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May 7, 2018 8:37 am
Some of you will remember the big hits by Ryan everyone hurts sometimes. Everyone cries sometimes everyone hurts sometimes talks about what you just think you can't go on in life recognition that life can be very hard life can be very difficult in my life. Sometimes can be very harsh and the question we want to consider this morning is how we do, we who are followers of Jesus responds to suffering when it comes to us, how do we respond to the chaos and the disappointments on the unexpected turns which impact all of us I were we to respond. I was studying this on the morning to book of Romans and in Romans in our passage today. Paul deals with the subject of suffering is not going to say everything he believes about suffering is going to expand that later in his epistle, but this is going to be very very helpful. Last week we learned of the hope of the gospel that those who are justified by faith in those who have a living relationship with Jesus Christ have this wonderful assurance of peace with God.
And so Paul begins Romans five verse one by saying therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God's amazing amazing but in the trouble world we who follow Jesus can have peace with God.
He also says we have this access by faith into this grace that we can come at any moment into the throne room of the of God and that throne room is one of grace is not of condemnation is not one of judgment, because Christ has gone ahead of us and we rejoice in that involved talks in verse two, by rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God and you see all of that is good. Then, in the sense we believe it parts.
Life can be very painful. Kind some of you are in deep pain right now. We pray for some this morning over brothers and sisters who are in pain and suffering and difficulties. Sometimes that difficulty in suffering is absolutely excruciating with the health problem. The financial situation a problem within the family some sense of injustice abuse struggles, artwork, spiritual battles, quite honestly, it sometimes seems that the more we try to love God and to follow Christ, the more difficult life becomes. And it sometimes seems as we look around that those who don't even believe in God sometimes seemed to get a lot out of life and seemed to be quite successful.
So what is a Christian response to suffering and what is God doing in our lives through these times of suffering. Well let stand and read the word of God would be looking at Romans five verses three through five, but for the context. Let's read from verse one. Romans five verses one through five.
Here is a word of God to us this morning. Read it with me.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us in mind, please be seated. Paul is telling us a remarkable thing is we look at Romans five verses 345 that we are to rejoice in our sufferings, and here Paul deals with the subject of suffering, no suffering or dues were suffering here in Romans five verse three is not some trivial inconvenience that we all experience is nobody's talking about is talking like afflictions, hardship, sufferings the pressures and the trials of life and the word is used in the New Testament to refer to persecution to poverty to sickness to anxiety and fears and sorrows and sufferings and how are we to respond is thinking by this week and I thought you know I society is very therapeutic is in the relevant therapeutic generation, which believes, however foolish it may be, but many of us believe and we feel it emotionally, that there must be an instant cure to all of my problems. So the problem comes into my life if I suffer instinctively, I think of two things. One is you cannot blame for it can be anything I've done wrong and secondly where is the cure is a pill. Is that a procedure is something that can get rid of this pain rid of the suffering that rid of this problem in an instance, we programmed to think of that pain and problems and sufferings in life must be immediately eliminated. After all, I don't desire, but do you feel that I felt that going through the release of the settlers God. Maybe the other guy but not me. Difficulty is in society. Don't we dealing with pain and suffering. When I attended elementary school in Scotland. We had the school dentist was on the free end of the national health service.
Don't say bad things about it was not bad but we didn't like the school dentists was the day in the days before flooring was in the water so that the average Scottish child had quite a lot of cavities in the teeth and that this dear school dentists use the comment as boys we used to think that he had been trained to inflict the maximum pain on us. I mean, there is no Novocain there were no drugs and had that terrible drill.
I can still feel it meant that terrible noise and the noise went right through your body and here I'm a wee eight-year-old and there's this big man with this big drill in my mouth and is drilling Darren and the sound is bad enough, but the pain is excruciating. No wonder generation grew up being afraid of dentist but I was at the dentist this Tuesday is totally different when the hygienist smiles when I come in I don't really smile back is building a giant but I just say to you in a good mood today. I mean, you don't want your dentist to be angry with you.
There really is reasonably pleasant is really no pain image of persisting in your mouth and fortunately does something to say is it okay that's okay Allison I grew up in Scotland with the school dentists.
This is nothing.
Believe me, I'm ready for it and now dentists are best friends.
The point of making is this that we live in a culture where we get very frustrated if there's not an instant cure to the problems, whether that's physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual or material threshold to ensure pain and suffering is getting less and less. We have an ejector seat mentality. I have pain I have suffering are being treated unfairly. I'm frustrated and I must get out of it wonderful.
