Godís People in Hard Times
Lesson 7

Lesson Seven

Intercession for Those in Christ

Text: Romans 8:18-39 (Again, again)

Few things are as depressing as not being understood.† One can even question personal sanity if enough people around the person do not understand him (or her).† In contrast, few things are as exhilarating as being able to communicate your deep thoughts in an understood manner.† To reveal your deep thoughts (even to someone who disagrees) in a way that is understood powerfully impacts you on your deepest levels.

 

Few things as quickly destroy personal faith in God as does the conviction that God does not understand what the person is enduring.† Consequently, human suffering has enormous potential for destroying personal faith in God.† Few experiences cause human beings to feel misunderstood by God as do physical sufferings (whether mental or bodily).

 

This is especially true when a person oversimplifies the experience of suffering.† For example, if a person concludes the experience of suffering can be explained in the following way, the personís faith in God is at risk.† (1) God is all powerful, and by His power He could prevent my suffering if He wished.† (2) A significant reason for me being a Christian is to acquire protection against suffering.† (3)† My suffering is evidence that (a) God does not hear my prayers or (b) God is not there.† (4) The fact that I suffer is irrefutable evidence that God either (a) does not exist, or (b) has very little power.

 

Physical suffering is not that easily explained.† That approach does not consider God and Satanís clash in this world, and the consequences to people because of that clash (consider Ephesians 6:12).† It does not consider the role of suffering in a faith existence.† It does not consider the role of human suffering in Godís purposes.† It does not consider the role of suffering in surrender to God.† It does not consider the willingness of the person in Christ to support Godís work through suffering.† It does not consider some of Godís work exceeds human understandingóthe fact that something ďdoes not make senseĒ now does not mean it will never ďmake sense.Ē† Never forget God produced our Savior through suffering!

 

In Romans 8:12-39, Paulís argument is NOT that suffering does not exist for those in Christ.† It did!† Paul knew that often being in Christ can intensify physical suffering (see 2 Corinthians 11:24-33).† His appeal was NOT to come to Christ so your physical suffering will end and be prevented in the future.† He said (a) suffering will occur for the Christian.† (b) Christ suffered, and his people suffer with him.† (c) The reality of physical suffering is not comparable to the reality of what God intends eternally for those who live by faith in Christ.† (d) Physical suffering produces groans, but suffering is temporary.† (e) God understands accurately what those in Christ endure.† (f) Even though suffering makes us humans weak, God justifies us.† (g) No external force (including suffering) can separate us from Godís love.† (h) Because of Christ, those in Christ conquer (the experience of suffering strengthens those in Christ rather than separates from Godís love).

 

One of the benefits God provides those in Christ who suffer is the intercession of the Spirit.† Paul said the Spirit can interpret our feelings (groans) when we are incapable of putting into words what we feel.† If one in Christ cannot put his intense experience into words, the person cannot form a specific prayer. †(I cannot express my feelings in prayer if I cannot find words to express what I am experiencing).† Though this inability is a human weakness, God has provided for this weakness.† The Spirit can interpret what we feel in ways that God understands, and intercedes for us.

 

What does that mean?† It means there is nothing the human heart feels that God does not understand!† The human weakness of those in Christ is no barrier to Godís understanding!† It means what we feel in our hearts that we cannot put into words is known to God through the work of Godís Spirit!† It means that, even though we are weak, God understands, justifies, and loves.† For those in Christ, weakness produced by suffering does NOT put us beyond Godís understanding, justification, and love.

 

Salvation is not just for those who people consider good!† It is for any who place faith in Christóeven those whose sufferings reveal their weaknesses.† This is true for at least two reasons:† (a) our salvation rests on Godís character filled with mercy and grace; (b) God made certain He could not misunderstand us even in our weakness and limitation.

 

Physical suffering may reveal our weaknesses, but it does not separate us from the God who justifies and loves.† Why?† God provided for us.† How?† He provided us His Spirit to interpret our feelings and to intercede for us.† When suffering occurs, there is no need for depressionóGod understands our struggle and provides strength to endure.

 

FOR THOUGHT AND DISCUSSION

 

1. Few things are as depressing as what?† Few things are as exhilarating as what?

 

2. Few things destroy personal faith in God as quickly as what?† Human suffering has an enormous potential to do what?

 

3. Name a combination of 4 suggestions often used to oversimplify the experience of suffering.

 

4. Over-simplifications of suffering often fail to consider what 6 things?

 

5. What should never be forgotten?

 

6. What is NOT Paulís argument in Romans 8:12-39?

 

7. Paul said what 8 things about Christian suffering in Romans 8:12-39?

 

8. The benefit God provides those in Christ who suffer is what?

 

9. Paul said Godís Spirit can do what?

 

10. The inability to express in words what we feel is a human weakness.† God has done what for this weakness?

 

11. State 2 things that Godís Spirit interceding for us means.

 

12. Salvation is not just for whom?† Who else is it for?

 

13. This is true for what 2 reasons?

 

14. Physical suffering may reveal our weaknesses, but it cannot do what?


Link to Teacher's Guide Lesson 7

Copyright © 2009
David Chadwell & West-Ark Church of Christ

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