Christ Community Church corporate worship schedule 

Sunday 9:00 AM - Masks required 

Sunday 11:00 AM - Masks optional 

Covid-19 and Our Suffering

March 22, 2020 Speaker: Paul Sanders Series: Romans

Topic: Romans Passage: Romans 8:16–8:27

Community Church congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America Faithful   to  the  Scriptures

True to the Reformed Faith Obedient to the Great Commission

 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

10:30 am

 Welcome to

Christ Community Church

For God's glory, to make and deploy mature and equipped disciples of Jesus Christ.

 

Whether you are a visitor or a member, it is a joy to worship our Lord Jesus Christ with you this morning.

 

If you would like more information on Christ Community Church, please let us know by emailing the church at  admin@christcommunitychurchonline.org.

 

Prepare yourself now for the highest calling of the people of God which is the worship of God in spirit and in truth.    (John 4:24)

 

 REFLECTIONS

  

"You know I am convinced that...most Christians today are not being taught a correct Bibli­ cal theology and worldview on suffering. So, they are ill-prepared when suffering and dying comes."     -Former Hospice Worker

  

"Suffering for a Christian has the possibility to lead to something so glorious and so good that it almost makes suffering attractive. Our sufferings are occasions for God to fulfill His own glorious design...Contrast the worst of suffering with the best of glory and future glory always overshadows all present suffering or another way to say it is, the good of glory is far better than the hardship  of suffering." -Randy Pope

  

"Suffering is appointed by God for His saints so that as we persevere in joy in God through suffering, He is shown to be more valuable than what we are losing as we suffer...Your suf­ fering makes your cup increase so that when it is tossed into the ocean of everlasting joy of Heaven, it will contain more when you have suffered well on earth."  -John  Piper

  

"Now I ask, why does the Lord permit the condition of His people to be so unsettled in the world? It is that they may settle upon Himself."                                              -William Bridge

 

 March ZZ, 2020

First Pre-recorded Worship Service Order of Worship

 

Welcome and Announcements

 

Hearing from the Savior

 

Call to Worship                                                                      Psalm  24:7-10

 

Pastor:              Lift up your heads, 0 gates! And be lifted up, 0 ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory?

Congregation:   The Lord, strong and  mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!

 

Pastor:              Lift up your heads, 0 gates! And lift them up, 0 ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory?

Congregation:   The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory!

 

Responding  to the Savior

 

Prayer of lnvocation

 

Song of Praise                                                    I Will Glory in My Redeemer

 

I will glory in my Redeemer whose priceless blood has ransomed me.

Mine was the sin that drove the bitter nails and hung him on that judgment tree.

I will glory in my Redeemer, who crushed the pow'r of sin and death;

My only Savior before the Holy Judge, the Lamb who is my righteousness. The Lamb who is my righteousness.

 

I will glory in my Redeemer my life he bought, my love he owns. I have no longings for another I'm satisfied in him alone.

 

Our Call to Worship starts a time of "Revelation and Response".

God reveals and we respond together.

  

I will glory in  my Redeemer,  His faithfulness  my standing place

though foes are mighty and rush upon me, my feet are firm, held by his grace.

My feet are firm, held by his grace.

 

I will glory in my Redeemer  who carries me on eagle's   wings.

He crowns my life with loving kindness, His triumph song I'll ever sing. I will glory in my Redeemer, who waits for me at gates of gold.

And when he calls me it will be paradise, His face forever to behold, His face forever to behold.

 

Silent Confession of Sin

 

Corporate Confession of Sin in Song                                     By Thy Mercy

 

Jesus, Lord of life and glory, bend from heaven thy gracious ear; While our waiting souls adore thee, Friend of helpless sinners, hear:

From the depth of nature's blindness, from the hardening power of sin, from all malice and unkindness, from the  pride that lurks within,

 

Chorus:             By thy mercy, 0 deliver us, good Lord.

By thy mercy, 0 deliver us, good Lord, good Lord.

 

When temptation sorely presses, in the day of Satan's power, In our times of deep distresses, in each dark and trying hour.

When the world around is smiling, in the time of wealth and ease, earthly joys our hearts beguiling, in the day of health and peace. Chorus

 

In the weary hours of sickness, in the times of grief and pain, when we feel our mortal weakness, when all human help is vain. In the solemn hour of dying, in the awful judgment day,

may our souls, on thee relying, find thee still our Rock and Stay.

