Look beyong suffering

Topics: Jesus, suffering, faith

I. Thank Jesus for suffering for us!

* The ancient city of Smyrna symbolizes death and resurrection!

  1. "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this" (Revelation 2:8).
  2. And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again (Mark 8:31).

II. Recognize Jesus knows our suffering!

* People often struggle with suffering, thinking God doesn't care!

  1. "I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 2:9).
  2. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted (Hebrews 2:18).

III. Heed Jesus' words "Do not fear" suffering!

* We do not face suffering alone and it is only temporary!

  1. "Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10).
  2. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you (1 Peter 5:10).

IV. Have faith in Jesus to overcome suffering!

* We must look at the eternal unseen realm so we don't lose heart!

  1. "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death" (Revelation 2:11).
  2. Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Sermon by Pastor Rod Akins, March 10th, 2024

Life group flow and discussion questions

Look beyond suffering

An important Guideline of Life Groups: Ask each person in your Life Group to share how they view suffering and discuss how we can develop the biblical attitude of Acts 5:40-42.

Getting Started:

  1. Have you ever met people who blame God for the suffering in their life? What would you say to them?
  2. What is the "prosperity gospel" message given out by many churches today? How is that teaching contrary to biblical truth?

Discussing Truths:

  1. How does suffering refine us and test our faith (Romans 8:16-18; 35-39)?
  2. Smyrna means "myrrh" which is used to embalm the bodies of the dead with a fragrant aroma (See John 19:38-40). What kind of aroma are you to Believers and to non-Believers (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)?
  3. What did Jesus mean when He declared His knowledge of their poverty and yet says (but you are rich)?
  4. Have you ever experienced slander from religious people like the people of Smyrna (Revelation 2:9)?
  5. Why does Peter remind us that we share in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:12-19)? What is to be our response to these sufferings?
  6. What is meant by "be born once and die twice or be born twice and die once" (Revelation 20:14, 15)?

Now What? Application:

  1. How can you look beyond the sufferings of your life by applying 2 Corinthians 4:16-18?
  2. What actions can you take to embolden your faith so you too can be faithful until death (Revelation 2:10)?