Benefits of Justification, pt. 3
When you got saved, Jesus introduced you to a wonderful friend. Apart from Christ, he is your best friend. He will draw you close to God, and make you more like Jesus. He will help you develop strong character, and perseverance.
His name is Trouble. He goes by the aliases of Trials or Tribulations. Generally, it is not when things are going smoothly that we make great advances for the Lord.
v. 3 This is contrary to the world's thinking, and none of us do this well, but must try to see the upside of down times. We are to literally take joy in troubles.
It does not say to have joy in spite of our troubles...or to just endure it graciously, w/out complaining or to 'make the most' of a bad situation. It goes far beyond that and says to glory in our troubles. This means rejoicing and jubilation.
Could it be a misprint?
2 Corinthians 7:4
... I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.
Elsewhere he said I take pleasure in adversity.
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
In verse 2 Paul just said we have hope of glory. It is then the critics point out that Christians are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good...we're all about the sweet by and by and not the nasty here and now. And it's almost as if Paul knows they are gonna say that because of how he starts out v. 3...
"And not only so" = "I knew you were gonna say that!"
Paul says that the troubles of this world are the Christian's friend. Justification isn't a ceasing of your troubles, it's just recognizing that God uses them for our benefit. If being saved is the end to your troubles, it's the front end!
1. The Reality of Trouble.
Throughout the Bible we have the record of trouble in the lives of God's people. Many times troubles increase after salvation as we become public enemy #1 to Satan. Can you name anyone in the Bible who didn't have their share of problems?
Moses, Joshua, Daniel, Jonah, David, etc. Paul tells about being whipped multiple times, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked several times. Robbed, turned against by friends, family, and strangers, cold, thirsty, naked, and on top of all that, the pressure of pastoring all the churches.
Job was right, man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble!
Everyone here has troubles, whether physical, emotional, financial, familial, etc. The rain falls on both the just and the unjust, and no one is sheltered from troubles.
Cautions regarding trouble:
ill.--a doctor told a man he had 6 weeks to live. "What can I do?" Dr. said, marry a widow w/ 10 kids, buy a hog farm, and leave your TV on CNN at all times. "Will I live longer?" No, but those 6 weeks will seem like an eternity!
Don't go looking for trouble. And we manufacture trouble when we disregard Bible principles which were given to bless our lives. Life is hard enough...and we make it harder by punishing ourselves by not following God's plans/morals/family/priorities/money/beliefs
Trouble. Don’t manufacture it…
Joseph of the OT is a rare exception to most OT saints in that you cannot find anything negative in his life, sin wise, yet he went thru all kinds of troubles, which by the way, made him the best he could be!
Daniel was exemplary, and look what he went thru.
Paul is a NT example, and his middle name was trouble.
Some of the sweetest, most mature Christians I know have had a lot of trouble, and I've gotta wonder if that's how they became such mature Christians!
The reality of trouble...
2. The Reason for Trouble.
Why should the Christian be joyful about troubles?
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
A spanking shows a child love. You don't want them to burn themselves on that oven, etc.
Ill.—when I was a kid and a dog chased our car my dad would let them catch up to his door and then hit them with it. I thought it was cruel…but really he was saving their life as they learned that ‘car hurt.’
11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
We go thru trouble, and experience the sustaining grace of God, and then others can see it and want it.
Once God has carved a deep valley in your life, His grace can flow thru it to others!
v. 3-5a See the process? "Tribulation" comes from the Latin 'tribulum', which was a heavy piece of timber w/ spikes in it, used for threshing grain. It separated the wheat from the chaff. And that's one purpose of God for troubles in our lives...we all have some chaff that needs separated. The impurities need to be removed. We need to be put on the fire, and stretched on the rack!
Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
God is more concerned with our growth than our comfort. He loves us as we are, but He loves us too much to let us stay the way we are!
-Our weaknesses and God's strength. When things are going well in the church I get independent and self sufficient, but when the devil attacks, I rely on God!
-God's will. Some of you would have never come to God without trouble. Where was John Bunyan when he wrote Pilgrim's Progress? In a dark Bedford jail! It was a blind Fanny Crosby who wrote all those great hymns. It was thru the loss of his wife, who walked out on him, that Charles Weigle wrote, "No one ever cared for me like Jesus." And the birth of a deaf daughter led to the "Bill Rice Ranch."
ill.--the blacksmith puts metal in the fire to make it bendable. But if it won't bend, it goes on the scrap heap.
"God, put me on the fire if you must, dip me in the water when you have to, just don't throw me on the scrap heap!"
3. Our Response to Trouble.
v. 3 We glory in it. How can we do that? We're not turned that way! It's not about how we are turned, it's about whether we will trust God and obey His Word.
ill.--a biologist watched an ant burdened carrying a piece of straw. He came to a big crack in the ground that he couldn't cross. He paused and seemed almost to think about it, then laid the straw across the gap and crossed...what a lesson on turning burdens into bridges!
Burdens become bridges, trials become triumphs, problems are possibilities!
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