Chorus

 

Hearing from the Savior

 Assurance of Pardon                                                       Hebrews 4:14-16

 

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heav­ ens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may re­ ceive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

New Testament Reading                                                    1  Peter 1:3-7

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith-more  precious than  gold that  perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to result in praise and glory and  honor   at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

 

Responding to the Savior

 

Moment of Quiet Contemplation and Worship through Tithes and Offerings

 

Please give online at our church website under the "Give" tab or mail your gifts to Christ Community Church, 700 Harrison Bridge Road, Simpsonville, SC, 29681.

 

Prayer of Thanksgiving

 

Song of Affirmation and Preparation       Whate'er My God Ordains is Right

 

 

Whate'er my God ordains is right, Holy His will abideth.

I will be still whate'er He does, and follow where He guideth. He is my God, though dark my road.

  

He holds me that I shall not fall, wherefore to Him I leave it all

 

Whate'er my God ordains is right, He never will deceive me. He leads me by the proper path, I know He will not leave me. I take, content, what He hath sent,

His hand can turn my griefs away, and patiently I wait His day

 

Whate'er my God ordains is right, though now this cup in drinking. May bitter seem to my faint heart, I take it all unshrinking.

My God is true, each morn anew.

Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart, and pain and sorrow shall depart.

 

Whate'er my God ordains is right, here shall my stand be taken. Though sorrow, need, or death be mine, yet I am not forsaken. My Father's care is round me there.

He holds me that I shall not fall, and so to Him I leave it   all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week after week we proclaim the Bible because we are convinced it is

the inspired,

infallible and inerrant Word of God. That means that it comes to us from God, so, it is true in everything that

itclaims. . Therefore, you ' can trust it  with all of your heart and it will not let

you down.

 

 

Continued on next page

 

Hearing from the Savior

 

Sermon                                                                       Rev. Paul L. Sanders

 

"COVID-19 and Our Suffering"                                         Romans  8:16-27

 

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the crea­ tion waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bond­ age to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our  bodies.  For in this hope we  were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But ifwe hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groan­ ings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

 

Responding  to the Savior

 

 

Song of Response

 

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea  billows roll;  whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

"It is well, it is well with my soul."

 

It is Well With My Soul    Written by Hora­

tio Spafford in 1873 when passing the place where his four daughters drowned.

 

 

Chorus:            It is well {it is well) with my soul {with my soul);

It is well, it is well with my soul.

 

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control,

that Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and has shed His own blood for my soul.

Chorus

 

My sin-0 thebliss of this glorious thought!

-my sin, not in part, but the whole,

is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more; praise the Lord, praise the Lord, 0 my soul! Chorus

 

And, Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;

The trumpet shall sound, and the Lord shall descend, even so, it is well with my soul.

Chorus

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hearing from the Savior

 

Benediction                                                               2 Corinthians 13:14

 

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

  

Hymns and worship songs are used by permission, CCLI#  187771

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions for Families & Community Groups

 

Romans 8:16-27         COVJD-19 and Our Suffering

 

  1. Discuss various views on suffering in this world that have been held to by those in the
  2. What difference will a biblically right or wrong view on suffering make in our lives?
  3. Why do many Christians endure suffering and death in the same way as non-Christians with little contentment of hope?
  4. Why are the two "handles of truth" (God's sovereignty and good­ ness) critical if we are to suffer well? How much of a biblical worldview do you have when it comes to suffering?
  5. Why do we resist the thought that God is sovereign over our suf­ fering? Why should that give us more security in our suffering as His people?
  6. Have you ever contemplated that we are to steward the suffer­ ing we endure for the glory of God and for the furthering of His King­ dom with the glory's He intends to lay upon us? What difference might this perspective make?
  7. Have you ever tasted the benefit and even a glimpse of the glory that comes from our suffering?
  8. What is the hardest trial pressing you right now in life?
  9. How can a biblical view of suffering helps us navigate this COVID-19 pandemic?
  10. Pray for one

 Keep up to date with everything going on in the church:

 

Our Weekly Updates and prayer emails are the most comprehensive avenues of communicat ion. If you would like to receive those, please give us your email using the tear-off section on the back page.

We celebrate the Lord's Supper on the first Sunday of each month. (Our bread is gluten free.)