I could if I could blame someone else and I there must be a cure somewhere. So we react to. But what's that with the biblical response would God respond well.
There is an answer that we hear over the TV airwaves and is propagated by many churches, which is the answer to prosperity gospel, the gospel of health and well I had never heard of the this particular view of the Christian life until good and I went to Dallas from the Dallas theological seminary, and in the place where we were staying. We find that there were people who profess to be Christians. There were much older than we were there very kindly invited us to their home for a Bible study and then so we went we were the youngest of me thought your older people mature in their faith and they will be able to impart some of their wisdom to ourselves and so we attended this Bible study for reasons I'll explain the restless back wonderful American hospitality. We got one invitation and no eyes back for a start. There was little or no study of the Bible, rather, others grew from about 10 to 12 people courted various preachers there particular gurus that they were following and I was later learned these were very prosperous preachers with her private planes and their huge homes and other points that we were told in this alleged Bible study that if you follow Jesus life is going to be wonderful. You're not the only Mobile and will be very, very well. Say for example, here are these wealthy preachers and I thought well maybe I can get my Ferrari and Lamborghini. After all, how do you join this group.
I didn't think Nuttall I was astonished that the teaching I've never had anything and I started to ask a few questions. First of all is this in the Bible. This is a Bible study.
I'm not really interested in your view, I want to know what God says about it or there was nothing of the Bible. I asked some questions. Wasn't Jesus himself poor. Didn't Jesus say give me a call.
I didn't Jesus say the foxes of the roles the birds of the air have their mass with the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. Didn't he didn't even home by the Old Testament. My job was so going through such suffering was a righteous man, whatever the apostle Paul, the great apostle.
He was persecuted he was stoned. He was thrown into prison and send them money, successful life. It seemed that never had these questions and it seemed that really resented them. They believed that if you are L if you are poor. If you're suffering that was a mark of your spiritual maturity could not be God's will for you because God wants us all healthy, wealthy and very very successful, fulfilling their American dream for them. The Christian life was one of hype is one of success. It was very much based on some exciting experience believing in yourself fulfilling your dreams and that Jesus is that you tell Jesus your dream and Jesus will make that happen really that what Jesus taught an answer to suffering can I say a very false sense of very destructive concert and surely a very cruel answer to those who are suffering. Try telling that to someone whose little boy is terminally ill trying tell that to some man who's worked hard all his life and has been fired for no just cause or try telling them that no this is contrary to Scripture. What is the biblical response well in the answer surely impart is contained in the verses were looking at in Romans five versus three, four and five at suffering others is difficult for us but I have to say because it started Scripture over and over again that suffering is a normal part of life in a fallen world that is my dear brother, my dear sister, none of us wanted. Of course we don't but don't be surprised when suffering and trials and problems and tribulations come into your life. Listen to what Jesus says in John chapter 16 verse 33 in the world is teaching his disciples. You will have tribulation similar, it is worth thinking about suffering, you will have suffering. But take heart I have overcome the world. Get it in the world you will have suffering. But take heart. Don't be discouraged because I've overcome the world. What does Luke say as he records the acts of the apostles in acts chapter 14 verse 22 gives the example of the apostles. Acts 14 verse 22. They come to Antioch and they strengthen the souls of the disciples, spiritual strengthening and encouraging them to continue in the faith, not why was that necessary because these people were suffering and they needed encouragement they needed strengthening and saying here is that through many tribulations, sufferings we must enter the kingdom of God couple weeks ago. Some of us were on the Sea of Galilee and Israel wonderful trip and I read the story from Mark chapter 4 where Jesus is on one side of the lake and he says to the disciples, let us go over to the other side.
I was Jesus who told the disciples, we are going to go to the other side of the lake and so the Lord in the disciples go into the boat and you know the story. Jesus falls asleep in the boat and there's this terrible terrible storm was one of points point is this, that when you're following Jesus when you're doing what Jesus tells you it does not mean that storms of life will not come to you. The disciples were doing exactly what Jesus told them to do.
And as they were doing it.
They found themselves in the storms of the life. Don't allow anyone to tell you if you're suffering and difficulty.
That's because you must be out of the will of God. Now Paul is saying something remarkable here in verse three. If you have your Bible, look at it with me. Romans five verse three he says more than that, we rejoice in our sufferings seems extraordinary to me is it to you. I can understand Paul saying earlier in verse two that we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
I get that I can understand when he says that we rejoice with peace with God and that we have this access into the presence of God and we stand in the position of great I get that.
But to say we rejoice in suffering and practices.
