Bible Study Notes on Believers’ Suffering.
Suffering is not optional for believers.
Phil.1:29. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.
Rom.8:17-18. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
2 Tim.3:12. Yes, and all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Grief may be experienced during payment for our past sins.
Gal.6:7. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
Col.3:25. But he who does wrong shall receive for the wrong which he has done: and there is no respect of persons.
1 Peter 1:17. And if you call on the Father, who without respect of persons judges according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.
(It is good to have a “clear account” before departing from this world.)
Paul’s experience as a major example of this.
Acts 9:16. The Lord said, “For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
Acts 8:3. As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
Acts 22:4-5. Paul testified, saying, “I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.”
Acts 26:10-11.Paul testified,saying, ”Many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.”
2 Cor.11:23-27. “In stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness . . . .”
But all these sufferings were for the Lord’s name and so had a positive purpose.
The Strange Doubling of Suffering.
Isa.40:2. Speak comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry to her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she has received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.
(Spiritual Jerusalem is the Bride. Spiritual Babylon is the Harlot.)
Exod.22:4. If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep; he shall restore double.
Isa.61:7. For your shame you shall have double. But instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.
Job 42:10. And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
Why did God order a double payment for a stolen sheep? Perhaps as a sweetener to the offended party, to encourage reconciliation and friendship instead of hostility.
Persecution for righteousness’ sake.
Luke 11:33. No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. (No place for secret disciples. We must declare our faith.)
1 Peter 3:14. But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.”
Jas.5:10. My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.
Persecution for preaching and teaching.
2 Tim.1:11-12. I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things.
Rom.8:18. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
1 Peter 4:13. But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
1 Peter 2:19-21. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.
Afflictions accompanying the testing our faith.
2 Thess.1:5. Which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.
Examples of this, Abraham when asked to offer Isaac, and Job’s experience.
Afflictions as a prelude to reigning in the Kingdom.
2 Tim.2:12. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him (the suffering), he also will deny us (the reign. ) (The loss of kingship, not of salvation.)
Heb.5:8-9. Though He were a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all those who obey him.
Afflictions through unrelieved infirmities.
2 Cor.12:7-9. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I sought the Lord three times, that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness”. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Cor.4:17. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
(Prayers for the relief of physical and mental infirmities are not always answered, but this is for our ultimate good. As with Paul, we learn more of God’s grace as a result.)
Filling up that which remains.
Col.1:24. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.
Isa.63:9. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old. (Israel’s suffering in Egypt.)
(Important note. Man in no way shares in the PASSION of Christ, for Jesus alone could redeem us from sin, but we follow our Lord in the way in which He was AFFLICTED.)
Phil.3:10. That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death,