Tuesday, July 26, 2016

SUFFERING FOR JESUS




As we realize the message of Revelation is that Christians will suffer persecution, but those who endure will receive eternal life, we begin to notice that message elsewhere in the New Testament.
For example, in Matthew 24, Jesus spoke of his coming and the end of the age. He said “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.” (Matthew 24:9) James 1:2 says “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”  When Paul told Timothy to continue his work, he told him to endure suffering. (2 Timothy 4:5) 

There is not one passage that says “do not worry about suffering or tribulation, for I will take you away before that happens”. Any theology that teaches that concept is in error and does not prepare the Christian for what is coming. Imagine if Christians in Iraq were told not to worry because God would not let them suffer.

God may or may not call you to suffer. You might be blessed to live in a country where religious freedom allows you to suffer no more than the occasional insult. But God might call you to suffer for him, to fill up the measure of Christ’s sufferings, as Paul would say. If so, endure. Keep the faith! Consider it a privilege to suffer for Jesus. And know that heaven awaits. Eternity stretches before you with the blessings of fellowship with God and fellow believers in a perfect place.
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