The Power of God in Suffering for Christ
Title: The Power of God in Suffering for Christ
Theme: God gives us the power, instructions, and motivation to persevere when suffering for the cause of Christ.
Intro: Suffering occurs in missions and ministry.
- Struggles in France: Loneliness, Lack of Christians, Severe temptations, Sickness, Burdens
- Why would I want to go to the mission's field or even stay in ministry.
- In your life what motivates you when you are suffering because of the challenges that come with being a Christian.
Around A.D. 67 during some of the most intense persecutions of Christians under Nero. End of Paul's life.
- Paul knew what it is like to suffer in ministry and mission's work.
- In 2 Cor. 11 He gives a list of experiences of being beaten, lashed, stoned, imprisoned, hungry, thirsty, cold, experiencing sleepless nights, various dangers and the daily pressure of concern for all the churches.
- Born in Lystra (city in Roman province of Galatia, part of modern Turkey)
- Apparently became a Christian as a result of Paul's work in Lystra (Acts 14:6-23)
- Helped Paul in the cities of Troas, Philippi, Berea, Thessalonica, Athens and Corinth.
- Textual support suggests that he was in Ephesis
- Mother was Jewish, father was a Greek
I. (2:1) God has given us the power to persevere in Suffering
A. Background Info. "my son"- "my beloved son" (1:2)
B. The Charge "be strong"
- Joshua 1:6 – 9 God repeatedly tells Joshua before going into battle, "be strong and courageous"
C. Means grace (unmerited assistance and help) available in the union of Christ
- Recognize our position in Christ: Our strength is not in our selves but available by the means of grace through the Union with Christ.
II. (2:2-7) God has given us the instructions to tap into the power of God
A. (2:2) Process of Transmission both locally and globally
1. God – Paul – Timothy – Faithful Leaders – Others
2. Example of an outworking of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20)
- Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…..
- Disciple = devoted follower, pupil and tutor to others (Acts 11:26)
3. Church must work together.
B. (2:3) Do not fear suffering for Christ
1. Paul refers to Timothy as his beloved son (2Tim. 1:2)
2. Suffering for the sake of Christ is beneficial. (1Pet. 4:12-16)
a. Eternal Rewards: Matt. 5:11-12
b. Awareness of the presence of Christ: 1Peter 4:14, Acts 7:54-60
Josef Ton Illustration
c. God advances His kingdom through suffering
Growth rate comparison: West (comfort) Persecuted countries (suffering)
C. (2:4-7) Instructions listed to tap into the power of God and do His work.
1. (2:4) Have a soldier's mentality
-Not playground but battlefield
-Easy to lay our weapons down
Example of France
Access many things that are not sin but can become sin: Med., Food, Cinema, Movies
Access to many temptations that are sin…Not seeking those but those seeking me.
2. (2:5) Have an athlete's focus (Essence of athlete - heart for the game & goal in mind)
- Illustration of playing football.
3. (2:6) Have a farmer's work ethic (Working hard reaps the harvest)
All these occupations require self-discipline, self-denial, and self-sacrifice looks
4. (2:7) Have and understanding of how these metaphors apply to your life.
III.(2:8-10) God has given us the motivation in suffering
A. (2:8) Remember (Keep always in your memory) Jesus Christ is the one we serve
1. Deity (power) King of kings, Lord of lords, Alpha – Omega, Beginning – End
2. Humanity (supreme example): Our suffering need to be seen in the light of the cross. God is not a distant being who is not personal. God is one who stepped into our world of suffering and takes upon Himself the pain of the crucifixion and bearing penalty of the sin of the world.
B. (2:9) The word of God is powerful
1.Illustration of the catacombs in Rome
2. Only bound in our own lives if we keep it hidden to ourselves.
C. (2:10) We are the means that God uses to reach the lost.