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Watch 2022 online sermons » Creflo Dollar » Creflo Dollar - The Purpose of Suffering - Part 3

Creflo Dollar - The Purpose of Suffering - Part 3

Creflo Dollar - The Purpose of Suffering - Part 3
TOPICS: Sufferings

Today I'm going to try to finish this series up. We've been talking about the trial of faith and understanding the trial of faith. And let's just believe God that we're going to get to that. It's just an amazing end to this story here. Let's begin this morning in the book of 1 Peter chapter 1, verse 6 and 7. This has been our text scripture. Now, in order for you to get what I'm going to reveal hopefully at the end of this, I'm going to do a little review to just make sure that everybody is up on everything. You know, if you look at one of those little Netflix series, and they kind of... or whatever that's been off for a whole season and they come back and they kind of do a little review. That's what I want to do here. And this is pretty amazing, understanding the trials of faith.

Why does our faith have to be put on trial? Why do certain things happen in our life? I mean, I thought being saved was supposed to be all about just everything going well, and then as soon as it doesn't go that way, you know, we're questioning God. And there's a difference between asking God a question and questioning God. You know, you question in doubt. "You know, if God is good, then why did that happen"? That's questioning God. Versus asking a question, "Lord, explain this to me". And so we've got to deal with the reality of the doubt that it's in our lives and the fact that probably nobody really enjoys having their faith being put on trial unless there's a purpose, unless God's got a plan for it, unless there's something that's, I wouldn't even go as far as to say necessary in order to give birth to something. I mean, I'm sure the earth would probably be overpopulated if birthing children didn't have any pain associated with it at all, but that's just not it.

When you give birth to something great out of some stuff that was pretty rough, there are some things we need to pay attention to. And I believe that God is about to bring something awesome out of you. The masterpiece that he's designed in you, he's getting ready to bring out of you. Some of y'all are walking around with anointings you haven't even discovered yet. Amen? Praise the Lord. 1 Peter chapter 1, verse 6 through 7. Verse 6, says, "Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations". Verse 7, "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perish, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ".

Now, let's look at this in the NLT. This is something really key that I want you to get about what he's saying here. We got to understand what is going to be honored and congratulated when you get in heaven, and it's not going to be your works and it's not going to be your accomplishments. So he's telling us what we need to focus on so that when we get to heaven, it'll be worth it all. And we're so wrapped up into what we've accomplished and the works that we do, we're forgetting about this, what he's telling us here. Look at verse 6, "So be truly glad that there is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while". So, I mean, must is a pretty big word. You must endure trials.

And now notice he didn't say you must be defeated by trials, but enduring. So you're talking about having endurance. You're going to outlast the trial, glory to God. Whatever trouble you see, you're going to outlast the trouble. And you can tell the trouble when it comes, "I will outlast you, you will not defeat me. I will outlast you because of who I am". Go back to verse 6. He says, "So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many," not one. "Well, it's okay if I have to do one trial". Many. Everybody say, "Many". Now, you know, for some people, it's like, "Well, why get saved if I got to do, I'm already enduring trials". Yeah, but you're doing trials and being outlasted and defeated, okay? He says, "Even though you must endure many trials for a little while". Verse 7, he says, "These trials will show that your faith is genuine".

Is your faith genuine? And I don't know if... I don't know. You may not be able to answer that, but there's something about when you go through something and you still come out. God is still your Savior. God is still somebody you depend on. You know, there's so many people that have gone through stuff, even throughout the pandemic, and they didn't come out the same way. They were very committed, very dedicated to God, they told you they had faith in God, but wasn't genuine. See, trials are going to locate genuine faith. In other words, the religion, the hypocrisy, the play church stuff, that can't last throughout a trial. It's like fire that's going to burn the fake off. And if you do understand that your faith is now genuine, then you'll be right where you were before the trial started. Praise God.

