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Bible Study Notes 9/5/2023

Word Alive! Bible Study ©2023

End of Summer Series: Dare to Dream and Grow Your Faith!

Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton

Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor

Tuesday, 5 Sept. 2023 Lesson 5, Parts 1 & 2

Rick Warren, Created to Dream, © 2023

Quiet Time: Rick Warren, “Dream,” 71-87

Defeating Difficulties If you haven’t noticed, some difficulties are a part of life. In Created To Dream, Author Rick Warren says, “The question is not if you will have difficulties. The question is how you will respond to them.” He adds this observation, “Your response reveals your emotional and spiritual maturity.” Long before Warren or any of us, realized the certainty of trials and troubles in life; Jesus warned the disciples they should “expect” some trials and anxious moments along life’s meandering path. Jesus was not giving the disciples (nor us) pessimistic news; but instructive advice, about the reality of living, and serving Him. Any trial we encounter, for which we are not responsible, is known by the Lord, and inevitably will be rewarded (Read, John 16:32—33, NLT). Perhaps the puzzling question in life, is why do people of honest character and good-will, find themselves the objects of difficult circumstances that suddenly upend their lives? Similarly, why are people who treat others kind and live a faithful Christian life, frequently find themselves the object of disdain and cruel treatment from others? The early Christians wondered these questions aloud, as we often do silently; or in desperation before the Lord. The Apostle Peter who suffered much, exhorted believers to defeat their suffering, through their unflinching faith in Christ; and let their adversaries witness the virtues, of their faith in the Lord. Christians, Peter exhorts, will prosper, while their foes will be put to shame. (Read, 2 Peter 3:13-17, NLT). We must see our unearned suffering within the context of the suffering of Jesus as Messiah. Jesus did not suffer because He lived a sinful life. Peter told the Gentiles, of how good the charcter of Jesus was. He said, “And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (See, Acts 10:38, NLT). Although Jesus did good, He was the object of ridicule and scorn. Jesus was not being “punished” by God the Father, but His suffering was redemptive. (See Isaiah 53:3, NKJV). Paul reminds us, evil will flourish temporarily; but we should remain true to our faith. (Read, 2 Timothy 3:12-14, NLT). Our trials, as difficult as they may be, are temporary; but beyond them is something better. The Apostle Paul says: “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.’ (2 Cor 4. 17-18a, NLT). Our dreams and vision for life going forward, must not become blighted by our trials. The trials of this life will, with certainty, condition us for what lies ahead!

Defeating Difficulties, Part 2 Paul was not minimizing the impact of trials we encounter; but he was maximizing the benefits God has instore for us, as a result of our suffering. We are challenged to have a spiritual vision of what God’s provision is for us; rather than constantly becoming fixated with our immediate challenges. Peter says we can have a joyous spirit in spite of our suffering. This is provided our suffering or trials are not the result of some transgressions or sinful acts of behavior we’ve committed. (Read, 2 Peter 4:12-19 NLT). God does not endorse bad behavior; nor does He rejoice in the consequences of such behavior. Our faith makes us better. There are some trials and suffering in life, for which we are held accountable. This is why Paul goes further to say “Judgment begins with God’s household.” One of the terms used for suffering in the Greek New Testament is pascho, which suggest suffering that is “caused by something else.” The Apostles Paul and Peter often use the term as it relates to a “fellowship of sufferers.” This suggests, as Christians we are never alone in the trials and difficulties we experience in life. We are a part of both a human condition, and a family of faith people; who follow and live according to the teachings of Jesus Christ as Lord. The late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. often said, “Our Christian life, helps us do as Jesus did: turn question marks, into exclamation points.” Rather than wonder, why we suffer; we come to learn, as the Scripture teaches, all unearned suffering is redemptive. This is why Paul said of Christ, “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead. I want to suffer with Him. sharing in His death, so that one way or another I will experiencethe resurrection from the dead.” (See, Philippians 3:10-11, NLT). Given Paul’s life and challenges in the faith, he was looking forward to something better. Wherever we are in our journey, we should all keep our spiritual vision focused ahead. Enemies in Scripture were not always people. Trials and troubles can be at enmity with us. Psalm 1, provides us with wisdom on how to remain settled despite all chaos. We should not give more attention to the adverse conditions around us, than we do to how God allows us to flourish in spite of such an environment. God has determined the fate of those who willfully disobey Him; and, who deliberately act to harm others.

Key Idea

What We Believe!

  1. Difficulties can challenge our spiritual and emotional maturity. The key is how we look to the Scriptures and our faith in overcoming them.

Key Verses

John 16:32-33, NLT But the time is coming – indeed it’s here now – when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

2 Peter 3:13-17, NLT Now who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing want is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!”

2 Timothy 3:12-14, NLT

Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution But evil people and imposters will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.

1 Peter 4:12-19, NLT “So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame for suffering for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by His name! For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? And also, “If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?” So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for He will never fail you.” Psalm 1:1-6, NLT “Oh the joy of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the river bank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly. For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.”

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