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11 Biblical View of Suffering - How to Face Suffering in Life 如何面對人生的苦難 Pastor Iho Tree ( 崔誼厚牧師 ) (H) 314-579-9637.

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Presentation on theme: "11 Biblical View of Suffering - How to Face Suffering in Life 如何面對人生的苦難 Pastor Iho Tree ( 崔誼厚牧師 ) (H) 314-579-9637."— Presentation transcript:

1 11 Biblical View of Suffering - How to Face Suffering in Life 如何面對人生的苦難 Pastor Iho Tree ( 崔誼厚牧師 ) ihotree@aol.com, (H) 314-579-9637

2 22 Suffering in the Current Economic Crisis - 1 Between June 2007 and November 2008, Americans lost an estimated average of more than a quarter of their collective net worth. Total home equity in the United States, which was valued at $13 trillion at its peak in 2006, had dropped to $8.8 trillion by mid-2008 and was still falling in late 2008. Total retirement assets, Americans' second- largest household asset, dropped by 22 percent, from $10.3 trillion in 2006 to $8 trillion in mid- 2008.

3 33 Suffering in the Current Economic Crisis - 2 During the same period, savings and investment assets (apart from retirement savings) lost $1.2 trillion and pension assets lost $1.3 trillion. Taken together, these losses total a staggering $8.3 trillion The number of people who lost their home to foreclosure hit a all time high in Aug 10. 95,000 units have been repossessed by the bank, up 25% from last year. Tent cities are appearing all over the US. Many who were in the middle class are now homeless and living in tents.

4 44 Suffering in the Current Economic Crisis - 3 WSJ: 7 out of 10 Americans have no savings before the recession – live from paycheck to paycheck. For every Dollar earned, Americans spend $1.22. US unemployment is at 9.6% as of June, 10. 10 million jobs have been lost in this recession. 5 states have over 10% unemployed, largest is CA. (Wisconsin is only 8.1% as of June 10). In Japan (world’s second largest economy), losing a job often means losing company- provided housing. Laid off workers become homeless. Many are living in shelters or on the street.

5 55 Several Key Issues we need to Address - 1 1.Is suffering a blessing for Christians? Rom 8:28 我們知道,為了愛 神的人,就是按他旨意 蒙召的人的益處,萬事都一同效力。 Context: vv. 35 誰能使我們與基督的愛隔絕呢?是患難 嗎?是困苦嗎?是迫害嗎?是飢餓嗎?是赤身露體嗎? 是危險嗎?是刀劍嗎? 36 正如經上所記: “ 為你的緣故 ,我們終日面對死亡,人看我們像待宰的羊。 ” 37 但靠 著愛我們的那一位,我們在這一切事上就得勝有餘了 。 38 因為我深信:無論是死、是生,是天使、是掌權 的,是現在的事,是將來的事,是有能力的, 39 是高 天的、是深淵的,或是任何別的被造之物,都不能叫我 們與 神的愛隔絕,這愛是在我們的主耶穌基督裡的。 Context tells us it is about blessing in midst of suffering.

6 66 Several Key Issues we need to Address - 2 1.Is suffering a blessing for Christians? - Continued Rom 5:3 不但這樣,我們更以患難為榮;知道患難 產生忍耐, 4 忍耐產生毅力,毅力產生盼望; 5 盼 望是不會令人蒙羞的,因為 神藉著所賜給我們的 聖靈,把他的愛澆灌在我們的心裡。 James 1:2 我的弟兄們,你們遭遇各種試煉的時候, 都要看為喜樂; 3 因為知道你們的信心經過考驗, 就產生忍耐。 4 但忍耐要堅持到底,使你們可以完 全,毫無缺乏。 James 1: 12 能忍受試煉的人,是有福的;因為他經 過考驗之後,必得著生命的冠冕,這冠冕是主應許 給愛他的人的。

