God's People Are Not Immune to Suffering (Revelation 2:8-11)
1. Last Sunday evening we studied these verses to illustrate the 8th Beatitude (Matthew 5:10-12). 2. The Christians in Smyrna were suffering persecution because they were serving the Lord. a. The Lord did not remove the suffering from this church. b. He encouraged the members to serve Him faithfully. 3. This morning we are using these verses to illustrate the main point of our lesson: "God's people are not immune to suffering." 4. The first observation we need to make is that . . . Discussion: I. PEOPLE MAY SUFFER FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS
A. It is possible for a person to suffer because of his own actions. 1. To illustrate, Solomon discussed the effects of alcohol in Proverbs 23:29-30. 2. Let us remember the law of sowing and reaping mentioned in Galatians 6:7. B. It is possible for a person to suffer because of the actions of other people. 1. Abel died because Cain killed him (Genesis 4:8). 2. Some people from Galilee died because Pilate had them killed (Luke 13:1-3). C. It is possible for a person to suffer because of an accident (Luke 13:4-5). D. It is possible for a person to suffer from natural causes such as sickness and disease (John 9:1-3a). E. It is possible for a person to suffer as a result of doing the Lord's will. 1. Paul suffered greatly for the cause of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:24-28). 2. Godly living is sometimes accompanied by persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). F. The verses we have read show how: 1. it is possible for a person to suffer for a variety of reasons 2. God's people are not immune to suffering. II. GOD HAS GIVEN HIS PEOPLE CERTAIN GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW
A. Let us understand that affliction can be beneficial (Psalm 119:67, 71). B. Let us use caution when speaking to people who are suffering (Proverbs 25:11). C. Let us remember that God will not allow His people to be tested above what we are able to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). D. Let us remember that suffering can lead us to depend upon God for strength, as illustrated by Paul (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). E. Let us remember that the suffering of other people may provide opportunities for us to do God's work (John 9:3-4; Galatians 6:2, 10). F. Let us receive encouragement from positive examples (James 5:10-11). G. Let us remember to pray (James 5:13a). H. Let us strive to maintain a positive outlook (1 Peter 4:16). Conclusion:
1. In closing, let us read Romans 8:18. 2. This is a powerful verse at the beginning of an uplifting section of Scripture. 3. It teaches us that: a. suffering is confined to this life b. suffering is not worthy to be compared to future glory. 4. This message of hope is for God's children. 5. We learn from Galatians 3:26-27 how to become His children.