never our friend…he is never content to leave us alone…he is always out to destroy us…always after our undoing…he has always wanted our ruination…and the Lord Jesus Christ has always definitely and deliberately permitted the attacks of Satan and the kingdom of death.
The Lord Jesus Christ was well acquainted with suffering…Isaiah, Chapter 53, Verse 3…
He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
The Lord is known as the “column leader” … the One who takes the point in the battle. Galatians, Chapter 1, Verses 3 to 5…
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ…
…the Lord who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…
…to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.
The Lord Jesus Christ suffered voluntarily to satisfy the demand of His Father against sinners…to reconcile sinners to Himself…to redeem a lost and dying world…to be THE WAY…to rescue us from this present evil age, that is, to deliver us from evil. Hebrews, Chapter 12, Verse 2…
…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God the Father.
While much of our suffering comes from things we do, much of our suffering comes because we follow Him. All of us who follow in His footsteps and dedicate ourselves to His life and His Word suffer similarly…we, too, are well acquainted with suffering… John, Chapter 15, Verse 20…
“Do you remember what I (the Lord Jesus Christ) told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, which they didn’t, they would listen to you.”
First century Christians had it rough…Hebrews, Chapter 11, Verses 32 to 40 give account…
And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, of Barak, of Samson, of Jephthah, of David and of Samuel and the prophets…
…who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions…
…who quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their own release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection…
…and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated…
(men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.
The Christian always faces ostracism and persecution.
And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised…
…because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.
The apostle Paul is a servant of God and here is how he explains his suffering in Second Corinthians, Chapter 11, Verses 23 to 28…
Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I am more so a servant of Christ; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.
Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.
Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.
I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren…
I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.
What is our attitude in suffering? We must see suffering as a joyful experience…and see the value of it, not just the cost.
We are to understand that suffering is to the spiritual life as exercise is to the body. Suffering is that thing in the spiritual life that buffets us, and it creates in us a strength to endure. First Corinthians, Chapter 10, Verse 13…
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
God ALWAYS gives us things we can’t handle. Allowing us to suffer is among that list of things. And how are we to handle suffering? We are to take the Lord’s way of escape…and we are to endure it. We are at the tip of the iceberg in our study of suffering.
When the Lord Jesus Christ
Promises Salvation, It’s a Guarantee!
…as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one”
But God the Father demonstrates His own unconditional love toward all mankind, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
For God the Father did not send the Son (the Lord Jesus Christ) into the world to condemn the world, but the Father sent His Son into the world that the world might be saved through believing in Him.
But as many as received the Lord (taking advantage of the free gift of salvation), to them He gave the right (once and for all time) to become children of God…to those who believe in Christ’s name…
COUNT IT ALL JOY
Let us pray...
THANKS- INTERCESSION- PETITION
And we pray that You protect our steps as we go out into the world, Father…and that you keep us on the narrow way, completely dependent on You and Your Guiding, Mentoring Spirit…we ask this in Christ’s name, Amen.
Thanks for coming!
Thanks for watching!
Thanks for listening!