Why Suffering Helps
Whenever you find yourself suffering, remember that God has a purpose behind it.
Philippians 1:12-18 (NASB)
The Gospel Is Preached
12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause ofChrist has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; 16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will rejoice,
2 Corinthians 4:13 (NASB)
13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak,
1. Can you identify with the title of this message, Why Suffering Helps? If so, why?
2. The series we are in focuses on the word “joy.” How would you define “joy” from a biblical perspective?
3. Today’s message is taken from Philippians 1:12-18a. Based on the reading of that text, how would you categorize Paul’s most important priority?
4. Paul writes from prison to his Christian family… How would you define your “Christian family?” Why consider them family at all?
5. Paul was focused on the advancing of the Gospel. First, how would you define the word “Gospel?” Second, how can YOU advance the Gospel?
6. When you find yourself in the midst of a difficult situation, what has your cry to God been?
7. Given that difficult situation, have you ever asked FIRST, “Lord what can you teach me from this situation?”
8. Paul’s freedom has been taken from him, for he finds himself in prison. John 8:36 states, “so if the Son sets you FREE, you will be FREE indeed.” How can you reconcile Paul’s imprisonment with verse 36, chapter 8 in John’s gospel?
9. How can difficulties help define and strengthen you?
10. In difficulty, what kind of a “sermon” are you preaching? Is it poor me, or, watch God work!
11. How might your positive, biblical response positively affect others?
Ask the Lord to allow you to see beyond the immediate circumstances you may be confronted with. Seek HIS will in the midst of trouble. Ask, “Lord, even though I am put upon, how can I advance your message of the Gospel, a message of forgiveness, love, and compassion.” Then LISTEN for HIS response!