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Sharing the Sufferings
Are you suffering today as a Christian?

Is the joy of the Lord being stolen from you because of something or someone?

In this study we will consider the cost of being a Christian, and why it is worth it anyway.

I will use Scripture from the Amplified Bible (copyright - The Lockman Foundation) for our study.

Will you please turn in your bibles with me, to Romans Chapter 8, starting with verse 14:

Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 

Romans 8:15 For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a 
  spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you 
  have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] 
  in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father! 

Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own 
  spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.

Romans 8:17 And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs 
  also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His 
  inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to 
  share His glory.

As we begin, we quickly see that this passage of Scripture is written to Believers. Only Believers are adopted by God and made sons, led by the Spirit of God.

We receive the Holy Spirit at the very moment we put our faith in Jesus Christ, trusting in Him, relying on Him, and adhering to Him from that time on.

Receiving the Spirit of Adoption produces sonship which in turn brings bliss to our lives.  

The definition of bliss: intense, tranquil happiness.

Is there anyone who would not like to have intense, tranquil happiness?

Instead of the hopelessness of being dead in our sins, we have passed into life. We have become an heir of God, a joint heir with Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit testifying to our own spirit that we are God’s children.

We are told that we will share Christ’s inheritance with Him. We forget that don’t we? We need reminded sometimes of what we will inherit.  

Have you thought about this lately? You have inherited the glory of Jesus Christ. The verse is in present tense. It is your possession. Have you let this fact sink into your heart?

There is one more thing… the message does not stop there. There is something else to this. Do you see it?

“only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory.”

Question: What does THAT mean?

Have you considered what this means?

We live in these mortal bodies. We wake up in them, we work in them, we go to sleep in them. We have always had them, and we have become accustomed to listening to what our bodies say to us.

Haven’t we?

Are we aware when our body tells us it is hungry? How about when it is tired? How about when it is lonely? How about when it craves excitement? How about when it craves something else?

Yes, we do hear what our bodies say to us very clearly.

Do we always do what our body says to do?  

I guess I could ask it this way… is everything our body asks for, good for us?

No, it is not. And when we deny what our body wants, is it easy?
It can be the hardest thing we have ever done.

God knows it is hard for us to deny ourselves. He gives us encouragement through Paul:

Romans 8:18 [But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of 
  this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared 
  with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for 
  us and conferred on us! 

Romans 8:19 For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits 
  expectantly and longs earnestly for God's sons to be made known 
  [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship]. 

Romans 8:20 For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to 
  futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional 
  fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it--[yet] 
  with the hope

Romans 8:21 That nature (creation) itself will be set free from its 
  bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the 
  glorious freedom of God's children.

Romans 8:22 We know that the whole creation [of irrational 
  creatures] has been moaning together in the pains of labor until 
  now.

Romans 8:23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves too, who 
  have and enjoy the firstfruits of the [Holy] Spirit [a foretaste of the 
  blissful things to come] groan inwardly as we wait for the 
  redemption of our bodies [from sensuality and the grave, which 
  will reveal] our adoption (our manifestation as God's sons).

God tells us that the sufferings of this life are not worth being compared with the glory that we have awaiting us.

All of creation awaits the day when our adoption will be revealed to all. Creation itself will be set free from the curse brought by Adam’s sin in Eden.

Inwardly we groan, waiting for the redemption of our bodies. The time when we no longer will suffer the consequences of giving in to the demands of our flesh.

Some might say... if we gave in to the demands of our flesh we would not be suffering.

Let us be reminded that all sin has consequences. The consequences are worse than the suffering caused by denying our flesh. We soon forget the desire we put to death, while the consequences of giving in to sin last long after we give in to it.

Question: Have you found this to be true in your lives?

Romans 8:24 For in [this] hope we were saved. But hope [the object 
  of] which is seen is not hope. For how can one hope for what he 
  already sees? 

Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait 
  for it with patience and composure. 

Romans 8:26 So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us 
  up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor 
  how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to 
  meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable 
  yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance. 

Romans 8:27 And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what 
  is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the 
  Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints 
  according to and in harmony with God's will. 

God has given us testimony to give us hope. A reason to hang on and keep going in faith.

The redemption of our bodies will be wonderful. No pains, no weariness, no sorrow, no fear, no taxes & no death.

Can you imagine it? It sounds like wonderful to me.

Meanwhile we do not even know how to pray at times, so the Holy Spirit helps our prayers. He pleads on our behalf. We forget that sometimes. Even our poor attempts at prayer are made perfect before God, and in accordance with God’s will.

How comforting it is to know that!

Romans 8:28 We are assured and know that [God being a partner in 
  their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for 
  good to and for those who love God and are called according to 
  [His] design and purpose. 

Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware 
  and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning 
  [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and 
  share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn 
  among many brethren.

Romans 8:30 And those whom He thus foreordained, He also called; 
  and those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made 
  righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself). And 
  those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a 
  heavenly dignity and condition or state of being]. 

Everything we face in this life… is already known to God. God is a partner in our labor. He is with us when we face the trials and temptations. Those difficult times we face, help us to grow up in Christ Jesus. Denying our own desires, (dying to self) helps us grow up in spiritual maturity.

That can happen when we choose to love God and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us according to His purpose.
God tells us He foreknew us and loved us from the beginning. Planning for us to be molded into the very image of His Son. He called us, He justified us and glorified us.

God knows all things. Do you realize He knew every failure we would ever make? Yet, He loves us in spite of those failures.

You cannot disappoint God. He already knew how you would fail. His love is perfect. His love never fails. God sees you, as you will be when the Holy Spirit is finished working in you. You are in Christ Jesus, and when God looks at you, He sees Jesus.

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, 
  who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our 
  side?]

Romans 8:32 He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son 
  but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and 
  graciously give us all [other] things?

Romans 8:33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect [when 
  it is] God Who justifies [that is, Who puts us in right relation to 
  Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those 
  whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us?]

Romans 8:34 Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the 
  Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, 
  Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He 
  intercedes for us? 

Romans 8:35 Who shall ever separate us from Christ's love? Shall 
  suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? 
  Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword?

Romans 8:36 Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death 
  all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the 
  slaughter. 

Romans 8:37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors 
  and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.
God is for us. He proved it by not withholding His own Son but gave Jesus Christ to die in our place.

There is no one to bring a charge against us. God justified us already.

Someone said once: “Justification means - just as if I had never sinned.” How beautiful is that?

Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us. Interceding for you.

We have been made more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. We have gained the victory!

Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that 
  neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things 
  impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, 

Romans 8:39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation 
  will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ 
  Jesus our Lord.

We do suffer when we deny the desires of our flesh. But we have been given assurance that God has planned for us to have the glory of Christ Jesus.

God loves us. There is nothing that can separate us from His love. His love is lasting and wonderful.

That is why we keep going. That is why we are willing to suffer to represent Him. That is why it is worth the pain we may suffer today.
Is there anything greater than the love of God?  

Maybe you could think about that for a moment... about how great God’s love is for you. “Intense, tranquil happiness” We have that bliss. Do not let anything or anyone take it from you or make you forget it. It is YOURS.

Bible Study by InAwe

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