Summary: To get the church to understand that if we are to share in His glory, then we should be willing to share in His suffering
HOLD ON JUST A LITTLE WHILE LONGER
My brothers and sisters as we go through life, we discover that it is full of ups and downs. It appears that for every step we take forward, we would take three backwards. And the more we try the more we struggle. Now, I don’t want you to get me wrong, because as Lady Edna Owens says “I’m not complaining, I’m just explaining” and it might sound like complaining to you, but one thing I’ve found in the Scriptures is that the things I go through is not even worthy to be compare to the glory that will be revealed in me, providing that I hold on.
I’m reminded of my ministry life. The first sixteen years or my formative years in ministry, I spent with my mentor, who was more than my uncle, he was a surrogate father after Daddy passed, but he was even more than that, he was my pastor. I realize now that his job to prepare me for ministry was a hard one because he had to instill into me the fact that I needed to know when he was my uncle, when he was my surrogate father and when he was my pastor and to be able to discern the difference. But during those sixteen years, it appeared that I would never get from under his wings. I would complain to him that he was harder on me than he was the others, but he would let me know that the others did not bear the family name. But he would assure me to be patient and my day will surely come. This is the message that Paul is trying to relay to the Christians in Rome. He wanted them to know that they would be freed from struggles and sufferings of this world by the Spirit, if they would just wait on the promise of the Lord.
This lesson starts off where last weeks lesson ended. To help you in your memory, Paul ended the 17th verse by saying that since we are heirs and joint heir with Christ, we should be prepare to suffer with Him. We must understand if we are to share His glory, then we should be willing to share in His suffering. Then verse eighteen shares with us a wonderful thought while we are going through. Paul says, what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory that the Lord will reveal in us later. I find that statement give not only the Christian Church in Rome hope, but it give anyone who is called a Christian the hope he needs to endure the sufferings of this world. So come along with me as we are encouraged to Hold On Just a Little While Longer.
First of all we must understand that. . .
1. OUR SUFFERINGS ARE LIGHT IN COMPARISON TO OUR GLORY (v.18)
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present times are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
The N.I.V. puts it this way. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
As we study this text and many of the other Scriptures that we’ve read from time to time, I discovered that suffering as a Christian is as much a part of our spiritual growth as reading God’s word. Now if you had not figured it out by now, you should have noticed that from time to time there are challenges in your life. A challenge that will cause you to suffer for the cause of Christ as well as for the stand that you have taken against sin. And the challenges don’t come from the one that you expect to challenge you, no, they will come from the one that you thought was close to you. Think about it during Jesus last days on earth, who posed the biggest challenges, His disciples. Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, and Thomas doubted Him, the two sons of Zebedee and Peter slept on Him, I tell you Jesus’ challenges came from within not from without.
As we look at this text, in one sense this verse is found to be the conclusion of the preceding verse in which believers are assured of being heirs and joint heirs with Christ Jesus and His glory. However, Paul reminded his readers that sharing in the glory of Christ in the future required sharing “in His sufferings” in this life. But after careful consideration, Paul concluded that our present sufferings are far outweighed by the glory that will be revealed in us, through us and to us. This future glory is so great that present sufferings are insignificant by comparison. Also the glory is forever, whereas the suffering is temporary and light at best. 2 Cor. 4:17 speaks of our afflictions as being light and momentary, and it works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.