Series: The Discipline of Sonship; Trials and Tribulations
Sun am 15 October 2017 – Kobus Swart
Job 23:10; Ps. 119:71; Rev. 2:10; Luke 22:31-32; Gen.50:20; 2 Cor.12:7-10; Acts 14:22; 1 Cor. 5:1-2, 5; 1 John. 4:4; 1 Tim. 1:19-20; Job.42: 10-13 &16; Eph.2:10
In today’s world, it is important to understand the purpose of trials and afflictions. Affliction involves pain, inner pain, testing and trials; but there is a purpose, and if we can be sensitive to the divine purpose, we can make it work for our good. There are always people who are going through difficult times, but we should not miss the purpose of God in difficult times, whether it is physically, emotionally, financially. We serve a sovereign God, He has not lost control. It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes (Ps. 119:71). This is not the kind of message that the average Christian likes: Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life (Rev. 2:10). Do not see this as a physical prison, but we are talking now to overcomers!
Let us look at some examples. “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32). Satan needs permission from God before he can come and interfere with your life. Who is the best person to strengthen a brother? The one who has gone through similar trials himself! Satan’s attacks in your life prove that you have an important part to play in the plan of God. So actually, it is not a bad thing to go through testing because it proves something; God has a plan for you. Always remember who is in control! Satan needed God’s permission to test Job. Satan tried to manipulate God to bring bad experiences to Job, but God gave him permission to do it. But God also set boundaries.
At the end of everything Joseph has gone through, despite the wonderful prophecies and dreams, He finally said to his brothers who sold him: As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good (Gen. 50:20). Good things will come out of the difficult times you and I are going through if we can keep the faith.
The following verses are talking about Paul, the greatest apostle that ever lived, few could rival his achievements. Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this, I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor. 12:7-10). Through the terrible afflictions Paul endured he came with this revelation, Through many tribulations, we must enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). God is preparing a kingdom people. To be part of a kingdom people you will go through many tribulations. It will differ from person to person but you are going to be tried and tested. This is not a popular message, but I trust I am talking to people who are in the process of entering the kingdom of God fully.
This is authentic apostolic authority: It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst…. I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 5:1-2 & 5). This was not to put him in hell to burn for eternity, but there is a positive motive. Hold this man’s conduct up to public scrutiny. Let him defend it if he can! But if he can’t, then out with him! It will be totally devastating to him, of course, and embarrassing to you. But better devastation and embarrassment than damnation. You want him on his feet and forgiven before the Master on the Day of Judgment (Vs. 5 – Msg). Paul did not put him into damnation forever but it was the dealings of God. Satan was allowed to do the job. Satan’s attack can be a wakeup call. Instead of rebuking the devil, listen! What is God saying here? Why does He allow this? Is there a message? Some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme (1 Tim. 1:19). Some of us are awakened by a tap on the shoulder while others need to be hit pretty hard on the head. And that is when Satan gets the call: “You do it”.
But we need to remember this: You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). The Bible says we should give the devil no room! Even though Satan has frightful powers we know that it can only be exercised under God’s permission. Satan is simply not free to wreak havoc in people’s lives at will. God’s Spirit which is in you is greater than the devil who is in the world!
What was the final outcome of the horrible history of Job? God restored his fortunes double! When? When he prayed for his friends; the friends who had condemned him (Job. 42:10-13 &16). So be encouraged! Satan’s attacks will only strengthen your faith and will refine it and take it to higher levels. Focus on God’s goodness and His grace upon your life and His plan for your life! God has a plan for each one of us (Eph.2:10). There is a master plan for every one of us but the problem is when we disconnect from that plan and we begin to wander aimlessly.
Things in the world are going to get worse before they get better. Creation is groaning. People do not have a purpose to live for. I pray, and this is my heart’s yearning that the Church of Jesus-Christ will wake up and become one! The voice of the Church must be heard in the world. We must move in authority from above to stop the evil trends in the world because this earth belongs to God. Do not give the earth away! It belongs to the Lord and He has given us the mandate in Genesis 1, the power to rule and multiply in this earth. God wants to restore His original mandate through the corporate Son.