Monday, September 16, 2019

God's Presence in Our Suffering

Book of Romans so far:
Bad News = all sinned and separated from God
Good News = reconciliation is available!!  - by grace, through faith, in Christ!!!

So... Rom. 5:1-2 - can have Peace - Access - Hope
and Rom. 5:3-4

Last week = 2 reasons to "rejoice in sufferings"

#1.  Suffering can be productive - Rom. 5:3 with Rom. 8:28

#2.  (today)  God is with you in the suffering.  
Rom. 5:8-10   IF He did this while you were separated from him, "how much more" now that are reconciled?!!  Do you think He would abandon you now??

Rom. 8:31-32, 35, 37-39  - He is not going to withhold His presence from you.

The study of evil and suffering often is divided into 2 parts:
#1.  the Why - why does God allow evil and suffering?  - theodicy - argument or intent to explain why He permits this.

#2.  the Wherefore - how are we to respond to evil an suffering?

Short version = we are to respond as Christ responded! - 1 Pet. 2:20-21  Example:  "suffer well" - He suffered perfectly - the way suffering should be handled.
As a Christian, we are called to suffer well.  To this you are called.  Christ left us an example.

When suffering ... knowledge, confidence, faith, surety ...  helps!!

When you suffer, you can be sure of:
#1.  God's Permission - is a *hard pill to swallow!!*
Example:  Peter's sifting    Job's trial   Christ's crucifixion
Satan couldn't do any of this without God's permission.

Either it happens with His Permission,  OR He is NOT God!!
And (then) you have NO HOPE!!  example:  naturalism, dualism

BUT - with the worst come the Best --
#2.  God's Presence - examples:  Matt. 28:20, Heb. 13:5
Isa. 43:1-3  - "... your Savior"
Isa. 43:5  "... with you."

The Good News = presence always with us.
Bad News = not always FELT!! - Examples:  Job's complaint  "dark night of the soul"
Know He's with you in you head, but no feeling of His presence.

Can also be sure of:
#3.  His Care   (provision, assistance)
Throughout scripture "go and I'll go with you"
Examples:  Moses, Gideon, Jeremiah, Disciples

This is more that His Presence .. = His Assistance!!  - ability to push through
Jer. 1:6-8 - strength, courage, guidance, comfort
Preached 4 years - not a single convert recorded

Which leads to:#4.  His Ability  (re-visit Moses, Gideon, Jeremiah, disciples....)
His Presence was more than to strengthen, comfort, etc.
His Presence = to Accomplish His will, purpose!!  - He worked through them!!

His plan is more than to work in/on you, it is to work through you!! - 1 Pet. 4:10

#5.  Personal Compensation
Mark 10:28-30
2 Cor. 5:10 - rewards or loss of rewards
Rom. 8:18 - present suffering not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed
2 Cor. 4:16-18 - light and momentary troubles achieving for us eternal glory

and ..
#6. Final Victory
Rev. 1:17-18, 20:14, 21:3-5 - all that is wicked and evil
This = all things made right!!
This = (1) the Christian HOPE
       = (2) your soul's anchor - Heb. 6:19 - "...firm and secure"
Knowledge of this helps to carry us through.  Doesn't relieve the pain, but carries us through.

Suffering is inevitable  (in this life)

BUT ... in God's hands and with God's Presence - suffering = Bearable, Valuable

Question:  How then will you suffer??  well?? Properly?  as a Christian should? as Christ did?
"to this you are called"

Closing Scripture:  Psm. 33:18-22

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