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Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:7-12
When Afflictions Come
1. Affliction/tribulation (thlipsis): “Prim. means a pressing, pressure, anything which burdens the spirit...has reference to sufferings due to the pressure of circumstances, or the antagonism of persons” (Vine, 17).
a. Arise from wars, want, distress, persecution, and other things.
b. Synonyms: Suffering, trouble, anguish, burden.
2. They will come, Jno. 15:20; Acts 14:22; 1 Thess. 3:4; 2 Tim. 3:12.
3. How do we react toward affliction: With anger, hate, revenge, jealousy, and envy? Or with patience, contentment, and faith?
4. When we are faced with trials, trouble, and pressures on every side, we can better deal with them in God’s way by understanding some facts about afflictions, 2 Cor. 4:7-12.
I. AFFLICTIONS ARE NOT PROOF OF PERSONAL SIN AND GUILT.
A. Present Misfortune (calamity) is not Proof a Person has Sinned, Jno. 9:2-3; Lk. 13:1-5 (cf. Job 4:7; 1:8, 22; 2:10).
B. Innocent, Godly People Suffer, 2 Tim. 3:12; Jas. 1:27.
C. You May Appear Look Like an Evildoer When You Suffer for Righteousness, 2 Tim. 2:8-9.
1. We expect evildoers to suffer (Rom. 2:9).
2. Paul was not an evildoer, yet he was in prison facing death.
D. One May Suffering for Doing Good, 1 Pet. 3:13-17.
-Do so without shame, 1 Pet. 4:15-16.
II. AFFLICTIONS HAVE POTENT BENEFITS.
A. We Learn Contentment through Affliction, Phil. 4:11-13.
-Help us learn we are sufficient in Christ in spite of trials that test us and set doubt before us.
B. We Learn Submissive Obedience through Affliction, Heb. 5:8-9.
1. Trials test our faith and resolve to obey Jesus.
2. “The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials” (Chinese proverb), 1 Pet. 1:6-7.
C. Our Faith Gets Stronger through Affliction.
1. Trials mature our faith when we endure, Jas. 1:2-4.
2. Trials teach us endurance, 2 Tim. 2:3.
3. Trials teach us to trust Christ’s power to strengthen and sustain us, 2 Cor. 12:9-10.
III. AFFLICTIONS CAN BE ENDURED, Jas. 1:12.
A. God Will Approve Us When We Endure Present Troubles.
-Someone said, “God limits their impact,” 1 Cor. 10:13.
B. Faith Turns Unjust Suffering into God’s Glory, 1 Pet. 4:15-16.
1. Honor God before others by showing Christ when you suffer.
2. God will protect your soul when you commit yourself to Him (cf. 2:23), 1 Pet. 4:19.
IV. AFFLICTIONS ARE POWERLESS TO INVALIDATE OUR SERVICE TO GOD, Rom. 8:35-39.
A. They Need not Disturb our Faith, 1 Thess. 3:3.
1. Shaken: Disquiet, agitate (of a dog wagging its tail).
2. We are appointed (placed) to receive trials (laid, Matt. 3:10).
B. We Endure Afflictions by Keeping Heavenly Goal, 2 Tim. 2:12.
1. Inward person renewed, eternal glory assured, 2 Cor. 4:16-18.
2. Crown of life, Rev. 2:10 (Jas. 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:6-8).
3. Rejoice to suffer for Christ’s sake – Exceeding joy, 1 Pet. 4:13.
1. Must face afflictions for our faith with a willingness to sacrifice for Christ and keep our spiritual goals (Phil. 3:7-11, 14-15).
2. Suffering, troubles, and trials are faced with faith, contentment, joy, and the hope of heavenly rest (Rev. 14:13).
3. Only Christians can face trials and trouble this way (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
By: Joe R. Price
Posted November 17, 2020