Presentation on theme: "Pleasure in Pain ... [Abraham's] faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone,"— Presentation transcript:
... [Abraham's] faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (from Romans 4:22-25)
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:2)
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings... (from Romans 5:3)
... knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope... (from Romans 5:3-4)
... 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. (Romans 5:5)
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:7-8)
Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. (Romans 5:9)
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Romans 5:10)
More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:11)
If you get “everything” but lose suffering, you lose everything – because faith is everything, and suffering is its servant.
Born-again believers in Jesus obtain right standing with the Father by faith alone in Christ alone. This is the concept of justification. If you trust Christ alone for salvation, you are legally declared righteous, and thereby escape God's wrath, obtaining peace with him (5:1).
We have access into God's undeserved mercy (grace) by faith in Christ alone. It is in this undeserved mercy that we stand, rejoicing in the confident expectation that God's glory will one day be revealed to Creation (5:2).
We take pleasure in suffering, because it helps us to bear up under pressure. As a result, we develop personality, grit, forehead-creases, and street cred (5:3-4).
That kind of rawness gives you a faith that can't be shaken. The more you suffer, the more resilient you become. You grow stronger in your faith. Things that used to scare you begin to have no effect. Instead of being scared of demons, demons become scared of you. Nothing surprises you anymore, 'cuz you've gone through it all.
You say, “I don't care what the enemy does to me. I don't care what man does to me. I'm believing this thing no matter what. I'm following this Jesus regardless of the cost.”
“The forging of a Japanese blade typically took weeks or even months and was considered a sacred art... [the] blade... has a unique hard, highly razor sharp cutting edge with the ability to absorb shocks in a way which reduces the possibility of the blade breaking or bending when used in combat. [The] outer skin of the blade is produced by heating a block of high quality raw steel, which is then hammered out into a bar... This is then cooled and broken up into smaller blocks which are checked for further impurities and then reassembled and reforged. During this process the billet of steel is heated and hammered, split and folded back upon itself many times and re-welded to create a complex structure of many thousands of layers. Each different steel is folded differently to provide the necessary strength and flexibility to the different steels...” (Wikipedia, 'Japanese Sword')
“The precise way in which the steel is folded, hammered and re-welded determines the distinctive grain pattern of the blade... a feature which is indicative of the period, place of manufacture and actual maker of the blade. The practice of folding also ensures a somewhat more homogeneous product, with the carbon in the steel being evenly distributed and the steel having no voids that could lead to fractures and failure of the blade in combat.... the block is again hammered, folded and welded in a similar fashion to the hadagane, but with fewer folds... [the] block is once again heated, hammered out and folded into a ‘U’ shape... then heated and hammered out ensuring that no air or dirt is trapped between the two layers of steel...” (Wikipedia, 'Japanese Sword')
“This process takes place in a darkened smithy, traditionally at night, in order that the smith can judge by eye the colour and therefore the temperature of the sword as it is repeatedly passed through the glowing charcoal. When the time is deemed right, the blade is plunged... into a tank of water. The precise time taken to heat the sword, the temperature of the blade and of the water into which it is plunged are all individual to each smith and they have generally been closely guarded secrets. Legend tells of a particular smith who cut off his apprentice’s hand for testing the temperature of the water he used for the hardening process.” (Wikipedia, 'Japanese Sword')
To create an unbreakable sword, tremendous heat and pressure must be exerted over, and over, and over, and over. Thousands of trials come upon the steel, melting it, burning it, cooling it, hammering it. Through fire and force, the sword becomes the pride of its Maker.
To become unbreakable, you must first be broken.
I once heard a pastor speak of the process of refining gold. When a goldsmith heats up nuggets of rock and precious metal, he puts the materials into a crucible and allows them to melt. The rock and the gold heat up together, turning into something like lava. The dross (waste) floats to the top, and the goldsmith skims it out of the crucible.
This process continues. He continually takes out the imperfections, which can only arise through furious heat. How does the goldsmith know when his work is done? How does he know when the gold is completely pure?
His work is done when he can see his own reflection in the gold. And this is how the Father is with his children. He uses the heat of suffering to bring our secret sins to the surface.
And I will put [them] into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” (Zechariah 13:9)
But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. (Job 23:10)
So, the Christian stands in the grace of God, resilient against the attacks of demons and men.
But being attacked from every side, the Christian is in danger. He wants to be a good person, and to love people, but being bombarded with hatred all of the time begins to wear on him. A person can only take so much ridicule and criticism. Everyone rejects and mocks him. His old friends and family ignore him and write him off. His heart begins to turn cold. He begins to become a monster inside, hating the world and the people in it.
But the Christian will not be put to shame on account of this hope he has in Jesus. Why? “because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). The hatred and mockery that would turn any non- Christian into a monster simply increases the believer's faith and endurance, because the Holy Spirit supernaturally pours God's love into our hearts, giving us an impossible love for those who reject us.
Without the Holy Spirit pouring out this love, there would be no way to endure in the Christian life.
Jesus' blood justifies those who believe in him, and they are promised that, through Christ, they will be protected from God's wrath (which is coming) (5:9).
To be protected from the coming wrath of God is to have access into God's undeserved mercy – access into grace. We have access into grace only by faith (5:2). We are justified by Jesus' blood – but this justification is only present for those who have faith (5:1).
As you can see, both to be justified and to escape God's wrath is only possible through faith alone. We rejoice in suffering, because it refines faith. If you lose suffering, your faith is left unrefined. The dross is not removed from the gold. The sword is dull and untested. It breaks easily when facing a deadly adversary.
We are to take pleasure in our pain. If you get everything you think you need from Jesus, but are denied suffering, you lose everything – because faith is everything, and suffering is its servant.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” - Jesus (Luke 9:23-27)
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:1-4)
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)