Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, August 4th. Most Christians desire consistent faith, but resist the adversity that develops it. It is hard to fathom, but we will learn how we profit from suffering. How do we profit through our suffering? Well, the truth is that some people don't. They profit not at all because they do not learn how to respond to their suffering.
They don't profit through it. And Peters, he wrote this book to people who were about to undergo persecution and those who had already begun to be persecuted, showing them how to triumph through their times of difficulty and heartache. He concludes this with a wonderful message of how we prosper through our suffering.
Now, the truth is, all of us should be able to, but some folks don't. And most of us want to wake up every day to the sunshine. I like to, frankly, but most of us want to wake up to every day of sunshine in our life. We don't want any heartaches, no troubles, no trials. And somehow we have the attitude if we get through a day without hardship, well, we've had a wonderful day. And sometimes God must think you really missed it today because the hardship and the heartache when responded to properly are our most profitable days. Now, we think we've had a wonderful day if everything goes right.
The truth is our best days may be when everything goes wrong. Now, we don't like to look at it that way. But if I should ask you, how many of you if you had the right would involve about three days a week of suffering in your life?
That's what I thought. We don't like it. We don't want it. We tell God we'd rather read a book than to have to suffer. You just tell me what to do, Lord, and I'll do it.
Don't make me go through it. But God knows better. And so he sends us through it. He allows us to do things and say things that bring on our own heartache and suffering. But as Peter concludes this epistle, he tells us how we prosper in our suffering. So let's begin with verse nine. You remember, he's been talking about victory through over Satan, but he says in verse nine, but resist him firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. And then verse 10 is our verse for this text. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you to him be dominion forever and ever.
Amen. Now, it's interesting that that term, the God of all grace, is not used anywhere else in the Bible. But you and I know him as the God of all grace. He says after you've suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory will himself. And then he uses four words to describe how God will prosper us in our suffering.
But I want us to look at this first part of the verse when he talks about the God of all grace, because what he's saying here is there's three things I want you notice in this passage. First of all, he says we profit from our suffering because the God of all grace controls that suffering. The God of all grace is in control of our suffering. God is in control. He knows exactly what we need and he knows exactly how long we need it. He says the God of all grace. Now, you remember, he's just been talking about Satan. Be sober.
Have a sober spirit. Be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil prouts about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, he says, in faith. It is God who is our security.
And no matter what happens, he is there in absolute control of whatever may be going on in our life. When he says the God of all grace. Now, when you and I think about grace, name me about three songs about grace.
Number one, what's one of them? Amazing grace. What else? Wonderful grace of Jesus.
What else? Grace greater than all of our sins. When we think about the grace of God, he says the God of all grace, sustaining grace.
What else? All sufficient grace, abundant grace, overflowing grace, comforting grace. We could just go on and on and on because we're describing the infinite grace of God. He says we can profit through our suffering because the God of all grace. What did Paul say? He says, when I asked God to remove this thorn in my flesh, he said, my grace is what?
Sufficient. My grace is sufficient. So that no matter what you and I are facing, one thing for certain, the God of all grace.
And that's Peter's way of reminding those who are undergoing persecution and reminding us. That the God who is in control is the God of all grace. That is, we're not going to face any kind of suffering, any kind of heartache, that he does not wrap us up in his all sustaining, overflowing, abounding grace and loving us through it no matter what happens.
Now, we need to be reminded of that, that we're not out here suffering alone and undergoing hardship and wondering if God knows what's going on. He says the God of all grace, after you've suffered for a little while, he is the one who called you to his eternal glory. Now, what does he mean calling us to his eternal glory? Well, if you'll think about the calls of God in your life for a moment, I want to read you something that probably best describes in a comprehensive form what he means here. But when he says called us to his eternal glory.
Well, what is one of God's calls in your life? First of all, he calls you to salvation, to receive him as your savior. He calls you to sanctification, to be set apart, a holy life. He calls us to service.
He calls us to many things. But he says he has called us to his eternal glory. That is, when the Lord Jesus Christ came into this world, he made it very clear that not only was he going to leave, but we were one day would share in his glory. He speaks about that in the 17th chapter of John.
And Paul says in Romans chapter 8 that we are joint heirs. We participate as in the glory that is his. And Jesus spoke about sharing that glory.
Now, we said today that no one can share the glory of God. But when you and I get to heaven, we're going to share in the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. He says it is his eternal glory, which in essence is the summation of everything that Jesus Christ accomplished for us at the cross. He says we're going to share in it. That's why he says that you and I are his trophies of grace and that we are going to be a part of his eternal glory because all of us who've been saved by the grace of God are the gifts of God the Father to the Son. And as the Son gives us back to him, we are an expression of his glory.
But now listen to this. We think about his eternal glory. What's wrapped up in that? A love that cannot be fathomed, a life that cannot die, a righteousness that cannot be tarnished, a peace that cannot be understood, a rest that cannot be disturbed, a joy that cannot be diminished, and a hope that cannot be disappointed.
This is what we're going to have. A light that cannot be darkened, a happiness that cannot be interrupted, a strength that cannot be enfeebled, a purity that cannot be defiled, a beauty that cannot be marred, and a wisdom that cannot be baffled, resources that cannot be exhausted. Amen? He says that is what God has called us to, his eternal glory. Everything that God has provided through the Lord Jesus Christ will be ours in an inexhaustible fashion. That is, when you and I get to heaven, we're not going to be able to tap any resources of God and have to ask some angel to please go tell Jesus we drunk anything dry or that we have exhausted anything that he has because it is all the grace of God. This God of all grace has called us under his eternal glory of which you and I are an eternal participator in and will never be able to drink anything dry that God's provided.