Food offerings of non-perishable items are collected on the first Sunday of each month and will be distributed to local food agencies who serve those in need.

Care for the elderly at Patewood Rehab & Healthcare Center (2 Griffith Road, Greenville) on the

third Sunday of each month at 2:00 PM.

 Calendar at a Glance:

 

All activities for the month of March have been canceled.

Community Groups/Discipleship Opportunities have been canceled  until further notice.

Contact your leader with prayer requests and for encouragement.

  

Mercy Ministry Giving

Our One Fund budgets for mercy ministry. You do not need to 'ear mark' mercy funding gifts any longer. Any who typically gave above and beyond to the fund are asked to simply add that amount to their regular giving. We will make appeals for designated giving only when specific needs arise that are beyond our  budget.

 

Manage Your Giving at Christ Community  Church

We want to remind you that we offer electronic giving as a convenient way to automate your weekly giving. Electronic giving offers convenience for individual's and provides much-needed consistency for our church's budget. Go to www.christcommunitychurchonline.org to set up an automatic dona­ tion plan, to change your donation plan, or to make a one-time special gift. You ca n also view your online giving history.

 

Financial Reports

Please note that the February 2020 report of CCC finances is available for members at the Resource Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Sanders, Teaching Elder

864.431.6688

Cal Gilvin, Chairman

864.901.4744

Steve Britton, Ruling Elder, Clerk ofSesslon

864.277.9248

Greg Coggins, Mercy Ministry

904.472.9656

Tom Davies, Ruling Elder

864.354.0371

Bill Gobeli, Facility

864.706.4659

Randy Gordon, Ruling Elder

864.237.2733

Bruce  Piesch, Mercy Ministry

719.367.1686

Rick Helser, Ruling Elder

864.907.6020

BUI Turek, Facility

864.915.3737

Roy Liddell, Ruling Elder

813.361.2525

Andrew Woodford, Facility

864.351.8234

Jim Perry, Ruling Elder

864.449.5609

Bruce  Drebenstedt, Treasurer

864.980.4086

Jim Streit, Ruling Elder

864.354.0701

 

 

John Shaw, Ruling Elder

864.270.6648

 

 

 

 

Paul Sanders, Senior Pastor

864.431.6688

Rachel Beeson, Dir. of Children's Ministry

864.617.6768

Jim Perry, Church Administrator

864.449.5609

Cal Gilvin, Facility Manager

864.901.4744

Jason Cornwell, Assistant Pastor of Worship

864.363.4201

Felicia Liddell, Dir. of Assimilation

813.335.7320

Jerry Lindell, Assistant to the Pastor

864.238.8624

Joanne Heiser, Admin. Assistant

864.593.2424

Steve Wearden, Dir. of Family & Community Ministry              803.460.7871

Ministry Areas

 

 

 

Children's Ministry- Rachel Beeson

864.617.6768

Senior Adult Ministry - Felicia  Liddell

813.335.7320

Kitchen Coordinator -  Fran Turek

864.915.6487

Women's Fellowship - Felicia  Liddell

813.335.7320

Men's Bible Studies - Bill Turek

864.915.3737

Women's Bible Studies - Paul Sanders

864.431.6688

Missions -  Paul Sanders

864.431.6688

Women's Mentor Groups - Kathy Doherty

864.630.9074

Music - Jason Cornwell

864.363.4201

Worship - Paul Sanders

864.431.6688

Sunday Ministry Teams - Joanne Heiser

864.593.2424

Youth M!n!stry - Steve Wearden

803.460.7871

 

 

Church Hours Monday - Thursday 8:00a - 5:00p

 

Office  Hours Wed & Thurs          Fridays

8:00a - 4:00p          8:00a-12:00p

 

............................................................................................................................

 

Contact Form:

If we can serve you in any of the following ways, please complete or update the contact information, select the applicable boxes and return this slip in the offering plate. It is a joy to worship with  you!

Name:                                                                     

 

Email:                                                                     Address:                                                               _

City:                                         Zip:                                    Cellphone:                                                                

I would like to:

D   learn more about Christ Community D  talk with someone about membership D  be added to the weekly email updates D understand more about knowing Jesus D   talk with someone about:

D request prayer for:                                                 _

 

 

Pastor Paul's Manuscript -

Sunday, March 22, 2020         First CCC Pre-Recorded Worship Service

 

Welcome & Announcements                                                  Pastor Paul Sanders

 

I never imagined that there would be a day that we were pre-recording a service of worship because of a worldwide pandemic. But here we are.