The trial won't move you. The trial won't stop you. The trial won't cause you to quit. The only thing the trial is going to do is reveal that your faith was real the whole time, amen? So who is it that can talk you out of your faith? Who is it or what is it that can talk you out of the love that you have for God? Jesus made it clear, "Nothing will separate me from you". And he says, "Well, is that same thing true"? Well, we'll see. The trial will do it. See, people, they can talk and quote scriptures and look religious and act religious, and when the trial come, now we're going to see if all that real. Okay, let me go. Okay, he said, "It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold," he says, "though your faith is far more precious than mere gold". He says your faith is far more precious than mere gold.

Now, let me put a little parenthesis right here. Your complete dependence upon God is more precious than mere gold. "So when your faith remains strong through many trials", that's what we're going to see. Does your faith remain strong, remain strong, or has the devil been convinced just throw some trials at you and your faith just dwindles away? It will bring you much praise if you hold on to it and if it's genuine. "It's going to bring you praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus is revealed to the whole world". So this is what we're trying to decipher here. The attitude toward God under grace should be complete dependence upon God. So how does God plan on perfecting and purifying this dependence on him?

Well, 2 Timothy chapter 3, verses 10 through 12 in the NLT. 2 Timothy 3, verses 10 through 12 in the NLT, and then I go to last one, and we'll get started. He says, "But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith. You know my patience. You know my love and my endurance". He says, "You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about the how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, but the Lord rescued me". That's the key, "He rescued me from all of it". Paul said, "You know all of the persecution I've gone through, but you also saw God rescue me from all of it". I prophesy this to you right now. I don't know what trials are ahead of you, but I can promise you that God will rescue you from them all, amen? How many of you know it's easier to go through anything when you know God got your back?

Next verse he says, "Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution". That settles it right there. So everyone who wants to live a godly life, so we're not telling you to get saved 'cause you're going to get some money, we're not going to tell you to get saved because you're going to be able to have the happiness you've always wanted. I don't know what kind of save that is. We're telling you to get saved because, you know, this really is going to be the only way you're going to make it through some things, is to declare a complete deliverance from independence from God, and you're going to have to say, "I completely depend on God". And he says, "Okay, so here's one thing you got to understand. You will suffer persecution". And when we're getting people saved, we leave that part out.

Oh, come on, get saved. Jesus is good. He's love. He's forgiving. He's kind. He's going to do a lot of stuff. Oh, yeah, and by the way, you will suffer persecution. That's the truth. You will. Can I get a witness in here? You will suffer some persecution, everyone. Who's going to suffer persecution? See, we think the person that's not saved is going to suffer persecution. Now, they're going to go through, listen, they're going through a whole bunch, but there's a difference between what they're going through and what you're going through, God got your back. Some of the same trouble that you had, somebody else had that wasn't saved and they're not even here anymore. God got you, that's the difference. The difference is he has committed himself to deliver you from them all. You don't have that kind of commitment living a life that's unsaved. You're living in a world that's full of fear, full of pain, full of rejection.

And I'm telling you, some people are succumbing to all of that kind of stuff and we don't have to because we have somebody we can trust in. We can lie down at night in peace and enjoy sweet sleep. That's my confession when I left. I look at my bed, and I say, "When I lie down, I'm going to lie down in peace, and my sleep going to be sweet". I declare that over your life right now. You're going to have some sweet sleep, amen? God has your back no matter what type of persecution you have to look at. And then Hebrews chapter 2, verse 9 through 10. Hebrews chapter 2 and verse 9 through 10, and then we'll get started. We're going to talk about the trials, review real quickly Peter's trial and Paul's trial and the faith of Abraham, and then I'm going to show you deceiver, the devil in his declaration of independence from God.

Verse 9, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the sufferings of death, crowned with glory and honor, that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man". Well, that's not exciting. He's going to have to taste death for every man. "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect," how is he going to make them perfect, "through suffering". Another synonym for the word perfect here is mature or whole through sufferings. So there's great results to be expected through suffering. There's a great something for you to understand that maybe if you're going through some persecution, you can go ahead of the persecution and say, "Boy, this is going to be good. I don't know what God's working on, but I know is going to be good because he's not going to allow me to go through something and me not come in better after I come out than when I went in".

