Through Much Tribulation

The above photo is looking down inside of an old tree stump. The tree was cut down many years ago.
Today the stump is so old and has been sitting there so long that it is almost petrified, but dirt and seed has fallen into it.
Look closely and you will see that the seed has sprouted and begun got bring forth life.

"Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith,
and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God"  (Acts 14:22).
    Luke recorded this this verse only three verses after he recorded that Paul had been stoned for preaching the Gospel, dragged out of the city, and left for dead. "And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead" (Acts 14:19). However, the disciples gather around Paul.  He miraculously arose and went back into the city.  The next day, Paul went with Barabas to Derbe and continued to encourage the disciples in the churches throughout the area.

    Tribulation is like putting a grape between you forefinger and your thumb and pressing so what is on the inside will come to the outside.  However, tribulation is not to be an end itself. Ministry should come out of tribulation. The Kingdom of God in the context of this passage has to do with "kingdom living" for Believers, here and now.  It is experiencing the Kingdom on earth.  It is seeing God ministering through your life to others in need.  It is through much tribulation that one enters into this ministry.  It is like if you pray for ministry, you will first experience tribulation, then if you overcome the tribulation by the grace of God, that will open the door for your ministry.  "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3).

I.  In nature we see that life comes through tribulation.
A. We see this in birthing.  Just ask any mother.

B. We see this in what happens to the seed.  The seed while in the soil must crack open for the sprout to emerge.

C. We see this by looking a the unborn chick cracking through the shell to break out into the world.

II. In the lives of people in the Bible, we see that ministry often comes out of tribulation.
A. Abraham had to leave his home, friends, and country to receive an inheritance in the promised land and that he might also bless others.
"Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:" (Genesis 12:1-2).
B. Joseph had to lose his vision of being a ruler before he became a ruler and saved his father and brothers from starvation.
"Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt" (Genesis 37:28).  Later he told his brothers, "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive" (Genesis 50:2).
C. Moses had to lose his vision of being a leader in the house of the Pharaoh before he became the leader of the Hebrew children.
"And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?  And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain" (Exodus 3:11-12).
D. The widow woman and her son had to face starvation before she was to miraculously minister food to the prophet Elijah.
"And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die" (I Kings 17:12).  "And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah" (I Kings 17:16).
E. Job had to lose his children, his possessions, and his health before he came to intercede for his three friends and be blessed with twice as much a he had been before.
"And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before" (Job 42:10).
F. Paul had to become physically blinded before he received spiritual sight and was inspired to write many of the books of the New Testament which ministers to millions of people even today.
"And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink" (Acts 9:9).
"Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity" (I Timothy 2:7).
G. Jesus had to come to give up his home in heaven, suffered as a man, and died that he might  minister healing and life to us today. He also spend 40 days of testing before he came back to minister in the power of the Spirit.
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:5-11).

"And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about" (Luke 4:14).

III. Tribulation will come.
A. Jesus said, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). We will have tribulation, but we can have victory over it because Jesus had victory over it.

B. James wrote, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations" (James 1:2). He didn't say, "If", but "When".  However, he said that we are to count it joy even when it doesn't feel like it.

C. Peter said that we shouldn't be surprised with tribulation comes.  "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you" (I Peter 4:12).   Note that it is not us, but our faith that is on trial.

    Personally, I had to experience emotional wounds in my own life, discover the Healer of the wounds, and receive healing before I was thrust into the counseling ministry to share emotional healing to others. I was working in a secular job and earnestly praying that God would open the door to a full time ministry career.  Through the sovereignty of God, God sent someone into my life to bring emotional wounds.  In desperation, I cried out to God for help. He showed me that Jesus suffered emotional wounds that I might receive healing for my emotional wounds. Then through faith in what Jesus had done, God healed me.  That opened the door to God's ministry through my life.  God began to direct people to me that I might share the healing of emotional wounds. If I hadn't went through the tribulation, I wouldn't be in the ministry today.  Through much tribulation we enter into Kingdom living.

     Again, Jesus is our example.  "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).

A. The Joy of having victory over all the works of the devil.

B. Joy of seeing many become children of God.

C. Joy of returning to heaven.

   Will you endure that tribulations that will come your way?  What ministry will God bring in your life through your tribulations?