Hey friends! I am a little late with my weekly recap of the sermon this week, because I missed church Sunday. Thankfully, our church has an awesome media team and you can watch online if you miss a week. ICYMI: Here are some of my takeways from weeks 1, 2 and 3.
This week we looked at the first part of Chapter 3 and here are my takeaways:
- Paul was in prison as he was writing. He was suffering. He doesn’t qualify it, by saying he has a lack of faith that he hasn’t overcome, but rather simply says I am suffering and there is a reason. We are all suffering with some sort of affliction. It is part of living life in a fallen world. There was a purpose for Paul to be in prison and there is a purpose for our lives and for any pain and suffering that we are enduring.
- We all deal with affliction that comes from different places. When you go through stuff (which we all will), you need to ask yourself, “where is this coming from” and “what does God want to do with it.” Instead of asking “why” realize that it is a reality and focus on how God is going to use it.
- There are multiple types of afflictions: adamic (suffering because of living in a fallen world; our bodies aren’t perfect and we all have aches and pains), victim (suffering because of what someone else did; you didn’t choose it or do anything to deserve it, but you suffer because of it), punitive (suffering that is punishment for non-believers), collective (suffering because you are part of a group that is under affliction), providential (suffering that God allows for your good; it isn’t pleasant, but it is to mature and grow your faith), consequential (suffering because you made a mistake and now you are paying for it; don’t blame God if you make a bad decision, repent and ask Him to restore you), testimonial (suffering you endure in your life so that God has a platform to use to shine His light and His glory throughout your life, your community and the world), disciplinary (suffering that isn’t punitive (our sins were paid for on the cross) or retributive, but that is restorative and corrective), preventative (suffering that allows you to not fall into deeper hurt, sickness or suffering), demonic (never be afraid of the enemy, but always be aware of him and be vigilant), empathetic (suffering because someone you love is suffering) and mysterious (sometimes we don’t know why we are suffering; we don’t know what God is doing, but we do know that He has promised that in all things, He will use it for our good and for His glory).
- God has given us all general and specific instructions. As Christians, there are general things that we all should do. We should pray, be involved in our local churches and be generous with our time and resources. We should read, study and commit ourselves to the word of God.
- He will also call us to do specific things (like pastor or serve on a mission trip, etc.). Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you don’t know what God is calling you to do, so you will just do nothing in the meantime. Work on the general things in the meantime. We have to be faithful in the general instructions so that God can reveal His specific instructions to us through the Holy Spirit.
- Spiritual understanding must always precede practical application. If we understand who Jesus is and what He has done for us, that understanding will fuel us to live out our calling.
- Christians should be thinkers. Think on God. Think about who He is and how great He is. Think about the cross and soak it in. It will change how you live in a practical way. Love the Lord with your mind and commit yourself to studying His word.
- Experiencing and understanding God’s grace leads to authentic humility. Paul says that he is the least of the saints. If you see arrogance in a Christian, you see someone who doesn’t truly understand grace or someone who has forgotten the cross and what Jesus did for them.
- All of our pain and suffering matters. In Christ we have access to Jesus and we should have a humble confidence in Him. Yes, we suffer, but we have access to the Father because we are His children. There is a purpose for our pain, there is a purpose for our lives and we will not lose heart. Pray that God would use us in our suffering, that He would teach us, grow us and use our testimonies. Let God use you as a light in the darkness.
I hope you were able to take something away from this sermon, I know I sure did. What suffering and affliction has God used in your life? Be thankful for it and ask Him to use every bit of it for His glory!