There are two categories of suffering:
DESERVED – because of sin or error that one commits; UNDESERVED – because of no fault of your own.
- Under the DESERVED category could be such things as: violating civil laws, health laws, and/or God’s commandments.
- Under the UNDESERVED category could be such things as: being slandered, being an innocent bystander that’s victimized due to mistaken identity or human error on the offender’s part, or for being a Christian. (Privation, bad weather, or demonic attack could happen for either reason.)
FIRST, we have the principle and examples of DESERVED suffering of godly people (or of Christians in general).
1 Pet. 4:15 About what does Peter exhort/warn these Christians?
Have you ever suffered because of these or any other sins?
If so, how did you feel when that happened, and why?
1 Ki. 3:6; 2 Sam. 11:4-5, 14-17; 12:10-14
What does Solomon say in his prayer to God about his father David (1 Ki. 3:6)?
What two sins did David commit (2 Sam. 11:4-5, 14-17)?
What suffering does the prophet Nathan tell David that he will have (2 Sam. 12:10-11, 14)?
Have you ever suffered physically, emotionally, financially, or socially because of sin?
If so, what did you do when the suffering came, and why?
2 Ki. 22:11-20; 23:1-3; 2 Chron. 35:20-24
Why did the wrath of God burn against Judah (2 Ki. 22:17)?
What does God say about King Josiah in 2 Ki. 22:19-20?
What did Josiah covenant before the Lord (2 Ki. 23:3)?
What sin did Josiah commit (2 Chron. 35:21-22)?
What was his suffering?
Have you ever suffered because you didn’t listen to God speaking through (or using) another person to communicate His words, and then involved yourself with interfering with God’s plans, and why?
2 Chron. 26:3-5, 16-21 What does it say about Uzziah in 2 Chron. 26:4-5?
What sins did Uzziah commit (2 Chron. 26:16)?
How did he suffer?
Have you ever suffered because of pride in your life that caused you to do something that you shouldn’t have?
1 Ki. 15:11-14; 2 Chron. 16:2-3, 7-10 What favorable things does it say about Asa?
What sins did Asa commit (2 Chron. 16:7, 10)?
How would he suffer (2 Chron. 16:9)?
Have you ever suffered because of your unbelief, doubting, or lack of trust in God for something in which you should have trusted Him?
If so, what?
2 Chron. 29:1-4; 31:20-21; 32:1, 24-26
What good things are said about Hezekiah?
What sin did Hezekiah commit (2 Chron. 32:25)?
What was going to come on Hezekiah as a result?
Have you ever suffered because you failed to recognize (give thanks to) God for a benefit He did for you because you were proud and thought the benefit would have happened anyway without God?
If so, what?
1 Cor. 11:20-22, 27-32 What sin were these Corinthians committing?
How did they suffer as a result?
Have you ever viewed communion as a snack or otherwise irreverently?
Heb. 12:5-11 Over what should we not regard lightly or faint?
Has God ever disciplined or reproved (corrected) you because of sin in your life?
If so, how did you feel about God doing this to you, and why?
SECOND, we have the principle and examples of UNDESERVED suffering of godly people (or people in general).
1 Pet. 4:16 Why might someone suffer?
How should he feel about suffering for this reason?
And what should he do?
Have you ever suffered for this reason? If so, how did you feel?
What did you do, and why?
Jn. 9:1-3 Why was the man born blind?
Do you know of anyone who suffered physically, not because of sin or error in his life or an accident, but, in order that the miracle of God’s love and power might be shown through the person’s recovery?
Jn. 11:1-4 Why was Lazarus sick and soon going to die?
Do you know of anyone who was terminally ill who was healed by God to His glory?
Rom. 5:3-4 What does tribulation (suffering) bring about progressively?
What do trials that test our faith produce progressively (Jas. 1:2-4)?
Do you want the benefits of trials (suffering)?
How do you feel about encountering tribulation or trials, and why?
1 Cor. 12:12-15, 26-27 What happens when one Christian with whom you fellowship with suffers?
In what way would the rest of the body (team) suffer?
Have you ever experienced this when a fellow team member suffered?
What happened, or how did you suffer, specifically?
2 Cor. 1:8-10 What were Paul and Timothy’s feelings toward their excessive burdens?
Why did they have the sentence of death within themselves (in other words, why were they put in a position to think that they wouldn’t escape with their lives)?
Have you ever been faced with the probability of death only to be rescued by God in order that you would know how essential the omnipotence of God is as a ground of confidence?
2 Cor. 4:8-11 Why were Paul and Timothy constantly being delivered over to death, and how often?
How often do you suffer for Jesus’ sake (because of your identification with and testimony for Jesus)?
If and when you do suffer for Jesus’ sake, can people see the life of Jesus in you by the attitude, actions, and words you project while suffering?
2 Cor. 11:23-33 Because of being a servant of Christ, what things did Paul suffer?
What suffering have you gone through because of being a servant of Christ?
If none or little, why do you think that is?
2 Cor. 12:7-10 Why was Paul given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet him?
Have you ever been given a thorn in the flesh (some ailment, irritant, or suffering) to keep you from being spiritually proud because of how God used you?
