Sermon notes: Christian hope in suffering, II Cor 4 – Tim Keller, Part 9 of 9 of series on Hope

Big Idea: Christian hope can change the way we deal with disappointments, trouble, hardships, and suffering

I. The inevitability of suffering

V16: everything is wasting away to decay here on earth including our bodies. This is the end of the story UNLESS point 2 is correct:

II. The pattern of suffering

Death works resurrection this is the story of all of life; an orchard of oak trees does not come about unless one acorn dies first; life results in us and others when we suffer. V14 Christs resurrection guarantees that our suffering and eventual death will yield glory like His resurrection. This is what it means that Christs resurrection is the first fruits of what is to come.

For the Christian, no suffering is punitive but only part of the process designed by the loving and Good Father who is conforming us to look and act like His Son. Jobs friends had only one category of thinking: if things go wrong, God is mad at you / punishing you for some sin.

III. The future of suffering

  1. All suffering will be undone compensation AND restoration: Vs 16-18 the gospel does not tell us to embrace or run to suffering but instead it ENGULFS suffering. Heaven is not solely COMPENSATION for all the losses that we have experienced here on earth, but rather RESTORATION as well, all that we ever hoped for will be fulfilled in the new heavens and new earth!
  2. Suffering actually produces future glory: It is like waking from a night mare of losing your family only to realize it was a dream and then the feeling of going to love them in a new way that you did not when you said goodnight to them before the bad dream. Vs16-18 says that disappointments are not wasted but actually are the means that God lovingly employs to build your glory. This is what Romans 8:20+ says as well when it describes the anxious hope of the revealing of the freedom of the glory of the children of God. How else do you think that God is using even these bad things to increase the weight of this glory?

picture: Sioux Falls, SD at night

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