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I Must Suffer! (6 of 6)
Acts 9:1-31; 1 Peter 4:19
INTRO: So often, both believers and unbelievers have a poor concept of how to deal with suffering. Unbelievers see almost no value to suffering, without an eternal perspective suffering has little meaning or positive value. However, sometimes Christians do little better with suffering, for they can become bitter against God when they go through suffering. Tragically, this is one area where Christians should really shine … this is one area where our faith and eternal perspective can show the world a huge difference.
The Bible is quite clear about suffering … it will happen to EVERYONE! Jesus said it best: Mat 5:45 "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." There is suffering and good in a fallen world for all!
Suffering can do two things: it will make you stronger or weaker. The product is determined by the process … from the choices we make along the path. It can be a guide to growth or a stumbling stone to bitterness. Satan CAUSES suffering to destroy, God ALLOWS suffering to build up and mature us.
We must guard ourselves against an unrealistic faith, some teach that believers should always prosper, be healthy, wealthy, and wise … and never suffer. This is a formula for fools, not the faithful!
ILLUS: Sometimes the Lord calms the storm; sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms the believer. -- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990).
PROPOSITIONAL SENTENCE: The presence of suffering in our lives is not designed to destroy us, it is allowed to develop us into mature saints. The end result is determined by the plan we follow when such suffering comes into our lives.
I. SAUL THE PERSECUTOR Acts 9:1-6
A. Callous Acts 9:1-2
1. Early Christians had it tough … Saul of Tarsus to ...
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