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About-Him.Com Devotional 07-12-2014

Ordained for Suffering

   Philippians 1:27 ¶  Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;  

The apostle Paul was in a Roman prison, awaiting his appearance before  the emperor. In verse 19 he expressed the hope that he would be set free, because that prayers on his behalf had been answered. However, free or imprisoned, his life was hid with Christ in God. Whether he lived or died was of no consequence. Can we say the same?  

The meaning of the word conversation has evolved over time from citizenship  to conduct or manner of living. Most of the Philippians were Roman citizens and Paul implores them to not only be good citizens of Rome, but also good citizens of the kingdom of God (Php. 3:20).  Whether he was able to visit them or not, he expected that they would always be  living examples of citizens of heaven.  

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.  

Titus 2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine [shewing] uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,  

Philippians 1:28  And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

The Philippian church was suffering persecution. Their persecutors considered their stubborn adherence to the faith proof that  they were worthy of death.  

Philippians 1:29  For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;  

Adam Clarke stated that God bestowed the privilege of suffering  to those whom He highly favored. In Acts 5:41 we see that the apostles rejoiced that they had been counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus.  

Acts 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.  

Which raises the question in my mind, “Why does the western church seem immune from suffering and persecution?” We do enjoy freedom of religion, but is that the whole answer? I have to ask myself, “Is it possible that I have assimilated with the world to the point that they don’t know if I am or am not a Christian?  If I were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me?  

What about the things that I allow myself to hear and see? Am I any different than the world in that respect? These questions and many others are those that we all must ask ourselves individually.  

2 Corinithians  13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?  

Just because we have been immune from persecution and suffering doesn’t mean that we aren’t destined for it in the future. Many in the Islamic world are being imprisoned and threatened with death if they don’t renounce their faith in Christ. Could that happen here? Have you noticed the negative attitudes expressed toward Christians lately?  For an example, click on any online news article that is related to Christians and Christianity and then read the readers comments at the end.  

Jesus said, that we would be hated of all men for His name’s sake.  

Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.  

James 1:12 Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Peter spoke concerning suffering  for the name of the Lord as opposed to suffering for our own misdeeds.  

1 Peter 4:12 ¶  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13  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.
14  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
15  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
16  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

Jesus let us know that we won’t win any popularity contests in this world.  

John 15:19 NIV If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.  

From Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary:

“John 15:18-25 How little do many persons think, that in opposing the doctrine of Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, they prove themselves ignorant of the one living and true God, whom they profess to worship! The name into which Christ's disciples were baptized, is that which they will live and die by. It is a comfort to the greatest sufferers, if they suffer for Christ's name's sake. The world's ignorance is the true cause of its hatred to the disciples of Jesus. The clearer and fuller the discoveries of the grace and truth of Christ, the greater is our sin if we do not love him and believe in him.”

Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.  

James stated that friendship with the world is enmity (hatred, separation) with God.  

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

We are not immune from trials and difficulties in the world. In fact Jesus told us to count on it. But He also promised to be with us every step of the way (Mt. 28:20).  

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  

James 1:12 Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

We all want to be loved and respected. but not at the expense of our commitment to our Lord and Savior.  

Song: All Because

Somebody Has Said  The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. --C. S. Lewis

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Don and Marie Spooner
About Him! Ministries

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