Suffering For Jesus


1 Peter 3:12-16 (KJV)  For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.  [13]  And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?  [14]  But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;  [15]  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  [16]  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

Too many people think that Christianity is a belief system that can be added on to our present lives with little change. This is not what the Bible teaches about the Christian faith. In the majority of the known world to be a Christian is to suffer.

Suffering For The Genuine Christian Is Inevitable

Our Lord Jesus warned those who would follow Him that suffering was inevitable. Jesus said:

Matthew 10:34-36 (KJV) Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

If you are following Christ and promoting Him as the only way unto God as He has said you will find yourselves at variance with not only the world, but your own family and maybe with some members of the Church. Jesus knew that the Gospel He was teaching was radical, different from what Judaism had drifted to, and certainly different from what the Roman culture believed. What did the Apostle Paul say?

1 Corinthians 1:18 (KJV) For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish FOOLISHNESS; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Those who reject Christ’s Gospel say that what we say and teach is foolishness. It is the word of a mad people. The world does not understand living under the Lordship of Christ. The Kingdom of satan does not understand the Kingdom of God nor His righteousness. Jesus promised:

John 15:18-19 (KJV) If the WORLD HATE YOU, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

And assured us …

John 16:33 (KJV) …. In the world ye SHALL have tribulation …

Jesus Himself suffered when on this earth. He was constantly attacked by the religious crowd, the Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees. The darkness will always push against the light. As long as the light remains light there will be a war between the two. I was watching the war movie We Were Soldiers the other day when Lt. Col Hal Moore (played by Mel Gibson) stated:

A leader must remain cool and calm. And second, he must learn to ignore explosions… the heat and dust, the screams of the wounded. This is normal on a battlefield. Normal!”

Similarly, if you are a genuine Christian it is normal to suffer for Christ. We live insulated lives in America today, but if you study your Bibles you will know that early Christians expected to suffer. Stephen Neil wrote in his History of Christian Missions (pg 43):

“Every Christian knew that sooner or later he might have to testify to his faith at the cost of his life.”

1 Peter 4:12-14 (KJV) 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.

When Light Compromises With Darkness DESTRUCTION Comes

What happens when we compromise His message
in order to get along?

1 Peter 3:18-20 (KJV) For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

When I read this text I looked it up in the commentaries because I wondered what it meant that “Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison”. The text then refers to Noah. The commentaries offered numerous suggestions as to what this passage meant, and some of the suggestions were just off the wall. But I want you to view the passage in the context of suffering.

You see, much of our suffering comes upon us because we ignore the command of God. When we do what God lovingly tells us not to do then we hurt ourselves or others. Many of the diseases we have in our world today that afflict us as humans are brought upon us by willfully disobeying what God has told us to do. For instance, AIDs and HIV as well as other sexually transmitted diseases are upon us because we ignore God’s admonishment against sexual sin and sexual deviation. Did not God say?

1 Corinthians 6:18 (KJV) Flee fornication (sexual sin). Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

God told us that sexual sins are against our own bodies. God furthermore said:

2 Corinthians 6:14-15 (KJV) Be ye not UNEQUALLY YOKED TOGETHER WITH UNBELIEVERS: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

The son of God by faith in Christ is forbidden to marry an unbeliever. Period. Light and dark do not mix. Sin enslaves. Darkness binds. Jesus said:

John 8:34-36 (KJV) … Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever COMMITTETH sin is the SERVANT of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

What caused the Flood of Noah?

If you answer “God did” you would be right. But why did God cause a flood which destroyed all but eight souls? Let’s look at Genesis where the Flood Account is given (and which I believe).

Genesis 6:2 (KJV) … the SONS OF GOD SAW THE DAUGHTERS OF MEN that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which THEY chose.

Now if you read the commentaries some of them will tell you that the phrase “sons of God” refers to fallen angels that intermingled with humans. That’s nonsense. The phrase “sons of God” is no where used in Scripture for demons. It is used for angels in the Book of Job – I believe – three times (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7). In the New Testament the phrase “sons of God” is used for those who are born again by faith in Christ who follow Jesus.

Where the phrase “sons of God” is used it denotes someone close to God – not a demon!

What does God’s Word say?

Romans 8:14 (KJV) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Sons of God follow God

Philippians 2:15 (KJV) … be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

Sons of God shine for God, standing out
from the fallen world

1 John 3:1 (KJV) Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

Sons of God are rejected by the fallen world

Sons of God are those who are supernaturally close to God. But in the time of Noah we read what?

Genesis 6:2 (KJV) … the sons of God SAW the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

The sons of God – those who were saved and should have been following God – compromised their faith. They took their eyes off of God. They SAW the daughters of men, the children of Adam. They saw their beauty, and took of them wives of all that THEY CHOSE. They went against the light and did not follow the Lord. These are not angels, but believers who compromised with the darkness. What was the result of their compromise? When light compromises with darkness it can only do so by lowering itself to darkness. James G. Murphy wrote in his commentary:

The godly took them wives not for the godliness of their lives but for the goodliness of their looks.”

The “sons of God” in Genesis are not angelic beings. When God created He made all things to reproduce “after their own kind” (Genesis 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25). Furthermore Jesus said that “angels do not marry nor are they given in marriage” (Matthew 22:30). In righteousness “Marriage” and “Sex” were synonymous. Not like our age of today, but the righteous Jesus saw both as one and the same.

