With Christ In The School Of Suffering

Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

Oswald Chambers wrote in his book Christian Discipline:

Suffering is the heritage of the bad, of the penitent, and of the Son of God. Each one ends in the cross. The bad thief {on the left of Christ} is crucified, the penitent thief {on His right hand} is crucified, and the Son of God {the innocent Man in the middle} is crucified. By these signs {these three Crosses} we know the widespread heritage of suffering.”

Everyone suffers, and no one likes suffering. When we go through suffering and pain in this life our first instinct is to ask God “why?”. In our hearts we know that God is good, that He is good all the time, and that God always wants the best for us. We know God loves us. So when suffering comes, why doesn’t our loving Father end that suffering?


The answer is simpler than you may think.

Spoiled and catered to children grow up to be spoiled and catered to adults.

I saw a cartoon the other day that said it all, and you see the cartoon on your worksheet. It is from a strip called Speedbump, and it should make you think. I grew up with parents who read me stories like The Little Engine That Could.

When I grew up, only first, second, or third place in
the race got a winning medal
When I grew up only the team that won got the Trophy!

Today we don’t want to hurt any-body’s feelings – and feelings are what matter – so every child gets a medal for just coming and breathing. The child who ran the ball the wrong way through the opposing team’s goal gets applause for trying. In my day that was cause to be at least mocked by your team mates. Not today. Everyone wins.

And that is a bad and dangerous thing to teach.

In life not everybody wins. In life, there are things that you will never be able to do. Each one of us has our own distinct talents and abilities, and we are not guaranteed a trophy or a medal on everything we attempt.

You can do everything right and still raise a bank robber or a pervert
You can excel at your job and the promotion still goes to the Company President’s cousin

You can love your spouse with all your being and still be betrayed
You can be friends – the best of friends – to someone only to be back stabbed
Disease strikes the good and the bad

Suffering teaches us all.

1 The Only Begotten Son Suffered, And Suffering Taught Christ. We read:

Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

Jesus Christ suffered.
He suffered as God.
God suffers.

Don’t you think God suffers? He made Adam. He put Adam in a perfect environment. He gave Adam a perfect mate. Adam and Eve lived in paradise, where they had every blessing of God you could imagine. God asked only one thing – Do not eat of one particular tree. And Adam ate of it. Don’t you think God suffered from that? Imagine yourself raising a child, and that child tells you one day “I wish you were more like Billy’s Father or Billy’s Mother. They are a whole lot better parents!” That’s what Adam and Eve did. And that hurt God. God knew that they were going to do it, but it hurt God nonetheless.

Jesus suffered as Man.

Matthew 8:20 … The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Jesus was the original Homeless Man. He didn’t stand on the corner at the local Walmart, but He had nothing. As God He owned everything. As Man He had nothing. The only clothing He had was a one piece robe His earthly mother Mary made for Him.

He was despised and rejected of men. The Prophet rightly said of Jesus …

Isaiah 53:3-7 (KJV) He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Dear friends, if you are one of God’s Children by faith in Christ, then you need to understand suffering. God uses suffering to teach His children obedience. If Christ “learned obedience by the things which He suffered” then we who are less than Him should expect to suffer. We are not exempt that which the Master had to go through. He told His disciples very plainly:

Matthew 16:24-26 … If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. {25} For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. {26} For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

The most valuable thing that you own is not your house, your car, your bank account, nor even your family.

The most valuable thing you own is your soul. Suffering tempers the soul.

Suffering molds the believer, and drives away arrogance while teaching humility and grace. There is no crown without a cross, and no growth as a Christian without suffering.

Hebrews 5:8 Though he WERE a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

The word translated “were” is the Present Participle of the Greek ὤν (ōn), (Pronounced: oan). Bible translator Kenneth Wuest states:

“The translation should read, “Though He was Son by nature.” The deity of the Messiah is referred to here. The idea is, “Though He was the Son of God, God the Son, Very God of Very God, yet He learned obedience by the things He suffered.” The omniscient God knew what obedience was, but He never experienced it until He became incarnate in human flesh.”