More than that one could be more than rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God at the tremendous future. We have who follow Jesus. Responses are breathtaking and written by a man who is not just giving some theory, but a man who knew March about personal suffering as he followed Jesus. Notice he says verse three. Rejoice in our sufferings, not in spite of the suffering but rejoice in the suffering of Paul and Silas were preaching the gospel in their thrown in prison would you do what I do probably complain were serving the Lord and I were in prison whether Paul and Silas to their singing praises to God, rejoicing in suffering that we rejoice not because were spiritual massacres who enjoy pain.
Rather, we rejoice because we know what the suffering in our life, produces we believe as followers of Jesus that God is in control of our lives unless you're very very young. You know that life takes unexpected turns and twists in your personal life and your family life and business and society, that life is unpredictable but we believe that God is sovereign, that God is in control. Paul's going to tell us that in chapter 8, and frequently that when we go through the suffering we don't understand the why that suffering has to come into her life's but we do know and Paul's point is this. You do know this, that there is no simulation on this earth that can sever your relationship with God. You being justified by faith, we dealt with that last week you been saved by the grace of God.
Your part of the family of God. And there's nothing that can happen to you in your life and your business and your family in the world, even a nuclear holocaust paints a worse scenario you that you can think up. There is nothing that can sever our relationship with God because it is attained through our Lord Jesus Christ and so we can rejoice in that obviously. But there's more to it.
Having told us to rejoice in our suffering.
Paul now tells us how we can rejoice in our suffering. Notice what he says verse three.
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing, knowing there's got to be things that we know what are we to understand which you know this, that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character produces hope. First of all suffering produces endurance, perseverance, patience.
We can rejoice not because we enjoy the suffering, but we can rejoice because we know what the suffering produces in our lives.
Many of you sitting here this morning. If you were to come here and I were to ask you about your spiritual life and perhaps how you came to saving faith in in Christ or what has God used in your life to bring your to be more like Jesus. Many of you could I say the majority of you would point to some heartache, some suffering we all enjoy the mountaintops of life with is that the case that we often learn more, spiritually speaking in the valley that we learn more through adversity than prosperity date when things are going well in our life. We are more apt to be casual in our relationship with God were more apt to take the blessings of God for granted were more apt to be rather arrogant and unsympathetic to others who are going through troubles, but when we are in the Valley. We ask why me Lord, what are you doing large and it is through these excruciating painful situations in life that our great God is working things in our life to produce this and Julian's so you suffering today with you to do and you enjoy suffering produces endurance.
Jack Brabham, if you follow Formula One or the racing was the Australian racing driver. He died in 2014.
A tremendous driver Australian and the 1959 he was in the lead of the Severin Grand Prix is ahead on the final lap and on the final lap.
His car a Cooper climax run out of gas and it rolled to a stop just 50 yards from the finish line know the average driver with a guard arts thrown his helmet on the grounds stopped away and kind of rage, but Jack Brabham did something that was very unusual fight. This is one of the things that Jack Brabham was known for.
He got out of his car and with great difficulty. He pushed his car and you go over the finish line. It was true. He came in fourth place but he had enough points to become world champion of Formula One driver Myra man like that someone who doesn't give up easily.
Something was got stick ability. Someone who ensures someone who does what is extraordinary and the difficulties of life. It's so easy to quit it so easy to throw a tantrum. It's so easy to say this is unfair. I almost was world champion no. He and George see this endurance makes us stronger.
Doesn't and it in turn produces character.
This suffering is like the basic training of the young man. The young woman going into the Army's like the training of the athlete from Arlington who gets up at four in the morning in the rain and runs and runs and runs 10 miles before breakfast and before most of us of the bed.
June I read last night's primary Tiger Woods is got autobiography out and according to the little synopsis I read last night that he before he was 12. Do know many how many hours of golf your plate 10,000 hours of golf you come to me before his 12th birthday. Tiger Woods had hit a little ball with a little steak trying to put into little hole in his golf is in the right. I'm not putting it down as is the reality can those hours. I do recommend that for children, but that was the choice. Whatever you think about it it's really whether you think it was foolish I was gray. One thing we could say is that if you're going to be a world champion golfer you have to endure.
I refuse to believe that every ball attack at Woodhead's.
He was saying this is wonderful. Hallelujah. No, that has to be endurance. That's the athletes that the musician we marvel at someone coming in playing a piano or are or throwing a ball and hitting a ball. What we don't often realize is the endurance that went on day after day week after week in hardship is like the precious metal, with impurities in it.
