Colossians 1:24-26 ESV
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.”
Suffering for Your Sake
When we share the true gospel with other people, it is not for our own sake that we do this. It is in the hopes that people will hear the truth and that they will surrender their hearts and lives to Jesus Christ, that they will forsake their lives of sin, that they will be born anew of the Spirit of God, and that by God’s grace they will now live to Christ and to his righteousness.
Also, especially in today’s church culture, at least here in America, when we share the gospel that Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught, the way they taught it, we are going to get rejected and fought against, too. We will have people attacking us, calling us names, accusing us falsely of teaching a false gospel, or else they will just ignore us and have nothing to do with us.
It can be a lonely life for people who are sharing the full gospel message, i.e., the whole counsel of God, and who are not joining in with the crowd in diluting the gospel to make it more appealing to human flesh, and who are not joining in with those who refuse to share the truth of the gospel out of fear of offending people and people not liking them.
And it isn’t just those who make no profession of faith in Jesus who will come against us. Usually it is mostly those professing faith in Jesus Christ who will come against us because they have accepted the diluted cheap grace gospel and so they are refusing the true gospel of grace. For the diluted gospel makes no demands of them for repentance, for obedience, nor for submission to Christ as Lord.
Colossians 1:27-29 ESV
“To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”
Warning and Teaching
Doing what this talks about also does not make one well liked in this day and time, even within the gatherings of the church. For today’s modern church culture is all about staying “in your own lane,” and not getting in anyone’s face about anything, but just letting people live however they want, and just laughing and joking and having a good time with others.
Now, there is nothing wrong with laughing, depending on what we are laughing about. God gave us a sense of humor. And we can enjoy natural humor that comes with life’s funny situations as long as it is not at other people’s expense, i.e., as long as it is not mocking others or making fun of them in front of others to hurt them. We should not engage in that.
We should take life seriously, and we should take our callings from God seriously, for God has given us a serious task of making disciples of Christ of people of all nations, and of being the light of the world and the salt of the earth in sharing the truth of the gospel and in living the gospel, too. We are called to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light.
And we who believe in Jesus are all called of God to specific areas of ministry within the body of Christ, to use the spiritual gifts God has assigned to us for the building up of the body of Christ to maturity in our faith. We are all supposed to exhort one another daily so that not one of us is hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. But if we do this, we will not widely be accepted.
And this is because today’s church culture frowns upon this. They say we need to not do or say anything which might offend someone else, but that we should just say “nice” things to make everyone feel good about themselves, even if they are living in deliberate and habitual and premeditated sin against the Lord as a matter of practice.
But as members of the body of Christ, we are all to work together, and we are to speak the truth in love to one another to help one another to maturity, and to help one another not fall prey to deceiving spirits and to false doctrines and to diluted gospels which tell people they can keep living in their sins and still go to heaven when they die.
But it is hard to do this when the majority of those who are professing faith in Jesus are not with us, and when they are not supportive of what we are doing, and especially if they are fighting against us and are attacking us and calling us names because we are doing what the Bible tells us we must do as followers of Jesus Christ. But God is our strength, and he carries us through, and he gives us all that we need to persevere and to keep going.
The Hardest Part
But the hardest part of it all is not the persecution, rejection, and opposition we face. The hardest part is watching people we love being deceived and believing the lies and walking in the darkness while they think that they are in the light. It is hard watching them just living for themselves, doing whatever they want to do without regard for God’s will for their lives.
It is hard watching the church of today in such a huge spiritual decline and so many who profess faith in Jesus not sharing their faith with others but just laughing and joking and having a good time right along with the people of the world to where there is not much of a distinction between the world and the church anymore.
Yes, this is the hardest part of all, not what we have to go through, but to watch those we love being led astray and wasting their lives away on frivolity and meaningless stuff and not living to Christ and to his righteousness, and not being the light of the world and the salt of the earth. And so we are now watching our worlds fall apart.
So, I pray for revival of the church. I pray for the salvation of human lives. I pray for those who are blinded spiritually to have their eyes opened to the truth, to reject the lies, and to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ while there is still time, for time is ticking away. But it is so hard waiting. So, we have to give them over to the Lord every day and trust God’s timing.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; 1 Pet 2:9; Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20]
Praise You in This Storm
Mark Hall and Bernie Herms
I was sure by now, God You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it’s still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
“I’m with you”
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.
And I’ll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I’ve cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
I lift my eyes unto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
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