Summary: How God uses trials to develop Christ-like character in us.
The Truth about Trials
· Was Paul crazy? Rejoice when we run into problems and trials?
· Did we just read what we just read? Is God really serious in His word that we have the ability through Jesus to actually rejoice when we suffer hardship?
Message in a Nutshell
· Contrary to those who proclaim a unbalanced theology of health – wealth – and prosperity, the Bible does tell us to expect to run into problems, trials and tribulations.
· Not only does the Bible tell us to expect them in the Christian walk but it goes a step further to tell us that God actually allows them and uses them to develop Christlikeness in us.
Listen to what Paul wrote about in his own life in II Corinthians 6:3 Paul’s Hardships
3 _ We try to live in such a way that no one will be hindered from finding the Lord by the way we act, and so no one can find fault with our ministry. 4 _ In everything we do we try to show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. 5 _ We have been beaten, been put in jail, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. 6 _ We have proved ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, our sincere love, and the power of the Holy Spirit.£ 7 _ We have faithfully preached the truth. God’s power has been working in us. We have righteousness as our weapon, both to attack and to defend ourselves. 8 _ We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. 9We are well known, but we are treated as unknown. We live close to death, but here we are, still alive. We have been beaten within an inch of our lives. 10Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.
· I mean…would we say that Paul the apostle lacked faith or a positive confession because he did not exercise his authority in Christ and overcome all his obsticles in life and claim health – wealth – and prosperity!
· Yet this teaching is promoted in America – but is not necessarily found in the international Christian community and it’s not found in the Bible.
· What is Paul telling us in Romans 5:3-4? What is God saying to us through His Word?
· (proposition/ subject) THE BIBLE IS TELLING US THAT OUR TRIALS CAN WORK FOR US AND NOT AGAINST US – BUT ONLY WE CAN DETERMINE THE COURSE.
· (compliment – explain the subject) We often have a natural tendency to ask the question “Why” when we run into trials and hardship. This is our first reaction and it’s by no means wrong. However, when we move beyond the question of why to a place of hope and trust (confidence) in the Lord – God is developing character in us through the trials. It is this strength – this character that enables us to hope in Christ when our difficulties seem hopeless.
· Peter mentions this very fact to the suffering Christians in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. A group of churches undergoing severe persecution when Nero the emperor of Rome was killing thousands of Christians by imprisonment, starvation, death and chains.
· Understanding – Now what does Paul mean when he tells us to rejoice when we run into trails?
· Well – I think that a good definition of the word rejoice is in order here…
· The Amplified Bible describes rejoicing as “being full of joy right now! Exulting in the triumph of our troubles
· The Greek word Paul used for rejoice ( or in the KJV “glory”) is the word boast – meaning that in the midst of our times of trials we have the ability to praise God.
[ illustration] Ever meet a “woe is me Christian?”
A woe is me Christian is one that has not learned the principle of giving God praise in times of trail.
I would like to think that I have reached this point like Paul says of “rejoicing when we run into problems and trials – for we know that they are good for us” but the truth is…I’m not quite there yet.
If you ask a “woe is me” Christian…”How are you doing today brother?” They will always answer you by explaining their troubles, trials, hardships and ill health…”Woe is me!”
After talking to a “woe is me” Christian for about 5 minutes (and about 5 minutes is about all one can handle) one will feel like all the life within them has just been sucked out! And if your not careful you’ll get sucked into the pity party because a “woe is me” Christian never likes to party by themselves – they always want others to join them!