2Joy in God amidst Suffering and Sorrow Exceeding Joy in God Series Selected ScripturesJuly 21, 2013Pastor Paul K. Kim2
3FOUR TRUTHS ABOUT SUFFERING AND SORROW Truth #1: Christians are not exempt from suffering and sorrow.Don’t be surprised (1 Pet. 4:12; John 16:33); rather, choose to suffer for Christ (2 Tim. 2:3).Truth #2: The Tempter’s aim in suffering and sorrow is to destroy our faith.The Tempter plants doubts about God (1 Thess. 3:4-5).Truth #3: Sovereign God’s purpose in suffering and sorrow is to refine our faith by increasing our dependence on God.God breaks our self-reliance and brings more of him (1 Pet. 1:6-7; Rom. 5:3-5).Truth #4: Our suffering is nothing compared to our future glory.Our light and momentary affliction is actually preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond comparison (2 Cor. 4:17).
4PAUL’S EXAMPLE OF FAITH IN SUFFERING & SORROW 3 We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7 by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. 2 Corinthians 6:3-8a
5PAUL’S EXAMPLE OF FAITH IN SUFFERING & SORROW We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.2 Corinthians 6:8b-10How Paul removed obstacles and commended himself for others’ faith:By showing his sufferings as proofs for his pure motive (vs. 4-5).By showing his character as the integrity of his ministry (vs. 6-8a).By showing the Christian paradoxes of as his power (vs. 8b-10).How Paul’s example reveals the secret to a sustaining joy:His motive was to glorify Christ through his suffering and sorrow.His integrity was to live out Christ’s values in all circumstances.His power was in Christ who gives him an inextinguishable joy.
6An Original from the Hand of the Holy Spirit A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for one whom he has never seen; talks familiarly every day to someone he cannot see; expects to go to heaven on the virtue of another; empties himself in order to be full; admits he is wrong so he can be declared right; goes down in order to get up; is strongest when he is weakest; richest when he is poorest; and happiest when he feels the worst. He dies so he can live; forsakes in order to have; gives away so he can keep; sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and knows that which passes knowledge. The man who has met God is not looking for anything; he has found it. He is not searching for light, for upon him the light has already shined. His certainty may seem bigoted, but his assurance is that of one who knows by experience his religion is not hearsay. He is not a copy... he is an original from the hand of the Holy Spirit.- A. W. Tozer
7HOW TO FIGHT FOR JOY IN GOD AMIDST SUFFERING AND SORROW 1) Treasure CHRIST ABOVE ALL ELSE in your life.7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sakeof Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of thesurpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sakeI have suffered the loss of all things and count themas rubbish, in order that I may gain ChristPhilippians 3:7-8Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothingon earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart mayfail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.Psalm 73:25-26What we treasure most is the foundation of our security/joy.If we treasure anything/anyone else more than Christ, our security and joy will NOT last.If we treasure Christ above all else, we have a full lasting joy.
8HOW TO FIGHT FOR JOY IN GOD AMIDST SUFFERING AND SORROW 2) Accept YOUR SUFFERING AND SORROW with all joy in God.2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when youmeet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know thatthe testing of your faith produces steadfastness.James 1:2-33 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings,knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and enduranceproduces character, and character produces hope...Romans 5:3-4The key question to ask ourselves in suffering & sorrow is this: “Do I trust that God is sovereign and good to me in all this?”We are to consider it ALL JOY, which means to actively trust in God’s sovereign plan and care for us amidst trials.In suffering and sorrow, trials can distort our image of God OR our steadfast faith in God can change the image of our trials.
9HOW TO FIGHT FOR JOY IN GOD AMIDST SUFFERING AND SORROW Keep your focus on YOUR FUTURE REWARD AND GLORY prepared by sovereign LORD. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time arenot worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.Romans 8:1811 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute youand utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven,for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.Matthew 5:11-12We must remember that our momentary suffering and sorrow will pass; then, the reward and glory will be eternal.We are to grieve passionately in our sorrow (without denial), but we are to be even more passionate about our reward.Then, our present joy will come from our hope in future glory.
10HOW TO FIGHT FOR JOY IN GOD AMIDST SUFFERING AND SORROW 4) Let your joy GLORIFY GOD amidst your suffering and sorrow.Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let himnot be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.1 Peter 4:1620 as it is my eager expectation and hope thatI will not be at all ashamed, but that with full couragenow as always Christ will be honored in my body, whetherby life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.Philippians 1:20-21Our best testimony of faith in Christ to the world is to live out this “inextinguishable joy” amidst of suffering and sorrow.Why? Because pain is an inevitable part of human life; to rejoice always in spite of pain is supernatural powerful!Therefore, we are to glorify God through our inextinguishable joy in all circumstances.
11It Is Well With My Soulby Horatio G. Spafford (1873)When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.Refrain: It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well, with my soul.Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
12THREE PRACTICAL QUESTIONS FOR OUR EVERYDAY LIFE What attitude or misconception do I need to change in order to rejoice amidst suffering and sorrow?What would it mean for me to treasure Christ above all else in my life?How can I fully accept my current suffering and sorrow with all joy, trusting in God’s sovereign plan and purposes for my greater joy in Christ?