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Doctrine: Suffering/Testing

Written by: Kennedy, Tod M.    Posted on: 05/12/2003

Category: Bible Studies

Source: CCN

            Doctrine: Suffering/Testing

    1.  INTRODUCTION:  Suffering/testing  is  pain, pressure,  circumstances,  ideas,  or  people  that challenge  the  believer to live the daily  plan  of God.     There    are    two    main    categories    of suffering/testing. They are undeserved and deserved. Undeserved  suffering/testing is the most  prominent category for the believer.

    2.  UNDESERVED  SUFFERING/TESTING: 

          2.1.      The    CONCEPT:      Undeserved suffering/testing  is part of the  normal  Christian way of life. It glorifies God. It is not a result of personal sin,  spiritual immaturity,  or failure  to apply Bible doctrine (Gal 4.29;  Phil 1.29-30; 1 Pet 2.19-21; 3.17; 4.15-16).

          2.2.    ILLUSTRATIONS    of    undeserved suffering/testing:               2.2.1.  The  lives of Joseph (Gen 37- 50),  Ruth  (Ruth),  Mordecai  and Esther  (Esther), Christ (Mtt 2.13-15;  Lk 23),  and Paul (Acts 14.19; 16.19-40).               2.2.2. General persecution that tries to stop the spread of the faith (1 Thes 1.6).               2.2.3.  Unjust  imprisonment  (Acts 16.19-40; 20.23; Jer 32.1-5).               2.2.4.  Personal  attacks  upon  the believer (2 Tim 4.14).               2.2.5.  Slander,  which  is  to  say something that damages another (Rev 2.9).               2.2.6. Attacks by religious people or groups.    Religious  legalists  persecute  grace believers (Acts 9.1-2; Gal 4.29; 6.12; Col 2.16).               2.2.7.  Association  with  emotion controlled people (Rom 16.17-18).               2.2.8.  Forced  change  of  residence (Acts 8.1; Dan 1.1-6).               2.2.9. Poverty (Rev 2.9).               2.2.10.  Mental  pressures caused  by circumstances beyond your control (Phil 1.17; 2.26).               2.2.11.  Illness  (Gal  6.11;  Phil 2.27).               2.2.12.  Pain  associated with  death (Acts 7.54-60; Rev 2.13).         (who  is now  seated  in heaven at the Father's right  hand). Christ  is  the  person in  whom  and  through  whom believers  have the benefits.  Without being related to Christ, no spiritual blessings will come.               2.1.6.  The spiritual blessings  are part of the Plan of God for the church age believer.  HE  CHOSE US...HE PREDESTINED US...ACCORDING TO  HIS WILL...HE FREELY BESTOWED  (Eph 1.4-6).           2.2.  Revelation  2.9.  BUT YOU ARE RICH refers to the spiritual wealth (spiritual blessings) that  believers  have  even  though  they  may  be materially poor.           2.3.  2  Peter 1.3-4.  God the Father by His  divine  attributes freely  gave  each  believer everything  that  is necessary for eternal life  and for  godlikeness now.  Believers know and use  these benefits by a true knowledge about God and His Plan.

