Through Many Tribulations (Part 3: Sacrifices)

Text: Acts 14:22

Paul and Barnabas encouraged the brethren to remain faithful to the Lord “through many tribulations” so they could reach the final reward of heaven. The kinds of tribulations that we may face could be unique to Christians or common to all people. Any of these tribulations could potentially derail our faith and cause us to come up short of the reward. So we need to prepare ourselves to make it through these tribulations to reach the eternal kingdom. This lesson will focus on the example of Paul and how he made sacrifices.

The Sacrifices Made by Paul

  • Paul was “a chosen instrument” of the Lord’s (Acts 9:15) – but he was going to “suffer” (Acts 9:16); we usually think of persecutions [next lesson], but there were other sacrifices that Paul made
  • Paul sacrificed time and effort in his labors for the gospel (2 Corinthians 11:23, 27)
  • Paul sacrificed material well-being for the cause of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:27; cf. Galatians 1:13-14; Philippians 3:4-7)
  • Paul sacrificed mental well-being for his brethren (2 Corinthians 11:28-29)

The Sacrifice of Labor

  • The Lord expects us to be diligent in our service to Him (2 Peter 1:5-10) – regardless of the capacity in which we serve (1 Peter 4:10-11; cf. Matthew 25:14-30)
  • Why laboring is a challenge to our faith – as we labor, we can grow weary and lose heart (Galatians 6:9); Satan tempts us with an “easier” way (Matthew 4:8-10)
  • How to continue to labor and remain faithful – remember why we are laboring (1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Timothy 4:10); remember that we will have rest from our labors if we remain faithful (Revelation 14:13; cf. Hebrews 12:1-3)

The Sacrifice of Material Well-Being

  • The general desire for people in our society is to want more – generally, a faithful preacher (like Paul) could have more if he directed his efforts toward secular pursuits; any Christian might have more if they were not limited by the Bible (lie, drink, forsake the assembly, etc.)
  • Why sacrificing material well-being is a challenge to our faith – it is tempting to envy what others have (Galatians 5:21; cf. Colossians 3:5); it may seem “unfair” to be “deprived” of what others have (principle in Luke 15:25-30)
  • How to sacrifice material well-being and remain faithful – remember that we are storing up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21; Philippians 3:7-11); remember that, even now, we are rich in Christ (Revelation 2:9; cf. Ephesians 1:3-14)

The Sacrifice of Mental Well-Being

  • Life is stressful enough as it is (Job 14:1) – Christians also have the concern for the spiritual condition of others
  • Why sacrificing mental well-being is a challenge to our faith – having too many things on our mind can cause us to feel overwhelmed (Proverbs 12:25); the worries of this life can choke out the word (Luke 8:14)
  • How to sacrifice a degree of mental well-being and remain faithful – be consistent in prayer (Romans 12:12; 1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6-7); know your limitations and balance between bearing others’ burdens and bearing your own (Galatians 6:1-2, 5)

Conclusion

  • Paul was willing to sacrifice for the cause of Christ (Philippians 2:17; 2 Timothy 4:6) – we need to be willing to make sacrifices as well
  • Satan tempts us with an “easier” way – we need to follow the “difficult” (NKJV) way that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14)

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