An Unedited Message

This is the message I prepared in the Philippines. I was asked on a Saturday around 2pm. I typed it on a phone. I was allowed to pick anything, and I pickedĀ 2 Corinthians 7:8-10. It turned out to be shorter than I intended but I suppose that is just how God intended it. Feel free to say anything in the comments. I am not trained and am quite frankly no good at this whole speaking thing. As I told them and I will tell the reader here: if it is good thank God, because it sure wasn’t me.



“Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter I do not regret it.”

2 Corinthians 7:8-10 “Even if i caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it- I see that my letter hurt you but only for a little while. Yet know I am happy not because you were made sorry but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regrets. But worldly sorrow brings death.”

KV “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regrets.” 2 Cor 7:10


When we think about suffering and sorrow many Christians shy away from the topic. Images of starving children and broken hearted widows abound. Today’s message is on the topic of suffering. I picked the topic because a wise man once told me that if a lay person is to give a sermon, it is best if they give the message exactly where they are in their walk with the Lord. So where am I at with the Lord? Yesterday Hope and I went ice skating. Afterwards she asked me how I saw the gospel in our ice skating. I told her “I let you fall because otherwise you would have never learned.” This is the first use of suffering, to allow a person to succeed they must be allowed to fall. We can see that in this way suffering is a prerequisite to the goodness of God. In his love he allows us to fall because otherwise we cannot move forward to Him. We are fallen, and we fell after God in his love gave man free will, a free will that was needed for love to have any meaning. So we find that suffering produces perseverance, so that we might love and be loved.

The second purpose of suffering is one parents are all too familiar with. A parent who has repeatedly warned a child will often say “Fine. Learn the hard way.” Suffering is when our heavenly father says “Fine. Learn the hard way.” God uses suffering to shatter that illusion that we like to create for ourselves. The illusion that says “I am sufficient without you God.” Of course “there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Pro 16:25) and a very wise and common rebuke by church elders is not to love the gifts of God more than God himself. Truly created things have kept me from God, yet if they had not been in Him they would have not been at all. Nevertheless our God hates idols. He destroys idols. Christ zealously destroys our idols, calls, shouts to us in our deafness. He shines with such radiance that even in our blindness we see him. Like the sun at noon all shadows fade. Suffering awakens us to the fact that any creation is inferior to its creator. The most beautiful masterpiece can never be called a child of God. I like to think of a poor man who made a beautiful masterpiece. Years after his death his art was remember and cast high in the opinion of mankind. But the man was a Christian, and so to God he was his child and the masterpiece nothing more than a passing thought. Moreover when we establish an idol over God he breaks that idol with suffering. “He who is exalted will be humbled, he who is humble will be exalted.” So sufferings come to good and bad men in the same way, but even though the suffering is the same the sufferer is different. The Godly are brought closer to God through their suffering. The worldly and wicked become more desperate. As the unholy see all their idols destroyed they become worse and worse. After putting all their stake in becoming educated they feel unfulfilled so they place their worth in finding an attractive spouse. When they find this does not fulfill them, they look for more money and on and forth. They keep trying to fill the spot in their heart that was made for the living God. Every time the idol fails to bring about fulfillment they feel sorrowful. In the end this sorrow leads to death. We find that suffering is like a hammer. It can be used to build up or teardown. Christ builds us up. Unlike idols he never fails. As Christ suffered our sufferings ought to become like His. As we become like him we take our place as sons and daughters of God. Indeed the son of God became the son of man so that the sons of men might become the sons of God. Amen. Admittedly, suffering doesn’t get a lot of praise. People liken suffering to death. Afterall, the wages of sin are death. But the cross turns death into a victory. In a sardonic turn of events we find that death leads to life, and as the passage today assures us that suffering ultimately leads to salvation. Salvation! That’s the gospel right there. How can you expect to be like Christ of you never carry a cross. How can you be like Christ if you never put the will of the Father before yourself? We consider that our present sufferings are not even worth comparing with the future glory of God. This is what was meant by verse “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regrets.”


Now that we have an understanding of what suffering is, why it exists, and how it’s relevant to the gospel; the next question is how any of this relates to us day to day. You may agree with all I have spoken- but might think it to be impractical musing. With the understanding that suffering is for our benefit we might now address how this should look in our lives. I admit that there is a difference between knowing a path and waking it, and that I often fail in what I am about to say. But I am convinced of its truth. The truth is this: Godly suffering is for the sake of others. Christ did not suffer for his own sake, but for the sake of everyone else. Abraham when be left everything behind suffered, but ultimately he blessed all nations. Mary suffered indignation and the possibility of death when she became pregnant as a virgin, but birthed a savior. Stephan was stoned for the truth, but his death led Paul to later become a powerful witness to the gentiles. Godly suffering is for the sake of others. As such sufferings should lead us to continually love our neighbor. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. We should strive to have a spirit of sacrifice even when we feel down and out. When you find yourself suffering under the stress of school or work, when you find yourself being persecuted by those who hate you because you will not conform to the pattern of this world, when you struggle with your spouse or co-worker. Never stop loving others. Never stop sacrificing for others. The Apostle John testifies that your sacrifice will not be in vain. “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” And what is the will of God? To love one other. Jesus says “A new command I give you: love…” As you love and suffer God will never leave you, he will never forsake you. Job testified admits his suffering “If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, someone to remove God’s rod from me so that his terror would frighten me no more.” Unlike Job we now have Christ the Lamb of God, worthy. Let his light shine on us so that we might shine upon others. Let us suffer so that we might become like Christ. His grace transforms us. Redeems us. His love never leaves us. As the apostle says “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” When you struggle remember that Christ suffered more. He could have came down from cross. But he didn’t. So I am asking you, I am begging you, I commanding you: struggle until end, never giving up because Christ never gave up on us.



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