Job: Preaching Propositions

Chris —  July 31, 2014

photoDuring our upcoming series on Job in the Fall, we will see that Christ alone is sufficient to sustain us through whatever suffering we may face. He is the only one who can truly see us through the inevitable pain of a fallen world. The more we soak in the book of Job, the more we will see the sufficiency of Christ in the face of suffering, and the more we will realize that all other ground but Christ is sinking sand.

I continue my preparation for Job – – and that has meant thousands of pages of prayerful reading and pages of notes. For several weeks, I have labored to distill from my notes propositions and truths that will form the skeleton of the series. These are a work in progress, but they show much of where I will go in the series.

As I state above, the central thesis of the series on Job will be that Christ alone is sufficient to sustain us through the suffering of life. This overall thought in mind, the below propositions flow out of my study of Job. Of course, these are very abbreviated! I don’t want to give all of the series in advance!

  1. When studying Job we should be reminded that suffering is inevitable and that we must be prepared for it individually, as families, and corporately.
  2. The central concern of the book of Job is the question of whether or not God’s people legitimately glorify Him. Do God’s people serve only for what they get from God? Or do God’s people serve God because He is God?
  3. This side of the cross, we live at a remarkably different time in salvation history than Job. We should be cross-eyed when we read Job. While nothing can allow us to exhaustively understand the problem of evil – – we simply do not have the capacity to comprehend the answer – – we can be overjoyed that on this side of the cross we can look to Christ knowing that He is sufficient.
  4. The truth that the patient of endurance of Christians glorifies God should motivate us individually and as Christian communities to suffer well. The fact that God calls Job’s conduct into evidence shows us how eternally important it is that Christians endure suffering in ways that are glorifying to God. Not only is one’s conduct in suffering a testimony to family, friends, and church – – what image bearers do is significant to God. God, and the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms are watching, and what Christians do reflects on the name of Christ. Our battles with pain are not private, isolated affairs. No child of the king is obscure or unknown.
  5. We must be intellectually prepared for suffering. While explaining the problem of evil is not the central concern of the book of Job, a study of the book inevitably puts this question on the table.
  6. All worldviews, other than the Christian one, are opaque lenses that ultimately give no insight into the meaning of life or how we can find truly find comfort. Indeed, most other worldviews must “borrow capital” (See Van Til) from the Christian to even pose the question. The atheist’s question regarding evil disintegrates – – – it is self-destructive.
  7. Suffering in this life is not always proportional to righteousness. Some suffer greatly though they have sinned less than others who suffer less. The retribution principle (the idea that you reap what you sow) is not a calculation that allows us to consistently predict how life will go.
  8. Along with being prepared in our understanding of theology, we must also know how to endure the experience of suffering.
  9. We must have a vision for comforting the hurting and be equipped as a church family to minister with great wisdom to those who are suffering.

 

Be Sociable, Share!

5 responses to Job: Preaching Propositions

  1. Point number six is quite profound – that one views suffering through opaque lenses if not through a Christian–and I would also add “eternal perspective.” While we are suffering it is hard to keep one’s perspective, and that is what I think happened to Job too. Our spirits have to tell our alarmed minds the truth again and again. I think it is truly amazing what Job says in Chapter 19:23-27 (he remembers the resurrection promise at the end of the ages, and plants his hope in his Redeemer!) Amazing!

  2. Debra, your comments are so great. You can see from point #3 that I will be heading right towards 19:23-27. I so look forward to preaching this series.

  3. I appreciate reading about your preparation for this series, Chris, and I look forward to being able to listen to the messages from here.

    Ten years ago this month, Louis was suddenly let go, along with others in management positions, from a corporation he’d worked for for 23 years. He was 55 with a degree in mechanized agriculture. It was the only work he’d ever done. The first Monday he was home, unemployed Emily and I began (as planned) her next year of homeschooling and for the first time in all our years of homeschooling (both boys had already graduated and were in college by then), Louis was home to begin the day in Bible study with us. As had already been planned before Louis lost his job, we began a study of Job. A week later, Hurricane Charlie devastated our part of the state and Louis was home with Emily and I in the panic as Charlie took a sudden turn in our direction. How’s that for Providential grace? Our suffering was nothing compared to Job’s. In fact, it took 6 months for Louis to find another job, but he’d been given 6 months severance pay. Our walk through the book of Job provided the perspective we needed in that difficult season.

  4. That is so helpful Patricia to hear about people’s journeys with Job. I am copying the comments into my notes and will reread them when I get ready to preach Job.

    I suppose we can always say that Job had it worse – – yet it still can be very tough.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Beginning to Think About Christmas? - The Red Brick Church - July 31, 2014

    […] Click here for preaching propositions for Job. […]