Going into the fire so that the impurities drop and the metal comes out as precious gold exit that the pictures and that suffering apostle Peter because of the Friday fire the fiery trial that produces character as we endure Seneca said a jam cannot be polished without friction nor a man perfected without trials you want to be someone of strong proven character that it doesn't just happen is going to require endurance in the midst of hardship and pressure of life without the suffering. Without this friction and this pleasure in her life. Most of us would be very flabby, self-centered and spoiled is not true, isn't this one of the great problems in our society today.
Jordan Peterson is professor of psychology at University of Toronto and in his book to bestseller 12 rules for life and antidote to chaos.
He is a chapter like the heading of it.
Do not bother children when their skateboarding children get hurt when their skateboarding. That's true, but he saying let children be children and part of being a child is going a little bit over the edge. He says a generation has been raised in small families. This would not apply to anyone at Calvary, but we all know people like this since a generation has been raised in small families by hyper protective parents on soft surface playgrounds and then taught in university with court safe spaces where they don't have to hear things they don't want to screw to be risk averse. In a sense raising a generation who have never been taught how to handle pressure or difficulty or hardship never having the tools in their toolkit to work through a problem to realize that they're not the center of the universe that life can be hard that life can be difficult, but not everyone likes us that not everyone treats us fairly people. If we don't understand when the suffering comes in. The hardship comes, we spiritually fall apart no policy suffering produces spiritual maturity introduces character. It's only babies to cry when things don't go their way.
It's only babies and little toddlers who expect a happy ending to everything that's not true to life.
Don't be a Christian baby don't you believe that God is in control.
Paul says here more than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that this is something we need to know and to acknowledge that suffering produces endurance. So here I am suffering. I need to know this God is using the suffering.
This pressure, the stress in my life to produce spiritual maturity. We need that I don't need boys and girls of character. We need young men and young woman of character. We need older man, an older woman, don't we, of strong character and that character comes through hardship. As I say that's true in the military. That's true in athletics eyestrain music that is true in any worthwhile discipline of life that endurance produces. If we respond right character. So here is James the apostle says in James one verses two and three counted all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know the testing of your faith produces steadfastness and endurance. "Huber Monnet that we have here in verses three and four and this tested character strengthens our hope. Notice the pattern. The suffering produces endurance. The endurance produces character and the character produces hope, and this hope doesn't put us to shame. Using the realization that God is a work in my life through the suffering is a manifestation. In fact, that God cares about me. A wise parent disciplines a child, and you know moms and dads of one of the most difficult things you do is to discipline your child. No parent wants to discipline their child. Why do you do that the child doesn't like it. You know my kids all you do. It's because of the product because you have something in mind that you want that child not to be self-centered. You want that child to understand, respect, and it is out of your love and your care for this child that you discipline them so that they will be respectful so that they will be productive in society but our society has sold a mantra which is impacted the church and it is this the goal of my life is my personal happiness. Over and over again someone does something and said well it makes me happy. So that makes me happy.
It must be right and you almost think I'm wonderful because after all, the goal of my life is my personal happiness.
The question to you believe the goal in your life is your personal happiness. How do you respond when chaos and suffering come into your life do you handle it then because chaos and suffering and hardship come to about every single one of us as followers of Jesus, we have to grasp this very difficult lesson is difficult for me it's difficult for you but is a very necessary lesson in this a lesson that Paul is teaching these Christians are wrong. Developing mature Christian character is more important than your personal happiness you're taking notes. Write that down.
Think about it this week. Developing mature Christian character in your life and mine is more important than your personal happiness. Don't make your personal happiness is your God is a breach of the first commandment would have no other gods apart from the true God. Now my life is not to be self-centered as to what John Monroe once it is to be what God wants for me and God wants me to mature and to be more and more like Jesus. And in order for me to be more like Jesus. He puts me through trials and difficulties in this heart doesn't Paul is teaching us that maturity of character requires this pressure at this friction. Leah Morris right steadfast endurance leads to the quality of tested nurse and this in turn hope for the Christian who is being tested has proved God's faithfulness and will surely hope the more confidently. Some of you know exactly what I am talking about because you could come up here and say john. I went through the six unit all the time from you as I'm privileged to share your life with me. You could come up here and say what was the most difficult situation in my life was used by God in his love and his power to bring me the greatest blessing and I am who I am in part, so that suffering and affliction.
I went through was pulsating in verses three and four rejoicing in our suffering produces spiritual maturity and strengthens our hope.
But he says in verse five that this hope is authenticated in our lives through experiencing the love of God because some of you are sitting there and sing well.
