The Benefits Of Affliction

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As we go through life there has never been one to suggest that life does not have it’s ups and downs.
There are days when we feel like we are on top of the world and other days wherein we feel like nothing goes right.
Sometimes we think we are strong when we are weak and other times we think we are weak when we are strong.
The beauty of God is that he always knows where we really are and he uses afflictions in our lives to our benefit.
James 1:2–5 ESV
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
This morning I want us to consider “The Benefits Of Affliction” that we are certain to not only go through but often led into for our spiritual prosperity.
Trials or afflictions are…

An Opportunity To See God

To Find God.

The old saying, “there are no atheists in a fox hole” comes from the reality that when in extreme affliction man kind, even if he has always rejected God, will more often than not turn to God.
Many person has come to obey the gospel after having suffered great affliction in their lives and God uses these situations to “knock on the door to their heart.”
Revelation 3:20 ESV
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
As Christians though it might seem like an inopportune time, when someone is suffering we have an obligation to strive to help the best we can through spiritual counsel.
By that I mean we should certainly comfort and console but our focus for those lost in sin who are suffering is to help them not only emotionally but spiritually.
Rahab the prostitute.
Here is a woman who had heard the stories of the Israelite army, their God, and the victories that had been given to them.
She and the rest of Jericho were in great affliction about Israel marching toward them.
Joshua 2:9–11 (ESV)
9 and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. 11 And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.”
Her affliction led her to seek God and the faithful spies took that opportunity to help her “find God” to the point that she even becomes a proselyte i.e., converted Jew and is in the Messiah’s genealogy.
Matthew 1:5 (ESV)
5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse
The Philippian Jailer.
In Acts 16 we come across Paul and Silas in prison.
While there in the dungeon Paul and Silas are singing hymns to God where all the prisoners could here when there was a great earth quake and everyone’s chains fell off and the prison doors opened.
Thinking the men had fled the Philippian jailer drew his sword to kill himself as death was the punishment for allowing prisoners to escape on one’s watch.
Paul stopped him before such could happen and in this case the jailer took the opportunity in his affliction to ask Paul and Silas to help him “find God.”
Acts 16:28–30 (ESV)
28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
Acts 16:31–34 (ESV)
31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
The point is when people suffer, even if they have never obeyed the gospel, we who know the truth, can help them in their affliction find comfort in the Great Comforter.
Trials and afflictions not only help the lost see God but they also are used by God to help the wayward…

To Find God Again.

There is no doubt that God disciplines those whom he loves.
Proverbs 3:11–12 ESV
11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, 12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
The point of this discipline is to correct our sinful behavior so that we can spend and eternity with God not separated from God.
Haggai 2:17 ESV
17 I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and with mildew and with hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the Lord.
Hebrews 12:7–9 ESV
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
Hebrews 12:10–11 ESV
10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Jesus and the adulterous woman.
In John 8 we have an event wherein a woman is brought before Jesus who has been caught in adultery.
It is demanded that Jesus condemn this woman and sentence her to death for her sin.
John 8:3–5 ESV
3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”
Jesus, who was not a witness and therefore could not sentence her according to the law of Moses does not do so.
Deuteronomy 17:6 ESV
6 On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.
Deuteronomy 19:15 ESV
15 “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.
When everyone eventually left Jesus took the opportunity of this woman’s affliction to tell her “go and sin no more.”
John 8:11 ESV
11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”


The point is affliction is one of the ways God uses to our benefit.
He uses it to help the non-Christian to seek him out today and the fallen Christian to find him again.
But what about the affliction that God’s faithful go through.
Well those trials and afflictions are…

An Opportunity To Grow

To Mature In Our Faith.

As God’s faithful we are seeking that day when we “measure to the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
Ephesians 4:13 ESV
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
Afflictions help mature in our faithfulness.
James 1:2–4 ESV
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Afflictions help us keep from becoming sluggish in our walk with God.
Hebrews 6:1 ESV
1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
Hebrews 6:12 ESV
12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
When the faithful go through these various afflictions it is not discipline that we are suffering but God helping us mature into better Christ like men and women.
There is another reason the faithful go through afflictions, and that is because he wants us to take the opportunity to grow for those…

Future Trails Still To Come.

One of the things that is hard to grasp for us created beings is that God can and does do things in our lives, which sometimes come in the form of afflictions, so that we are better prepared for what will eventually come our way.
There are things God does that we simply are not privy to until we go through them and sometimes not even then.
Ecclesiastes 11:5 ESV
5 As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
Isaiah 55:8–9 ESV
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
The reason God is able to prepare us for future more difficult trials is because he knows us best and what awaits us.
Psalm 139:1–6 ESV
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me! 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. 5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.




Afflictions are our opportunity to see God’s way rather than our way.
That in our weakness we are actually made strong through him.
1 Corinthians 1:27 (ESV)
27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong
2 Corinthians 12:10 ESV
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.
Isaiah 59:1–2 ESV
1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Philippians 2:6–7 ESV
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Romans 10:17 ESV
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Hebrews 11:6 ESV
6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Acts 17:30 ESV
30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,
Matthew 10:32–33 NKJV
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
2 Thessalonians 1:8 ESV
8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:1–4 ESV
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
Romans 6:3–5 ESV
3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
1 John 1:7 ESV
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
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