So if some of you have gone or entered into some persecution, get your eyesight on the after-party 'cause there's going to be a after-party taking place after you come out, because watch this. Some things you will encounter, there you have no other choice but to depend on God. It's like you'll look up, saying, "There's nothing I can do about it". Now, everybody else will make you feel like there are some things you can do about, but at the end of the day, you know, "I, like, trust medicine". Huh-uh. I know some people, one person take the medicine and get healed, another person take the medicine and died. One person take the medicine and feel better, another take the medicine and he got an allergic reaction to it. No, you got to trust God. You got to trust God.

Now, let's look for examples now through the Bible to see how real this is so that you can become an equipped Christian so no matter what you face and no matter what you go through, you can see God working and see God preparing. Christians must mature. If God is going to use us, we've got to mature. You can't stay a baby Christian all your life, you can't do it. If God's going to use you to the level of the anointing that he's put in your life, you got to mature to that level, and he's going to do that by burning off the dependence that you have built up on yourself. And that is a spirit of this world. The world teaches you to depend on yourself and not to depend on God. "Depend on anything or anybody else, but not God". And they make fun of him, they say he's not real, they say you're wasting your time, and they just don't know what they're talking about. They don't have a clue, all right?

Here's a good way to test it. "Well, how you know they don't know what they're talking about"? The only way to know about God the way we know about God is through his Word. All right, ask them if they know the Word. And they don't know the Word. So they're not even qualified to make a comment. They can't even participate in the conversation. They don't know enough to talk about God. Some would do themselves a favor and just shut up. They don't know enough to even make a commentary about God, and most of the time when they open their mouth, they are commenting on a religious basis of what they heard somebody else say, but they hadn't heard the Bible. "Well, you know, like the Bible says, I'd rather have Jesus than silver and gold". The Bible don't say that.

Kurt Franklin said that when he wrote that song. And that's what happens all the time. You don't even know what the Bible says and try to prop yourself up as this religious person because you're grandmama went to church, and you don't even know what it says. You'll be shocked as you find out its taken, I mean, I'm 41 years in doing this right now and I'm still learning stuff. I'm still learning stuff in his Word. So that's the key, is what you're doing right now, making a decision that, "I am going to be faithful to church attendance, I'm going to be faithful to turning that stream on when I can't get to church, and I'm going to learn something". You're here to learn something. This is not a circus, and I'm not a clown. I can clown around sometime, but I'm not a clown, all right? All right.

So let's get into this now. Let's look at the trial of Peter. Luke 22:31 through 34, this is where we stopped last week, but it's a lot of good stuff in here. Let me just review that before we look at it. So let's examine trials in the life of these people, these Bible characters. Luke chapter 22, verse 31 through 41 in the NLT, if you will. Let's read it in the NLT and let's look at Peter's trial of faith. Verse 31, "Simon, Simon", he's referring to Peter. His name was Simon. "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail". So Jesus said, "Simon, I'm going to pray that your faith will not fail". "'So when you have repented or changed your mind and turned to me again,'" he said, "'go ahead and strengthen your brothers because they're thinking the same thing you're thinking.' Peter said, 'Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you'".

Oh, wow, his expression of faithfulness I wonder was that faith talking or was that his self talking? Was that confidence in his self that was talking? "'And even I am ready to die with you.'" You know, I focused on, you know, let me give you an illustration. Like, when you join a church and you meet the pastor and you say, "Pastor, I'll never leave you nor forsake you. I'll be with you no matter what". Five months later, you're gone. What happened? "Well, the Lord said my assignment is over here and now I'm supposed to be over there". God's not double-minded like that, dude. You're making declarations and statements out of self-confidence instead of trusting God. See, when God calls you to a church and the first thing you do is leave as soon as you have persecution, you don't understand he's trying to mature you in that church, but your immaturity causes you to change churches.

