Define ‘Suffering’: Suffering is the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.
Define ‘Suffering for God’: Suffering for God is the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship as a result of living for God.
Ask about who has suffered: Who has suffered for God? Will we go through suffering/persecution as a result of fully-devoting your life to God?…Think about these questions as we read through what happened to Jesus’s disciples/followers after Jesus’s resurrection…
- Andrew was crucified
- Bartholomew was crucified
- James, brother of Jesus was stoned
- James, son of Alphaeus was crucified
- James, son of Zebedee, was killed by the sword
- John died naturally
- Matthew was crucified
- Peter was crucified upside down
- Philip was crucified
- Simon was crucified
- Thaddeus was killed by arrows
- Thomas died of a spear thrust
Talk about the list of disciples/followers: Whoa!! 11/12 of the twelve apostles died a martyr’s death…Dang!
Ask about the list: As a result of their efforts and devotion, what happened?…The gospel of Jesus of Christ reached beyond their hometown, now, 2.2 billion people consider themselves a Christian.
Talk about why we should suffer: Let’s look at these questions and see if we can now provide an answer to them: Should we suffer? Why or why not? Why do we suffer? Is being a Christ follower easy?
Talk about scripture and suffering: Let’s look at scripture for the answer to why we suffer as Christians.
Read John 15:18-27…First of all, as Christ followers, we are going against what the world wants or expects us to do.
Ask about belonging to the world: What does it mean to belong to the world?…To get a clearer idea of what this means, let’s look at the teachings of Jesus, where Jesus teaches about money.
Read Matthew 6:19-24…When we follow God, we reject the world. “We can’t serve 2 masters” We can’t serve both God and the world.
Ask about rejecting the world: When we reject the world, what do we also reject?…loving money, agreeing with homosexualism, people’s individual beliefs outside the Bible, conformity, ideas of Postmodernism, ideas of non-believers, etc.
Talk about rejecting culture: As Christ followers, we are told to reject everything that our culture values.
Ask about being a Christ follower: Is being a Christ follower easy? Is it supposed to be easy? Do we make it easy/seem easy? How? Will we experience pain and suffering if we are fully-devoted to God?…Yes. Full devotion requires a lot of sacrifice.
Talk about a relatable story (author’s story): When I was in High School and played football, our weight-room had a sign above the front door that said, “Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forever.” As we kept this in mind and had a goal of winning, pride, appreciation and honor, we were able to push beyond our capabilities and ‘forget’ about the temporary pain that occurs during training.
Talk about creating a new motto to live by: Let’s change the motto to, “Pain is Temporary, God is Forever”. Remember this: Our goal is Christ, to live like Him, have a relationship with Him, and to be with Him for eternity.
Read 2 Corrinthians 4:16-18
Ask about whether or not suffering helps us: Does suffering help us?
Read Romans 5:1-8…Suffering produces character. In other words, suffering helps us grow as an individual. Additionally, our trust in God strengthens when we realize why we suffer. Also, we can use our testimonies, the stories of our sufferings, to provide encouragement and hope for others.
Bible Study Tools. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.biblestudytools.com/
NIV Life Application Study Bible. (2011). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament. (2004). Colorado Springs, Colorado: International Bible Society.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament. (2004). Colorado Springs, Colorado: International Bible Society.
Unger, M. F. (1976) Unger’s bible dictionary. Chicago, IL: The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.