Summary: Paul tells us why we must not let our present suffering get us down. 1- We recognize that suffering is a part of this world 2- We relish our hope of something better 3- We receive help for our weaknesses
INTRO.- Our present sufferings.
ILL.- An old man goes to his doctor and says, "I don't think my wife's hearing is as good as it used to be. What should I do?"
The doctor replies, "Try this test to find out for sure. When your wife is in the kitchen doing dishes, stand 15 feet behind her and ask her a question. If she doesn't respond keep moving closer, asking the question until she hears you."
The man goes home and sees his wife preparing dinner. He stands 15 feet behind her and says, "What's for dinner, honey?" No response. He moves to 10 feet behind her and asks again -- no response. Five feet, no answer.
Finally, he stands directly behind her and asks, "Honey, what's for supper?" She says, "For the fourth time, I SAID CHICKEN!"
Loss of hearing is one form of suffering, but it’s not all. We often experience many forms of suffering in this life: physical suffering, mental, emotional, etc.
Whether we like to admit it or not, we all go down physically as we age. None of us can do what we once did when we were in our 20s, 30s, 40s, and perhaps even 50s.
I’ve heard talk on TV about people who are in their 70s as being the new 50! I THINK THAT’S HIGHLY DEBATABLE! It depends on your health, obviously.
ILL.- I remember when Elaine and I went back to Webb City, MO, for my 45th high school class reunion. Elaine and I were walking in the Joplin, MO, mall before the reunion and there was some guy walking in front of us. He was walking like he was every bit of 80 years of age, humped over and very slow.
I thought, “Look at that old man!” It turned out he was one of my classmates who was a big football jock in high school. He looked like a broken down old man. And he wasn’t the only one who looked that way at my class reunion. I started feeling pretty good after the way some of those old people looked!
All suffering in this life, however, is not just physical even though that’s a major emphasis with us. We also suffer mentally and emotionally in life. We raise our children and continue to worry over them.
- Someone once said, “When they’re little, they step on your toes; but when they're grown, they step on your heart."
- “Children are a great comfort in your old age - and they help you reach it faster, too.”
- “The one thing children wear out faster than shoes is parents.”
- Bill Cosby said, “No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I'm not talking about the kids.”
C. S. Lewis: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” What's the idea? God gets our attention very well when we're in pain or are experience troubles and suffering in this life. When things are going well, we don't pay much attention to Him.
Romans 8:17 “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Philippians 1:29 “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.”
Hebrews 2:18 “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Temptation, persecution, unbelief, etc.
Hebrews 5:7-9 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”
Can suffering cause us to become more obedient to God as well? I think so. It brings a person down. And God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Suffering humbles us and makes us more submissive and obedient to God, which is something we all need to do more of.
PROP.- Paul tells us why we must not let our present suffering get us down.
1- We recognize that suffering is a part of this world
2- We relish our hope of something better
3- We receive help for our weaknesses
I. WE RECOGNIZE THAT SUFFERING IS A PART OF THIS WORLD
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.