Why Does The Believer Suffer? Sermon Supplement for the book of Job By Phillip Kayser
This material was condensed by Phil Kayser from a longer article by Howard E. Dial, "'Sufferology’: Counseling Toward Adjustment in Suffering," in The Journal of Pastoral Practice, vol 3/2, pages 19-24. It is worthwhile reading the whole article by Dial.
Reasons For Suffering
- He lives in a sin-cursed world (Rom. 8:22; Gen. 3)
- He possesses a sinful nature (Rom. 7:7-25)
- He is identified with Christ and is therefore hated by Satan and the world system (John 15:18-19; 1 Pet. 5:8; Col. 1:24)
- He is identified with other members of the body who hurt (1 Cor. 12:26)
Disciplinary Suffering (all suffering is disciplinary in the sense that it makes better disciples out of us, but I am referring here to chastisement.)
- When there is unchecked sin, discipline is for the loving purpose of restoration (1 Cor. 11:28-34; Heb. 12:4-11). It is administered out of love (Heb. 12:5,6) for the purpose of repentance (Psalm 32:3-5; James 5:15), to promote holiness (Heb. 12:10), an obedient spirit (Heb. 12:9) and all the fruits of righteousness (Heb. 12:11). Suffering can thus prevent further complications of sin.
- The longer sin goes unconfessed, the greater the consequences (1 Cor. 12:29-30; 1 John 5:15,16).
- God may use the authority of government, home, school or church to discipline the believer (1 Pet. 3:17; 4:15; Eph. 6:1-4; 1 Cor. 5:1-8)
- To promote maturity (James 1:2-4)
- To promote endurance - the ability to turn adversity into spiritual prosperity (James 1:2-4).
- To promote wisdom - the ability to relate truth to experience (James 1:5-8).
- To produce humility (James 1:9-11)
- To provide the opportunity for rewards (James 1:12)
- To prove the genuineness of our faith (1 Pet. 1:6-8).
- To manifest the fruit of the Spirit (2 Cor. 4:11; Gal. 5:22-23)
- To provide opportunities to witness for Christ (1 Pet. 3:15; Phil 1:12)
- To learn contentment (Phil 4:11).
- To help others who suffer (2 Cor. 1:3-24) (over)
- To rebuke believers guilty of pride and spiritual cowardice (1 Cor. 4:9-16).
- To demonstrate the power of God in our lives (2 Cor. 11:24-33; John 9:2).
- To learn obedience to the will of God (Heb. 5:8).
- To vindicate the character of God before Satan (Job 1:6-12).
- To vindicate Job before Satan (Job 1:6-12).
- To instruct the believer in the holiness of God's character (Job 42:5-6).
Adjusting To Suffering
- Don't jump to hasty conclusions (remember Job's three friends)
- Don't misapply Scripture.
- Don't indulge in anger or self-pity
- Don't think passivity is patience.
- Don't think God is obligated to remove the suffering if you ask Him to.
- Don't think pain is alien to the Christian way of life.
Specific admonitions from Peter given to suffering saints
- "Arm yourself" by having the attitude of Christ (1 Pet. 4:1)
- Put the suffering in perspective (1 Pet. 4:7)
- Utilize your prayer privelege (1 Pet. 4:7)
- Demonstrate love for others in times of suffering (1 Pet. 4:8)
- Demonstrate hospitality during times of suffering (1 Pet. 4:9)
- Benefit the body with your gifts during times of suffering (1 Pet. 4:10-11)
- Rejoice in time of suffering (1 Pet. 4:12-13)
- Seek to benefit from the time of suffering (1 Pet. 4:15-16).
- Seek always to glorify God in your suffering (1 Pet. 4:16).
- Commit your soul to God in time of suffering (1 Pet. 4:19).
- Seek out help (and be willing to receive help) from the church (1 Pet. 5:1-3)