Text: Romans 5:3-5 & St. John 16:33
Topic: Triumph Over Tribulation
Dr. W.A. Criswell on March 3, 1978, preached a sermon on Triumph and Tribulation. He said, there is a tribulation, a sorrow, and a pressure that is common to all persons everywhere… He referenced Job, “Man that is born of woman is a few days, and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). He concluded,” All who live this life experience that common sorrow.”
In John 16:33, the Scriptures give a discussion Jesus had with the disciples: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but I have overcome the world.” Trials and tribulations come upon us in many different ways, including accidents, the death of a loved one, or losing something material, or persecution.
We are presently experiencing trials and tribulations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that turns our world upside down. This pandemic unleashed untold economic problems, social isolation, social disturbances, and illnesses and death that is very challenging to public health. This pandemic makes us all feel feeble and vulnerable. As a Church family, we have cancelled Sunday services, Wednesday Bible studies, and all other ministry gathering until further notice.
It is no coincidence that we are experiencing the coronavirus during Lent. Next Sunday will be celebrated as Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. The narratives of the New Testament indicate that it was a day of temporary triumph. The words that describe the experience of Holy Week are hosanna, confrontation, betrayal, denial, trial, scourge, crucifixion, and tomb. Do you sense the theme of trial and tribulation? According to Frank Harrington in his sermon, “A Day of Applause,” … Holy week reveals the abyss of denial and betrayal. We see the weakness of all of his disciples who fled the city, the ambivalence of Pilate, and the agony of death between two thieves. Jesus was killed (crucified) and was buried in a borrowed tomb. We see triumph in the glory of his resurrection (Easter).
Listen to the encouraging words of St. Peter, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to test you, as though some strange thing happened to you: But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy” 1 Peter 4:12-13). The disciples understood this. Many people, who fall into frustrating times, scream, fuss and complain. What is our approach the COVID-19? How are you dealing with the isolation of social distancing?
During these times, our Lord is asking us to settle down and to trust Him through trials and tribulation. We must believe that He is working on us through our present trials and preparing us for the kingdom of heaven. Trials and tribulations are two of the methods Jesus uses to shape is for heaven. Listen to St. Paul, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:3-4). Hope is the motivation that will get us through the trials to triumph.
Five Sundays ago I preached on Psalm 46:1, in an effort to offer you comfort. Once again I lift up that text to you, and say to you:
- It is a Psalm of comfort.
- It gives assurance of divine help when it is needed.
- It comforts troubled hearts.
- It gives us encouragement to keep pressing on when we find ourselves in the midst of trials and tribulation.
Fear not! We serve a mighty God!
He is our God on the mountain!
He is our God in the valley!
He is our God in good times!
He is our God in bad times!
He is our God in the morning!
He is our God in the night!
Believe me, when things go bad, He will make them right. He is worthy of your trust!
Let’s look forward to Easter! He arose! Christ arose!
Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior! Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!
Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes
He arose with victor from the dark domain. And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
Please pray with me!
Rev. Dr. Peter Grinion, Pastor