 

We desire that our congregation continue tracking together in our worship of God and growth together as a church from our homes. Our order of worship is on our website under media and was also sent out via email. I want to thank Jim Perry for his hard work on recordings and editing along with Pastor Jason and the Darnell’s for leading our songs.

 

I ask that you from your home fully engage and participate in the readings, singing, and prayers. No pandemic can stop us from worshipping the Lord our God and even now, He is ready to receive our worship.

 

Settle your hearts for a moment as we prepare for pastor Jason to lead us into a responsive call to worship. (Bow for a moment)

 

HEARING FROM THE SAVIOR

 

Call to Worship   Psalm 24:7-10                                             Pastor Jason Cornwell

 

Pastor: Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? Congregation: The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!

Pastor: Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory?

Congregation: The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory!

 

RESPONDING TO THE SAVIOR

 

Invocation                                                                              Pastor Cornwell

 

Song of Praise                         I Will Glory in My Redeemer

 

Silent Confession of Sin                                                          Pastor Cornwell

 

A Corporate Confession of Sin in Song     By Thy Mercy (RUF)

 

 

HEARING FROM THE SAVIOR

 

Assurance of Pardon                         Hebrews 4:14-16                     Pastor Cornwell

 

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

Paul: Because of this assurance of God’s mercy and grace we are lifted up into rejoicing . From 1 Peter 1:3-7.

Scripture Reading                            1 Peter 1:3-7                            Pastor Sanders   

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 

 

RESPONDING TO THE SAVIOR

 

Paul: We want to remind you to worship the Lord through your giving. We know all of us will in some way be impacted financially from this crisis.

 

Please let a staff member, or elder, or deacon know if you are impacted beyond what you care bare so that we can consider how to assist one another.

 

And let us continue to trust the Lord in our giving. Not holding back nor withholding from Him, but rather giving in proportion to His provision.

 

You can go to our website now, and under the GIVE tab give your tithe or offering for the week. You can even set up reoccurring giving as you desire.

If that is too technological for your comfort, please mail your givings to 700 Harrison Bridge Road, Simpsonville, SC, 29680.

Let’s take a moment to contemplate the goodness of God as Peter reminded us in the prior text.

 

Moment of Quiet Contemplation and Worship Through Tithes and Offerings Pastor Sanders

 

Please give online at our church website under the “Give” tab or mail your giving’s into Christ Community Church, 700 Harrison Bridge Road, Simpsonville, SC, 29681.

 

Prayer of Thanksgiving                                                                    Pastor Sanders

 

Song of Affirmation and Preparation        What ‘Ere My God Ordains is Right (RUF)

 

HEARING FROM THE SAVIOR

 

Sermon                Romans 8:16-27  COVID-19 and Our Suffering   Pastor Sanders

 

16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 

 

RESPONDING TO & HEARING FROM THE SAVIOR

 

Song of Response                    It is Well With My Soul                       Pastor Cornwell

 

Benediction                   2 Corinthians 13:14                                   Pastor Cornwell

 

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.


 

Questions For Families & Community Groups

Romans 8:16-27          COVID-19 and Our Suffering

  1. Discuss various views on suffering in this world that have been held to by those in the group.
  2. What difference will a Biblically right or wrong view on suffering make in our lives?
  3. Why do many Christians endure suffering and death in the same way as non-Christians with little contentment of hope?
  4. Why are the two “handles of truth” (God’s sovereignty and goodness) critical if we are to suffer well? How much of a Biblical worldview do you have when it comes to suffering?
  5. Why do we resist the thought that God is sovereign over our suffering? Why should that give us more security in our suffering as His people?
  6. Have you ever contemplated that we are to steward the suffering we endure for the glory of God and for the furthering of His Kingdom with the glory’s He intends to lay upon us? What difference might this perspective make?
  7. Have you ever tasted the benefit and even a glimpse of the glory that comes from our suffering?
  8. What is the hardest trial pressing you right now in life?
  9. How can a Biblical view of suffering helps us navigate this COVID-19 pandemic?
  10. Pray for one another.

