This coming Sunday, 10/23/14, will be our fourth series in the series on Job, A Journey With Job: Seeing and Savoring the Beauty of Christ Amid the Long Walk of Suffering. Here are brief summaries of the sermons thus far. You can listen or download the sermons here.
In the first sermon, “The Person You Need to Meet,” we saw that if we are to prepare for suffering then we really need to know ourselves. What do we believe is the nature of reality? How can we know anything? What is right or good? What is beautiful? Only a Christian worldview can truly answer the big questions of life in a coherent way. Not being prepared for suffering leads to disaster. Let’s not bury our heads in the sand! You can see the slides for this sermon at: sm141005 Job Making Introductions.
The second sermon, “Motivation to Endure,” addressed the central question of the book of Job. Do God’s people serve only for what they get from God? Or do God’s people serve God because He is God? This focus in Job is a consideration of the first question and answer of the Westminster shorter catechism true. Was Job’s chief end to glorify God and enjoy Him forever? Or, as Satan accused, was the “sentence severed” so that it reads that Job’s chief end was to enjoy life as long as possible?
In Job, God’s policy was vindicated. Job remains committed to God even though Job suffers greatly. Surely God was right to say to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?”
The truth that God is glorified through his people should motivate us to endure suffering. It is truly amazing that what we do as people is significant and that God would ever point to us as examples. But He does. You can see the slides for this sermon at: sm141012 Job Motivation to Endure.
The third sermon, “Wrong Answers,” considered Job’s friends and their wrong belief in the retribution principle (RP). The RP is the conviction that the righteous will prosper and the wicked will suffer in proportion to their respective righteousness and wickedness.
We know that the RP is wrong – – Yet, we cannot just say it is wrong out of hand – – -we must understand how it is wrong. To simply dismiss the RP out of hand is as damaging as believing it in the first place. We must sympathize with the friends in order to be shocked by God, as they were.
When you suffer it doesn’t necessarily mean that you did something that immediately caused suffering. Evaluate the decisions you have made and are making. It is possible that poor decisions have led to your suffering. But be thankful there is not a 1:1 correlation between sin and suffering. Sometimes, a righteous person suffers disproportionately. When someone else suffers, be very, very careful of presuming that you can identify the reason why they are suffering. Do seek first the Kingdom. Prayerfully bring your life before a gracious and loving God and trust Him. John H. Walton, Job, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 39.
 Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Life, Kindle (Ignatius Press, 2009), 878.