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God is Working in Our Suffering

God is Working in Our Suffering

Sermon Notes

Main Verse: Col 1:15-23

Key Thought: When we are going through anxious moments, we can sometimes wonder what is God up to. Paul reassures us that suffering can accomplish things that ease and comfort cannot. So, we shouldn’t let earthly suffering shake our faith in Christ when Christ himself faced tremendous pain. But we can know that suffering is good work. And this good work can benefit our community of faith. Knowing this helps shape our identity in the body of Christ.

Key Question:

Does your faith decline when suffering increases?

For Paul, faith, and suffering often traveled together.

Here’s how Paul defines suffering in 2 Cor.

  • Distress (θλῖψις) affliction, trial, outside pressure (1:6)
  • Trouble (θλίβω) internal stress, worry anxiety, (1:4, 8)
  • Suffering (πάθημα) physical pain that leads to anxiety, a calamity (1:5)

Pau didn’t just write about suffering; he experienced it as well. In one year’s time (60 AD):

  • He appeared before Porcius Festus to defend himself
  • He was arrested, sent to Rome
  • He was shipwrecked
  • He was snake bitten
  • He was placed under house arrest

Supporting Points:

  • Paul mentions his suffering in this letter (Col. 1:24)
    • For Christ-followers, suffering has a “for” in it
    • His wording suggests suffering can be put in the right place at the right time for the right response.

Most miracles of God are preceded by the suffering of some kind.

  • Paul share insights about suffering in the church community (2 Cor. 1:3-7)
    • Here’s how Paul defines suffering
      • Distress (θλῖψις) affliction, trial, outside pressure
      • Trouble (θλίβω) internal stress, worry anxiety,
      • suffering (πάθημα) physical pain that leads to anxiety, a calamity
    • Here is what God can do through suffering
      • We receive compassion (οἰκτιρμός – bowels of compassion) from the Father (1:3)
      • We receive comfort (1:3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
      • And this comfort is transferable (1:4)
  • Suffering Connects us to Christ (Col 1:28-29)
    • The goal is to be fully mature (Col 1:28-29)
      • Our goal is often different
        • A better person
        • Stronger
        • Tougher
        • But the real goal is Christ-likeness.
      • God can’t make you look like Christ if you don’t face suffering well.

Consider:

Do you suffer well?

Application:

Identify the trial you are going through (or have been through)

  • Distress
  • Trouble
  • Suffering

Invite God’s comfort into your heart.

Write down how this trial shapes you.

What is the connection between your trial and Jesus’ life?

60 AD

Paul is in Caesarea Philippi and he appeals to go the Rome and assert his case Procurus Festus sends him to Rome

On this journey to Rome, Paul faced

Massive Storms at sea

Shipwreck

Being snake bit

And Fierce resistance

And then, when he arrives in Rome, he is placed under house arrest.

61 AD

Paul writes some of the most impactful documents of human history

Colossians

Ephesians

Philippians

Philemon

Provided leadership, tackled theological issues, and wrote with sweeping inspiration.

Released for a short time and then a haunting figure rises to power as the Emperor- NERO.

Looking to blame someone for the burning of his city, he rounds up an untold amount of Christ-followers and has them executed as a scapegoat for his crime.

Beheaded sometime between 64-68 AD

On the judgment-seat, clad in the imperial purple, sat a man who, in a bad world, had attained the eminence of being the very worst and meanest being in it, a man stained with every crime, a man whose whole being was so steeped in every nameable and unnameable vice, that body and soul of him were, as some one said at the time, nothing but a compound of mud and blood; and in the prisoner’s dock stood the best man the world possessed, his hair whitened with labours for the good of men and the glory of God. The trial ended: Paul was condemned, and delivered over to the executioner. He was led out of the city, with a crowd of the lowest rabble at his heels. The fatal spot was reached; he knelt beside the block; the headsman’s axe gleamed in the sun and fell; and the head of the apostle of the world rolled down in the dust” (probably A.D. 66), four years before the fall of Jerusalem.

Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Discussion Questions

TALK IT OUT: 

  1. The Apostle Paul observed in Colossians 1:24 that he was suffering for the Colossians. Pastor Rusty suggests our suffering can put us “in the right place, at the right time for the right response.” Consider how God is using your current suffering, or how He has used your past suffering?  
  1. Pastor Rusty observes that most miracles of God are preceded by suffering of some kind. Have you ever witnessed a miracle that was connected to your struggles?  
  1. Faith and suffering often travel together. In 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul uses three words to describe suffering: 1) Distress, (outside pressure) 2) Trouble (internal stress) and 3) Suffering (physical pain which leads to anxiety). Think of a recent time when you struggled. Which of these words most related to your struggle?  
  1. According to Paul, God can use our suffering to help us receive the Father’s compassion, 2 Corinthians 1:3. Describe a time in your past when you experienced God’s compassion for you?   
  1. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 repeatedly speaks of God’s comfort for His children. How has God comforted you in the past when you’ve been overwhelmed?  
  1. In 2 Corinthians 1:4, we learn God comforts us so we can in turn comfort others. Reflect on a time when God used someone to comfort you. When was the last time God used you to comfort someone else?  
  1. Pastor Rusty observes in Colossians 1:28-29 that “suffering connects us to Christ.” It helps us become fully mature. How has God used the tough times you’ve encountered to help you become a: better, stronger, tougher person who is more like Christ because you learned to weather the storms with His help? 

LIVE IT OUT 

  • Identify and list the trials you are going through, or have gone through in these areas: 
  • Distress 
  • Trouble 
  • Suffering 
  • Invite God to comfort you in your suffering.  
  • Write down how God is using this trial to shape you.  
  • What is the connection between your trial and Jesus’ life?