Bulletin Quotes:

“You know I am convinced that…most Christians today are not being taught a correct Biblical theology and worldview on suffering. So, they are ill-prepared when suffering and dying comes.” Former Hospice Worker

“Suffering for a Christian has the possibility to lead to something so glorious and so good that it almost makes suffering attractive. Our sufferings are occasions for God to fulfill His own glorious design…Contrast the worst of suffering with the best of glory and future glory always overshadows all present suffering or another way to say it is, the good of glory is far better than the hardship of suffering.” Randy Pope

 

“Suffering is appointed by God for His saints so that as we persevere in joy in God through suffering, He is shown to be more valuable than what we are losing as we suffer...Your suffering makes your cup increase so that when it is tossed into the ocean of everlasting joy of Heaven, it will contain more when you have suffered well on earth.”

John Piper

 

"Now I ask, why does the Lord permit the condition of His people to be so unsettled in the world? It is that they may settle upon Himself." William Bridge

 


 

Blurb:

“Suffering for a Christian has the possibility to lead to something so glorious and so good that it almost makes suffering attractive. Our sufferings are occasions for God to fulfill His own glorious design…Contrast the worst of suffering with the best of glory and future glory always overshadows all present suffering or another way to say it is, the good of glory is far better than the hardship of suffering.” Randy Pope

 

A pastors’ wife who had worked in hospice care for more than 25 years said something very disturbing after hearing a sermon on suffering. She said that in her work she has observed a massive change over the years when it comes to Christians suffering. There used to be a distinct difference in the way that believers and unbelievers suffered and died from her experience. But she declared that in more recent years, she had not noticed significant differences in the suffering and dying of Christians from Non-Christians. She said, “You know I am convinced that the reason for this is because most Christians today are not being taught a correct Biblical theology and worldview on suffering.

So, they are ill-prepared when suffering and dying comes.”

 

For some of us, cultivating a right theology on suffering may indeed radically change how you view and endure the COVID-19 pandemic. Did you know that we are called to steward suffering for the glory of God? Did you know that in our suffering, there is unique opportunity to make deposits in Heaven of the very treasures Jesus told us to store up? These are important things before this Lord’s Day. Gather with your family or a few friends. Put on our March 22 Worship Service and let us consider together as a church (from homes across Greenville County), truths that make a difference as we navigate COVID-19.

 

 

Background: Join me in your copy of God’s Word at Romans 8.

Due to our current cultural context, I am fast forwarding to 8:16-27 for the next two weeks because I find it timely in relation to our current world crisis.

 

Now, I know what some of you are thinking.

Since you are watching this from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, you figure you can fast forward me any time you please. And you can.

Please do your best to refrain from doing such a thing!

 

We are just a few weeks into life as we knew it being turned up-side-down.

For over a week, we have had what seems to be hour by hour changes and adjustments in our nation, state, and county.

 

And like you, I don’t like it. With this comes some measure of suffering for all of us. Will some of us get the virus? Perhaps.

Will many of us have someone close to us get the virus? Possibly.

 

Are all of us impacted in some way? Absolutely.

Suspended church gatherings, school and athletics shut down, jobs, finances, retirement plans, recreation, social gatherings, on and on and on.

 

What are we to do with whatever level of suffering COVID-19 brings our way? The Apostle Paul, led by the Spirit of God speaks to our suffering in our text today.

 

Did you know that we are called to steward suffering for the glory of God?

Did you know that in our suffering, there is unique opportunity to make deposits in Heaven of the very treasures Jesus told us to store up?

 

Much of what I put before you today comes from some discipleship resources developed by Pastor Randy Pope that have encouraged me greatly.

 

Introduction: Imagine that you are reacquainted with an old high friend.

You begin to catch up and quickly learn that he is excelling in the free market, making tons of money; he married the high school beauty queen and has three incredible looking children.

You find yourself in that moment thinking:

“Wow. He has it all. Everything is so good for him; must be nice.”

 

But as your conversation continues you learn that his marriage is horrible, one child has rebelled in deeply painful ways and another child is suicidal.

And two weeks ago, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

 

Now, you find yourself now thinking, “There is no way in the world I would trade places with this guy.” Your perspective on your friend’s life changes dramatically now that you have, as Paul Harvey put it, “The rest of the story.”

 

Hearing the whole story can radically change one’s perspective.

The same is true of the Word of God. We can hear much of the story very accurately and yet draw wrong conclusions because we did not hear it all.

