Rejoicing Through Affliction


King James Bible Study – [And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. – Mark 8:34]

Date: Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Message: Rejoicing Through Affliction

Hello My Friend,

Did you ever notice that affliction does not come just one incident at a time? It comes in droves. Well, it seems like it does come in droves sometimes, but in reality it is one thing that goes in stages and hits you like a ton of bricks when it does. Of course, we make things worse by trying to analyze everything, what we did wrong or who is to blame. While we do not like affliction it really is something that is unavoidable as it serves its purpose in many ways, mainly it keeps us in check with Jesus. There is one passage that comes to mind that we all need to memorize, [1 Peter 4:12-13  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:  13  But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.]

The Book of I Thessalonians was written by Paul in AD 54, shortly after his departure from Thessalonica. The purpose of the letter was to reconfirm young disciples in the foundational truths already taught them, to encourage them to live holy lives, and to comfort their concerns about those saved who die before Christ returns. What we are to learn from the book is that the second coming of Christ is coming, and sooner than we think, the hope of His return is the inspiration, and comfort of the true saved, born again Christian, [1 Thessalonians 3:13  To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.]

Paul, presented this letter to the Thessalonians, along with Silas and Timothy, as we recall they were with Paul while he was in Thessalonica. The church was facing a lot of affliction, so Paul decided to write this letter to let them know that he was praying for them and that their labor and hope in Christ is dully noted.

[1 Thessalonians 1:2-6,9-10  We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;  3  Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;  4  Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.  5  For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. 6  And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 9  For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;  10  And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.]

[For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power,] Anyone and everyone that has heard the Gospel spoken to them receives it in one of two ways, as just words from some random person trying to get them to believe in Jesus or as the power of the Holy Spirit as He is nudging the believer to accept Christ. There is nothing more powerful than the Words of Life to the one who is ready to hear them, [1 John 4:4-5  Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.  5  They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.]

When we first get saved we are on fire for Jesus, we become like sponges soaking in everything that we learn about Jesus and even start eliminating the things we learn are sinful and replacing them with things that are fruitful. Then all of a sudden someone gets word that we are living for Christ and here comes the affliction and we start to wonder why we are even doing this when it seems like it does not matter. Well, everything we do through Christ does matter, and this is what Paul starts stressing to us.

[1 Thessalonians 2:1-4,8-9  For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain:  2  But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.  3  For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:  4  But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. 8  So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.  9  For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.]

[because we would not be chargeable unto any of you,] We are commanded by Jesus Himself to tell the Gospel to everyone that the Holy Spirit lays upon our heart, [Mark 16:15-16  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.] Remember, Jesus is referring to the spiritual birth of the Holy Spirit here, those who receive Christ as their Saviour are baptized with the Holy Spirit, hence the phrase, born again, [John 3:5-7  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  7  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.]

Sadly, we all have missed opportunities where we could have told someone and did not and we are going to have to give an account for that. I only hope that I at least sowed the seed whenever I missed the opportunity because I am not ashamed of my faith. None of us should be ashamed of our faith, in fact, it is our testimony that is the most effective of presenting Christ to those who do not know Him. Unless we believed in vain, our testimony will always be our ally.

[1 Thessalonians 2:13-14,19-20  For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. 14  For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 19  For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?  20  For ye are our glory and joy.]

[For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?] What is our hope for standing by our faith in Jesus? Eternal life with Him. What is our joy for standing by our faith in Jesus? When we do see Jesus there will be no more affliction. What is our crown of rejoicing for standing by our faith in Jesus? That He will say to us, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” [Matthew 25:21  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.]

Now, when we who are faithful suffer for something we know we have done wrong we can accept that, but when we suffer for doing what is right it can be down right discouraging. We must keep in mind that one; we have been through affliction before and God has seen us through. Two; We are not bulletproof so we cannot avoid affliction whether we are a Christian or not. And three; We are not invincible, we cannot handle affliction on our own, we need to help sometime. As Paul continues, he reminds them of the importance of not only using the affliction to draw us nearer to God, but also allowing people to help us.

