11 Oct Online Prayer, THE FELLOWSHIP OF SHARING CHRIST’S SUFFERINGS, Wed., Oct. 11, 2017
Philippians 3:10 NIV
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and THE FELLOWSHIP OF SHARING IN HIS SUFFERINGS, becoming like him in his death…
The Bible reveals an exclusive company called “So Great A Cloud of Witnesses”. The above reference calls them “The Fellowship of Sharing In Christ’s Sufferings”. The inductees of His elite is listed, in part, in Hebrews 11 also known as “The Hall of Faith”. Those inducted were not due to the applause of men, worldly achievements, or trophies of self-accomplishment. Their success was defined, not by men’s definition, but from another world. Their acclaim from heaven’s courts were heralded, not for what they received, but what they gave. Their prestige was identified not for the preservation of personal comfort, compromises, or conveniences but from the place of sacrifices, sufferings, and losses while overcoming the trials and tribulations set before them to pass through.
Nowhere in the Bible or this world are we guaranteed a life without danger, toil, or snare. In fact, the word used by Jesus of being His “witnesses” is literally translated My “martyrs”. All of Jesus’ 12 disciples experienced trials, sufferings, torture, even death in the fellowship of His calling on their lives. Not only will we experience persecution, temptations, and loss in taking up our cross to follow Christ, likewise, we live in a broken world where corruption has infiltrated every aspect of creation. Romans 8:18-22 NASB says, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subject to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pain of child birth until now.
Today we are witnessing the horror of mass murder, terrorism, hurricanes, floods, wildfires and earthquakes along with the corruption of dignity, decency, and morality. Moreover, the Bible gives us clear warning of the coming persecution and prey on righteous people in the midst of a crooked generation that calls good evil and evil good.
What is known among the many persecuted believers and the underground church abroad is that “those who are godly will suffer persecution”. (1 Tim. 3:12) America is experiencing the beginnings of birth pangs of persecution. Chick-Fil-A’s stand for Biblical Marriage and Hobby Lobby’s stand for the value of life are only but a few of those who experience public shaming and being labeled as intolerant and deplorable.
As we experience the pain and sufferings of Christ and creation we must arm ourselves with the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in how to share in Christ’s sufferings lest we be disqualified for the prize awaiting our overcoming mindset.
The kingdom we are given stewardship in trust to is an upside-down-domain that runs concurrent of this worlds systems. For example in Christ’s Kingdom:
- To be exalted, we must humble themselves.
- To be first, we must become last.
- To be the greatest, we must become the least servant.
- To be mature, one must become childlike.
- To receive, we must learn to give.
- To find our life, we must lose our life.
Not only must we train ourselves with “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Mt. 11:12 KJV), we must learn to pray and think with a mind that has developed as a steel-trap against the fiery darts of the evil one and the mine field of assaults, offenses, challenges, setbacks, and struggles against our identity and future.
Although we are never to falsely seek to “play the victim” nor erroneously take on a “messianic complex” by seeking to imitate a martyr for martyr’s sake thus gaining religious recognition of men’s approval and applause. We are to learn to accept the sufferings associated with being intimate with Christ and His calling, as well as, courageously and compassionately wade into a sea of lost and broken humanity to share in their sufferings and proclaim a Message of Hope.
Today we will endeavor to pray into Five Ways of Suffering in the Right Ways, for the Right Reasons, for the Right People: Suffering for Christ’s Sake; Suffering for Obedience’s Sake; Suffering for Righteousness’ Sake; Suffering for Heaven’s Sake; Suffering for Glory’s Sake.
Comparing and Contrasting the Five Sufferings of Christ:
- Sharing in Christ’s Sufferings: to suffer physically, mentality, or emotionally; imprisonment, or loss because of identification with Christ; or to choose affliction by sharing or living among the poor, needy, orphans, or widows, by leaving comforts and conveniences of home and family for Christ’s sake with Christ’s Compassion. Examples:
- Mother Teresa gave up wealth and nobility to live and care for diseased, impoverished outcasts.
- Early Christians who were put in Roman Coliseums to be eaten alive by wild animals.
- Missionaries who leave homes and families to go into war-torn, poverty-ridden, pagan lands for Christ and the Gospel’s sakes.
- Intercessors who vicariously pray with travail and birth pangs in association with crises or need.
