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SUFFERING: GOD'S INSTRUMENT FOR GROWTH (11 of 15)
GROWING CLOSER AND GOING DEEPER WITH GOD
Dr. Rick E. Ferguson
Series Verse: BUT GROW IN THE GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF
OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST (2 PETER 3:18).
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
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 anythin ...
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