Rejection Serves a Purpose
Philippians 1:12-14 ESV
“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
We who follow Jesus Christ each have our own testimonies of how God has worked in our lives and through our lives for the praise of his glory. And we should be sharing our testimonies as an encouragement to other believers in Jesus Christ who might be going through similar trials as what we have been through, because it could help strengthen them in their walks of faith.
I know that I would not be where I am today doing what I am doing if it had not been for all the trials and persecutions the Lord took me through in my life, most of which came from the institutional church and church leaders who were following after the ways of man rather than the ways of God, marketing their churches to the world just like any other business.
When I was part of the institutional church, my ministry was often limited to whatever that particular congregation and its leaders would let me do, but when the Lord pushed me out of the institutional church, and he called me to this present ministry of writing what he teaches me each day from his word, and to posting these messages on the internet, all of a sudden the ministry God had given me expanded to people all over the world.
Now I am sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ daily, and I am sharing the counsel and the encouragement of God’s word where it is able to go out to so many more people than it was when I was in an institutional church ministering to perhaps a handful of people. Thus, what happened to me when much of the institutional church rejected me served to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I pray is an encouragement to you, my readers.
With Full Courage
Philippians 1:18-21 ESV
“Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Leaving the institutional (state) church to expand out where God was sending me did not mean that I was no longer persecuted or rejected, though. In some ways, the persecution increased, as did the rejection, because now I was sharing the truths of God’s word on the internet daily where not everyone was overjoyed with what I was sharing.
For, when we follow Jesus Christ with our lives, and we do what he has called us to do, and we say what he leads us to say, which aligns with his word, we are not going to make everyone happy. If we do, we are not teaching the truths of God’s holy word, but we are teaching a diluted gospel message meant to tickle itching ears and to appease human flesh.
On a side note here, the “institutional church” is the church which has partnered with the government and with the world and with big business and it is marketing “the church” to the world as a product to buy into, but it has modified “the church” and its gospel message to make both more attractive and appealing to the world and to the flesh of humans.
So, leaving the institutional church is leaving “Babylon” (Rev 18:4-5). It is not forsaking the body of Christ, which is the true church with Jesus Christ only as her head. And the body of Christ is not just in one location. She is in locations all over the world and meeting in homes and in restaurants and on street corners or wherever God leads her to meet with other believers.
So, when you step outside traditional Christianity to follow the Lord Jesus with your life and to operate within the body of Christ as our Lord intended for us to operate (to move, to work, to minister), not everyone is going to accept you or what you are doing, just like the Pharisees did not accept Jesus. And so you may continue to be persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
For some people, this may mean their literal deaths, for in many nations throughout the world Christians are being put to death for their faith in Jesus Christ. But we can be treated as though we are dead, too, by those who reject our messages. And there may be times when it gets very discouraging and disheartening, especially if we are not seeing much fruit for our labors.
But we must not ever give up. We must not ever back down from sharing the truths of God’s holy word. His word will not return empty. We must pray to the Lord to have full courage to keep on keeping on in sharing the truth which sets people free, whether it means we continue living or if it means our deaths. “For to me to live is Christ but to die is gain.” Amen!
Standing Firm in One Spirit
Philippians 1:27-30 ESV
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.”
The goal of the believer in Jesus Christ should be to live for Christ, to do his will, to go where he sends us, and to say what he commands us to say. But it is also to live holy lives pleasing to God. Our conduct is to be in a manner worthy of (appropriate, suitable to) the gospel of Jesus Christ, which teaches us to die daily to sin and to self and to walk in obedience to our Lord.
We are also to operate as the Lord intended his body to function, not as a business appealing to the felt needs of the people of the world, but as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ teaching repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as part of believing faith which is given to us by God, and which is divinely persuaded as to God’s will and purpose for our lives.
And this will most certainly involve suffering for the sake of the gospel and for righteousness’ sake because Satan will be opposed to us, and those who are listening to him and who are not listening to God will also most likely oppose us, too. But don’t be surprised if a large amount of your opposition comes from others who profess faith in Jesus Christ, for many profess him who do not truly believe in him, but who are still walking by the flesh.
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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