- Righteousness’ Sake: to stand for what is right and just while standing against evil and evildoers; to approve of and accomplish the will of God. Examples:
- Paul and Silas in Jail
- Martin Luther – 95 Thesis, October 31, 1517
- Martin Luther King Jr. – Civil Rights
- Chief Justice in Alabama – 10 Commandments and Biblical Marriage
- Obedience’s Sake: to submit to the known will of God in a particular individual or corporate calling; to surrender the reins of power and place principle and priority above convenience, comfort, and complicity. Examples:
- Abraham to no where
- Moses to Egypt
- Jeremiah to Israel and Judah
- Jonah to Nineveh
- Jesus became obedient to death even the death of the cross.
- Heaven’s Sake: to give up or lay up something of value on earth; the idea to sacrificing personal gain, pleasure, or accomplishments for self-aggrandizement and gratification and transfer it to heaven’s reserves; to have heaven’s treasures as one’s pleasure. Examples:
- Hebrews 11:38 “…this world was not worthy of them…”
- Enoch who pleased God so much by living more on the other-side than this one—God took him to heaven.
- Elijah who was ushered into heaven by chariots of fire.
- Stephen who was stoned to death for the Gospel as heaven opened for him.
- Jesus’ life, teachings, ministry—seated at the right hand of the throne.
- Missionary Jim Elliot: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he can never lose.” Martyred by tribal people for preaching the Gospel of Christ.
- Glory’s Sake: to render honor in giving or sacrifice; to make one’s boast i n; to magnify or exalt; to offer praise and awe to the One deserving. Examples:
- To overlook an offense or insult from another—to forgive and to love your enemies.
- To find glory in one’s children and grandchildren.
- To discover glory in weakness where Christ’s strength is perfected.
- To demonstrate supernatural ability to showcase God’s power not man’s. (Jn. 9:2) …but that the works (glory) of God should be made manifest in him.
- To give God the recognition and credit due to Him in a matter.
- Suffering for CHRIST’S SAKE
Philippians 1:29 NKJV
For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him,
but also TO SUFFER FOR HIS SAKE.
“sharing in His Sufferings” (Phil. 3:10)
“suffering(s)” – (pathēma);
something under gone; hardship or pain; emotion, passion or influence, good or bad shared in affection and/or affliction;
subject to or destined to pain and suffering. (Vine’s Expository Dictionary)
participation; having a part with another; enjoying or suffering with others; sharing joy with those rejoicing
and weeping with those who weep. (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)
General Direction: To be inducted to the “Hall of Faith” via the fellowship of Christ’s shared sufferings gaining deeper, richer intimacy with Him and entering into the sufferings of others to understand their pain by sharing in their suffering.
- 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” –Acts 1:8 NKJV
- 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. –Gal. 2:20 NKJV
- 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. –Col. 3:1-3 NKJV
- 11 Give us this day our daily bread.12 And forgive us our debts,As we forgive our debtors. –Mt. 6:11-12 NKJV
- 16 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light.17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. 18 Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.” –Lk. 8:16-18 NKJV
- Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. –Gal. 6:1-2 NKJV
- 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; –Heb. 12:11-15 NKJV
- 6 I gave My back to those who struck Me,And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. –Is. 50:6 NKJV
- 14 Just as many were astonished at you,So His visage was marred more than any man,And His form more than the sons of men;15 So shall He sprinkle many nations.Kings shall shut their mouths at Him;For what had not been told them they shall see,And what they had not heard they shall consider. –Is. 52:14-15 NKJV
- Who has believed our report?And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,And as a root out of dry ground.He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. 3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem 4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9 And they made His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul. and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors. –Is. 53:1-12 NKJV
- 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” –Mk. 15:34 NKJV
- 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. –Lk. 22:44 NKJV
- 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, –1 Pet. 3:18 NKJV
- 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. –Heb. 12:3 NKJV
- 11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. –Mt. 5:11 NKJV
- 22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. –Mt. 10:22; 39 NKJV
- 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.–1 Cor. 11:26-28, 31-32
- 11 But I make known to you, brethren that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus. –Gal. 1:11-12 NKJV
- 16 Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? 19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you, –Gal. 4:16, 19 NKJV
- To have revelation and understanding because we have studied to show ourselves approved to God in rightly dividing the truth of what it means to “share in the sufferings of Christ”.