Now the picture you paint of following Jesus is a pretty tough one jot I don't know if I want that kind of life you haven't heard it all. Listen again to verse five and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Know this hope that we have isn't going to disappoint you is going to embarrass you, but rather I'm going to understand that the love of God has been poured into my heart through the Holy Spirit who is being given to us because every single person who receives Christ as their personal Savior and Lord receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, not after conversion.
But at the moment of conversion. God himself indwells me through the Holy Spirit and this hope is not an illusion. This hope of what God is doing in this hope of the gospel is not a mockery.
God's not making a fool of us. God's not playing with us. Far from it. He loves us with an incredible love.
This love, Paul says has been poured out into your heart. This is a lavish pouring and the overflowing of God's abundant love in our hearts, pouring out of the Holy Spirit. No supporting out of God's love through the Holy Spirit. David understood that the most famous Psalm 23. Remember, he says my cup overflows. Can you contain the love of God, can you contain the grace of God and here is the wonder of the Christian life. But as you follow Jesus jazz, even in the suffering. You can rejoice in the suffering because it's producing endurance and that endurance is producing character and that character is sharpening and strengthening your whole and God authenticates that in your very being. As he pours out abundantly lavishly as love in your heart is the administrator of the Holy Spirit, assuring us of the hope of the gospel and in the dark times of life when we may feel abandoned, we may feel alone and we may feel that friends and family haven't loved us as much as they show than we may be a little disillusioned by human love. This love, the love of God will never ever disappoint us. It will never ever put us to shame, because in the unexpected difficulties of life we had once again the little chorus that many of us learned as children. Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so and that God loves me. Yes, in the middle of the suffering and loves you in the middle of that excruciating painful family situation or business worry, God loves you greatly. He loves you eternally. He loves you abundantly pretense of this verb has been poured out for the grammarians. Here is a perfect passive you say what on earth is that it means it's up past events when you come to Christ. This love is poured out, but it continues to be poured out. It's a past event with an abiding result. John Stott says it is the initial out for the initial outpouring remains up permanent flood. I love the love of God that he gives us is a permanent flood overflows what the magnificent fruit of justification. If you're a follower of Jesus. This is true of you. So not suffering. Don't be anxious to worry God's timing is perfect. God is reminding you and Paul is reminding us of an incredible truth that I'm loved by God and in the middle of suffering you have experience that I have experienced the God's love is poured out to an incredible way like guards if I'm with my little five-year-old granddaughter and she falls and scans her knee and she's crying. I don't go over to her and Sarah pick yourself up, what is this just a little scratch. Get over it. I don't do that, but I do use a grandfather loves to come in my arms. I said it's all right, and that lecture you can get through this is not what heavenly father does not terrible painful situation of love, your heavenly father comes in and assigns wraps his arms around you and says I love you.
It's all right. You're going to get through this.
My oldest brother George when he was diagnosed with his terminal brain tumor, but for five years ago.
He called me he knew was terminal. He was a physician, he knew, humanly speaking, there was no cure and so we talked on the phone and then he told me this in the also told it several times when I went to see him in the months before his death.
My brother was Scottish was an overly emotional right. He was the one who always looked at life through the super spiritual eyes. He was a very able physician but is a follower of Christ as well and this he talked. He said to be John is thinking how blessed I am thinking last page that's gonna kill you.
George, unless there's a medical takes place. He says journal is thinking. He said all her life. We were left with loving parents. Parents who love God, who loved us.
We brought up in a very secure, loving family, for which I'm grateful. He said I've the loving wife of the loving children. I got friends that love me and I've always known I been loved by God, but he said never have I experienced the love of God so deeply through this time of my brain tumor that was my brothers testimony from one brother to another and I thought how wonderful and high like our God, that in the suffering that God's love.
Yes, we always know God's love within the time of suffering in the time of affliction. We need the reassurance of it that this love which is constant, but it overflows through the Holy Spirit has been given to us. So Paul can say I'm sure that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor debt, nor anything else in all of creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Missing today, suffering strengthens our hope. Suffering produces Christian maturity date don't therefore presented rejoice in it.
God is in control and God is lavishing his incomparable and inseparable love on you therefore persevere therefore rejoice, therefore trust God. This is the hope of the gospel is that wonderful to be a fold of Christ, and to know that this is true to believe that is not incredible. I trust all of you know of Christ as your Savior and Lord. In the those of your sufferings and know some of you are. Persevere, think of what God is doing and draw rich and deep from that love. Father, we thank you in the storms of life which come to us. You hold us without love, which will never let us go. We thank you that there's nothing in this whole universe which can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Thank you for holding us fast.
Help us to respond with humility and obedience and joy know we are stuck in Christ name, amen