All humans – even God in the flesh – learn obedience, learn to obey, while under the stress of suffering. Jesus Christ suffered. He suffered much. When we believe on Jesus we become Sons of God. Jesus is THE Son, and we are ADOPTED Sons. He is THE Son forever, and has always been the Son. We became Sons when we called upon Jesus and were saved by the power of God. The day you were saved, dear Christian, the Holy Spirit came into your lives.

Romans 8:15-17 KJV …ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. {16} The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: {17} And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ …..

Oh glorious truth! When the believer is born again by faith and by the Spirit then we are adopted into God’s family. We become Sons. We become heirs. We are not second class, and Christ is not satisfied with us being second class. We are joint heirs with Christ. Praise God for His wonderful gift! We love to hear this – but HEAR THE REST OF THE TEXT. Romans 8:17 goes on to say ..

…. if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Someone once said “God only had one Son without sin, but He has no Sons who do not suffer”. All of God’s sons suffer.

2 All Of God’s Children Learn By Suffering.

a We Learn Not To Disobey Father Through Suffering. The Bible tells us that:

Romans 6:23 (KJV) For the wages of sin is death …

Not all suffering that comes to us is a result of sin, but it is a fact that sin does cause suffering. We through bad decisions bring suffering on ourselves and on others. When King David took another man’s wife he caused suffering to Bathsheba, suffering to her husband, and eventually brought death to both Uriah Bathsheba’s husband and their baby. This was the immediate effect of sin. But sin also has a long term degenerative effect. God told King David:

2 Samuel 12:10 (ESV) Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.

The sin that David so lightly did planted a seed or rebellion in his son Absalom. The sword never left the house of David, but he battled his son Absalom until the day his child died. The Bible tells us that what we reap we shall sow (Galatians 6:7). Sin is like fire – play with it and it may turn and burn you!

Our Heavenly Father punishes us as His Children when we purposely pursue sin. He declared to the Lukewarm Church at Laodicea:

Revelation 3:19-20 (KJV) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

The sin of Laodicea was not one of the sins of the flesh that you see recorded in Galatians 5:19-21, but Laodicea’s sin was a lack of love for God and a lethargy in doing his will. Jesus called this lukewarmness.

Jesus stands outside the door of the Church and the life of the Christian who does not love Him with all their heart. He stands knocking at the door and will come in – but only when His people are zealous and repent.

God disciplines His Child and His Church just as He requires us to discipline our children. He told us in Proverbs:

Proverbs 13:24 (ESV) Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

A poor parent looks the other way or excuses the foolishness of their child. God is not a poor parent. God our Father is a perfect Parent. He loves us, and wants the best for us. This is why the Lord declares:

Hebrews 12:6-8 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

God disciplines unrepentant sin in His people. Yet this should not be a cause for discouragement. God disciplines sin in us BECAUSE HE LOVES US and has a PERFECT PLAN for our lives. Life is degraded when sin enters in. Life is blessed when we are obedient to our Savior and Lord.

One of the most interesting books in the New Testament (though all are interesting in God’s Holy Word) is the Book of 1 Corinthians. The Corinthian Church was literally a pastor’s nightmare. I would not have the stamina to pastor such a people. Though saved by grace, the Church exalted disobedience and selfishness. Though under the Blood of the Lamb they danced in the fires of hell. They were filled with carnal believers, believers who did not follow Jesus but – like the first generation of Israel – followed themselves. The Apostle Paul tells these believers:

1 Corinthians 11:20-21, 27-32 (ESV) When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. …. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

Sin brings self destruction – and God judges sin in the midst of His people. A Child of God in sin – unrepentant sin – who is not disciplined is not a Child of God. God loves us, so spanks us. Blessed be His Name!

b Suffering Is The Fire That Purges Us And Molds Us. Not all suffering is a result of sin and disobedience. Someone once said …

A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot.
It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become fine porcelain.

The Lord uses trials and suffering to purge us, to make us fruitful, to draw us closer to Him. Just as He stayed with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego He will stay with you in the fiery furnace of testing. Jesus told us:

John 15:1-2 (ESV) “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

If you do not bear fruit God takes you away.
The believer who will not serve the Lord CAN AND WILL BE removed from this life.

