ACTS 21-22 WHICH ARE APPOINTED FOR YOU TO DO
A. PAUL CALLED TO A LIFE OF SUFFERING: 1. Acts 9:13-16 2. 2 Corinthians 11:22-28 B. DEFINITION OF SUFFER: 1. To feel or bear what is painful, disagreeable or distressing, either to the body or to the mind. 2. To suffer wrong done to us as in abuse or injustice. 3. In a lesser degree we can suffer an inconvenience.
4. To suffer for one’s faith in God. C. Being one with Christ in nature, life, relationships and service, we must expect to suffer with Him. The things that pain Him will pain us: those who hate Him will hate us. The servant is not above his Master. "Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12). If we are not suffering in any way for Christ, is it because we are not living godly in Him? D. Paul the Apostle said: “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you.” (Colossians 1:24) E. The following quotation is from a Christian man who has been an invalid all his life, one of those lonely and obscure people who live in constant pain, who do not know what it means to be able to use their physical body in any way without pain and suffering: "Loneliness is not a thing of itself, not an evil sent to rob us of the joys of life. Loneliness, loss, pain, sorrow, these are disciplines, God's gifts to drive us to his very heart, to increase our capacity for him, to sharpen our sensitivities and understanding, to temper our spiritual lives so that they may become channels of his mercy to others and so bear fruit for his kingdom. But these disciplines must be seized upon and used, not thwarted. They must not be seen as excuses for living in the shadow of half-lives, but as messengers, however painful, to bring our souls into vital contact with the living God, that our lives may be filled to overflowing with himself in ways that may, perhaps, be impossible to those who know less of life's darkness (sufferings)."
F. SCRIPTURE TEACHES US THAT WE WILL INDEED SUFFER FOR THE GLORY OF GOD 1. John 15:20 => “Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” 2. Philippians 1:29 => “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” 3. Philippians 3:10 => “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” 4. Jean Nicolas Grou said: “The chief pain of most trials is not so much the actual suffering itself as our own spirit of resistance to it.” G. WHY WE WILL SUFFERING 1. Because we are in this world---John 16:33 => “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation." 2. Because we live in this flesh---Romans 7:24 => “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” 3. Because there is a devil---Ephesians 6:12 => “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” H. WHAT SUFFERING CAN ACCOMPLISH IN OUR LIVES: 1. To build our character and hope---Romans 5:3-5 => “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
2. That we may see the perfect will of God in our lives---Romans 12:1-2 => “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 3. Bring glory to God---1 Peter 4:16 => “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” 4. So that we may be perfected, established, strengthened, and settled---1 Peter 5:10 => “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” 5. That we might overcome the devil---Revelation 12:11 => “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” 6. E Graham Howe said this concerning suffering: “If suffering is accepted and lived through, not fought against and refused, then it is completed and becomes transmuted. It is absorbed, and having accomplished its work, it ceases to exist as suffering, and becomes part of our growing self.” I. HOW ARE WE TO BE VICTORIOUS IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING 1. Knowing that Jesus has completed the work for us---John 19:30 => “ So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. 2. Being anxious in nothing through prayer---Philippians 4:6-8 => “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.”
3. Knowing that Jesus has overcome this world---John 16:33 => “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." 4. Knowing that all things will work out for our good---Romans 8:28 => “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” 5. Knowing that we are more than conquerors in this world---Roman 8:37-39 => “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 6. Knowing that we are new creations in Christ---2 Corinthians 5:17 => “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 7. Knowing that we can do all things through Christ---Philippians 4:13 => “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” J. REWARDS FOR THE FAITHFUL WHO ENDURE SUFFERING 1. A heavenly reward---Matthew 5:11-12 => "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” 2. We will be joint heirs with Christ---Romans 8:16-18 => “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” 3. We will receive His comfort---2 Corinthians 1:7 => “And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation (comfort).”
K. Psalm 34:19 says: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. L. In Acts 5:41 it says concerning the disciples: “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” M. Suffering can do several things in the life of a believer. First, it can "burn out the dross," or purify us and lead us to greater holiness of life. But it can also "burn in the promises," or lead us to a closer dependence on God and his faithful promises to us. Burn it will---but look also at what the burning is for. N. Someone has said: “A Christian is like a tea bag---not much good until it has gone through