Summary: See what the Lord is doing in us when we suffer
WHY DO CHRISTIANS SUFFER?
Message # 3
THE CONSTRUCTION BY SUFFERING
Introduction: There is very little of value that has not had pressure or suffering. A diamond is a piece of coal that underwent lots of pressure. You cannot imagine a young man putting a piece of coal on a young lady’s finger and ask her to marry him. We are like that. We are diamonds in the rough. Some of us go through trials, temptations, pressure and suffering and it makes us a diamond. I remember an old song that was sung in the 1980s and 1990. It said that I was an old piece of coal but I’m going to be a diamond some day.
There is a universal fact that I have mentioned in the other two messages. There is suffering in this world. Also, as Christians we are not immune to suffering. Some suffer greatly. They are suffering for physical reasons. I am not going to be critical of those who are suffering because I suffer also at times. I don’t say that in order to invocate sympathy but to show you that I can empathize with you at some level of your suffering.
As I working on this introduction, a thought hit me. Our salvation is precious and priceless yet it cost our Saviour a great deal of suffering. He suffered under the sarcasm. He suffered the slaps and spitting. He suffered the scourging. He suffered the severe heat and swarming flies. He suffered the securing of the nails on the cross. He suffered the shock to His body when they dropped the cross into the hole making it upright. He suffered by being the sacrifice for our sins. He suffered the separation from His Father. Do you think that He thought it was worth it? Hebrews 12:2
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
We like things that are easy. We live in a time when many things are easy. It is easier for me to study for a message to preach today than it was ten or so years ago. I have one CD that has more than twelve commentaries on it. I can pop it in my computer, use the search engine and am able to find what I am studying with little or no effort. It has made sermon preparation easier.
When all the boys were at home, many times on Sunday nights we would have popcorn. They would get the air popcorn popper down and it would take able ten to twenty minutes and we would have a very large bowl of popcorn. Now we pop a bag in the microwave and in a few minutes, we have popcorn.
I read this quote this week. It fits this series of messages. Any circumstance out of my control is in the will of God. Unless you are suffering because of sin in your life, then the suffering must be in the middle of God’s will.
Many times God uses parables to spark our understanding. The passage that I selected for the scripture text is one of the Old Testament parables. The Lord sends Jeremiah to the potter’s house. God wants him to see some things that will encourage him. In the first seventeen chapters, he becomes deeply distressed. His beloved nation is on a suicidal course to self-destruction in spite of his tears and teachings. He cannot get them to turn around and repent. At this time of deep distress, God sends him to the potter’s house. That does not seem to make sense. Some times we go through things that don’t make sense. But in the big picture it does. God knows. I know that I hit this note much in the previous message. But God knows. Not only does God know, we can know.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
I have avoided overusing that verse in this series because it is quoted or should I say, misquoted it to death. Some people use it to explain all the things that are going on in a person’s life. If it had been written down when Job’s friends showed up, they would have misquoted it too.
Those first three words should give us hope. They should give us assurance. If God knows and He does, then He wants us to know. It does not say, “And we hope”. It says “And we know.” Albert Barnes says this about those first three words. “This verse introduces another source of consolation and support, drawn from the fact that all things are under the direction or an infinitely wise Being, who has purposed the salvation of the Christian, and who has so appointed all things that they shall contribute to it.”