Through Many Tribulations: Conclusion

Through Many Tribulations

As we have studied in these lessons, there are several different kinds of trials and tribulations that we will have to endure during this life. Some of these will come upon us because we are Christians. Others will come simply because we are human. Yet all of these present challenges to our faith.Continue Reading

Through Many Tribulations (Part 4): Persecution

Through Many Tribulations

As we continue looking at the apostle Paul, we will see that he did more than just sacrifice his time and effort in laboring for the cause of Christ, along with a degree of material and mental well-being. He also faced persecution for his faith.

He told Timothy, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:8-10). Not only did Paul suffer as a criminal, but he willingly endured this. Why? He said he did so “for the sake of those who are chosen” (2 Timothy 2:10). He also told Timothy later in this same letter, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). He endured persecution in order to obtain salvation – for himself and for others. In his second letter to the Corinthians, he described some of the ways he faced persecution.Continue Reading

Through Many Tribulations (Part 3): Sacrifices

Through Many Tribulations

When we first read of Paul in the New Testament – then referred to as Saul – he was looking on with approval as Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 7:58-8:1). Following that event, he began a zealous campaign against the church that took him to Damascus in order to find “any belonging to the Way” and “bring them bound to Jerusalem” (Acts 9:2). While on the road to Damascus, the Lord appeared to him and told him to go to the city where he would be told “what [he] must do” (Acts 9:6). The Lord then instructed Ananias to go to Saul to deliver His message to him (Acts 9:10-12; 22:12-16).

Paul was “a chosen instrument” of the Lord’s (Acts 9:15). Specifically, this meant that he was “called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God” (1 Corinthians 1:1). However, this did not mean that the Lord was going to see to it that Paul had an easy and comfortable life as he served Him. Instead, He told Ananias, “For I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:16). When we think of the sufferings of Paul, we typically think of the persecutions he endured [we will discuss these in the next lesson]. Yet there were other sacrifices that Paul made that would be included in the things he was going to “suffer.Continue Reading

Through Many Tribulations (Part 2): Hardships

Through Many Tribulations

When Paul explained God’s choice of Jacob over his brother, he quoted from the prophet Malachi: “Just as it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated’” (Romans 9:13; cf. Malachi 1:2-3). Jacob was chosen for prominence over his brother and for the blessings that came from being part of God’s promise (Romans 9:6-12). The Lord appeared to Jacob and said to him, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Genesis 28:13-15).

However, despite the fact that God chose Jacob and promised to bless him, he faced great hardships throughout his life. When he stood before Pharaoh, he said, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life” (Genesis 47:9). Notice some of the hardships that Jacob experienced:Continue Reading

Through Many Tribulations (Part 1): Loss

Through Many Tribulations

Job was a man who was “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil” (Job 1:1). When Satan appeared before the Lord, God Himself even praised this man: “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil” (Job 1:8). This man had been greatly blessed by God with seven sons, three daughters, and a large number of animals and servants (Job 1:2-3).

However, the Lord allowed Satan to tempt Job. Satan presented the challenge: “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face” (Job 1:9-11). Satan believed that if Job experienced loss, he would turn against God. The Lord replied, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him” (Job 1:12). After this, the temptations quickly came against Job.Continue Reading

Through Many Tribulations: Introduction

Through Many Tribulations

As Paul and Barnabas returned to the churches they established during their first preaching tour, they encouraged the disciples to “continue in the faith” as they would go “through many tribulations” in order to “enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). The kingdom to which this referred was not the church – these brethren were already in the church. Instead, this was the eternal kingdom where we will enjoy the reward of heaven. These Christians would have to endure “many tribulations” before they reached that reward.Continue Reading