Love, Patience and Suffering – Gospel in Life
Sermon

Love, Patience and Suffering

Tim Keller |  May 15, 2016

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Duration:
41:17
Scripture:
Romans 8:16-28
SKU:
RS 366-03

Overview

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Sermon Summary

The theme of suffering is handled distinctively by Christians, setting them apart from worldly perspectives. Despite the Corinthian church’s morality and busyness, it lacked the transformative power of the Holy Spirit, which instills a new paradigm of love and self-sacrifice. The early Christians’ unique comprehension and approach to suffering, which was unparalleled in their culture, will be examined.

1. The unique Christian view of suffering

Romans 8 presents the Christian perspective on suffering, stressing its reality and often unjust nature. Christianity diverges from other beliefs by rejecting the notion of suffering as an illusion or a consequence of past actions, and by discouraging stoic emotional self-control. Instead, it advocates for expressions of pain through groaning, crying, and lamenting, offering a compassionate and realistic approach to those in distress.

2. The unique resources we get to face suffering

Christianity provides three unique resources for those enduring suffering. Firstly, it encourages prayer to God, who is viewed not as a distant authority figure, but as a loving Father who responds to our pain unconditionally. Secondly, it offers the comfort of knowing that God, as our King, orchestrates all events for the ultimate good of His followers, ensuring that nothing can separate us from His love, thus providing rest and peace amidst trials.

3. How we can make those resources our own

Suffering is an inherent part of the Christian journey, as exemplified by Jesus’ own trials. It’s crucial to grasp that God is present in both good and bad times, and rather than attributing blame during hardships, we should express gratitude during prosperous times. The Christian perspective on peace involves finding solace in the belief that adversities will eventually lead to good, and the best is yet to come.

The idea that every hardship is a hidden blessing is challenged, as even Jesus expressed sorrow and anger during times of suffering. The interpretation of Romans 8:28 warns against expecting immediate positive results from difficult situations, urging trust in God’s ultimate plan. The story of missionary Elizabeth Elliot, who remained faithful to God’s will even after her husband’s death, accentuates the importance of surrendering to God’s plan rather than our own.

The Christian approach to suffering starkly contrasts with the secular mindset of Western culture, which often struggles to find solace in hardship. The belief in sharing in Jesus’ sufferings and glory is explored, laying stress on the role of the Holy Spirit in aiding believers during times of weakness. Believers are encouraged to utilize other resources and respond to suffering with patience and endurance.

The skepticism and doubt that can emerge during times of suffering are addressed, underlining the importance of faith and the realization that a divine plan is outlined in the Bible. Despite the vastness of the universe and our inability to fully comprehend it, suffering does not signify a lack of God’s love, as evidenced by Jesus’ sacrifice for humanity. The importance of the church as a supportive community for those who suffer is emphasized, concluding with a prayer for belief in Jesus.

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