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TCH MINI-STUDY: 30
 
REASONS GOD APPOINTS SUFFERING IN BELIEVERS
 
Before we list some of the fruits of Christian suffering, we must recognize that suffering (tribulation, trials, difficulty, burdens, weight, hate from others, persecution, pressure, pain, whatever you call it, etc.) is not only normal, but to be expected within our Christian lives. Suffering as the result of our faith glorifies God the Father. The believer in Christ should not only attempt to avoid suffering, nor be ashamed of suffering, but is instructed to welcome, rejoice and even be happy in his or her suffering. When we suffer for Christ's sake, the Holy Spirit of glory and of God rests upon us. As Peter explained, Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf (1 Peter 4:12-16). Here are some of the fruits of suffering for Jesus Christ.
 
Deeper faith, holiness, trust, patience, and righteousness:
 
For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he forour profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby (Heb 12:10-11).
 
For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead (2 Cor 1:8-9).
 
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Rom 5:3-5).
 
Increased experience of God's glory:
 
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Cor 4:17-18).
 
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (Mat 5:11-12).
 
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets (Luke 6:22-23).
 
Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities (Luke 19:16-19).
 
There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption (1 Cor 15:39-42).
 
To make others more bold, and to further the Gospel of Christ:
 
But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear (Philippians 1:12-14).
 
So that the believer may exhort and comfort others in their faith and walk:
 
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).
 
To further the spread of the Gospel:
 
And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word (Acts 8:1-4).
 
Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word [message or utterance of the gospel] to none but unto the Jews only (Acts 11:19).
 
Suffering results in deeper faith, obedience and holiness:
 
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec (Heb 5:8-10).
 
For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby (Heb 12:10-11).
 
For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us (2 Cor 1:8-10).
 
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Rom 5:3-5).
 
Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and [as a result of our ministry and sufferings] of the love which ye have to all the saints,For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel (Col 1:4-5).
 
Suffering produces hopeful patience and endurance:
 
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations: Knowing this, thatthe trying [testing] of your faith worketh [fashions, accomplishes, finishes] patience [cheerful and hopeful endurance, constancy]. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:2-4).
 
Suffering humbles us and allows the miraculous power of Christ to rest upon us:
 
For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. Andlest 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 besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: 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. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak [physically, emotionally, and spiritually], then am I strong [through the power of Christ] (2 Corinthians 12:6-10).
 
Suffering manifests the glory of God:
 
And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him (John 9:1-3).
 
Suffering allows God to comfort us, and allows us to comfort others:
 
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
 
Suffering allows us to trust self less, and God more:
 
For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:#(2 Corinthians 1:8)
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead
(2 Corinthians 1:8-9).
 
Suffering tests our faith, allows us to give Christ praise, honor, and glory, and allows us to realize the goal of our faith, salvation of our souls:
 
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:6-9).
 
Suffering makes us more like Christ, more Christ-like, which glorifies Christ:
 
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye: for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified (1 Peter 4:13-14).
 
Suffering changes our focus from the seen [temporal] to the unseen [eternal] and therefore prepares us for glory:
 
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
 
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"And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments
is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt
love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,

and with  all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the

first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt

love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none

other commandment greater than these"

(Mark 12:29-31).