Jul 06 2009

Bible Study Week 34 - A Biblical View of Suffering

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Purpose of This Lesson

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This lesson will lead you to understand that suffering is part of God’s plan to purify you.

 

Learning Goals

This lesson will guide the participants to:-

  1. Discover the Biblical view and hope of suffering as a Christian
  2. Discover the process and attitude God expects from us in the midst of suffering.
  3. Discover the promises God gives about suffering from His Word.

Introduction

One day, while at the Island of Patmos the apostle John was given a glimpse of eternity; John heard a loud voice from the throne telling him that “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won’t be death anymore. There won’t be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared.” (Rev 21:4Rev 21:4
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

4 and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.  

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). God, who is all merciful, will deal with suffering once and for all by creating a “holy city” (Rev 21:2Rev 21:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven of God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.  
).

Begin Today’s Lesson by Reading: John 9:1-4John 9:1-4
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 1 And as he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither did this man sin, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4 We must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.  

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, 2 Cor. 1:1-10 and Psalms 23:1-6Psalms 23:1-6
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

23 1 Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: He guideth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness shall follow me all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of Jehovah for ever.  

Pressure Makes Diamonds

A certain man was shown a vision of his life by the Lord; he saw himself walking on the shores of a sea and on the sand; in a flash, he noticed that during those times which were the most difficult of his life, only one set of footsteps appeared and this troubled him a lot. He turned to the Lord and asked Him “Lord, how come you left me to walk alone when I needed you the most during the most difficult moments of my life?” and the Lord gently replied to him, “son, I did not leave you, I have promised never to leave you nor to forsake you, when you saw only one set of footsteps, those are My footsteps because it was during the most difficult moments of your life, that I carri

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ed you”.The Psalmist also wrote saying “Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4Psalms 23:4
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

4 Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.  

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). The apostle Peter writing to the saints scattered all over Asia Minor told them ” After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you in Christ Jesus to his eternal glory, will restore you, establish you, strengthen you, and support you.”(1 Pet 5:101 Pet 5:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 And the God of all grace, who called you unto his eternal glory in Christ, after that ye have suffered a little while, shall himself perfect, establish, strengthen you.  
.).

Throughout the ages, Christians have continued to ask the same question “why does a good God allow suffering?” the simple answer to this question is that when sin entered the world, then evil was introduced. Adam and Eve were the first casualties because they had to endure the loss and pain of losing their son Abel, when he was murdered by his own brother Cain. Job is another example of a person whom God allowed to undergo a lot of suffering yet he was innocent. Satan is the author of evil and because of him; the world has continued to reel under the weight of evil. And Christ himself still bears the scars of the suffering that he received on the Cross in order to pay for the sin that came through the first Adam.

Scientists discovered that when coal which is trapped under the stratosphere of the earth is pressurized to a certain degree, it hardens over a period of time and the coal is transformed into diamonds due to the process of carbonization. In this regard, suffering is the pressure that causes us to be transformed and be glorified by God. Our hope now rests on the fact that if God has glorified Christ through suffering, then He will also glorify us because we are joint heirs with him. (Rom. 8:16).

Sometimes our own sins cause us to suffer, but sometimes suffering comes so that God will be glorified, just as we read in John 9:1-4John 9:1-4
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 1 And as he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither did this man sin, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4 We must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.  

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.

Questions For Discussion - Week 34

  1. What is your understanding of suffering? Do you think the process of suffering helps you to become a better Christian? Please explain how
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  2. Why do you think it is important for you today to endure suffering as a Christian? Please explain using 1 Peter 2:21-231 Peter 2:21-23
    English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

    21 For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously:  
    , Rom 5:3-4Rom 5:3-4
    English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

    3 And not only so, but we also rejoice in our tribulations: knowing that tribulation worketh stedfastness; 4 and stedfastness, approvedness; and approvedness, hope:  
    and Rom 8:16-17Rom 8:16-17
    English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

    16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: 17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified with [him].  

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  3. Why do you think suffering occur in the world today? Please explain
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  4. Do you think that every suffering in a Christian’s life as a result of sin? Please use John 9:1-4John 9:1-4
    English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

    9 1 And as he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither did this man sin, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4 We must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.  
    to explain
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  5. What kind of attitude should we have towards those who are experiencing suffering? Please explain using 2 Cor 1:42 Cor 1:4
    English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

    4 who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any affliction, through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  6. Is it possible to “boast (rejoice) in our sufferings”? What does suffering produce in the end? Please explain using Rom 5: 3-4Rom 5: 3-4
    English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

    3 And not only so, but we also rejoice in our tribulations: knowing that tribulation worketh stedfastness; 4 and stedfastness, approvedness; and approvedness, hope:  

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  7. Do you consider corruption as a form of suffering? How can Christians react to the vice of corruption found in our society today? Please explain
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  8. Please share any experience you may have on suffering and how God helped you endure/overcome? Please explain
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Memorize Romans 8:18Romans 8:18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward.  