7 77 Several Key Issues we need to Address - 3 1.Is suffering a blessing for Christians? - Continued 1 Peter 4:12 親愛的,有火煉的試驗臨到你們,不要 以為奇怪,好像是遭遇非常的事, 13 倒要歡喜,因 為你們既然在基督的受苦上有分,就在他榮耀顯現 的時候,可以歡喜快樂。 14 你們要是為基督的名受 辱罵,就有福了!因為 神榮耀的靈,住在你們身 上。 Matt 5:10 為義遭受迫害的人有福了,因為天國是他 們的。 11 人若因我的緣故辱罵你們,迫害你們,並 且捏造各樣壞話毀謗你們,你們就有福了。 12 你們 應該歡喜快樂,因為你們在天上的賞賜是大的;在 你們以前的先知,他們也曾這樣迫害。

8 88 Several Key Issues we need to Address - 4 2.When will Christians receive our greatest blessing? At the 2 nd coming of Christ. 3.If suffering is a blessings from God (which many Bible passages teaches), and God will bless us infinitely more at the 2 nd coming of Jesus, then will we receive infinitely more suffering in the New Heavens and New Earth? 4.Does God enjoy seeing His people suffer? What about seeing non-Christians suffer? 5.How does God feel when he sees His Creation suffer (e.g., starving polar bears, animal extinction, dying coral reefs, pollution, environmental disaster, home foreclosure, homelessness, suicide)?

9 99 Several Key Issues we need to Address - 5 6.When we aid those are suffering, are we opposing God’s will? 7.What role does God play in humanity’s suffering or Creation suffering? 8.If a loving God created a perfect universe (He said it was good), why do we have so much suffering in this world?

10 10 God’s Story: The Bible’s Story Line Creation 創造 Fall 墮落 Redemption 救贖 Consummation (Restoration) 完滿 ( 更新 )

11 11 Several Key Lessons from God’s Story - 1 1.The world, as God created it, is free from any suffering. 2.Good created human beings in His image Since God’s free – He is sovereign Humanity also has the freedom to make moral choices, including to rebel against God Humanity rebelled against God’s rule in Eden God is just and He has to judge this rebellion Judgment fell upon Adam and all his descendents since Adam is their legal representative

12 12 Several Key Lessons from God’s Story - 2 3.Suffering came into the world because of fallen angels and human being rebelled against God. So the cause of suffering is not God! The cause of suffering is rebellious fallen angels and human beings Although suffering is not caused by God, He is the only one who can bring the Creation out of suffering. The story of the Bible is God’s plan, which is worked out in history, to judge evil and to eliminate suffering in the entire creation through the life, death and resurrection of His Son!

13 13 Several Key Lessons from God’s Story - 3 4.Why did God send His Son to die on the cross? To redeem His whole Creation. Redemption of human being is only a means to redeem His whole Creation since humans are covenant representatives of the rest of Creation. 5.The whole Bible tells us that the Creator God, who is good, saw His good Creation marred by sin. So the Creator God sets out to redeem His fallen Creation and restores its glory. 6.God is a Creator God before He is a Redeemer God. God redeems because He loves His own Creation!

14 14 Christ Redeemed Humanity, The Church Renewal of Creation Adam Fallen Humanity Fallen Creation Fall and Redemption

15 15 God’s Story: The Bible’s Story Line Creation 創造 Fall 墮落 Redemption 救贖 Consummation (Restoration) 完滿 ( 更新 )

16 16 Several Key Lessons from God’s Story - 4 1.Christ died on the cross to ERADICATE all suffering in God’s Creation. 2.The unsaved lives in the Fallen world. It is a world far from the one which God created it. Hence although God is loving, His Creation is in suffering, bondage and decay. 3.The saved ones are in the Redeemed world. Some effects of the Fall has been reversed (e.g., our corrupt hearts have been renewed, marriage saved, children grow up in Christian homes, ethical business practices, mercy to the oppressed, better environmental stewardship, sanctified entertainment.) 4.God passionately hates suffering because it is against His will to see His Creation in decay. He hated it so much to send His Son to die on the cross to redeem His whole Creation. 5.When God’s will is done on Earth as it is in Heaven, there will be no more suffering in Creation, as in 2 nd coming of Christ.

