"For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but ALSO to suffer for his sake."
That verse speaks volumes (though there are others I am going to quote in this piece) this one says a lot. So, let me ask you a question. Are you suffering for Christ? Well?
Humph! The crickets chirping in the background says it all! Paraphrasing the great evangelist Billy Sunday, he said, "The church would do good to suffer persecution." Born again believers (and not all of us) have fallen for the health and wealth, Prosperity, name it claim it gospel that is NOT the gospel of Jesus Christ. Look at what Jesus himself said in John 16:33, "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."
Here, Jesus is saying that we as born again believers will have tribulation and suffer for him to glorify God. Look at 1 Peter 4:16, "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf." Did you read that? We glorify God by our suffering and we should NOT be ashamed to do so. Are you merely enjoying the abundant life Jesus promised in him? Are you only lapping it up in possession and wealth? Do you rely on God only for the treasures of the world?
Not only are we to suffer for Christ, but according to Romans 12:14, we are to, "Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not." As we grow in Christ, I believe we grow into that mindset, to forgive those who transgress against us, for Jesus forgave MUCH of us with all our sins. And we should be just as willing to bless those who transgress against us. Positionally, we are right with God when we receive Jesus as our personal Saviour by faith, being washed in his blood. And from then on, we are purified and "conformed to the image of his Son," (Romans 8:29).
But really, how much persecution have you suffered? When you preach the gospel of Christ or tell unbelievers how Jesus has saved them by shedding his own blood on the cross for them or even encouraged wayward believers to keep the faith and rely on Jesus daily; do you find yourself being attacked, or mocked or shunned or called a fanatic? What? None of those terms sounds familiar?
For me they do. And it is true for others as well. My own father has called me a fanatic a number of times. But that is all right. "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." (1 Cor. 1:18)
Paul is a great example of the level of suffering the church is enduring in some areas of the world. Jesus said this about Paul in Acts 9:16, "For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake."
But sadly the scoffing does not just come from unbelievers. Other proclaiming born again believers have tried to laugh off Godly instruction and Scriptural truths I have presented from the KJV Bible through the guidance and teaching of the Holy Ghost and I find that sad most of all! 2 John verses 9-11 give us CLEAR instruction to turn away and have nothing to do with ANYONE who attempts to bring in damnable teachings. We are not to even bid them "God speed." (verse 10-11)
Believers seem to eat up just about any new thing that comes along. Jesus talked about the elect (us) possibly being deceived, as false Christs and false prophets rise up, (Matt. 24:24). Even though what he was addressing was aimed at the first century audience and occurred during the time of the Apostles, it is still going on in our day. So in our suffering for Christ, we do it gladly and willingly and we should preach the gospel without compromise, willing to endure haters and mockers.
Jesus is going to hold you accountable one day, so do something for him to spread the Word of God. He gave you a gift to use to accomplish this to fulfill the purpose he has for your life. Mine is writing. So I use it to spread the gospel through the Internet where I can literally reach millions at any one time. I hope that you will consider your level of suffering for Christ and pray about what he wants for you and what he wants you to do with your life to serve him.
When you are suffering for Christ, you will know it and you will know you are doing something right! If no one ever tells you that you are a nut case or that the NIV Bible is just as good as any other version or better (while you know better), then you are not doing enough, or maybe nothing at all! Consider these other verses on suffering:
1 Peter 3:14, 17
2 Timothy 3:12
2 Corinthians 1:3-5; 7:4
1 Thess. 3:4
2 Thess. 1:5
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Well writen, clear teaching style, meaty with some gristle.... I LOVE it, Chris, and be encouraged. What you write is true. Godspeed!