Christian Universe ™
An Example Of Suffering
March 24, 2013
I have heard people cry out against God when they, or a family member, was suffering pain, was in the process of dying, or had just died. They first overlook the fact that we all die. They further overlook the fact that Jesus suffered and died for us, and the apostle Paul considered our own suffering as following in the footsteps of Jesus. He suffered and died that we might suffer and die in the flesh, but live in the spirit, eternally. Suffering seemed to Paul as right and acceptable, a badge of honor, as it were.
An Example Of Suffering
by Bernie Parsons
Presented to Load church of Christ on 03-24-2013
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 03-31-2013
As we studied on approaching the throne of God in confidence, we read that as sons of God and fellow heirs with Christ, we must also suffer as He suffered. Some wonder and ask why God would allow His children to suffer.
The Greek word that is translated suffer is quite basic, and means to allow, or to endure.
Acts 26:22 "Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles."
2 Corinthians 1:3 "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation."
James 5:10 "Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy."
Jesus suffered for us, to better represent us. We suffer for Him, to represent Him to others. It is during the suffering that we see and understand the consolation and comfort that God gives.
Philippians 1:27 "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;"
Sometimes our spiritual enemies persecute us, causing us to suffer.
1 Corinthians 12:25 "That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it."
We feel and share in the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Christ. It also teaches us how to behave during suffering. We see the example of Jesus, who, during His suffering, railed not against His tormentors, but asked God to forgive them.
1 Peter 2:19 "For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
That the righteous often suffer is a fact. We should not view it as strange. Jesus suffered. As followers of Jesus, we suffer as well, and that is to be expected.
2 Timothy 2:8 "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:"
The apostle Paul describes suffering for preaching and living the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul said that he rejoiced in his sufferings, since he suffered for the ekklesia, the body of Christ.
Colossians 1:23 "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:
25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;"
Paul also spoke of the afflictions of his own body, reminding that the death of the body brings us closer to eternal life in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 4:8 "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
13 the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
Those who have gone before us have suffered both persecution and afflictions of the flesh, counting the suffering worthwhile because the result is the reward to those who endure.