Summary: Any suffering for Christ’s sake is a small price to pay for the gracious benefits received because of that suffering.
1. Because it hurts so much and is so tough, there is the thought throughout the church today that:
• ‘WE SHOULDN’T HAVE TO SUFFER’.
• We’re Christians. We live in the United States.
• We’re should be immune to suffering. We’re blessed!
IT’S TRUE: we do live in an incredible time in history.
• We live a tremendous country with great freedoms & prosperity.
• We are seeing the gospel go forth with power & effectiveness.
• BUT… understand, everyone, everywhere suffers!
• Believer and unbeliever alike.
• Even, no especially, those who have placed their faith in Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:12 (NKJV) Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
John 16:33 (NKJV) These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
YOU AND I… we’re going to suffer in this world.
• Sometimes it will be because of our own faults & failures.
• Other times it will be because of others sins against us.
• But the root of all suffering is sin & its effects on the world.
YET, Paul reminds us in v18 that sufferings are ONLY TEMPORARY.
• They don’t follow us into eternity.
• He says FOR I CONSIDER… mark that word. CONSIDER
• It means to ‘calculate, to reason, to account.’
• Paul’s used this word 15 times already up to Romans 8
• He’s saying, “I understand the value of sufferings in this present time and they don’t compare to what’s up ahead!”
• Any suffering for Christ’s sake is a small price to pay for the gracious benefits received because of that suffering.
TURN OVER TO 2 Corinthians 11:22ff.
• Notice a few things our brother Paul lived through.
• The church in Corinth was listening to false teachers, both to their false doctrines and false accusations against Paul.
BY WAY… when accusations come against pastors, teachers, spiritual leaders, did you know that you’re not to receive them?
1 Timothy 5:19 (NKJV) Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.
• You see Satan is the accuser of the brethren, wanting to plant seeds of doubt, and poison spiritual minds.
Revelation 12:10 (NKJV) 10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
• If someone has something, take them with you to the person and straighten out. But be careful not to entertain accusations.
SO… Paul, in response to His love for Jesus & the church, he begins to share the true credentials of a Christian!
• Read through 2 Corinthians 11.22ff…
• I’m humbled when I consider the price that our brother Paul paid to be a minister of the gospel!
• And you know, that story is repeated over & over, even today.
THE STORY IS TOLD of Pastor Florescu. (p268-269)
The communist torturers came towards Pastor Florescu again, this time with red-hot iron pokers. “Who else believes as you do? Give us their names.” Florescu would not speak. They had already cut him again and again with knives and beaten him very badly. When he refused to cooperate, he was returned to his cell.
Starving rats were then driven into his cell through a large pipe. He could not sleep having to defend himself at all times. If he rested for a moment, the rats would attack him. Still he remained silent.
In the end they brought his 14-year old son and began to whip the boy in front of his father saying they would beat him until the pastor told them what they wanted to know. The poor man was half crazy. He bore it as long as he could. But when he
could stand it no more, he cried out to his son, “Alexander, I must say what they want! I can’t bear your beatings anymore!”
His son answered, “Father, don’t do me the injustice of having a traitor as a parent. WITHSTAND! If they kill me, I will die with the words, “Jesus and my fatherland’”
The Communists became enraged and killed the young man for his unswerving faith in Jesus Christ! -- TAKEN FROM JESUS FREAKS… - PICK UP A COPY!
And so we read in the lives of the early church…
Acts 14:21-22 (NKJV) And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”