THROUGH MANY TRIBULATIONS: Acts 14:19-23

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SCRIPTURE

ACTS 14:19-23 19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

BIG IDEA

We all suffer, including Christians. This is clear by example in Acts 14 as Paul is stoned and dragged outside Lystra, left for dead. Sometimes we suffer because we tell people the gospel. Other times we suffer simply because we live in a fallen world that is ravaged by sin. Occasionally we suffer because God loves us and disciplines those He loves. Our suffering is useful (many times) because it gives us an opportunity to show the world how much more valuable Jesus is than anything we could ever lose (look at Paul in Acts 14!). Our suffering us useful (all the time) because God uses it to make us more like Jesus, the King. We can suffer well as we look to Jesus who suffered and died on a cross. Jesus endured crucifixion not namely as our human example for suffering, but as our Divine Substitute for sin. If you know that Jesus’ death already defeated the only sufferings that can truly harm you, you can suffer well (like Paul, Ridley, and Latimer!). And you can say with Keller, Come on, crosses, the lower you lay me the higher you raise me! Come on, grave, kill me and all you will do is make me better than before! If the death of Jesus Christ happened for us and he bore our hopelessness so that now we can have hope—and if the resurrection of Jesus Christ happened—then even the worst things will turn into the best things, and the greatest are yet to come.”

DISCUSSION

We all suffer, including Christians. This is clear by example in Acts 14 as Paul is stoned and dragged outside Lystra, left for dead.

1. Have you suffered or known someone who has? Feel free to share about it if you would like. 2. Was there anything from the sermon or Acts 14 that stood out

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to you, challenged you, or confused you?

Sometimes we suffer because we tell people the gospel. Other times we suffer simply because we live in a fallen world that is ravaged by sin. Occasionally we suffer because God loves us and disciplines those He loves.

3. Which of these stands out to you and why? What does it mean that God disciplines us? (see Hebrews 12:7-11)

Our suffering is useful (many times) because it gives us an opportunity to show the world how much more valuable Jesus is than anything we could ever lose (look at Paul in Acts 14!). Our suffering us useful (all the time) because God uses it to make us more like Jesus, the King.

4. How do you think those in our culture would typically answer these questions: 1. Why do we suffer? 2. What does our suffering do? How (if so) is this different than what the Bible says?

We can suffer well as we look to Jesus who suffered and died on a cross. Jesus endured crucifixion not namely as our human example for suffering, but as our Divine Substitute for sin. If you know that Jesus’ death already defeated the only sufferings that can truly harm you, you can suffer well.

5. How do you think God has used your past sufferings for His glory and your good? What about your present sufferings? How can Jesus suffering free you to face your suffering with joy?

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