Summary: Sermon on discouragement
THE SILVER LINING
There is an old saying that "beneath every cloud there is a silver lining". While those word sound real nice they offer very little comfort if you are going through a difficult time. While that saying is not found in the Bible, the principle behind it seems to be. That principal is that whatever may happen to us in this live whether it be good or bad, God can and does work it to good. The only condition to this is that we love God as we should. We also need to realize that that does not mean he will work it to good for us, but that He will work to good for Himself.
Just as Romans 8:28 tells us; "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." The key words there I think are "according to His purpose". And His purpose is always good.
Still many Christians wonder why God allows them to suffer and go through heart ache. We can understand why nonbelievers suffers, we figure that somehow they deserve it more then we do. But we cannot understand why bad things happen to good people? This is a question that has been asked throughout the centuries. This was basically that question which Job asked.
But before we get to our passage today I would just like to point out some basic things concerning suffering.
First we must realize that all people will experience suffering to some degree or another. It does not matter whether you are a Moslem, Buddhist, Jew, Christian, all people experience it at one time or another. It does matter whether you are rich or poor, black, white, all people experience suffering. Floods come, tornadoes, death in the family, things such as this do not overlook any one.
1 Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."
While we may focus on the first part of this verse that when we are tempted God will provide an escape for us, let us not neglect to read that first part. Which basically states that much of what happens to us is just part of the human experience.
Many time we suffer because we break the natural laws of the universe. If someone jumps from the steeple of this building, they may think that there injuries are some sort of divine punishment for the way they are living. But regardless of what live you are living you will get injured if you jump from that height it is just that simple.
Sometimes God allows us to suffer to help in our spiritual grow. In Hebrews 5:8 we are told that this is how our Lord Jesus Christ grew;
"though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered." This is but one of many passages in Scripture that shows that we grow when we are tested by the Lord.
Sometimes we suffer because of sin. We need to realize that God does indeed spank his children.
Hebrews 12:5-6 "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives."
So our suffering can come in the form of God punishing us for the sin we have done against Him.
Sometimes God allows us to suffer to prevent us from sinning. In 2 Cor. 12:7-9 Paul tells of the thorn in his flesh which God placed there to keep Paul from being puffed up and proud. Therefore Paul was allow to suffer so that God could use Him for His purposes and service.
The last reason I would like to point out to you as to why we suffer is the reason Paul states in our passage today. And that reason is the to allow for the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Please turn with me to the passage for today, Philippians Chapter one, verses 12-14, (If you do not have a Bible of your own some on back table).
"But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear."