Suffering and Glory
Topic: AM Service Passage: Romans 8:18–25
One of the greatest challenges of living the Christian life is dealing with the reality of pain and suffering in the world. When the believer comes to Christ, it is natural to expect that everything will get better. In fact, some less than orthodox teachers teach that if life does not go well, it is the believer’s fault – that if someone has enough faith, God makes sure that health, wealth, and happiness follow. The reality of life can be a splash of cold water! But if we look at the life of the Apostle Paul – surely a man of faith, who wrote Scripture, planted churches, and evangelized the lost – we see a man who was well acquainted with suffering. How can this be? Paul explains that the effect of sin is so great that all of creation became subject to futility; the world is broken, so we should expect to experience the effects of sin in our lives also. But the great hope for the believer is that the Lord is redeeming all creation through the work of Christ, and that includes the believer also. We cannot look at the world around us without looking to the world to come. In that way, we will see both “Suffering and Glory” (Romans 8:18-25).
I. Thinking About Suffering
A. Suffering is Real
B. Suffering Cannot Compare to Glory
II. The Reality Behind the Reality
A. Creation Waits for Glory
B. The Redeemed Wait for Glory
III. Living in Hope
A. Hope Anticipates
B. Hope Perseveres
Questions for consideration: (1) Why does Paul want you to know suffering is real? (2) What does this passage teach you about the nature of the world around you? Why is that important for you to know? (3) What is the difference between the believer’s hope and the way most people think of hope? What is the hardest thing about hope? What is the most comforting thing about hope?