Suffering Comes with the Gifts of the Spirit

Sunday February 19, 2017

Opening: Pastor Syd shared about the test their family is facing. They are using the Word against symptoms of disease for a victorious testimony. Victory comes from the Lord. Pastor Syd shared how they are working the Word, by believing it, declaring it, and looking for the circumstances to line up with it. Scriptures they and we are standing on: Isaiah 53:1; Psalm 103:2-3; Matthew 18:19-20; Mark 11:23-24. God has already provided healing! [We prayed in the Spirit.] Offering: Focus on the Source, not the blessing. Let God show Himself off in you. Sermon: (See previous notes from 2/5/17.) All of the gifts of the Spirit work in love. In Paul’s day, the people believed in many gods. He stressed that there is one God who gives the gifts to each one (1 Corinthians 12:4-10, 31; 14:1, 39-40). Suffering and persecution come with the gifts of the Spirit. He tells us this to prepare us. God’s chastisement is different from that of the world. Sickness is not part of the chastisement, because we have been redeemed from it. Why do we experience sickness, since we’ve been redeemed from it? We’ve been redeemed from sin, too, but why do we sin? His chastisement includes a choice. John 15:18-21 tells us that we will have persecution and that the world will hate and persecute us. Philippians 1:29 says that when we believe in Him, we will suffer for His sake. The book of Acts is full of examples of the gifts of the Spirit being in operation and persecution coming after it. More is expected than good teaching and preaching. Paul said that what he did was in demonstration of the Spirit and of power so that their faith would not be in words of human wisdom but in the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). Paul boasted of what he suffered, including being let down in a basket through a window on the wall so he could escape. He was caught up into the third heaven, not being able to tell if he was in his body or not. The thorn in the flesh was given to him because of the visions (1 Corinthians 11:16 – 12:1-7). The thorn in the flesh was a messenger of Satan to buffet him, lest he be exalted above measure. God and Satan do not work together. Satan looks for the one whom he may devour. What is a thorn in the flesh? It is people or a spirit that causes people to persecute the believer. If the Israelites did notdrive out the inhabitants of the land from before them, then the people they let remain would be thorns in your sides, and they would harass them in the land where they would dwell (Numbers 33:55). God told the Israelites to separate themselves from the remnants of other nations, or they would be “scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes” (Joshua 23:12-13). God again told the Israelites to drive the inhabitants out, or they would be thorns in their sides (Judges 2:2-3). Paul’s thorn in the flesh was a spirit that caused the people to persecute him to try to stop him (and us) from operating in the gifts of the Spirit. You have authority over them, and you can have the victory! Hebrews 11; Hebrews 12:8-9. God’s grace is sufficient. His grace is His ability and empowerment. His power is perfected in weakness. Weakness is an opportunity for power to be shown. His grace means victory and power! Grace is NOT a cover-up for sin. It empowers you to act, be healed, and do the impossible. For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified  (2 Corinthians 13:4-5). Luke 6:22 says that we are blessed when we are persecuted for the sake of the gospel. The book,The Heavenly Man, is written by a Chinese Christian who endured terrible suffering and persecution for his faith. When he received bad press in Austria or Germany concerning upcoming meetings in Canada, he considered that persecution. If you suffer persecution for the sake of the gospel, rejoice and leap for joy (Luke 6:23)! Your rewards will be great in heaven. Mark 10:17-31 says about treasures in heaven and receiving a hundredfold now in this time, with persecutions, and in the age to come, eternal life.