The late Dr. R.C. Spoul stated: “the concept of divine sonship in the Scriptures is not always linked to a biological or ontological relationship (relationship of being). Rather, it is chiefly used to set forth a relationship of obedience. … Genesis 6 could simply be speaking about the intermarriage of those who manifested a pattern of obedience to God in their lives and those who were pagans in their orientation. In other words, this text likely describes marriages between believers and unbelievers.”

When the sons of God took to themselves daughters of men the righteous intermingled with the unrighteous. They violated God’s Law of the unequal yoke. They attempted to bind light with darkness. And it did not work.

The light that God placed on the earth dimmed!

Genesis 6:5-7 (KJV) … GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

When Light compromises with darkness we invite the destruction of God. All of creation was going to be wiped out. But the Bible tells us:

Genesis 6:8 (KJV) But Noah found grace
in the eyes of the LORD.

Praise God for those who stand for the light of God. There were other sons of God before Noah, but they compromised with the darkness. But Noah would not. The Bible says of Noah:

Genesis 6:9 (KJV) … Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

You may ask the question “What can one man do?” One man can save the world. Noah was JUST. He was JUSTIFIED, saved by faith in God. The Scripture says:

Habakkuk 2:4 (KJV) … the just shall live by his faith.

Noah lived for the Lord. He was “perfect in his generations”. He walked among men not living as they lived, but lived for the Lord. To make sure we understand this the Bible tells us that Noah walked with God. He consistently did what God told him to do.

We know the story of Noah from Genesis. He built an Ark, and he and his family as well as God’s selection of animals got on that Ark. We are told in Peter that:

1 Peter 3:19 (KJV) {Jesus} went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

Pastor John Piper wrote:

With regard to 1 Peter 3:19 I take these words to mean that Christ, through the voice of Noah, went and preached to that generation whose spirit are now “in prison”, that is, in hell. In other words, Peter does not say that Christ preached to them while they were in prison. He says He preached to them once, during the days of Noah, and now they are in prison.”

After much prayer I believe that this is a good exposition of the text. The sons of God failed to obey the Lord, and by binding with the unbeliever then unbelief grew to a horrible state. This state brought the world under the general judgment of God. But God still had a remnant – however small – in Noah. For 120 years Noah preached as Christ assisted him. God is with you when you do His will. Jesus will not abandon you while you do His will. The Father promised to guide us by His Spirit. Jesus said:

Matthew 10:19-20 (KJV)19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

God enables His children to be light. God empowers us in the midst of darkness. For 120 years Noah preached and built an Ark. He was ridiculed, mocked, minimized. Throughout his entire ministry – day after day – week after week – month after month – year after year for 120 years Noah preached. No one came. The only ones there was his immediate family, but no others. No converts. No one saved. Yet Noah kept his eyes ever upward, knowing that the Father was looking down on him.

1 Peter 3:12-13 (KJV) For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. 13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

Matthew 10:28 (KJV) … 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.

120 years and no fruit of salvation would have discouraged many, but not Noah. He just kept on following the Lord our God. Why did God wait 120 years before destroying the world by water? Because God is patient. The Ark could have held many more than the eight humans that were on it. Many more. We are told …

2 Peter 3:9 (KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

God makes no snap judgments. He is patient, and longsuffering, and loving. Yes, eventually the flood will come. Yes, eventually the Ark will be sealed. But until that time we see Christ working through Noah, encouraging him, lifting him up. We see Noah as the moon reflecting the Son of His Righteousness.

We Are Called To Be Like Noah When Suffering For God

The world hates Christianity, and hates Christians. Yet we must stand in His light, or else our nation will die under the flood of evil. How did Noah stand in this dark age?

1 Peter 3:14 (KJV) But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

First, Noah made sure that what he was doing was in accordance to the will of God. He was suffering not because of sin in his life, but for righteousness sake. He did not lower himself to compromise with evil.

Isaiah 8:12-13 (KJV) Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. 13 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.

Noah feared God much more than he feared the darkness.

Jeremiah 1:8-9 (KJV) Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.

Noah let the Word of God be HIS Word. He spoke what God said. He did what God said. He did not add to nor take away from God’s revealed Word. Furthermore Noah did as Peter tells us to do:

1 Peter 3:15-16 (KJV) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

Noah kept a good conscience before God. His heart was clean. He had no hidden sin in his life, but confessed sin as he discovered it, putting it under the covering of Christ. Hidden sin like weed seeds can spring up and destroy the garden of God. Many Christians do not speak out against evil because they themselves are guilty of the same thing. Many who profess Christ indulge in secret sins that shame their Creator. Repent! Confess your sins before God. The Calvary Road that we walk is not just one repentance unto salvation, but it is one repentance unto salvation and MANY repentances unto sanctification. We are to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts. Make your heart a good home for the Holy Spirit within you.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV) What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Reject sin and darkness, and live for Jesus. Do you not remember singing?

Living for Jesus a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.
Living for Jesus who died in my place,
Bearing on Calv’ry my sin and disgrace;
Such love constrains me to answer His call,
Follow His leading and give Him my all.
O Jesus, Lord and Savior,
I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thine atonement,
Didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other Master,
My heart shall be Thy throne,
My life I give, henceforth to live,
O Christ, for Thee alone.

1 Peter 3:17 (KJV) For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

1 Peter 3:18 (KJV) For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

It is the will of God that we suffer for Him. Jesus suffered for us to bring us to God. We suffer for Jesus to bring others to God. The way of compromise will save no one, but it will possibly damn all. Let us live in the light, loving one another, glorifying our Lord.

No compromise!
Christ alone!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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