Glorifying God Through Suffering
Sermon shared by John Kapteyn
Summary: Job's suffering brought glory to God. This evening we see how his and our suffering glorify God.
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1. Fred had lived a long and successful life. But time had caught up with him. He knew he was dying and he accepted that. But he sent along time reflecting back over his life.
2. He had been blessed with a good wife, children, and friends. His work did not make him rich but he had enjoyed it. But, Fred wondered, what had been the purpose of his life?
3. Simply to live life itself, to enjoy it or to share it with family and friends? One of deepest questions mankind has struggled with is the purpose of our existence. Why does man live? - what is the purpose of it all? (Eg. Ecclesiastes).
4. As Christians we know the answer. Summarized in 1st Q&A of Westminster Catechism. Question 1: What is the chief and highest end of man? Answer: Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.
5. In book of Job we are confronted with another of man’s deepest questions. Why do we suffer? What is the purpose of human suffering?
6. The answer to this question is same as answer to why we exist.
7. To glorify God.
1. And yet we may question how human misery can glorify God. This evening not try to explain this on widspread level but on a personal level. How can our suffering glorify God? How can it bring glory and honour to Him?
2. Last week we saw how Job’s suffering brought glory to God because he did not curse God. Satan said that Job was righteous because of what was in it for him. But Job did not curse God and did not sin, showing that He feared God for God’s sake, for His glory, rather than for His own.
3. This week we see that there are other ways by which we can glorify God in our suffering. Not only can bring glory to God but can give our suffering a sense of purpose and meaning which can help us through it.
4. Worst kind of suffering is that without meaning - willing to suffer for cause but when it seems to do not good, the struggle is much harder for us to bear.
5. One way we glorify God is by ascribing glory and power to Him. To give Him credit for all that He does and His power. To acknowledge that what we have is not through our own power or abilities but by His grace.
6. When our pride ascribes to ourselves what God has done for us then we fail to give Him glory.
7. Job struggled with this. We see it already in 33:25: "what I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me". This ties in with being righteous to earn God’s favour.
8. Although Job did not curse God we do see that he was not perfect in his motives. He was afraid that calamity might befall him. And so he lived a righteous life partly to avoid this. This shows up again when Job denies that God could be making him suffer because of any wrong doing on our part.
9. I’ve seen this happen with sincere Christians when they face tremendous struggles - health or relational. They struggle because they think they have lived a right life. Why do those who sin against them seem to get away with it?
10. I have to admit that I have sometimes thought these very things. What is wrong with this? For Job it was pride. And this pride is seen in a few of ways.
a. One is pride of one’s own righteousness. Elihu tells Job that he has pride and that God has let him suffer . (Job 33:17-18). The greatest sin is pride - seen in Satan and David.
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