Do Not Fear Suffering

Revelation 2:8-11 ESV

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’”

And this brings to mind this passage of Scripture in Romans 2:28-29:

“For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.”

And this reminds me of other passages of Scripture related to this where it teaches us that Jesus Christ is the promised seed of Abraham and that not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring. For it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. And who are the children of promise? If we belong to Christ, then we are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

[Gal 3:16,26-29; Rom 9:4-8; Gal 4:22-31; Eph 2:14-18; 1 Jn 2:22]

And what does it mean to belong to Christ? It means we have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we have been raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We have been set free from our slavery to sin, by God’s grace and via Jesus’ death and resurrection, so that we can now be slaves of God and of his righteousness in walks of obedience to our Lord in living in holiness and in righteousness and no longer in sin.

[Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26; Tit 2:11-14]

So, the point of this is that there are people who are claiming to be God’s people, his chosen ones, but not in truth, and not in righteousness, but in form only, or because they were physically descended from Abraham, or because they went through the motions of “believing” in Jesus Christ but not with God-given faith. So they are not the true children of God because they have not died with Christ to sin and so they were not raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, and so they are still living to please the flesh.

And, according to the Scriptures, if we are walking according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit, and if sin is what we practice, and if righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, then we are illegitimate children of God. For we are not born of God but we are of the devil because sin is what we practice, and righteousness, godliness, holiness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice. So we don’t know God and so we will not enter into God’s heavenly kingdom, even though we may have been told that heaven is guaranteed us.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:23-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

And many (or some) of these who profess to be God’s children, but not in truth, are the persecutors of those of us who are God’s true children. But we are not God’s children by natural birth, but by spiritual birth, and via dying with Christ to sin, but not just once, but daily (consistently), and by walking in obedience to him in living morally pure and upright and godly lives, in his power and strength, and to the glory and praise of God. For this is what it means to have faith, which comes from God, and is not of our own doing.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13]

So, if we are walking in obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ, and our faith is in him, and so we are living holy lives, and we are not continuing in sinful practices, but we are now his servants in doing his will, then we are going to have opposition. And our opposition may well come from others who claim to be God’s chosen people and/or who may claim to have faith in Jesus Christ, but not in truth. And some of them may be pastors and elders of church congregations or of businesses which are called “church.”

But we are not to fear such opposition or what they might do to us or say about us or what we may be called to suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus and for the sake of righteousness. For when we follow Jesus Christ with our lives we share in the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. And he told us that we would be hated and persecuted and treated just like he was. But we are to be faithful unto death, and we will receive from God the crown of life.

[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-17; Jn 15:18-21]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: We’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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