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Set Apart for Kingdom Living 3; the pursuit of suffering

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Set Apart for Kingdom Living 3 - The Pursuit of Suffering  - Matthew 5:4; 10-12; John 11:21-36

OS: 1The upside down Kingdom – Upside down from the basic desires of mankind.

8Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Mt 5:4

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Mt 5:10-12

I.      Suffering is a reality of life.

A.   Source – our decisions, others decisions, sometimes it just happens.

B.    Christianity does not mean no suffering – Jesus’ conclusion.

II.   The pursuit of Suffering.

A.   Yes, suffering is the enemy of the average American.  In America, Christians pray for the burden of suffering to be lifted from their backs. In the rest of the world Christians pray for stronger backs so they can bear their suffering. It’s why we look away from the bag lady on the street and to the displays in store windows. Why we prefer going to the movies instead of to hospitals and nursing homes.
SOURCE: Dave Dravecky in When You Can’t Come Back. Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 10

B.    Americans in general do not believe in suffering therefore has the church been influenced by them or the other way around – The message, example, and reality of God is fixed on the idea of suffering.

C.   This prayer was found in the clothing of a dead child at Ravensbruck concentration camp.
O Lord, remember not only the men and woman of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all of the suffering they have inflicted upon us: Instead remember the fruits we have borne because of this suffering, our fellowship, our loyalty to one another, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown from this trouble. When our persecutors come to be judged by you, let all of these fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.

III.           The Jews were coming to Jesus in hopes of a great King who would alleviate their suffering.

A.   Instead He spoke of the blessedness of suffering.

B.    Instead He was the Suffering Servant of Isaiah’s prophecies.

TS] Kingdom living means…

I.       2 We worship a King who is our comfort in suffering. - (Present and Future) – 3 John 11:21-27

A.   Age old question – Why does God allow suffering?

B.    4 God has provided the comfort we need in our suffering – Without Jesus how would we see death?

1.How often have we been comforted by the suffering of Jesus in our own suffering and mourning?

2.Paul – Thessalonians – Don’t grieve as those who have no hope.

C.   Jesus has provided the hope we need for this life and the life to come.

TS] Kingdom living also means…

II.    5 We also worship a King who identifies with our suffering. - John 1:14, 6 7 11:28-31

A.   Even if no one else knows how you feel – Jesus knows!

1.8 He knows what it feels like to be deserted, to suffer pain, to feel loss, ect.

B.    It is good to learn early enough that suffering and God are not a contradiction but rather a unity, for the idea that God himself is suffering is one that has always been one of the most convincing teachings of Christianity. I think God is nearer to suffering than to happiness, and to find God in this way gives peace and rest and a strong and courageous heart. -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in a letter to his twin sister, Sabine. Christian History, no. 32

C.   Suffering, pain, problems, and death came into this world with sin. (Garden) When Jesus was offered as a sacrifice on Calvary He paid the price for that sin through suffering the cross. Therefore, when we suffer we see that suffering as a result of sin, a result of living in this fallen world, and in that suffering we identify with Jesus.

TS] So, if our King comforts us in our suffering, and identifies with our suffering…then…

III.           9 Only with Jesus on the throne of our heart, can we authentically comfort those who mourn.

A.   10 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.  2 Co 1:3-7

IV.            Conclusion:

A.   11 Kingdom living involves blessing and responsibility:

1.We have the blessing of Jesus in our own lives as a King who comforts us, and identifies with our struggles and suffering in life.

2.Also, we have the responsibility of transferring that comfort we receive to people around us.

B.    12 John 13 – Jesus now showed them the full extent of His love – He washed their feet – served – He concluded with the words, “Do to one another as I have done to you”

C.   Storms will come – key = You need Jesus in your boat! – Mark 4:35-41

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