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Suffering for His Name’s Sake

2 Timothy 3:10-4:2 -  November 9, 2014 am:

10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings – what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage –

Verse 12 “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, with great patience and careful instruction.

Timothy fully knew Paul’s good character. He knew that he had suffered ill for doing well. When we fully know the sufferings, not only how they suffer, but how they are supported and comforted under their sufferings, then, instead of being discouraged, we shall be motivated by them, especially considering that we are told before that we must count on such things. Those who will live godly must expect it.

The Persecuted Church is affected 365 days a year and most of us including myself do very little about it. The suffering of our Christian brothers and sister seems not to hinder us very little. I was approached a few years ago to consider checking out a web page called beauty for ashes with the idea of praying every Sunday for those who face hardships, persecution, jailed or even who face death because they serve Jesus Christ where Christianity is forbidden or against man’s law. This month we are going to take a closer look at what is happening across the world and those who show hate instead of love, towards those who profess the Name of Jesus, to discover that those who are Martyred for serving Jesus, for not willing to surrender and relinquish the name of Christ.

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The western world faces very little persecution, we certainly have no idea what it means to suffer or imprisoned for carrying the Name of Jesus; and all that is asked of us is to pray, just pray.

The Apostle Paul one who used to in his former life inflict hardships, sufferings, brutal beatings, dragging believers into the streets, imprisoning followers of Christ even some to the point of death. The very words of Christ recorded in Acts 9:4-6“He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’5 ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked.‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. 6 ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Paul closes this letter to Timothy speaking about his own personal hardships, and through all that he has faced he has remained faithful to the Lord, He continues to run the race which God has called him too. The truth be known “God rescued me from all of these beatings.”

Quote: Billy Graham: The word of God teaches that Christians suffer in order that they might glorify God in their live.” “We must never minimize the suffering of another. Scripture’s mandate to us is, “Weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15).

Live for Jesus: Paul really tells it as it is, I promise you, you will face hardships and persecution because for the very reason you bear His name.

1 Peter 2:19-25“19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.22 ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’[a] 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 ‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ 25 For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’[b] but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

Suffering persecution is part of what it means to live as a Christian. We are to endure it.

1 Corinthians 4:12 “We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;”

We respond by loving and blessing our persecutors and praying for them. Romans 12:14“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

Through it all, we remember that we are surrounded by the love of Jesus.Romans 8:35,38“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The Christian redeemed by Jesus, has been delivered , but not from earthly suffering. Rightly approached suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character and character hope.

If we are to live and live for Christ Jesus let us give thanks to Him for the hardships and suffering we face. We are promised in scripture that we will endure, let us ask the Lord himself to prepare us for those occasions. Jesus asks us to follow him and it’s through obedience we follow, how many of you have actually ask Jesus could you tell me what’s around the corner or do you just walk in faith. I know and I believe Jesus knows that if we knew what was around the corner which way would we be heading; where would the trust factor be?

Suffering “fully” not only how you suffered but how you were supported and comforted under these circumstances. This statement is directed at each believer here today, we have a spiritual responsibility to lift our spiritual family up in prayer. Instead of being discouraged, instead of being absent minded, or ignorant, we have a spiritual obligation to lift up those who are being persecuted, suffering or imprisoned. We should be motivated, we should encourage other and lift up the banner and ask the Lord to intercede for those who endure, just as it is said we will face it.

Paul warns young Timothy to be on guard against seducers and to remain learning the word of God, always pressing in. How much joy does one receive when we remain open and learning the ways of the Lord? The pleasure we receive when we sit at the teachers feet as the scriptures are opened to us by the Holy Spirit, bring joy and excitement as we see the truth being revealed.

 

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