[1 Thessalonians 3:1-3,7-9,12-13  Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;  2  And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:  3  That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 7  Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:  8  For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.  9  For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; 12  And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:  13  To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.]

[we were comforted over you in all our affliction] My mother and husband are both so strong willed and I am probably just as bad, that the thought of asking for help is to them like some kind of failure. God, did not make us to be loners, if we did then there would be no such thing as marriage. We need people, strong faithful Christians, who are there for us, to give us that encouragement we need when we are beside ourselves, [Romans 15:1,4  We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 4  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.]

We do not like affliction, but to be honest, affliction is what draws us to Christ to begin with. I do not have to tell you that being faithful to God does not mean that we are not going to fail Him. As long as we carry this flesh, and until Jesus returns, sin is something we cannot escape. While Christ certainly does save us by grace that does not mean that He wants us to live anyway we please, we are to live our lives in a way that pleases God.

[1 Thessalonians 4:1-6  Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.  2  For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.  3  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:  4  That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;  5  Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:  6  That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.]

[so ye would abound more and more.] Meaning that as we endure affliction we increase in the love and grace of God through our faith in turn He blesses us with more for our faithfulness. The longer we walk with Christ the more of a reflection of Him we become, which only happens because we are living our lives to please Him. This does not mean that we live as though we are holier than thou, it means that we are truly humble, knowing that we are the chiefest of sinners, [1 Timothy 1:15-16  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.  16  Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.]

Do you see that? It is not for our own sake that we stay faithful to God no matter how much affliction we face, it is for the sake of those who do not know Christ. Again, our testimony is the greatest example that we can give to reach others. While we all have our own crosses to bear, some of us have similar things that we have gotten through that is the very hope that someone needs to hear right now. There is only one Gospel so as long as we teach it truthfully we can lead souls to Christ. Paul, goes on to remind us that Jesus is returning and one day.

[1 Thessalonians 4:13-17  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.]

[even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.] Those who are sleeping, meaning those whom have died and their bodies are lying in the grave or wherever their ashes were laid, are just in their resting place right now. Jesus, confirmed this when He went to Lazarus after he died, [John 11:11-13  These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.  12  Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.  13  Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.]

[and the dead in Christ shall rise first:] All bodies will resurrect when Jesus returns, even those who are in hell, but at a later date than those who are in heaven, but they are not getting a second chance at life, what they are getting is their final judgment, [Revelation 20:12-15  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  15  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.]

No matter what we do in this life, we must remember that everyone is going to spend eternity in one of two places, if we are not living by the example of Christ living inside of us, then we are not going to be prepared for that either. Paul, goes on to stress the importance of being prepared for Jesus to return.

[1 Thessalonians 5:1-6,9-10  But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.  2  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.  3  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.  4  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.  5  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.  6  Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 9  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,  10  Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.]

[that that day should overtake you as a thief.] Paul, and the other Apostles really thought that Jesus would return in their lifetime. I think the closer we get to His returning the more we will be saying that because each generation gets worse and worse. We do not need to believe in God to know that the world is being destroyed and will only get worse before Christ returns. Why do you think that the world is trying to send people in rocket ships to Mars? They somehow think that if they control everything they will save themselves. Let me tell you, making people follow vegan diets, and get vaccines while getting rid of coal, fuel, and guns, and denying that God exists will never stop His judgment. Now, with that said, we are still commanded to live peaceably among them, not for our own sake, but for theirs actually.

[1 Thessalonians 5:14-23  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.  15  See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.  16  Rejoice evermore.  17  Pray without ceasing.  18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  19  Quench not the Spirit.  20  Despise not prophesyings.  21  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  22  Abstain from all appearance of evil. 23  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.]

[In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God] The past Thanksgiving I did give thanks to God that my job is was under review. I guarantee you that I got some strange looks from it, but we need to thank God for the good and the bad because when we thankful that for the bad it makes the good look phenomenal, [1 Peter 2:19-20  For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.  20  For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.]

