Endurance in Suffering is Proof
As followers of Jesus Christ we will face troubles and tribulations in this world. What then? Pastor Oliver delves into God's Word to tell us what that means for us.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 (ESV)
We spoke about suffering this past Sunday. There is suffering that comes from living in a broken world. More specifically, there is suffering that happens when we are faithful to the gospel. We see this in many places in the New Testament. In the Gospel of John before Jesus was arrested and crucified, Jesus spent time with His disciples teaching and preparing them for His impending departure (Jn 6:28), and the troubles they would face as His disciples.
Jesus’ disciples in response to Jesus’ teaching and the announcement that He was leaving and going back to the Father, went “Aha… now we get it” (Jn 6:29). And they replied that Jesus came from God (Jn 6:30). This response though truthful and on the surface seems commendable, was finally proven that their understanding and belief was shallow. This is reflected in Jesus’ own reply. “Do you now believe?” (Jn 6:31) To paraphrase, it is almost as if Jesus was asking “really guys… do you really believe?” The actions by the disciples when they abandoned Jesus later showed that they did not really understand nor believe. Jesus continued in verse 32 and predicted coming persecutions for His followers. He told His disciples that they would scatter and abandon Jesus. And yet Jesus will not be alone for the presence of God the Father will continue to be with Him (Jn 6:32).
Jesus ends with a reassurance to His followers: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Jesus told His disciples that as followers of Jesus Christ we will definitely face troubles and tribulations in this world. Jesus taught and warned the disciples of coming suffering for the gospel sake, so that forewarned, the disciples would be prepared. But it is not a preparation that is based on how the disciples can tough it out or their effort at enduring, but instead, it is based on the promise of what Jesus will do for them.
Despite the suffering, the disciples can have peace in their relationship with Christ. As we covered in Romans 5:1-2 this past Sunday. The disciples will have peace with God because when they placed their faith in Jesus Christ, they will be justified – counted as righteous. God’s anger at their sins will be averted because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross on their behalf. This is also a promise to us. We will have peace with God. More than that, we can be encouraged because Jesus overcame the world. The lamb that was slain will be exalted (Rev 5:13). Jesus has overcome the world; Jesus has won the victory against the final enemy, death! In Christ Jesus, we have the hope that we will finally overcome our sufferings and enter into the joy of His presence forever in the new heavens and the new earth (Rom 8:16-17).
So, my friends, what does this mean for us? It means that even when we face troubles, our endurance in suffering gives proof to the reality of our faith in Jesus Christ. It points us to Jesus’ promise to us – that we have peace in Jesus Christ because it is peace given to us by the one who overcame the world: Jesus Christ has won victory over death and is the exalted sovereign Lord over all things. Our perseverance in suffering is proof of Jesus’ keeping His promise to us. Let us then take heart.
1. There will be a short meeting for all parents of youths after Sunday service at 11.00 am at 310 A/B (Level 3).
2. Registration for counsellors to help on the two days (17 & 19 May) of Celebration of Hope (COH) closes this Sunday. Counsellors are required to attend one of the training sessions (conducted over March and April) and be present at COH. If you are interested, please register here. The details for the training sessions are provided when you register.
3. Registration for our Church Camp closes this Sunday! Be sure to register early for the camp! There are two ways you can sign up for this:
- You can fill in your details via our online link: tinyurl.com/gbcgracetogether.
- You are also welcome to sign up at a physical counter after our Sunday Service. This will be at Level 3 in the Fellowship Hall. There will be committee members who will be more than happy to talk your through any concerns you might have.
The committee is committed to making sure that our processes are inclusive for all members. We will be happy to provide assistance for any accessibility needs.
4. Pray for God to prepare our hearts as we ready ourselves to hear from the preaching of God’s Word from Romans 5:9-11 this coming Sunday. Pray that God’s Spirit will use God’s Word to transform our hearts!