Thursday, October 20, 2005

Christ - the example

Concluding the final lesson of 1 Peter 2, we dove into this passage (verse 20 to the end of the chapter). This truth has many implications on how we are to live, love, serve, and worship. One of the the implications from this truth (one that I feel we have missed in our modern Western culture) is the idea of persecution, torture, and death. We see in the text of 2 Peter 2 that Christ was blameless, yet he endured all of these trials.

How many Christians in our time and setting think about the personal reality of encountering severe persecution. In sunday school, I passed around a list of names and stories of people who are currently imprisoned in different places around the world. Following our class, the sermon in the main service seemed to dovetail fluidly with the idea of suffering for the Lord and the need to get the gospel out to the world.

The concept of the necessary suffering of Christians was hammered home again to me on Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday, I was listening to one of my favorite radio programs, and the host was summarizing something that John MacArthur had said. Aparently (I could not find the information online - and I looked pretty hard), he has given a list of 5 things that would show that you're in the will of God - living the Christian life as you should. Number 5 was suffering. (If anyone knows of a link to this information, please send it to me or leave a comment, and I'll link to it). Well, then on Thursday, I was listening to this same radio program and it was an annual "Send Bibles To Africa" program, and so many of the stories that the African people in need of bibles told was how they were being murdered and abused by their Islamic neighbors and family. Now, other than being spiritually "thumped" for how little I value my bible when compared to these people, I was struck again with the reality that we cannot get away from suffering for the cause of Christ.

I do not relish the idea of suffering greatly for the cause of Christ, but you and I need to pray that we are willing to suffer greatly - even death. Because, if we are not completely leaning on the Lord in the easy times, how much more difficult will it be to lean on him when the times are dire?

I hope and pray that we set out to make our faith so strong and esteem our God so highly that we would willingly endure these trials with joyful hearts when they come upon us.

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