2 Timothy 1:8-12 ESV
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do.”
Are you suffering injustice in this day and time because of your testimony for the truth of the gospel? Are there people opposing you and falsely accusing you of what you did not do because of your stand on the truth of the gospel? Are they believing the lies and the liars but not you? And are they treating you like you are the enemy and not those who truly are the Lord’s enemies? Everything is flipflopped today. Black is white and white is black and evil is good and good is evil. Have you noticed that?
If you teach what the Scriptures teach they say you are not being loving, and that you are legalistic or judgmental or hypocritical, etc. To them what is loving is to coddle sinners in their sin. And I am speaking here of those who profess faith in Jesus Christ but who are still living as enemies of the cross of Christ. They are still living in deliberate and habitual sin against the Lord while they profess him as Lord and heaven as their eternal destiny. And they are being pampered while truth tellers are being crucified.
For the popular gospel message today is not the one that Jesus taught and that his New Testament apostles taught. It is a diluted and an altered gospel message based loosely in the truth but then twisted to make it say what tickles itching ears and which makes people feel good about themselves while they are still living in sin. For they don’t want to offend the sinner, but they don’t mind offending those the sinners are sinning against. For the sinners now feel at liberty to continue in their sin without guilt.
And do you know what that translates to? Many married people living in adultery against their spouses, abusing their spouses and their children, and many people taking advantage of others for their own sinful pleasure. It means a free-for-all, basically. For they believe their sins are forgiven and they are on their way to heaven, and so they believe their sins no longer matter to God or that they won’t be judged for the sins they presently commit. And so they continue to hurt other people with no one to stop them.
And it is those who are holding strongly to the truth of the gospel, and who are stressing holy living and walks of obedience to the Lord and who are teaching that we must love God with our whole mind, body, heart, soul, and strength who have become the enemy to be attacked and taken down. We are on the chopping block, not those who are living in deliberate and habitual sin and who are hurting other people. And so many people are getting hurt by those who feel they have the liberty to keep on sinning.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Not that this excuses them in any way, but the reality of the situation is that we are called to suffer for the sake of the gospel. If we are walking in holiness, in obedience to our Lord, not necessarily in sinless perfection, but by the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, we are going to be judged falsely and we will be opposed and persecuted. And if we are teaching the truth of the gospel, and especially if we are exposing the lies for what they are, we will be falsely accused and opposed and persecuted.
Knowing that doesn’t make it less painful, though. It still hurts. But we need to cry those hurts out to the Lord and forgive our persecutors and those who plot evil against us, and then we need to let the Lord heal our wounded hearts. And we need to trust the Lord with our lives, for he allows these situations in our lives for our good. Through what we suffer we learn perseverance, and the Lord is purifying us and making us holy, and he is humbling us and he may show us areas of our lives that need correction.
Through all that we suffer, if we are surrendered to the Lord, he matures us in our walks of faith, he strengthens us, and he helps us. So, although Satan meant it for evil in our lives, God will bring good out of it if we are committed to him. He will use it to make us more like him. And of course, the more we become like Jesus, the more we will be hated and persecuted for righteousness’ sake. But what we are suffering now is just getting us ready for what is yet to come which will be much worse.
So, we better buckle down and get ready for the Scriptures do not paint a rosy picture of what things will be like before our Lord returns. We have to be determined to stand strong in the strength of the Lord even if everyone else abandons us and no one but the Lord stands with us. We have to stand on truth and righteousness because that is what the people need to hear. They need people who will tell them the truth. They don’t need people to coddle them in their sins and to tell them they aren’t so bad.
So, stand on holiness and righteousness. Teach repentance and walks of obedience to the Lord. And teach what the Scriptures teach. They say that if sin is what we practice, that we will not inherit eternal life with God, regardless of what faith we professed with our lips. But if righteousness and holiness and obedience to our Lord are what we practice, then we have the hope of eternal life with God. Jesus taught it. Paul taught it. The other apostles taught it. If you live in sin, you will die in sin. Sad reality!
And when you are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, cry it out to the Lord and let him heal you. Yes, it is hard to have people turn against you and to think evil of you when you did no evil. But we can’t control what other people think or what they were taught or what they will say about us. And so we just have to commit our lives over to Jesus Christ and just pray that he will hold us fast, that he will let us stand in the hollow of His hand, and that he will keep us safe in him until the storm passes by.
[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Acts 1:8; Acts 14:22; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]
‘Til The Storm Passes By
By Thomas Mosie Lister
In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face
While the storm howls above me, and there’s no hiding place
‘Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry
Keep me safe till the storm passes by
Many times Satan whispered
There is no use to try
For there’s no end of sorrow, there’s no hope by and by
But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I’ll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand
Keep me safe till the storm passes by
Caution: This link may contain ads