 

Chapter 8 of Romans is one such section of Scripture that you better keep in view the whole thing if you are going to have the whole story and therefore, have the proper perspective when it comes to the Christian life.

 

Romans 8:1-17 is part of the story.

We learn of wonderful blessings that are for every believer.

Vs. 1 speaks of our eternal security in Jesus.

Vs. 2 and following claims our freedom from sin and death.

Vs. 10 amazes us with the reality of our righteous record because of Jesus.

Vs. 14 assures us of the presence and leading of His Spirit.

Vs. 15 promises our adoption into God’s family through Jesus.

Vs. 17 promises that we are heirs of an incredible eternal inheritance with Christ.

 

We read these things and exclaim, “Wow! Isn’t it wonderful to be a Christian?

Yet that is not the whole story. Some would have you think it is but it is not.

Another part of the story of Christians is sure suffering.

 

COVID-19 is shattering a lot of theological glass houses right now.

Let’s equip ourselves by becoming familiar with the whole story.

 

Romans 8:16-27. This is the inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God.

That means that it comes to us from God, so, it is true in everything that it claims.

Therefore, you can trust it with of your heart, and in doing so, it will not let you down.

 

16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 

19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 

27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Pray)

 

Illustration: A pastors’ wife who had worked in hospice care for more than 25 years said something very disturbing after hearing a sermon on suffering.

 

She said that in her work she has observed a massive change over the years when it comes to Christians suffering. From her observation, there used to be a distinct difference in the way believers and unbelievers suffered and died.

But today, it was difficult to discern any difference at all.

 

She said, “You know I am convinced that the reason for this is because most Christians today are not being taught a correct Biblical theology and worldview on suffering.

So, they are ill-prepared when suffering and dying comes.”

 

For some of us here today, cultivating a right theology on suffering may radically change how you view and endure the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

I want to consider three truths from Scripture regarding suffering that if embraced, will enable you to steward well these days that are upon us.

 

The first truth is this: Suffering is a part of God’s design for this fallen world.

Friends, we ought not to be surprised by the miseries that come our way.

 

Vs. 22-23 – 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves…

 

Scripture teaches in countless places that since the Fall of mankind; suffering is a universal fact of life. Sadly, many churches do not teach this truth and so there are many disillusioned suffering Christians.

 

You will hear, “God wants you to be healed. Just believe.

God wants you to be rich. Just believe. God wants you to be happy. Just believe!”

 

Paul tells us that the entire creation is in futility, frustration and corruption.

You experience this futility every day, yes?

 

Struggling sleep, aching bodies, failing eyes, struggles in relationships, pain in work; today, a virus that has upended our way of life.

 

Paul says to believers, “We know this. We know that in this world we will have troubles.

We know that in Adam, mankind and all of creation fell into sin and suffering began.”

The Scripture does not sugarcoat that reality.

 

And so, questions like, “Why is this happening? What did I do? Does God not love me” indicate we need a Biblical theology and understanding of suffering.

Suffering is a part of God’s design for this fallen world.

 

Another critical truth that will deeply impact the way you suffer is this:

Our Suffering is ultimately from God. Now that statement shocks many Christians.

 

But that is what Paul said in vs. 20.

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope..

 

Who subjected all of creation including all of us to futility? “Him.”

Who is Him? That is our God. In this age, He wills, appoints and controls sickness, wellness; good days and hard days; He subjects us to suffering.

 

Some argue, “Not my God. He does not appoint suffering. He is loving!”

Friend, it is because He is loving, that He wills our suffering.

 

I realize this is a hard truth for many. So, allow me to lay out a sampling of the multitude of passages that teach this. Check them out as a family.

 

In Job 2:7-10, Satan was the agent utilized but God was the Sovereign in control over Job’s suffering.

 

In Genesis 50:20, when forgiving his brothers for their evil against him, Joseph proclaimed, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good,” communicating an intentional subjection of that suffering to Joseph from God.

 

In Exodus 4:11 the Lord answered the insecurities of Moses in speaking to Pharaoh.  11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man's mouth?

Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?

 

The Lord said in Deut. 32:39 - “‘… there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

 

Phil. 1:29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake…

 

Our loving Father, grants, bestows, yes, gives suffering even to His people.

I could go on and on and on with Scripture from Genesis to Revelation affirming God’s sovereignty over our suffering.