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“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us”.

Reflection

Helen Keller, blind and deaf from early childhood said “I thank God for my handicaps, for through them I have found myself, my work, and my God”

Action

Begin to thank God for anything that you consider as suffering today.

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Jun 29 2009

Bible Study Week 33 - Pressing Toward The Mark

Published by admin under Weekly Reflections

The Descent of the Holy Spirit in a 15th centu...Courtesy of Wikipedia

Purpose of This Lesson

Other Helpful Resources

1. Download Bible Lessons in PowerPoint format here

2. How to Study Your Bible: The Lasting Rewards of the Inductive Method

3. How to Study Your Bible for Kids (Discover 4 Yourself® Inductive Bible Studies for Kids)


This lesson will lead you to understand that God’s primary purpose is to conform you to the image of His Son, who is the Author and Finisher of your faith.

Learning Goals

This lesson will guide the participants to:-

  1. Discover the purpose of being conformed to Christ’s image
  2. Discover the process of being conformed to Christ’s image.
  3. Discover the importance of being an image-bearer of Jesus Christ

Introduction

In the book of Genesis we learn that when God created human beings, He wanted them to have His image; He said “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen 1:26Gen 1:26
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  

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a-27). Man was therefore meant to bear God’s image but sadly that image was distorted by sin and that image now appears as though being seen through a shattered mirror. It is only when we are reconciled back to God through His Son Jesus Christ do we gain the original image.

Begin Today’s Lesson by Reading: Romans 8:1-17Romans 8:1-17
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace: 7 because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be: 8 and they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: 13 for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: 17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified with [him].  

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, Gal 5:22-23Gal 5:22-23
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.  
and James 3:13-17James 3:13-17
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? let him show by his good life his works in meekness of wisdom. 14 But if ye have bitter jealousy and faction in your heart, glory not and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not [a wisdom] that cometh down from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where jealousy and faction are, there is confusion and every vile deed. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy.  

Conforming to Christ’s Image

The English dictionary defines the opposite of conform as “rebel” and that is exactly what the Adam race has become, a people who have rebelled against God’s plans. In Rom 8:29Rom 8:29
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

29 For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren:  

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Paul gives an assurance to believers in Rome about God’s conforming work in them by saying that “For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren:”. Paul realized that Adams race is a corrupted race, but Christ’s race is a special race of whom the apostle Peter writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit said of this race that “But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Pet 2:91 Pet 2:9
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 But ye are a elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for [God's] own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  
).

The purpose of being conformed to Christ’s image therefore is so that we “may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness” to become a beacon of light in a dark and desperate world.
The process of being conformed to the image of Christ is not an easy one because it involves the total surrender of our will to the will of God. The starting point is to yield our hearts to God fully and seek Him with all our being. Again the task is made harder because our faith is being tested by the various trials that we undergo, just as Peter warned us saying “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you have to suffer various kinds of trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, which is more valuable than gold that perishes when it is tested by fire, may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6-71 Peter 1:6-7
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, ye have been put to grief in manifold trials, 7 that the proof of your faith, [being] more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ:  

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).

Purification is a process that God uses to remove the dirt and dross of the impurities in our faith which is compared to Gold; and to the believer suffering acts as a purification process.

When Christ was confronted by the Pharisees about whether to pay taxes to Caesar or not, He asked them to show Him a coin, and looking at it, He asked them whose image was engraved on the coin and they replied that it had an image of Caesar. This settled the whole matter when He told them “render unto Ceaser the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”. We also bear an image of God and we therefore belong to God, because He has reconciled us to Himself through His Son.

Questions For Discussion - Week 33

  1. What are the eight virtues that come from above according to James 3:17James 3:17
    English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

    17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy.  
    ? Please list them
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  2. Why do you think it is important for you today to pursue the mind of Christ? Please explain
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  3. Why do you think most people experience conflict within them in regards to their desires? Please explain
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  4. How can you describe the word “desire’? How can we overcome ungodly desires?
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  5. What kind of desires should we have as Christians today?
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  6. Do you think it is possible for us to have godly desires today as Christians living in the 21st century? Please explain
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  7. What is the evidence of a godly life according to Gal 5:22-23Gal 5:22-23
    English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.  
    ? Please explain
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  8. In your own words please explain briefly why you think some Christians are still bound by the works of flesh listed in Gal 5:19-21Gal 5:19-21
    English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

    19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, 21 envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  
    . Please explain
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Memorize Philippians 1:6Philippians 1:6
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ:  

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“And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus”.

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