But God Meant it For Good Part 3 “A Story of Suffering”
March 14, 2016 | by: Lars Haglund | 0 Comments
Posted in: Sermon Questions
PARTICIPANT'S GUIDE FOR COMMUNITY GROUP GATHERINGS
Message: But God Meant it For Good Part 3 “A Story of Suffering” - March 13, 2016
Series: Philippians: Finding Joy in the Circumstances of Life
Speaker: Anthony Orzo
Sermon Questions Prepared by: Pastoral Resident Lars Haglund
Main Passages: Philippians 1:12-14, John 9:1-12
Cross Referenced Passages: Genesis, Genesis 3, and Luke 5.
Launching Discussion: When it comes to suffering – have you ever thought, “do good and good things will eventually come to you, do bad and eventually bad things will come to you?”
- If so, please explain how and when.
- If not, have you ever experienced this type of belief from other people? If so, please explain how and when.
The first point of Pastor Anthony’s talk was that “there is no simple, or pat answer to the question ‘why do people suffer?’ ” He explain further that:
- “All suffering takes place because of sin in general, but not all suffering is because of sin in particular.”
- “In the Bible we learn that suffering first enters into the world because man had turned away from God.”
- When this happened, “the World was no longer in peaceful harmony with the Creator and there was a profound shift in the relationship we have with God, the world, and all of human kind. At the heart of that shift is sin and one of the natural consequences of sin is that it always carries with it suffering.”
1. In regards to suffering – when faced with “the shadows of the unknown,” do you get uncomfortable and want your situation lit up [i.e. want answers]? Please describe how the talk and notes above help you understand sin and suffering.
In John chapter 9, Anthony examined “who the disciples blame as the two potential causes for the blind man’s suffering.” First they ask if his parents caused his suffering. Second they suggest the reason for this man’s suffering is that God caused it in his life because of his personal sin.
- “In the first, people usually hold to this deferral belief because it immediately removes the mystery of the source of the suffering… This answer to the suffering question outsources the blame for your suffering to others.”
- While the second, “is the quintessential Job complex [the Old Testament Story].” Job’s friends try to “light up the shadow of why Job is suffering so greatly. The basis of what they tell him is that God is punishing Him, with all that pain suffering and loss, because he must have done something to greatly anger God.” But, “in fact, the story ends with Job telling us that while His suffering was certainly not out of God’s control… God was not at all the source of it.”
2. This being said, have you ever found yourself in either one of these blame categories when suffering hit? How did that affect your view of the situation? If you feel comfortable, please share some of they ways you may have wrongly blamed others for your troubles or blamed God because He was an easy scapegoat.
At the end of Anthony’s first point he said, “the overarching truth of the Christian Faith is that God went to great lengths to forgive, not punish you for your sins. …God never desired that we suffer, but because we were created as a people who could make our own choices, we now have to deal with the fact that our sin in general has brought suffering into the world. The good news is it’s a reality that God can ultimately use to do Good!”
3. How does this truth allow you to see “that even through suffering God has managed to show us His incredible Grace and Love”?
The second point of the message was that “the way God works in our lives is often very different from how we expect him to work in our lives.” Pastor Anthony went on to say that:
- “His work is always done with great variety and can be highly unpredictable.”
- “It’s never limited by what we think He should be doing, what we’ve seen or even understand.”
4. When it comes to suffering – has there every been a time when your plans and thoughts seemed to make more sense than the way God appeared to be working? How does the story of the blind man in John 9 and the man with Leprosy in Luke 5 shed light on this for you?
Towards the end of the talk it was said, “the Bible teaches us suffering is one of the main things God uses to mature us and reveal his goodness to us.” It was unpacked:
- “That personal suffering or suffering for the sake of others is not just a footnote in Christianity. Rather, it’s sort of at the heart of Christianity. That God can use the suffering and pain in this world for His Glory and our Good. It takes a real spiritual maturity to see suffering this way. One that says you’ve begun to humbly recognize that God’s ways are truly higher than our ways.”
- “Yet we know now that God intended to relieve the suffering of all of humanity by suffering himself. Jesus’ suffering brought redemption and hope was offered to those who would believe! Through suffering, God’s Grace was revealed!”
5. Have you ever thought of or experienced a situation where God was seen as a sort of Spiritual ATM? That through the Sunday worship gathering, groups and social events, these were the only ways Jesus was safely working in your life?
6. When it comes to shadows and trials, where is Jesus in your life and how can you help others to understand suffering better through the Gospel?
For further resources on these theological topics; visit Restoration’s website through the links below.