Are Christians To Have Trials, Tribulations, Sufferings?
The false so-called confessing Christian Church of our day is, I believe, the church of the great apostasy. (2Thess 2:3- "Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, NASB) Apostasy means the falling away from the true faith!
One popular, unbiblical teaching of our day is "word of faith". Word of faith preachers/teachers have a different Jesus and a different gospel. These false, apostate preachers/teachers teach that we deserve to be rich, healed, and free from trials, tribulations, and sufferings. [Really?? Scripture says we deserve death and Hell. Romans 6:23-The wages of sin is death.] They believe that Christians have the authority and ability to manipulate the force of faith by having a positive mindset and by speaking things into existence in order to claim God's promises. We can get healing, money, jobs and more by speaking it into existence by faith. What we confess, we then possess -- and that does not include trials, tribulations, and sufferings. If we have these, we are definitely lacking faith.
Their type of faith is blasphemous. It is faith in the force of faith [rather than in the Triune God] that will actually create and manipulate what we receive from God. This heretical teaching makes God Himself subject to the force of faith. This teaching exalts man to god-status and reduces God to man-status.
Popular word of faith teachers include Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Robert Tilton, TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Rodney Howard-Browne, – to name a few.
I know people who believe this teaching. I once asked them: "How come the Apostle Paul suffered so much? Did Paul lack faith?" Their response was: "Yes! Paul did lack faith!" Can you imagine even implying that Paul suffered because he lacked faith?
What do the Scriptures tell us? What did the Apostle Paul, the great man of great faith, suffer from? Who told him he would suffer? Acts 9:15-16-"But the Lord said to [Ananias], "Go, for he [Paul] is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake." 2COR 11:24-29-"Five times I [Paul] received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? This is the strong Christian and Apostle Paul -- and he suffered -- and he had trials and tribulations!
The Apostate church teachings are not Biblical. They are false teachers that Jesus warned us about in Matthew 24:11. The only source for truth in our world is the Bible. I always check what people preach or teach to see if it is in line with God's Holy Word. The Bereans in Acts 17 checked on Paul to see if what he was saying was in the Scriptures! Acts17:10-11-"The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so."
So, what DO the Scriptures say about the Christian experiencing tribulation, trials, and suffering?
I hear many Christian leaders say we will not face tribulation. Is that true? John 16:33-"These things I [Jesus] have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world."
Acts 14:22-"…strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." Romans 12:12-"…rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer…"
What about Christians in regard to suffering? What do the Scriptures say? Is there any purpose in our sufferings and trials? Romans 5:3-5-" Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." We see in this Scripture that Paul shows that our suffering is used by God to shape and form our character and to give us hope. Paul could say this because he had personally experienced it! Romans 8:18-19- "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
What does the Bible say about trials? Will Christians have trials in their lives? 1 Peter 4:12-17-"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" Peter -- who personally went through trials and sufferings for Christ's sake and who ended up being crucified upside down -- tells us not to be surprised as Christians at our fiery trials. The trials come to test our faith in Christ. Peter also says we are not to be ashamed but to glorify God in our sufferings. I highly recommend reading Fox's Book of Martyrs to see how the 2000-year history of the church is bathed in suffering, trials, and tribulations. This book reveals how these Christians not only endured but also witnessed to and glorified Jesus Christ greatly through suffering.
Peter also wisely shows us that Godly suffering is not suffering that is caused by our sin or foolishness! Sin and foolishness will bring about all kinds of misery. This is not the trials, tribulations, and suffering we are talking about.
Our sufferings test our faith in Christ. God uses our trials, tribulations and suffering to sanctify us. We cannot learn our lessons in the calm waters. You can sail your boat all day long in the calm harbor and learn some sailing lessons. But you do not learn anything about true sailing until you get out into the deep water with its waves and storms! That is what tests the sailor; and that is what tests the saint. In the Scriptures, we see Jesus asleep in the back of the boat when a great storm (trial) with wind and great waves came upon the 12 apostles. They cried out when the waves began to sink the boat! Mark 4:35-40-"On that day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." And leaving the crowd, they took Him with them in the boat, just as He was. And other boats were with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?"
The question arises that since Jesus knows all things why did he allow the storm since he sent them out on the sea? The answer is found in verse 40. To increase firmly relying faith in Christ! What would they have learned if Jesus had not waited but rebuked the wind and waves when it first appeared? The answer is they would have learned truly little. It is in the intense times that we learn the most and that great faith is produced in us. It is training time! I do not pray for suffering or trials or tribulation; but if they come -- and they will -- I do pray: "Lord make me a quick student!" I have seen that in my own life with Stage IV Cancer, where I got to the point and I cried out "Lord I will trust you even though you slay me". Great peace entered my soul that day, and I was content with how Jesus would handle my life or death! Job 13:15- "Though you slay me, I will hope in Him…".
The three men, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, who King Nebuchadnezzar threw into the fiery furnace, said in Daniel 3:17-"If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." These three men were suffering for their faith but chose to trust God no matter what and God delivered them; but they trusted Him even if He decided not to!
One of the greatest scriptures of faith in sufferings, trials, and tribulations is from the Prophet Habakkuk. Habakkuk 3:17-19- "Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food and the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer's; He makes me tread on my high places." The prophet is trusting God no matter the trials and his sufferings! No matter the circumstances of his life, he had learned to trust God. He knew God was his only hope.
Why the blog on suffering, trials, and tribulations? As I wrote in my Blog "The Coming Storm" the world events in our day are fulfilling Biblical Prophecy before our eyes. As we see John Mac Arthur defending the church's right to stay open and worship; As we see rioters burning Bibles in the streets of our cities; and Churches closing their doors -- the trials are here. Things are accelerating quickly as we are living in the last of the last days. GREAT PERSECUTION is coming on the land and the church is not ready.
The true church -- the regenerated remnant -- needs to get ready to endure and persevere through suffering. The False church is saying peace, peace when there is no peace. The false church is engrossed in social issues WHEN THE REAL PANDEMIC IN THE WORLD IS SIN! The only answer to this type of pandemic is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ -- and the Church needs to get back to the basics. The Church has been distracted. WAKE UP CHURCH!!
1 Peter 5:6-11- "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, Who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen."