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What I learnt on Sunday

This last Sunday I had a tremendous opportunity to preach on one Sunday two sermons to two different churches on two separate passages which essentially relates to the same theme : suffering.  In one I dealt with the question 'How Do We Respond to Suffering?' (Psalm 44). In another I asked "How Does God Comfort Us in Suffering?'. (Nahum 1:12-13)

As it so often happens when I preach - I get a new clarity over an issue as I share it - a new 'revelation' so to speak that God wants me to grasp. Usually a truth that has skirted around my mind, but now gets new clarity. On Sunday two particular points really struck me.

1. The sharp difference between Christian and non-Christian suffering. The purpose of Christian suffering stands in sharp contrast to non-Christian suffering. The non-Christian suffering is an outworking of God's wrath on our world and man as told in the Genesis account and Romans. The Christian suffer in Christ and all our suffering is service to God's kingdom in all it's dimensions. This necessarily includes suffering that comes as discipline. This is a huge point!

2. The extent of Christ's suffering on the cross. The  cross not only paid for our sins but also for our suffering too. It says in Isaiah that Jesus bore our afflictions. He was crushed for our infirmities as well not just our sins. This point has never struck me as much before. I wish when I am going through trials I can be reminded by others that Jesus paid for that too! This changes everything - it really does mean that the suffering of this present age are nothing compared to the glory that is too come. It really does mean that our burdens have been lifted at Golgotha!  That is amazing!

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