    3. Categories of Spiritual Blessings in Christ.           3.1.  In the Plan of God.               3.1.1.  Eternal Plan: The decrees and will  of  God before time began and after time  ends (Jn 1.1-4; Eph 1.3-6; Col 1.15-17; Heb 2.10).               3.1.2.  Historical Plan: The movement of  events in time as part of the angelic  conflict, theocratic kingdom,  and dispensations (Job  1.6-11; 2.1-6; Eph 6.10-12; Gen 12.1-3; Acts 1.6-7; Eph 1.7- 12; 3.1-6; Col 1.24-27).               3.1.3.    Daily  Plan:  The  mission, preparation,  practice,  and  environment  for  each believer  in  his day to day life with the Lord  (Jn 13-17; Eph 1.13-19; James 1.21-25; 2 Pet 1.2-4).           3.2.  Solution to the sin problem.               3.2.1. Reconciliation (2 Cor 5.21).               3.2.2. Redemption  (Eph 1.7).               3.2.3. Unlimited  atonement  ((1  Jn 2.2).               3.2.4. Substitution (Jn 1.29).               3.2.5. Regeneration (1 Pet 1.2-3).               3.2.6. Propitiation (1 Jn 2.2).               3.2.7. Imputation (Phil 3.9).               3.2.8. Justification (Rom 5.1).               3.2.9. Forgiveness (Eph 4.32).           3.3.  New home and citizenship.               3.3.1. In God's kingdom (Col 1.13).               3.3.2. Heavenly citizens (Phil 1.27; 3.20).               3.3.3. Fellow  citizens  and  God's household (Eph 2.19).               3.3.4. Delivered from Satan's Kindgom (Col 1.13).           3.4.  New relationship.               3.4.1. Adopted (Eph 1.5; Gal 4.5).               3.4.2. Children of God (1Jn 3.1-2).               3.4.3. Sons of God (Gal 4.6-7).               3.4.4. Heirs (Rom 8.17; 1 Pet 1.4).               3.4.5. Oneness  (Jn 17.21,  23;  Eph 4.3).           3.5.  A new position or status.               3.5.1.  A new creation (2 Cor 5.17).               3.5.2.  Alive (Eph 2.5; 1 Jn 5.11-12).               3.5.3.  Circumcised (Col 2.11).               3.5.4.  Complete (Col 2.10).               3.5.5.  Dead to sin (Rom 6.1-11).               3.5.6.  Free from the Law (Rom 6.14).               3.5.7.  God's people (1 Pet 2.9-10).               3.5.8.  Light (Eph 5.8).               3.5.9.  Qualified (Col 1.12).               3.5.10. Resurrected (Eph 2.6).               3.5.11. Righteous (2 Cor 5.21).               3.5.12. Royal priests (1 Pet 2.5,9).               3.5.13. Sanctified (1 Cor 1.30).               3.5.14. Seated (Eph 2.6).           3.6.    God's  provision  for  living  the Christian way of life (CWL) now.  These include all the  resources God has designed and freely given  to believers in the church. The provision includes:               3.6.1.  The  Daily  Plan of God  with the mission,  preparation,  practice, environment (2 Pet  2.2-4;  1  Thes  3.3.5-10).               3.6.2.  A  leader to  follow,  Christ (Occupation with Christ, Heb 12.1-2).               3.6.3.  Instructions in writing (Word of God, Col 2.7; 2 Tim 3.16-17; 2 Pet 3.18).               3.6.4. God's promises which believers can rely on and rest (faith rest,  Rom 8.28-32;  Col 2.6; 1 Pet 5.7).               3.6.5.  Fellowship  with God  through confession of sin (1 Jn 1.1-10).               3.6.6. The Holy Spirit to indwell and control  believers (walk by the Spirit,  1 Cor 3.16; Gal 5.16; Eph 5.18).               3.6.7. The right to talk with God the Father through prayer (Jn 15.7; 1 Thes 5.17).               3.6.8.  The  opportunity to serve God (ministry, Col 3.17,23; 1 Pet 4.10-11).               3.6.9.  All the Bible principles  for the believer's life (1 Cor 2.6-16;  Col 2.2-3; 2 Tim 3.16-17; Heb 5.11-14).           3.7.  A future.               3.7.1.    Resurrection  and  eternal residence  with the Lord (Jn 14.-3;  1 Thes 4.13-17; Rev 21.1-7).

    4.  The spiritual blessings form the  believers spiritual  position  of strength.  This  means  that believers  live  life from a strong,  reliable  base that will support,  protect,  and provide  continued momentum for the Christian way of life.  The outline for  the position of strength includes the  plan  of God  (eternal,  historical,  daily),  union  with Christ/family of God, God's blessings (spiritual and physical),  and heavenly citizenship with (spiritual base, mission, confidence).

    5.  Application:  Believers  have  everything necessary  (spiritual  blessings)  to  live  the Christian way of life and therefore to fulfill God's purpose,  to  enjoy  stability,  contentment,  and happiness,  to  live  as winners in time  on  earth. Since this is a fact,  believers should be know what the blessings are and fully use them.

Copyright 1986 by Tod M. Kennedy

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