- To distinguish the difference between self-imposed suffering due to ignorance, deception, or reaping where we’ve corruptly sown from suffering for Christ’s sake and our identification with Him and His cause.
- To realize that sharing in Christ’s sufferings means sharing in His spiritual sufferings and thus opens an intimacy with Him found in other way.
- To comprehend that when we suffer with others, share in their pain, and empathize with their hurts and brokenness we enter into the fellowship of shared sufferings with Christ Himself.
- To know that true followers of Christ are defined as His “witnesses” which means “martyrs” with both Scripture church history, and the word of their testimony bears record that those who are genuine disciples experience persecution, temptations, hardships, difficulties, struggles, challenges, and loss.
- To understand that when we share in Christ’s Sufferings we become a display for the world to see how we respond to problems, injustices, and trials and overcome because Christ’s glory rests on us thus Christ is witnessed in us by those looking.
- To have wisdom between experiencing suffering falsely to play the victim or claim some higher recognition because of a ulterior motive of distorted suffering vs. genuine insight into what it means to suffer for Christ by willingly entering into it or refusing to avoid its consequences.
- To learn there is a supernatural element released in the middle of those who share in Christ’s sufferings.
- The Suffering for OBEDIENCE’S SAKE
Hebrews 5:7-9 NKJV
(Christ) who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries
and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear,
THOUGH HE WAS A SON, YET HE LEARNED OBEDIENCE BY THE THINGS WHICH HE SUFFERED.
And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation TO ALL WHO OBEY HIM.
Obedience’s sake (hupakŏē);
Compound; hupo – obedient
Akono –under; to hear and do;
to yield with in surrender; to submit as a servant; to surrender in obedience to the will of another;
to be in compliance or due submission. (Vine’s Expository Dictionary)
NOTE: Heb. 5:7-8 The Son’s obedience to the Father’s will was not that He learned to obey, but by His obedience He learned by experience what was necessary to become the Author of Eternal Salvation of loss humanity.
General Direction: To understand that learned obedience is perfected love; that our present afflictions and trials are working for us, not against us, and contain knowledge and insight we cannot find anywhere else, as well as, as developing our trust levels to God’s instructions and commands.
- 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. –Heb. 4:14-16 NIV
- 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” –Act 14:22 NKJV
- 7 The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,And delivers 17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. –Ps. 34:7, 17, 19 NKJV
- 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” –Acts 9:16 NKJV
- 4 No one calls for justice,Nor does any plead for truth.They trust in empty words and speak lies;They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity. 14 Justice is turned back,And righteousness stands afar off;For truth is fallen in the street,And equity cannot enter.15 So truth fails,And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. 19 So shall they fear The name of the Lord from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun;
When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. –Is. 59:4, 14-15, 19 NKJV
- 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. –Phil 2:5-11 NKJV
- 10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. –Jm. 5:10 NKJV
- 2 O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah. –Ps. 4:2 KJV
- 4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged.”— 3:4 NKJV
- 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. –Heb. 11:17-19 NKJV
- 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. –Mt. 18:3 NKJV
- 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. –Mt. 23:11-12 NKJV
- 141 I am small and despised, Yet I do not forget Your precepts. 142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth. 143 Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, Yet Your commandments are my delights. 144 The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting;
Give me understanding, and I shall live. –Ps. 119:141-144 NKJV
- 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. –Jm. 1:2-4; 12 NKJV
- 31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. –Lk. 22:31 NKJV
- 9 For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. 10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices. –2 Cor. 2:9-11 NKJV
- 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. –2 Cor. 7:10 NKJV
- 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. –2 Cor. 10:3-6 NKJV
- 2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. –2 Cor. 11:2-3 NKJV
- 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. –Lk. 14:26-33 NKJV
- 8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person. So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. –Job 1;8, 12 NKJV
- 10 And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 12 Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. –Job. 42:10, 12 NKJV
- To comprehend that learned obedience is perfected love. (1 Jn. 4:17)
- To understand that love is measured by obedience to God’s commands regardless of consequences.
- To realize that when we stand up for righteousness, goodness, and truth we make ourselves a prey for the powers of darkness and the wicked of this world.