II Thessalonians, was written also in 54 AD, shortly after Paul’s first letter, the reason being is that there was some confusion at the second coming of Christ. The purpose of this letter was to instruct believers awaiting the return of Christ while going through tribulation. What we are to learn from the book is that it is important to understand that tribulation will come, but it is for our benefit in obtaining the glory of Christ, [2 Thessalonians 2:14  Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.].

So, when we who are faithful to Christ show them that there is hope, especially when they see our faith and the blessings that come with it, it does bring a few to Christ. However, that does also bring quite a few reprobates attacking us for our faith. Paul, reminds us that our faithfulness through tribulation strengthens our relationship and work with Christ.

[2 Thessalonians 1:3-6,8-10  We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;  4  So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:  5  Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:  6  Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;  8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10  When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.]

[for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:] The day will come when Jesus will return, and avenge every believer that has had evil brought upon them, and that is pretty much all of us. Christ, wants to be glorified in you, but not only that, He wants to glorify you by being faithful to Him through it all, in fact, He admires you for it. And as for those who cause the affliction, we need not to worry about them, because they will have their own affliction to face, and when they least expect it.

[2 Thessalonians 2:3-4,8-10  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;  4  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 8  And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:  9  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,  10  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.]

[And then shall that Wicked be revealed,] There will be an apostasy of the Church, meaning people are going to reject Christ and forsake the Church for this Wicked one. And we wonder why the only thing that Jesus is going to do top judge, Satan, the Antichrist, and false prophet is speak to them, [Revelation 19:13-15  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.  14  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.  15  And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.]

[and that man of sin be revealed,] There is all sorts of speculation as who this man of sin is and we can actually associate it with several people in history, but the one thing that convinces me of who it might is right here, [whose coming is after the working of Satan]. There are one of two people who will be here to destroy the Church and that is the beast who is the Antichrist and false prophet. These are the ones who will even deceive the elect, which Paul goes on to describe.

[2 Thessalonians 2:11-15  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:  12  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.  13  But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:  14  Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  15  Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.]

[That they all might be damned who believed not the truth,] This is why God gives them up to their own delusions, as much as He would like every soul to be saved, He will not waste His time with them. He is more concerned about those who love Him than those who do not, and shows us how these reprobates become, [2 Timothy 3:2-4  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  3  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  4  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;]

Some people are beyond knowing Christ as their Saviour, and will never accept Him, they will even go to extremes to try to stop you from speaking about Him, but we must carry on, we cannot let them stop us from being who Christ creates in us. I do not know if you noticed, but it seems that immortality is at an all time high these days, sex, drugs, alcohol, alternative lifestyles, flaunted for all the world to see, and there is not one ounce of humility. And let me tell you, there are many who call themselves Christians doing these very things. As Christians, we are not to be living the way the world does, we are to stand out from the crowd.

[2 Thessalonians 3:3,5-6,10-13  But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.  5  And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. 6  Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 10  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.  11  For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.  12  Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. 13  But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.]

[And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God,] There is a reason why we are to live a Godly life after we are saved, it is not to keep our salvation, and it is not to appear that we are better then them (because we are not), it is to show the world who Jesus really is. It is God’s grace that keeps us from getting what we really deserve when we sin. I mean, when we truly stop to think about all the things we have done over the years and how God protected us, yes, even some of the stupid mistakes, we can truly see how merciful God is, [Ephesians 2:4-6  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:]

Today’s Prayer: God, I admit that I am not thrilled at the affliction I am going through, it seems as though the second I get over one problem another arises. I will not always understand this, but I do understand that You are with me, growing me, establishing me, and strengthening my faith and trust in You through every trial, every tear, and every fear. Thank You for everything You do for me, I know nothing I go through is in vain and has a purpose. Lead me and guide me, give me the strength only You can give me to stand firm in my faith, and not be drawn away from You. I love You Lord, and pray in Your name, Jesus. Amen.

God Bless You, I am praying for you,

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