You go somewhere you're not supposed to be, your growth is stunted, and then you can't... and you're trying to figure out, "Well, what the devil? Why the devil messing with me"? 'Cause you're somewhere you're not supposed to be. He said, "Go to a certain brook," he said to Elijah, "and there will I sustain you". He sent you to your certain brook, but your little, old smart self and smarter than God has decided, "Well, you know, the Lord is telling me to go somewhere else". And the real truth is you're going through some persecution that you're walking out on, and on the other side of persecution was some promotion and some maturing, but you couldn't handle it enough. So that's the real truth. All 40,000 people that used to be a member of this church and used that little sorry excuse, I want you to know I never bought it. I just want you to know you got to deal with that.

Mighty quiet in this thing, in this Catholic Church this morning, ain't it? That's the truth. I don't buy all that. You ain't even, you don't show enough maturity to go around talking about God can talk to you with that much clarity. You ain't even been through enough for you to come tell me that God talks to you with that type of clarity. Huh-uh. It's amazing to me. And all I got to do is talk to you for a moment and just be quiet and let you talk, and you'll tell me everything I need to know. I told y'all a couple of weeks ago that we're not playing church no more. I got to get you to grow. And I've never seen so many people in church who can hear God clear when it's time to go, but can't hear him clear when he told them to stay and do something.

You know, some of you don't like what I'm saying right now. You're hearing the Lord real clear. "This is my last Sunday here. I'm going". Verse 34, "But Jesus said, 'Peter, let me tell you something.'" Peter was talking about all his, he making this faithfulness or this faithful commitment. And Jesus was hearing him, but look what Jesus said. Basically, this says it nice. "Jesus said, 'Peter, let me tell you something.'" The attitude was, "Boy, you done said all of that. Man, let me tell, let me tell you something. Let me tell you, let me tell you what's up. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.'" That's one of those things that Jesus said.

Now, let's examine this real quickly. Did Peter's faith fail? Okay. Did he not deny his Lord or did he? Yeah, yeah, certainly he denied him, right? You see that, Jesus told him, "You're going to deny me," right? But if anybody or anybody says stuff like his faith failed, if anybody, and I've heard that before. Heck, I probably taught it before. That's why you have to keep growing. If anybody say his faith failed, then the problem is... wait a minute. Jesus said, "I pray that your faith fail not". Is it possible for Jesus to pray and not get his prayer answered? You see what you're saying there? "Well, yes, yes, Peter's faith failed 'cause you see him doing that".

See, that's why you got to hang in that Word a little bit more, because you'll start growing and you'll start maturing and you won't just be saying something religiously 'cause you heard somebody else say that. You're now looking at the scripture yourself, and you know that there's no way Jesus can walk in and say, "Hey, Satan says he desires to sift you as wheat, but I'm going to pray that your faith fail not". You know what Jesus is saying? Your faith is absolutely not going to fail 'cause I prayed. So it wasn't his faith that failed. His faith does not fail him. How then could this be understood? Was it in faith that Peter made his boasting profession of faithfulness when he said that? Boy, it doesn't seem like that's the case.

Let's look at another scripture. Mark 14:29 through 31 in the NLT. Let's see this. Verse 29, he says this, "Peter said to him, 'Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.'" This kind of sounds like Satan. Someone says, "Well, how you figure that sounds like Satan"? 'Cause Satan always talking about what he would do. Next verse, "Jesus replied, 'I tell you this truth, Peter. This very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.'" 31, "No". Now, he trying to debate... well, how are you going to debate? That's just like when God tell you something and you're like, "No, Lord," and he like, "Yes". "He said, 'No.' Peter declared emphatically, 'Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you.' And all the others, they vowed to do the same thing".

Now, let's look at this real quick. His words were full of self-confidence, right? We established that last week. His words were full of self-confidence. So the question is this. Peter's failure then was a failure in self and not of his faith in God, a failure in self. So before Peter's fall, Peter had faith in Jesus as the Son of the living God, but his faith was mixed with a whole lot of confidence in self. That describes religion perfectly, faith that's mixed with a whole lot of confidence in self. Someone say, "What are you talking about? Well, God helps those," watch this, "who helps themselves". You see that? See what we've done? And then we say amen to that. "God helps those who helps themselves". When actually that's not truth at all. God helps those who need help and depend on him.
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