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5/17/2020 Glory in our Sufferings (患難中的榮耀)

by Rev. Benjamin Chung (鍾立恆牧師)


(Romans 5:3-4 NIV) We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.

For the next 4 Sunday Services, we in the English Ministry will be looking at this passage and the 4 qualities mentioned: suffering, perseverance, character and hope. Each following quality builds upon the quality preceding it. And for the believer, know you must hold fast to this teaching by the Apostle Paul because these spiritual qualities will ground and strengthen us during this still very interesting and difficult time.

This time is still challenging to all of us, in different ways. An Indian pastor shared over messenger with me of how he is still displaced, due to COVID-19. He has still not been allowed to go home for over a month, because the shelter in place was issued while he was ministering to fellow Christians in another city! I am quite certain none of us are in a similar predicament. As for this pastor, it is undoubtedly true that he is developing greatly in his perseverance and patience as he continues to trust in Jesus and His perfect plan and purpose for his unfortunately situation. (Please pray that Pastor Mohan continues to persevere.)


In short, this is what suffering is really about. Suffering is not easy—it is difficult! Suffering involves a struggle of some sort. As we struggle and rely on Jesus, this is when we persevere and our character is built up. And this only comes when we rely on our Lord Jesus for strength and not our own. What I have learned is that, when my limits are pushed and I rely on Jesus by praying to Him and asking Him for help, it is at this point that my character is being developed. When I breeze through a difficult situation without giving it a second thought, I need to be careful that I am not relying on my own strength because I am neither growing through the situation nor am I trusting in Jesus to see me through.

In the end, suffering leads us to a deeper understanding of what it means to hope in Jesus, when we fix “our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2). It is here that our hope is truly made evident, because we are not merely operating on words and a shallow belief. Instead, our hope is clearly visible is through our confident act of reliance in Christ Jesus. Then, and only then, can we glory, ESV translates “rejoice”, in our sufferings.

Persevere, brothers and sisters, Persevere! This will not last forever. We will get to see one another in person, once again. Receive this situation and time as Jesus’s means of developing a greater character in you and a deeper understanding of your hope in Christ.


Translation:


不但如此,就是在患難中也是歡歡喜喜的;因為知道患難生忍耐,忍耐生老練,老練生盼望; 羅馬書 5:3-4

在接著的四個英文崇拜裡我們將會研讀羅馬書這段經文以及它所提到的四種美德:患難,忍耐,老練和盼望。而每個品德的建立都是基於之前的那個品德。對信徒來說,須知道要堅守使徒保羅的教導,因為在這既有趣又艱難的時期,這些屬靈的品德將為我們打好並鞏固我們的信仰根基。

這段期間對我們很多人來說,在很多方面仍是困難的。一位印度牧師告訴我,他仍因新冠肺炎的事而流離失所。只因他在宣告居家防疫命令之前曾到另一城市牧養信徒,至今快將一個月了他仍未被批准返家。毫無疑問地,對這位牧者來說,他的忍耐和耐心得到了極大的長進,皆因這位牧者繼續相信耶穌,他堅信主在他的不幸境遇中早已為他製定了完美的計劃和目標。(請在禱告中記念這位Mohan 牧師,好讓他可繼續堅持不懈地走下去。)

簡而言之,這真是患難了。渡過患難絕對不易,的確是困難的。患難亦包含了某種程度的掙扎。當我們在掙扎中依靠耶穌的時候,這就是我們忍耐的時候,我們的品格亦隨而被建立。這種建立只出現在我們依靠主耶穌支取力量,而不是靠己力的時候。我學到的功課就是﹕當我的極限受到挑戰時,而我選擇籍著禱告依靠耶穌,向祂尋求幫助的時候,就在此刻我的品格便會被建立。每當我輕而易舉地度過困難的境況時,我需要特別小心不去依靠自己的力量,假若我靠已的時候不但我不會在這情況下成長,更不會相信耶穌會幫助我度過難關。


最終的時候,苦難是會令我們對信靠耶穌有更深切的了解,尤其是當我們「仰望為我們信心創始成終的耶穌」的時候(希伯來書12:2)。 我們的盼望真正地變為明顯,是因我們沒有擁有膚淺的信仰,亦沒有僅僅在言語上相信。反之,透過我們對基督耶穌的信賴,我們的希望才成為顯而易見的見證。然後到那時,我們才可以在苦難中得榮耀,ESV 的翻譯:我們可在苦難中轉化 為「歡樂」。

堅持下去啊!弟兄姊妹們!要堅持!這一切不會永遠地持續下去的。我們會再相見的。接受這個境況這段時間,視此為耶穌要在你身上建立更好的品格的時候,祂要你對基督的盼望有更深入的理解。

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