- To know that obedience is the only proof we have of our love for God and neighbor.
- To grasp that obedience through suffering is the evidence of faith operating through us.
- To gain insight that suffering for obedience’s sake, means our afflictions and tribulations are not working against us but for us at a higher level.
- To understand that the only thing God ever requires of us is our obedience born out of love and reverential trust in Him and that with the troubles and suffering He will provide grace to endure and deliverance in the end.
- To have it revealed to us that obedience in suffering provides an advantage in adversity and enlargement in distress, and provides a goldmine of learning things that cannot be learned any other way.
- The Suffering for RIGHTEOUSNESS’ SAKE
1 Peter 3:14, 17 NKJV
But even if you should SUFFER FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS’ SAKE, you are blessed.
17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
Righteousness’ sake (dikaiŏunē);
the character or quality of being right or just; to do whatever conforms to the will of God; that which is appointed by God as uprightness, due diligence, or righteous obligation. (Vine’s Expository Dictionary)
General Direction: To be found as those whose loyalty belongs to God alone in standing up for righteousness’ sake and standing up against evil doers and displaying the character of Christ and convictions of His truth; to be salt and light in the midst of corruption and darkness.
- 16 Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? –Ps. 94:16 NKJV
- 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. –Mt. 6:33 NKJV
- 4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged.” –Rom. 3:4 NKJV
- 19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? 20 Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it. –Num. 23:19-20 NKJV
- 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, –Heb. 6: 18-19 NKJV
- 3 You will keep him in perfect peace,Whose mind is stayed on You,Because he trusts in You. –Is. 26:3 NKJV
- 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court, In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.–1 Cor. 4:3-5 NKJV
- 16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.25 It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! 26 Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. 27 “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. –Mt. 10:16, 22, 24-28 NKJV
- 17 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. –Gal. 6:17 NKJV
- 9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” –Rev. 6:9-10 NKJV
- 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. –Rev. 20:4 NKJV
- 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. –Mt. 24:9 NKJV
- 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. –Jm. 3:17-18 NKJV
- 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.—Jm. 4:7 NKJV
- 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. –Jn. 8:31-32, 36 NKJV
- 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” –Jn. 4:18-21 NKJV
- 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. –Rom. 1:16 NKJV
- To settle within ourselves that in a fallen, dark world, evil men will despise the light that exposes their wickedness.
- To not be surprised when people of this world, even in the church, persecute us for taking stand with truth and resist compromise for righteousness’ sake.
- To realize that demons and men’s darkened hearts will hate the Jesus in us and the loyalty to the righteous fruit of the Spirit and fruits of repentance we display daily.
- To grasp that God sees all injustice, misunderstandings, and mistreatments for righteousness’ sake and He will never leave us and reserves punishment and vengeance for the violators.
- To understand that God rewards persecution and sacrifice for righteousness sake and that nothing is ever overlooked or lost when it is placed in His hands for His judgment.
- To discern the character and nature of God when experiencing suffering and pain because of righteous, justice, and truth and never blame or charge God but bless and praise Him.
- To realize that we are to trust God with our whole heart and lean not to our own understanding knowing our pain and sufferings are working on our behalf and are laying up treasures beyond the momentary afflictions and trials.
- To have the ability to see beyond circumstances and temporary conditions and to see what is unseen and to walk by faith not by sight.
- Suffering for HEAVEN’S SAKE
Hebrews 12:1-3 The Voice NT
So since we stand SURROUNDED BY ALL THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE, AN ENORMOUS CLOUD OF WITNESSES, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. 2 Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because HE FOCUSED ON THE JOY THAT WAS SET BEFORE HIM; and NOW HE IS SEATED BESIDE GOD ON THE THRONE, a place of honor. 3 Consider the life of the One who endured such personal attacks and hostility from sinners so that you will not grow weary or lose heart.
Heaven’s sake (ouranōs);
the throne of God and divine city; the idea of elevation to the abode or dwelling place of the Most High; the higher place or calling of eternal existence with everlasting life in the glory of God’s splendor. (Vine’s Expository Dictionary)
General Direction: To understand the joy set before us because we endured temptation, overcame evil, and the evil one; to realize that we can run the race set before us with endurance knowing that those who went before are a great cloud of witnesses of overcoming and conquering champions; to always maintain an eternal perspective on this earth and that God rewards those who diligently seek Him in the midst of success and prosperity or suffering and pain—mountain tops of celebration or the valleys of the shadow of death.
