Living With Joy in a Painful World
32 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33 partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. 35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.
37 FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE,
HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY.
38 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH;
AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.
39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.
Main Point: Christian joy is the result of looking to a greater reward – God’s reward. How then do we experience this joy in a world that is so obviously filled with pain. There are three keys to experiencing this joy.
I. Look Back on Past Deliverances (32-33)
- Looking to the past can give us strength in the present
II. Long for an Eternal Inheritance (34)
- We must be separated from the temporal
- We must wait expectantly for the eternal.
III. Live In Light of a Returning Savior
- Looking to Christ results in perseverance
- Perseverance is possible because of his promise
- Perseverance results in preservation