Suffering - God's Instrument for Growth (11 of 15) by Rick Ferguson

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Suffering - God's Instrument for Growth (11 of 15)
Series: Growing Closer and Going Deeper with God
Rick E. Ferguson
Philippians 3:7-11


Question: Have you noticed that our greatest spiritual lessons are learned through episodes of pain, suffering, and adversity?

Question: Have you noticed that real spiritual growth and character development does not happen during times of prosperity and comfort? They occur rather during times of intense pain and suffering.

Ex: If I could go back and chart the greatest episodes of growth and spiritual depth in my life, they ALWAYS occurred during times of adversity and pain I mean without exception.

This is why I must deal with the issue of suffering in this sermon series entitled ''Growing Closer and Going Deeper With God.'' None of us will ever truly grow closer or go deeper with God apart from pain. Today's message deals with ''Suffering: God's Instrument For Growth.''

The fact of the matter is, grass grows thicker and greener in the valley than it does on the mountaintop. And so it is with us. We grow more in character and spirituality in the valleys of life, than we do on the mountaintops of life.

That's just the way it is: - Just as fire purifies gold. - Just as abrasion polishes metal. - Just as heat strengthens and tempers steel. - Just as boiling water brings out the flavor of tea.

We, too, must enter times of adversity, fire, pain and suffering if we are going to ever be fully refined in our character, and drawn to a deep abiding relationship with Christ, apart from the brokenness and pain, that comes through suffering and adversity.

Suffering Truly is God's Instrument for Growth.

Job said in Job 23:10, ''when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.''

David said in Ps. 66:10-12, ''For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. (11) You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. (12) You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.''

God to Isaiah in Isa. 48:10, ''See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.''

Peter said in 1 Peter 1:6-7, ''In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. (7) These have come so that your faith of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.''

James said in James 1:2-4, ''Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.''

Here's what I want to do today. I want to give you a word of hope and security and encour ...

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