 

Many hate this sentiment. It does not fit with the god of their imagination.

But let me tell you; you want to believe this.

 

Because this truth leads us to our next point of emphasis. Because our Suffering is ultimately from God, we have confidence as His people that:

 

God appoints our suffering to fulfill His own glorious design for us.

Randy Pope put it this way, “Suffering for a Christian has the possibility to lead to something so glorious and so good that it almost makes suffering attractive.

Our sufferings are occasions for God to fulfill His own glorious design.”

 

Look at vs. 16-18 of our text again.

16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

 

In these verses, for the Christian, there is this correlation between suffering and glory.

 

During this age: God controls who suffers and to what degree they suffer;

yet He always has a glorious design in mind for His people. His and our glory.

 

When we are talking about glory, we are talking about the satisfaction, value, renown, great honor, praise, wonder, and splendor that God chooses to bestow upon His people; all that which ultimately belongs to God.

 

We have a God of glory that we are called to glorify in all of life, and yet the same God kindly and graciously disposes glory on His people.

He is a God of glory who has a design in mind that His people be a people of glory. And suffering is designed for that glory to be realized.

 

John Piper says, “Suffering is appointed by God for His saints so that as we persevere in joy in God through suffering, He is shown to be more valuable than what we are losing as we suffer.”

 

The present glory in our suffering and the ultimate glorification that is to come could be a sermon series itself.

 

But let me again, just put before you a sampling of verses I recommend you study in their context that speak to the correlation of our suffering to joy and glory.

Matthew 5:10; Romans 5:3; James 1:2; 1 Peter 4:13-19; Hebrews 10:34; Acts 5:41;

Hebrews 12:1-14; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 2:17; Colossians1:24; 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7;

2 Corinthians 3:18; 8:1; 1 Peter 1:3-7.

 

1 Peter 1:7 states that our suffering can result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

 

Another resource you might want to track down is Seasonable Counsel:

Or Advice to Suffers by John Bunyan.

 

Bunyan walked through the graduate school of suffering spending more than 12 years in prison.  

 

This work is an exposition of 1 Peter 4:19 which reads, “Let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”

 

2 Cor. 3:18 says that in our suffering, …beholding the glory of the Lord, (and) are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another...

 

So, a part of God’s design for our suffering is His bestowing upon us and forming in us degrees of this glory.

 

The ultimate glory to come is the glorious condition of blessedness and satisfaction into which is appointed and promised that true Christians shall enter after their Savior's return from heaven. (Pause)

 

There are tastes even now of this glory poured out on us by the Father.

I named them in review of the first 17 verses.

 

All of these wonders and glories are most often gained through suffering.

This should be no surprise to us. Seek out the best of the best in Olympic sports and your will learn stories of agony to get where they are.

 

Glory is always connected to suffering and agony.

Bearing children is an example Paul puts forth in our text.

 

Take the glory of childbirth. It is always preceded with great suffering.

You can’t separate glory from suffering.

 

Here are a few of the glories that God is working in us through suffering that you might look for them, give yourself to them and find joy and contentment even in the hard.

Purposes and Designs of God for our suffering:

 

  1. Suffering is designed for deeper faith in this life.

Holiness and deeper faith come most often through pain (2 Cor. 1:8-9)

When speaking of his suffering, Paul says in 2 Cor. 1:9:

9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.

But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 

 

God knocked every prop out from under Paul that he had no other place to rest and lean than upon the God who raises the dead!

 

  1. Suffering is designed for deeper holiness in this life

Hebrews 12:10 says that discipline from the Lord is for our good that we may share His holiness.

 

I have never heard, “I have become more holy and my faith is so much deeper because of all of these happy and easy moments in my life.”

 

But we hear endless testimonies of the trials that lead us into closer relationship to Jesus, holiness and faith.

 

In his work A Lifting Up for the Downcast, William Bridge in 1647 wrote,

"Now I ask, why does the Lord permit the condition of His people to be so unsettled in the world? It is that they may settle upon Himself."

 

  1. Suffering is opportunity to store up treasures in Heaven

John Piper said, “Your suffering makes your cup increase so that when it is tossed into the ocean of everlasting joy of Heaven, it will contain more when you have suffered well on earth.

Thus our capacity to experience the glory of God increases through suffering.

 

2 Cor. 4:17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight o

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