God’s children are to bear fruit. But then Jesus says, “every branch does bear fruit, God PRUNES it, that it may bear MORE FRUIT”. Every gardener knows that fruit trees must be pruned, they must be cut, they must be disciplined, or they will grow wild and produce little fruit. This has nothing at all to do with disciplining for sin.

Jesus Christ Himself was without sin, and yet He still suffered. He is the Beloved Son of the Father of Whom God said …

Matthew 3:17 … This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

The Great I AM is forever pleased in Christ – yet Jesus suffered. Jesus never caused the Father anxiety, nor did He disappoint the Almighty. He came to do His Father’s business – and yet He suffered. He learned obedience through the things that He suffered. We who are adopted also learn obedience through the things that we suffer. The great Baptist preacher C.H. Spurgeon made a great observation when he said:

“God had one Son without sin, but has never had a Son who was without sorrow”.

Christ suffered. If He was not exempt from suffering, why do we believe we should be free from suffering? Our society despises suffering, but suffering teaches obedience. Though Christ were a perfect Son, He learned obedience by those things that He suffered.

Can you name one person of faith that never suffered?

Charles Stanley’s wife left him, and people whispered, speculating why.

Billy Graham when younger picked up a collection plate and the local paper
showed a photo of him smiling over the money, accusing him of being a huckster.

When Adrian Rogers first came to Bellevue Baptist his enemies
organized a walkout one Sunday morning.

Those who love the Lord suffer.

Just as gold or silver suffer the flame of the furnace to burn off dross, God’s people suffer

Pick up your Cross and follow Him!
The Apostle Paul suffered.

We do not know what was hurting Paul, but we do know that he said:

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (ESV) Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

You will never be strong for God until you are surrendered to God. Suffering teaches surrender. When we are surrendered to the arms of Christ we are in the best place we can be. Listen to me …

Jacob would not be called Israel until he learned to walk with a limp.

Abram would not be called Abraham until he experienced the dread of the Lord.

You will not be a champion for God until you abide with Christ
in the School of Suffering.

c Suffering Tests The Quality Of Our Faith. Our Lord Jesus suffered terribly in Gethsemane and on the Cross. We are told:

Hebrews 5:7-8 (KJV) Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

If Jesus had run from the Cross He would not have been Messiah. When suffering Jesus did not curse God. The Son of God will not curse God, nor will sons of God forsake God when they suffer.

Chaff, when it is baked, turns to ashes.
But wheat, when it is baked, becomes bread.

Suffering tests our sonship, but it never disproves those who are truly sons of God.

Jesus Christ was reviled, mocked, cursed. He was accused of casting out devils by the Devil (Matthew 9:34). The Bible tells us that Jesus offered up prayers and supplications with STRONG crying and TEARS unto Him that was able to save Him from death. Three times He prayed in Gethsemane

Father, if it be thy will, let this Cup pass from Me.
Nevertheless not My will but Thine be done.

Betrayed and abandoned by His friends and followers He walked the Way of Salvation by Himself. Nailed to the Cross between two thieves He was challenged. “If You are the Son of God save Yourself”. But Jesus couldn’t save Himself and save us.

So He suffered.
He suffered pain. He was crucified.
He suffered thirst. I thirst!
He suffered abandonment. My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?
He suffered embarrassment. They cast lots for his clothes.
He suffered death.

1 Peter 3:17-18 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. 18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

Cling to Christ in the storm. Trust God Who loves you, and say with Jesus “not My will, but Thine be done”. You will never be a Great Christian until you pass through Great Suffering. Take up your Cross AND FOLLOW HIM. Trust God. Cling to Jesus. Be with Christ and in Christ in His School of Suffering. May God touch your hearts with His Word.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. I am looking for the Church. Most of what I see today is not the Church, but clubs, where members sit in padded pews and drink deeply of self. I am looking for a people willing to be righteous not self righteous, serving not served, In short, I am looking and praying for a people who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. I hope I find this people before it's too late.
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