Pastor Bill speaks from 2 Corinthians 4. Walking through the text, we see the very real benefits of trials, tests, suffering, persecution:

  • God is always with you amidst the difficulty. He is watching over you and He is for your good. God uses these to do a deeper work in us.
  • Verses 3-6: People around us are watching. And one of God’s major strategies for opening eyes blinded by Satan is our patient and joyful enduring of suffering in His strength.
  • Verses 7-12: Trials and tests bring us to the right spiritual place – the place of being done with self-reliance. Trials and tests help us to learn to say that we can do nothing on our own, nothing without Christ. And with suffering, this will come right from the bottom of our hearts and be authentic. In our weakness, He is strong.
  • Verses 13-15: How to pass a test? Not through grumbling and complaining, but through giving thanks to God.
  • Verses 16-18: Trials teach us to live not for today, but for eternity. Affliction has the benefit of burning away the seeming importance of all that earthly stuff that seems to motivate us so deeply, but is not of eternal importance.

This is the eighth message in our current series of sermons – PATHWAYS TO THE KING – which is tracking with Rob Reimer’s book by that same name. We are working through this book in our small groups to start the year off. This sermon takes the same theme as chapter seven of the book – “Pass the Tests.”

How To Make The Most Out Of Hardship – 2 Corinthians 11:23-12:9

Preaching from 2 Corinthians 11:23 – 12:9, Pastor Bill speaks on how to think about trials in our lives.

Generally our approach is avoidance. But God has definite purposes to trials and difficulties in our lives. In this piece there are several that come out. First, they keep us humble, given the public and sometimes powerful nature of what God has called us to do. They keep us from falling away into self reliance and arrogance. Second, they enable us to be far more effective conduits of God’s power; His power is made perfect in weakness, not strength. Third, to bring us into greater dependence upon Him.

How then to survive trials and seek to thrive in the midst of them? The list of what Paul endured is formidable; one has to ask how can a person live through all of that and still keep going, without any bitterness whatsoever against God. One, to understand God’s purposes in trials. Two, to receive God’s wisdom in trials. Three, to believe that God is with you in trials and has not removed His love from you.