Mid-Service Comments - Suffering
Please find below Adam's notes from the Mid-service comments this past Sunday. Think through these comments and read the scriptures we have been drawn to. Think through your suffering and how it impacts the body, or if you know the suffering of others in the body. How will you actively share with others or share in the suffering of someone in our Summit Woods body this week?
Suffering... Do we have members here in our body who are suffering? Do we have representative members of the body of Christ in our midst who are suffering? Perhaps you can think of some by name… Suffering comes in many forms: loss of a loved one; a financial pitfall; loss of health; the seemingly overwhelming burdens of life’s demands that just pile up; persecution for the name of Christ at work or amongst acquaintances, perhaps family… Suffering often comes when we least expect it, but, of course, we are destined for it (I Thessalonians 3:3). Indeed, it is God’s’ will that we suffer (I Peter 4:19). Suffering works to transform our behavior, our very character into ones that are Christ-like; building our dependence upon His grace and power; developing within us a capacity to comfort one another…
Suffering... Are you suffering today? You who have publicly identified yourself with this body of Christ at Summit Woods - are you suffering today?
Consider this: if we are a “body” and if we are true “members” of Christ’s body, dependent on one another, then it follows that when one of us suffers we all suffer. Now certainly, when an individual suffers for Christ it is true that an individual matures. He is moved through the process of spiritual growth, his sanctification is advanced, his or her character becomes more Christ-like. But as he is matured, so we, as a local body of believers mature. And as he or she suffers, so does the local church suffer.
Colossians 1:24,25a - “Now I [Paul] rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister…”
As a believer, and as a member of this body at Summit Woods, you are a member of Christ’s body. As a part of Christ’s body, your sufferings are His sufferings as well. Jesus suffered on the cross, and suffering continues to be experienced by His body, the church, until He ends suffering once and for all with His return. In the meantime, as individuals of His body suffers, we collectively suffer. His body collectively matures as well. It is collectively perfected and is made to better reflect His character and actions; that He may be glorified.
Are you suffering today? You are... We are! And we suffer together for His glory. Are you glorifying Him through suffering? Are you glorifying Him by loving each other? By intentionally bearing the burdens of others? By serving ones who may be suffering? Are you individually maturing? Through personal suffering or through personal burden bearing?
Suffering and maturing is God’s will and His mandate. Suffering builds the church. But individual suffering is also the suffering of the entire body of Christ. With whom are you suffering today?