WHY DO CHRISTIANS SUFFER? (III)

I Pet. 1:7; 4:12-16

We have already seen the ORIGIN OF SUFFERING.How sin entered the world because of Adamís disobedience to God, and how sin brought suffering and death.

Last week, we considered the ORDEAL OF SUFFERING.We saw how Job remained true to God even during the time of severe suffering and affliction, and how the Lord rewarded him for his faithfulness.

Today, we want to look at PART III††† THE OBJECT AND OUTCOME OF SUFFERING.

I. THE OBJECT OF SUFFERING

A. The Lord uses suffering to PURIFY us as His children.
I Pet. 1:7.

1. As gold is purified by fire, so genuine faith is proven by adversities.

2. A tried faith is more precious than gold.

- Gold will be burnt up by the supernatural fire of Godís wrath, but on that day the faith of Christís followers will be found brighter and more glorious.II Pet. 3:10-14.

3. The trial will soon be over, but the glory, honor, and praise will last to eternity.

- God allows us to be put into the furnace of suffering that we might come forth purified, tempered for His service.

B. The Lord uses suffering to teach us PATIENCE. Rom. 5:3-5.

1. Afflictions prepare us for the glories of heaven. II Cor. 4:17-18.

2. When we compare our light afflictions here with the glories of heaven, it will cause us to have patience.

- The apostles ďrejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer...Ē (Acts 5:40-42).

3. The tribulations through which we pass will exercise and increase our patience.

a. Experiencing the sustaining grace of God in time of affliction will bring hope.

b. This hope will not disappoint us, because it is sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Rom. 8:22-25.

c. A sense of Godís love to us will give the patience of faith in time of affliction.

C. The Lord uses suffering to PERFECT us as believers.
I Pet. 1:7; 4:1-2.

1. The trial of our faith which is precious is the instrument which God uses to perfect us.

2. He is molding us into His image.

3. He guarantees us His presence and protection throughout every trial. Deut. 31:8; I Cor. 10:13; II Pet. 2:9.

II. THE OUTCOME OF SUFFERING

A. The Lord uses suffering to REFINE the believer. Heb. 12:11.

1. Many times suffering is the chastening hand of God in our lives.
Heb. 12:6, 11.

2. It is a privilege to be chastened by the loving hand of God.

- If we are without chastening, we must examine our relationship with God.

3. God allows us to suffer that we might find Him faithful and that we might depend upon Him as the sustaining Savior.

B. The believer can REJOICE in the midst of persecution and trials, because of the hope that he has of a future inheritance.
I Pet. 1:6.

1. The Lord suffered more for us than we could ever be called upon to suffer.

2. We will be called on to suffer, but our Lord will give us the grace to overcome. Jn. 16:33.

3. We need to count it all joy when we are called on to suffer because we know that the Lord has a wise purpose in it.
Rom. 8:28.

C. Those who are willing to suffer for Christ will REIGN with Him.

1. The great reward for suffering is that we shall reign with Christ. Rom. 8:17; II Tim. 2:12.

2. Suffering for a time seems a small thing when compared with the glory that will be ours. Rom 8:18.

If we are not willing to suffer for Christ, we will never reign with Him.