Sharing in His Sufferings

Matthew 20:17-19 ESV

“And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.’”

Jesus’ Ministry and Death and Resurrection

Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, who is the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – left his throne in heaven, came to earth, was born as a baby to a human mother, conceived of the Holy Spirit, with God the Father as his birth father. So when he lived on the earth, Jesus was fully God and yet fully man, yet without sin. And at around the age of 30 he began his 3 years of ministry with 12 handpicked disciples.

Jesus Christ, during his years of ministry on the earth, healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, delivered people from demons, performed all sorts of miracles, fed the hungry, and comforted the sorrowful. But his primary ministry was to share the gospel of salvation with the people, so he began by telling the people that they needed to repent of (turn away from) their sins, and they needed to follow him/God in obedience to his commands.

But most of the Jews did not accept him for who he was/is, their promised Messiah, and many of the religious rulers and people of influence opposed him strongly and harassed him at every turn. They were always criticizing him, looking for ways to trip him up with his words, and laying traps for him, hoping that he would fall into the traps (not physical but mind traps). For they were jealous of him and of his temporary popularity among the people.

So, they plotted and they carried out his death on a cross, which is what Jesus was predicting here would happen to him. But their plan backfired on them, for Jesus was resurrected from the dead on the third day, as he said he would, and he appeared to many people and to his remaining eleven disciples (Judas, the disciple who betrayed him, hung himself). And then he ascended back to heaven. And then he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell and to empower his followers to continue on in the ministry of sharing the gospel.

And the truth of the gospel is continuing to go forth via the Lord’s servants and messengers who are willing to tell people the truth, even if it costs them their lives. For the message of the gospel brings to us the hope of life eternal with God and salvation from our bondage to sin. For Jesus Christ died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died to free us from our slavery (addiction) to sin so that we can now live godly and holy lives in obedience to him, in his power.

Opposition to the Truth of the Gospel

But there are still people on this earth who are opposed to the truth of the gospel, and many of them are the religious, some of them pastors and elders of church congregations. Now they may not be followers of liturgical and ceremonial laws, like the Pharisees were, but they have their own religion of choice which they follow. But in both cases they are those who are also following the ways of man and of the flesh and not of the Spirit. And many of them are sinning in secret like the Pharisees were, too.

And so many of them are on the all out attack against the servants of the Lord and against the truth of the gospel, and they are teaching a diluted and altered gospel message which makes room for people to continue living in deliberate and habitual sin without guilt or remorse. For they are opposed to Jesus’ message which says to follow Christ we must deny self, die daily to sin and to self, and follow our Lord in obedience to his commands (under the New Covenant).

And so what they are teaching is that we can make a one-time profession of faith in Jesus Christ, have all our sins forgiven (past, present, and future), and have heaven guaranteed us when we die, but regardless of how we live. But Jesus said that if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self that we will lose them for eternity. But if for his sake we die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, then we have eternal life with him. For he also said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father.

[Luke 9:23-26; Matthew 7:21-23; Romans 6:1-23; 1 John 3:4-10]

But what Jesus taught is not the message of the gospel which is widely being spread across America today. What is widely being taught is a gospel which is created in the minds of humans based off Scriptures taught outside their context and twisted to say what humans want them to say, to appease their own fleshly appetites. And that gospel does not put sin to death in the life of the sinner, but it pampers them in their sin and teaches them that heaven is secured for them regardless of how much or how often they sin.

So, if we are teaching what Jesus and Paul and the other apostles taught, in context, we are going to be treated much the same way in which Jesus was treated. And in some countries, Christians are being severely persecuted and put to death. In America we are not yet at that point, but if you are teaching what Jesus taught, you are most likely being persecuted, rejected, hated, cast aside, mocked, falsely accused and opposed strongly. But we are to rejoice in our suffering because we are sharing in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, becoming like him in his death, to the glory of God. Amen!

Persecution of Christ’s Followers: [Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; Jn 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Jn 17:14; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 2 Tim 3:12; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Jn 3:13; Rev 6:9-11; Rev 7:9-17; Rev 11:1-3; Rev 12:17; Rev 13:1-18; Rev 14:1-13]

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s