Have you ever been given a thorn in the flesh in order to see God’s power work through you because you were too weak to claim any credit for spiritual successes accomplished?
1 Pet. 1:3-7 Why were these Christians distressed by various trials?
What do you think the trials that test the genuineness of your faith will result in, and why?
[The phrase, “if necessary” means (1 Pet. 1:6) that in some cases it’s not necessary to have a person’s faith tested because it’s obviously genuine already.].
How does this affect your attitude toward God or trials in general?
Do you value the proving of your faith’s genuineness being more precious than gold, and why?
1 Pet. 4:12-13 At what weren’t these Christians to be surprised?
Why was this happening?
To what degree should they keep on rejoicing, and why?
Have you been surprised at the fiery (severe) trials that have tested you to prove your character and quality of Christian life?
When it happened, to what degree did you rejoice, if you even rejoiced at all?
Job 1 – 2 Why did Job suffer (Job 1:6-12; 2:4-6)?
Do you think that you’ve ever suffered in order to resolve a difference of opinion between God and Satan regarding some issue in your life (e.g., your godliness)?
If so, why do you think so?
Gen. 37:2-28 Why did Joseph suffer (Gen. 37:11)?
Why else did Joseph suffer (Gen. 39:7-20)?
Have you ever suffered for doing what was right?
Why does Joseph say he suffered from his brothers (Gen. 45:4-8; 50:18-21)?
Do you think that you’ve ever suffered because God had a future plan for your life for that which the suffering was to be used?
If so, when, and what?
1 Ki. 22:2-28 Why did Micaiah suffer (1 Ki. 22:13, 17-18)?
How did he suffer (1 Ki. 22:24-27)?
Have you ever suffered because you told someone the truth rather than what they wanted to hear?
If so, what happened?
1 Sam. 18:7-12, 28-29; 19:9-11 (Acts 13:22) Why did David suffer at the hands of Saul?
Have you ever suffered because someone was jealous that God was with you, and/or because a person was demon-controlled to harm you?
If so, when?
1 Sam. 21:1, 6, 9; 22:9-10, 18 Why did Ahimelech the priest suffer under Saul?
Have you ever suffered because you helped a godly person out, not knowing that that godly person was hated by others?
2 Chron. 16:7-10 Why did Hanani the seer suffer under king Asa?
Have you ever suffered because you confronted someone about their sin, and they did not like what you said?
If so, when?
Neh. 2:5, 8, 10, 17, 19; 4:1-4, 8; 6:2, 5-14, 19
Why did Nehemiah suffer, and how?
Have you ever suffered because you attempted to do something great for God that was actually His will, but others were jealous or felt threatened?
If so, how did you react to the suffering?
If so, how did you react toward those who caused your suffering?
1 Ki. 17:1; 18:1, 17-19, 40; 19:1-4 Why did Elijah suffer from Ahab and Jezebel?
Have you ever suffered because you exposed the falseness of both the religious leadership and the system that others looked up to and were involved with, or because you confronted the civil authorities of their sins/corruption?
Ezek. 1:3; 24:15-24 Why did Ezekiel suffer the loss of his wife?
Have you ever suffered because God wanted to use you or someone close to you as an object lesson to others of what they were doing, failing to do, or should do?
If so, how did you know that God was doing this?
Dan. 1:7; 3:10-28 Why did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego suffer, and how?
Have you ever suffered because you wouldn’t compromise your convictions, even though everyone else was doing something wrong that certain leaders insisted upon you doing?
If so, what?
Dan. 6:3-24 Why did Daniel suffer, and how?
Have you ever suffered because your peers (or those under you) were jealous of your progress, promotion, or success in life?
If so, what happened?
Have you ever compromised your convictions or beliefs in order to avoid suffering?
If so, what?
Matt. 5:10-12; 1 Pet. 3:14 Who is blessed (happy)?
How are they to react, and why?
Have you ever been blessed because of this?
State the reason(s) WHY the people suffered in the following passages:
- Matt. 10:16-23; Lk. 21:12, 16-17
- Matt. 14:4; Mk. 6:17-19
- Mk. 10:29-30
- Jn. 15:20-21
- Jn. 21:18-20
- Acts 5:17-18
- Acts 9:15-16
- Acts 9:22-23
- Acts 9:28-29
- Acts 13:44-52; 17:2-9
- Acts 16:16-26
Also share whether you’ve ever suffered for any of these reasons or would be willing to.
- Acts 19:24-31
- Eph. 6:18-20
- Phil. 1:15-18
- Phil. 1:29
- Phil. 2:30
- Phil. 3:7-10
- Col. 1:24-27
- 1 Thes. 2:2, 14-16
- 2 Thes. 1:3-6
- 2 Tim. 1:8-12; 2:8-10
- 2 Tim. 3:12
- 2 Tim. 4:14-18
- Philemon 1:12-13
- Heb. 10:32-36
- Heb. 12:5, 11
- Jas. 5:10
- 1 Pet. 3:14
- 1 Pet. 3:17
- 1 Pet. 4:19
- 1 Pet. 5:8-9