This is a recap of the latest sermon in our current series, Life in the Spirit
In John 15:18-20, Jesus promised that those who follow Him would suffer. That does NOT sound like good news to many of us. But He promises that He would send His Spirit to work in us and through us in the midst of suffering.
1. Suffering Is Inevitable
We live in a world that hates and fears suffering. But Christians serve a King who became King by suffering on a wooden cross. We worship a God who was unjustly tried and convicted and executed. Who was abandoned by His friends and hated by nearly everyone around Him on the day of His death. For the Christian, suffering is inevitable.
2. Suffering Incapacitates the Self-Reliant
In John 16:1-2, Jesus promises suffering to keep his disciples from falling away. He brings us through suffering to incapacitate us. To teach us that we can’t do it on our own. To show us our brokenness; our weakness; our deep need for others; our need for Him. Suffering leads us to humble dependence upon His Spirit.
3. Suffering Is Invaluable to the Spirit's Purpose
In John 15:26-27, Jesus tells his disciples that they will suffer for Him. And suffering is invaluable to the Spirit’s purpose in our lives, because we wouldn’t rely on Him if we didn’t suffer. We’d get distracted by stock options or kids recitals or finding The One or the latest tech gadget. Suffering draws us out of ourselves into reliance on the Spirit. And it reminds us of the glorious, incredible truth that, by faith, Christ is in us by the Spirit!
Reflection & Application Questions
- How do you respond to suffering? What's your first response to it? Why?
- Do you believe that suffering is inevitable for followers of Jesus? How does that make you feel about being His disciple?
- What are some examples of people who suffered for God in the Bible? How did God use suffering in their lives? How did their story end?
- Who are you in community with that you can lean on in the midst of suffering? Who can lean on you?
- How much do you rely on the Holy Spirit in your daily life? How often do you see your deep need for Him? How might suffering affect that?
- Read Psalm 56. What does David say about God's heart toward him in his suffering? What does that teach you about God's heart for you in yours?
- How might the Spirit use suffering in your life to make you a greater witness to the gospel of Jesus? What are some ways that suffering makes us more effective witnesses to Christ?