Now I want you to notice one of these phrases that's very important. Listen, after you've suffered a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory, how? In Christ. If you'll recall, that is Paul's key phrase because what he's saying is this, that everything you and I have is wrapped up in a relationship. Not in things, not in promises, but a relationship.
The God of all grace who has called us to his eternal glory in Christ. My friend, everything we have is because we have him because he has us and anyone who is not in him in reality has nothing. If the only thing you can take with you is what you want, you're not going to have much in heaven. And the truth is, you're not going to take any of it. Somebody says, you know, you come into this world without a shirt on your back.
Sure do. But when you die, they may dress you up in all kind of things. You're leaving just like you came. Nothing. You didn't bring anything.
You're not taking anything with you. Listen to what he says. He says he has called us to his eternal glory. Listen, what we're going to enjoy in heaven is not just what you and I have done down here. It is his eternal glory. He talks about rewards based on our life and our obedience to him. But he says he's called us to that eternal glory in his son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Then the second thing I want you to notice, he says in verse 10.
But after you've suffered a while. So what I want you to see is this God of all grace limits the amount of suffering that you and I go through. Now, sometimes we say, Lord, I believe that you're overdue. I believe that your clock is running a little slow. God, why don't you do something? And he must probably smile and say, I am.
We just don't like what he's doing. The God of all grace has set a time limit. He says after you have suffered what? A little while. Now, what we want to ask sometime is what do you call a little while? You know, a little while for me is about thirty nine minutes and I'm finished. With God, it may be thirty nine hours, thirty nine days, thirty nine months, thirty nine years. And I think of some folks who are bedridden for years and years and years and years. How often they must ask God, Lord, how long?
How much longer? How long does God allow? Turn to Second Corinthians for a moment in Second Corinthians, chapter four. Let's go back, if you will, to verse to verse 12. He says, so death works in us, but life in you. But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, I believe, therefore I spoke. We also believe, therefore also we speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us up also with Jesus and will present us with you for all things. For your sake, that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to bound to the glory of God.
Then listen. Therefore, we do not lose heart, though our outer man, this old physical body is decaying. Yet our inner man, our spirit is being renewed day by day.
And then listen to these verses. For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. That is, speaking of our inheritance, the abundance of our inheritance, producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.
Excess with excess, while we look not at the things which are seen, because if we do, we'll get discouraged. But at the things which are not seen, the invisible, the things that are real. If somebody should say, what's real? Well, if it's real, I can touch it. Not necessarily the most real things there are, the things that are invisible.
Let me ask you a question. What's more real, this pulpit or God? God. Can't see him, but you can see the pulpit. So therefore, everything that's real isn't necessarily physical and material.
Some finite object. Notice he says, verse 18, and he has a point here. Now watch this. While we look not at the things which are seen, because if we look at our body and say, God, I'm suffering, I'm hurting, I'm damaged. Look at me, God. While we look not at the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen. What's going on inside of the person who's suffering? What is God doing to their spirit which cannot be seen? What's he doing to their character which we cannot see?
You see, suffering is God's catalyst to build character. Now, you know, we're much more interested in what people can see on the outside. God's much more interested in what he sees on the inside. He sees the spirit. He sees character. He sees motivations. He sees desires and dreams and ambitions and goals. God's interested on the inside.
We're interested on the outside. So he says, while we look not at the things which are seen, but if we're wise, we'll look at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal. They pass away. But the things which are not seen are eternal.
They go on for eternity. Now, God set a limit on it. Go back, if you will, for a momentary light affliction. Now, when you and I think of something momentary, what do we think about? Well, I can handle that kind of suffering, can't you?
It's all over. Momentary light affliction. Now, the only difference is when I say momentary, I'm thinking about this clock. Click, click, click, click seconds. Momentary.
That is momentary compared to this watch. But you know what God compares momentary with? Eternity. That means God's moments a little bit longer than mine. And sometimes I'd like to compress His.
Just get them on down here where I can handle them, Lord. And God says, no, we're not going by your watch. We're going by my timepiece. Momentary affliction. Now, 10 years doesn't seem like momentary. 20 years, 30 years is not momentary. But God says it is against the background of eternity.
Anything you and I can think about is momentary. So He says, this is the way we're to look about. Look at our suffering.
The season of it. The God of all grace who has it under control. Don't lose heart. Look, He says, don't lose heart.
Sure, you're out of man. The old physical body is decaying, but the inner man, there's something going on. Now, listen, there is something good going on in the inner man. If the inner man is learning to respond to difficult and hardship and suffering, we can profit through our suffering if we learn to respond. Let me ask you something. Has God ever come to you in prayer and said, how would you like to suffer?
We usually come to Him and tell Him what we prefer. But it doesn't work because, you see, God in His infinite wisdom know what kind of suffering and how long the suffering is to be. And Paul is simply saying here, from God's point of view, it's a light affliction. What God is up to is renewing the inner man. We profit from our suffering. And he says, the truth is, when we're going through suffering and hardship and difficulty, we are not to look at what is seen.
If we do, we're going to get awfully discouraged. We have to look at what is not seen, because that which is seen is passing. And that which is not seen on the inside of me is eternal. Father, thank you for not listening to some of the prayers we pray. But what we're looking for is an escape route out of the very channels that will make us become everything that your heart desires for us. I pray tonight in Jesus' name, first of all, that all of us would be willing to submit ourselves to your suffering, whatever it may be.
Because more than ease, comfort, and pleasure, we want to be Christ-like in our spirit. I pray for somebody here this evening who really does need help, not to be too proud to ask for it. Speak to thou heart is my prayer in Jesus' name. Amen. Thank you for listening to How We Profit from Suffering. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-16 19:47:02 / 2023-03-16 19:54:16 / 7