Summary: Just as it takes faith to overcome, it takes faith to suffer.
Life-Line For Jesus Community Church Created 11/11/01 revised 8/15/02
Lorenzo Nicholson Sr. Suffering By Faith 8/16/02
Gal 3:3 Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
I submit to you that the believer’s experience plays a major role in the proof of his/her justification. We have been justified by faith and we come now to a portion of scripture, which calls our attention to the fact that our experience of suffering must be by faith as well. It takes faith to suffer and endure. We all must remember the experience of our suffering. It alerts us to the reality that it is foolish to turn back, having gone through so much thus far. Of course it is not our own works and personal efforts that causes God to accept us. He accepts us only because of our faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. Just as our faith in him was the means of our justification and acceptance, our faith in him will give us the stamina we need to overcome the suffering of our lives. Our sufferings range from persecution to separation from the world. Whatever the case, we must identify with the fact that “suffering by faith” must become an essential part of our lives. Consider:
I. The Galatians had received Christ by faith and had suffered ridicule, abuse, rejection and persecution from their neighbors as a result. It had continued for quite some time.
A. Acts 14: 5And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, 6 “They were ware of it, and fled…” 7And there they preached the gospel. “…19And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. 20 Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, 22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
1. Romans 5: 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed;
2. If we belong to the Lord, tribulation can by no means separate us from him.
a. Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
II. Every individual who makes a decision to accept Christ and follows through has some suffering and persecution to undergo.
A. Separation from the world is a form of suffering. It is not always an easy thing to do. There are so many things that have been bonded to us in this world.
1. There are friendships and relationships that hold emotional ties to our lives; but for the cause of Christ, God bids us to separate ourselves.
2. There are pleasures that gratify the flesh, but God bids us to separate ourselves.
3. There are physiological and psychological attachments that are often hard to sever; like cocaine, alcohol, tobacco, illicit sex, gambling and this list goes on and on. Yet God bids us to separate ourselves.
III. For the well being of the Church, God has given great gifts for the perfecting of the saints. In our text there is a hint regarding the power of faith.
A. 5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
1. There is a miracle that you and I can perform by the same faith; that is “suffering by faith.” If God can work miracles through imperfect mounds of clay such as those who minister in the Spirit, he can work a miracle of “suffering by faith” in everyone who names the name of Christ.
2. You can overcome any obstacle that gets in the way of your progress as a child of God.