The Suffering Christian…
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (1Peter 4:12-13)
WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE? Throughout history, millions of people have been tortured and killed because they got in somebody’s way or were the brunt of somebody’s rage. Today, America has become a culture of death as, every day, over a thousand mothers hire doctors to kill their unborn children. Does God not see? Oh yes, He sees! Does God not care? Oh yes, He cares! Several governments have murdered millions of their own people in my lifetime. Why does God let this go on?
SOME CHRISTIANS OF TODAY ARE BEING SINGLED OUT for persecution and murder. Only months ago, ISIS made it a point to publicize the cutting off of heads of Christians as they overran their towns and took them captive. Some studies indicate that more Christians may have been martyred in the last 100 years than in all the other centuries combined.
PETER WROTE THAT CHRISTIANS SHOULD NOT THINK IT STRANGE that they should endure a fiery trial of suffering. Jesus warned, not only His disciples, but all people: …If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23) This is not a figure of speech. Being crucified as Jesus was crucified is the ultimate price one can pay for being a Christian. Jesus did not spare any of His followers that possibility.
THEY ALL LIVED UNDER THE BRUTAL REIGN OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE that crucified political prisoners by the thousands. It was a slow, agonizing death. Jesus knew that He was going to be crucified and He warned His followers to steel themselves with a mindset of loyalty to the death by crucifixion. Peter, who wrote our text for today, was crucified. He asked to be crucified upside-down because he was not worthy to be crucified like his Lord. The Great Tribulation of Revelation is on its way. During that time the guillotine will be at work.
MUCH OF THE 10TH CHAPTER OF MATTHEW is taken up with Jesus’ description of how His followers would be persecuted and killed by religious and governmental authority over them. This setting is not talking about thieves and robbers but by the governmental authority that should be protecting their lives. He painted their expected earthly persecution and death on the canvass of their gains in eternity.
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28) He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Mathew 10:37) And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:38)
JESUS WENT FURTHER IN DESCRIBING THEIR SUFFERING AND DEATH for His sake. He revealed that their being faithful unto death was characteristic of one who has genuine faith in Him and those who do not endure to the end are displaying their characteristics of being unbelievers. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 10:22)
THIS IS NOT SAYING THAT ENDURING TO THE END WILL CAUSE THEM TO BE SAVED and not enduring to end will cause them to be lost. This is one of the hardest sayings in the Bible. It is implying that genuinely saved people will be willing to die for His name. We have only to look at our borrowed photo for today of men dressed in orange suits. They are Christians. Members of ISIS are about to cut their heads off with knives. They submitted to their death without crying out and without struggling.
Please keep in mind that Matthew 10:22 is a setting where government has the absolute power of life and death over them. There is no escape. There is no way to run. There is no way to resist them. We watched on television as ISIS lined up these Christian men on their knees and prepared to execute them. These men were a small token of the great numbers of people killed by these satanic animals. Why didn’t God stop them? Sometimes we can know why God does or does not do things because He tells us. And sometimes, we cannot know why.
WHY DID GOD ALLOW HIS PROPHET, ISAIAH, TO BE SAWED IN HALF IN A BOX? All of Jesus’ disciples but John died a violent death. None of them needed a retirement program. Why has God allowed millions of His people to suffer death at the hands of evil men? “Why did God let my baby die?” “Why did God let my mama and daddy die in that wreck when I was ten years old?” “Why did my little sister die of leukemia?”
THE BEST EXPLANATION I KNOW IS THIS: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9) As the song says: “Some day He’ll make it plain to me. Someday, I’ll understand.”
Sometimes we want God to do things the way we want them done. He’s not going to let us be God. We cannot have His place. We have this comforting thought: we can trust God to do what’s best and right for us in every situation.
JESUS WARNED THEM OF ANOTHER SITUATION IN WHICH THERE IS A WAY OUT. But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: (Mark 13:14) (This is a real situation and there is not room here to develop the details.) In this case, there is going to be opportunity for a group of people to run for their lives. This gets over into the Great Tribulation and involves Jewish people in conflict with the anti-Christ.
In the end, we shall understand. Someday, He’ll make it plain to us.Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
April 14, 2018 – SATURDAY
A.M. 1Samuel 15-16 P.M. Luke 14:25-35
April 15, 2018 – SUNDAY
A.M. 1Samuel 17-18 P.M. Luke 15:1-10
APRIL 16, 2018 – MONDAY
A.M. 1 Samuel 19-21 P.M. Luke 15:11-32
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Please note: If you are behind in your reading, you may want to link in today and go back to where you have been reading. This will help you to eventually catch up. I read here on Bible Gateway and read YouVersion on my iPhone.
Good Memory Verse:
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1Peter 4:10)
Song for Today:
Someday He’ll Make it Plain To Me (2:25) – (Haven of Rest Quartet)
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