- 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. –Mt. 6:19-21 NKJV
- 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; –Phil. 2:12 NKJV
- 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. –Heb. 11:8-11, 16 NKJV
- 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. –Heb. 11:6 NKJV
- 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. –Rom. 8:17-18 NKJV
- 17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. –Rom. 4:17-21 NKJV
- 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. –1 Cor. 9:23-27 NKJV
- Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. –Heb. 12:1-2 NKJV
- 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. –Phil. 3:13-14 NKJV
- 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. –Jm. 1:16-17 NKJV
- 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil. –Heb. 6:11-12, 19-19 NKJV
- 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. –Heb. 7:25 NKJV
- 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. –Mt. 6:31-34 NKJV
- 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, –2 Thes. 1:4-7 NKJV
- 4 Who redeems your life from destruction,Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, 6 The Lord executes righteousness And justice for all who are oppressed. 103: 4, 6 NKJV
- To realize that it was because of the joy set before Him that Jesus endured the cross and scorned its shame.
- To understand that the great cloud of witnesses stand as living memorials of facing trials and tribulations and obtaining heavenly prizes. They did so we can!
- To learn that the torments of temptation are nothing compared to the torments of consequences.
- To remember that the temporary pleasures of sin for a season are robbing us of eternal treasures of heaven.
- To experience a download of heavenly wisdom to know how to navigate through this fallen world with a clear ability to distinguish both good and evil.
- To study to show ourselves approved to God in rightly dividing the Word of truth and always being prepared to give an answer to those who ask us the reason for the hope we have. (1 Pet. 3:15 NIV)
- Suffering for GLORY’S SAKE
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ASV
And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore WILL I RATHER GLORY IN MY WEAKNESSES, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Glory’s sake (doxazō);
to render or esteem in honor of or to magnify, exalt, or make glorious; to ascribe honor or praise to whom it is due; something deserving reverence, majesty, and awe. (Vine’s Expository Dictionary)
General Direction: To understand the upside-downness of the kingdom of heaven on earth and learn to live through weaknesses, struggles, and challenges knowing that God seeks to display His power and treasure in our limitations.
- 11 A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.– 19:11 NIV
- 14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. –Gal. 6:14 NKJV
- 13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. –Mt. 5:13-16 NKJV
- 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. –Acts 5:41 NKJV
- 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him,that we may also be glorified together. –Rom. 8:17 NKJV
- 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, –Heb. 11:25 NKJV
- 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. –1 Pet. 2:20 NKJV
- 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” –1 Pet. 3;14 NKJV
- 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. -1 Pet. 4:16 NKJV
- 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. –1 Pet. 5:10 NKJV
- 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. –Mt. 19:29 NKJV
- 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. –2 Cor. 4:5, 11; 16-18 NKJV
- 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? 30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. –2 Cor. 11:22-30 NKJV
- 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,–Acts 7:55 NKJV
- 7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’ 11 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”’ 17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”’ 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— –Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 23, 26 NKJV
- 5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. –Rev. 3:5, 12, 21 NKJV
- To know that the cross has a higher glory of its own and it is our glory to take up our cross and follow Christ.
- To understand that in our weaknesses, Christ’s strength is being perfected.
- To learn the upside-downness of living in this fallen world and that our boasting is not of this world but of the world to come.
- To learn that when we are offended, insulted, and misrepresented in Christ that it is to our glory and benefit to overlook then and look pass them to a greater glory to be revealed.
- To realize that the promises of overcomers only go to those who overcame—weaknesses, distresses, hardships, difficulties, persecutions, and losses—to be more than a conqueror is to walk in the triumph of the cross and the crucified life.
- To understand that a searching world can visibly see the invisible Jesus in us when we shine in the darkness of pain, persecution, and suffering.
- To comprehend that to the degree of affliction we experience there is a greater weight of glory awaiting those who endure patiently and trust the living God.
- To know the Truth (Jesus), to know the Path of Life (regardless of difficulty levels) and to arm ourselves with how to suffer for Christ and share in His sufferings.
- To learn the power of surrender and the trust of submission in warfare, wickedness, and this world’s evil.