17 17 Biblical Response to Suffering – 1 1. Be humble before God We don’t know the God’s specific will behind a particular evil event E.g., Job’s counselors, 911, 6/4 massacre, Tsunami in Indian Ocean, earthquake in Sichuan, world financial storm, a person being laid off, etc. 2. Acknowledge the terrible reality of the Fall We don’t live in the world that God originally created. This world is in bondage and decay (Rom 8:20-22). We confess diseases, poverty, cancer, homelessness, suicide, divorce, unemployment, $50 billion Dollar Ponzi schemes, retirees losing their life-time saving, municipals lost all retirement fund, charity organizations losing endowment, dwindling 401K accounts.... are all TERRIBLE things. We ought to grief with those who are grieving.

18 18 Biblical Response to Suffering – 2 3. The sovereign God is in control Although we see suffering all around us, all that happens to us is under the sovereign control of God. (e.g., the suffering of Job, Peter’s denial of Jesus, Paul’s imprisonment) This will help us weather the financial storm with our sanity intact! 4. God is grieved and angry with evil Jesus wept at the death of His friend Lazarus. God also weeps at seeing His beautiful Creation in ruins, His image bearers in poverty, disease, homeless, living in a state of fear, and under the threat of death. We should be angry with evil too. We should be angry with insatiable greed of Wall Street and Main Street, ignorance, poverty, oppressive dictators, human traffickers, sex slaves, corporate environmental polluters (e.g., toxic waste).

19 19 Biblical Response to Suffering – 3a 5. God is passionately committed to restore His fallen Creation and so should we If we fight against disease (e.g., Gates Foundation), advance medical science, create jobs for in the rust belt, fight for human rights, speak against oppression, work on green technology, reverse global warming, fight against pollution, animal abuse, we can confidently know we are on God’s side. We need Christian doctors, nurses, engineers, businessman, accountants, computer programmers, city planners, teachers, community leaders, politicians, parents.... etc. to fight against the effects of the Fall at every front in society.

20 20 Biblical Response to Suffering – 3b 5. God is passionately committed to restore His fallen Creation and so should we The decisive battle against the effects of the Fall has been won on at the Cross. Christians should be involved in the mop up operation. Your job is just as important as the pastor’s job because that is where the battle is engaged. The church meetings prepare you to engage in that battle! What do you see the impact of the Fall at work, at your community and at world. What are you and your church doing about it? Q: Does your church exist for your city or does your city exist for your church? (outward-looking missional church vs. inward-looking, self-serving church?)

21 21 Biblical Response to Suffering – 4 6.A new world is coming soon We will never see complete victory before the 2 nd coming of our Lord. We can only fight for partial restoration. (e.g., loss of limps from returning veterans.) We can be assured one day, disease, unemployment, layoffs, Ponzi schemes, recession, losses, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, Lupus, genetic defects, our won struggle with sin, and separation from our loved ones will all be defeated. We will one day live in the Creation as it was meant to be and experience all of it splendor and its beauty. In the mean time, God has place a lot of people who are suffering from the effects of the Fall in this particularly hard economic times for us to extend God’s grace to them through us, His children and His ambassadors.

22 22 Pair and Share What benefited you the most in this talk? What are some of the ideas that made the most impression on you? What are the implications of this talk on our understanding of suffering? How has this talk comforted you in your suffering? How has this talk changed your understanding of God’s nature, particularly God’s compassion for you?

23 23 Final Exam Essay Questions Is there suffering in the world as it was created? Explain? Is there suffering in the consummated world? Explain? Is suffering (or good and evil) eternally existent? (some religion, e.g., Hinduism thinks it is.) Is suffering real? (some religion teaches it is not real, e.g., Buddhism: it is just an illusion.) Extra Credit: How has this talk helped you to cope with your present suffering and have hope?


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