SUNDAY, 4 MARCH 2018
We must not forget about the cross! Jesus said to His followers to take up the cross DAILY! Taking up the cross of Christ simply means lose our own life for Jesus’ sake, NOT feeling ashamed of Jesus and His words, and preparing ourselves to see the Kingdom of God with all of its glory!
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:23-27 NKJV
WILL ALL SUFFERING BRING GLORY?
When Jesus taught His followers about the cross, they could not imagine anything about the cross except the doom! The book of Law wrote that he who is hanged in the tree is accursed of God Deut.21:23, Gal.3:13. Jesus wanted to let his followers know that following Christ will have the consequences of being rejected by the whole world. Jesus wanted us to aware that people may feel shame about Him and His word because the kingdom of God will not be accepted completely by this world! But the good part is there will be an eternal glory when Jesus come again for the second times!
We need to discern what kind of suffering we may have right now. NOT ALL suffering will bring glory! Not all suffering in the life of Christian people could be counted as suffering of Christ. We must take a part in Christ’s suffering so that when His glory is revealed we may also be glad with exceeding joy! Unfortunately, another suffering which can not be counted as suffering of Christ will not attract eternal glory!
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part, He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. 1Peter 4:12-16 NKJV
No one will feel good about suffering. Suffering is something that people don’t like and always try to avoid it as far as possible! However, as believer we can not avoid the suffering of Christ because that is a compulsory subject that we need to accomplish DAILY!
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2Timothy 3:12 NKJV
29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me. Philippians 1:29-30 NKJV
Since we will not able to avoid the suffering of Christ, so the most important thing for us to do is learn to understand why there is Christ’s suffering in our journey of faith and then we can always look into this process with the correct perspective!
1: WE ARE NOT OF THE WORLD
14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. John 17:14-16 NKJV
Paul wrote to believers in Rome: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Rom.12:2. We must always remember that we are not of the world. Even we are now live in this world, but we must conform our life to the heaven!
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4 NKJV
Our citizenship is in heaven Phil.3:20, we are not supposed to feel ashamed about the value of heaven which we are going to hold and obey.
2: WE NEED TO BE SANCTIFIED
17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. John 17:17-19 NKJV
Since we need to set our goal to heaven, so we need to get prepared as well. We need to be highly processed, to be purified, to be sanctified, and all of that process is not comfort enough for anyone! Man looks at the appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart 1Sam.16:7. God know exactly what kind of cross and how big the cross that we need to bring everyday! We must see the cross as the compulsory process, so we can grow our character and preparing what God want to find within us 1Pet.1:6-9.
Taking up the cross daily means that the process need to be done in daily basis. Bringing up the cross means we must always put the word of truth in everything we will do. We need to speak His words more than ours, more than what this world is trying to say to us.
3: WE MUST BE UNITED
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. John 17:20-23 NKJV
Whenever everything goes normal and easy we will not feel that we need to have someone together with us, support us, stand by our side. But whenever the problem appears, we will start to find help, we will open our ears for someone advises, we will bring down our heart and not being selfish anymore. The Israel people in the days of Esther gathered themselves together because the sentence of death was given by their enemies Est.9:2.
The suffering will always bring the believers to come together, encourage each other, and strengthen one another. This is what actually the body of Christ was meant! The early church brought us a good learning how they always come together in unity. They faced a big problem almost every day, not only from the soldier of Rome but also from the Pharisees and the Jews. But at last we can see how the glory of God shone upon the early church, building and preparing a very good and very strong foundation for us, even for preparing the perfection of church in the latter rain! Suffering of Christ will bring the body of Christ become united!
CONCLUSIONS: SUFFER AND RING
Don’t give up with suffering of Christ. It will not comfort enough for our flesh, but it is very useful and important for our spirit! Let’s take the cross as a must-have process for us so we can be a better and stronger Christian. Don’t feel shame with cross as it brings our real identity become bolder day by day. Let’s rejoice whenever we are being a partaker in Christ’s suffering, knowing that whoever suffer for Christ will get the ring of glory. AMEN.Tags: 1pet1, 1peter4, 1sam16, 2tim3, col3, deut21, est9, gal3, john17, luke9, phil1, phil3, rom2