“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
— Romans 8:16-17
Hello, Friends. Today’s exhortation was inspired by God through a conversation I had with a sister and good friend in the Lord. She is a joy to spend time with in fellowships and in the assembly among the true saints of God. We had a very good conversation about truly suffering as a Christian. Then, our discussion shifted to suffering through obedience … that sparked the interest to broaden the scope of what it truly means to suffer with Christ and for His sake.
How do we handle suffering with and for others? How do we handle suffering for our own wrong doings? We were reminded of our old man who would jump at every opportunity to do what the flesh desired without hesitation.
At that moment a true and faithful saying popped up, “say no, and do no.” Or, “say yes, and do yes.”
What do I mean by this? Glad you asked. Christians who truly love the Lord prove it through obedience — we have learned to “say no” to sin, and “do no” practice of sin. We “say yes” to walk by faith, and “do yes” by walking by faith … and so forth. Get the picture? Hope so.
Paul wrote that God commands “…that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” — Ephesians 4:22-24
How many people claim to be saved and truly obey the Lord who bought them? Not many.
One witness declared that Jesus said, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” — Luke 13:24
Then, another witness on the same subject declared Him say, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” — Matthew 7:13-14
Both witnesses had the same message from God, which means, He is very serious about those who obey Him, and will be with Him in His kingdom forever. Only a few will enter into His kingdom as opposed to the many who will not be able because their strive was in the broad way that led to destruction. Don’t let this be you. Selah.
Many people play church everyday; they love church functions and catch phrases more than they love God, His word, and to obey Him….
The leadership stinks because they serve vomit and filthiness (Isaiah 28:8), which are, the doctrines, traditions, commandments, and philosophies of men they try to mix with the word of God …but… He declares their servings to be rancid and deadly poisons!
And because of the putridity of leadership, the praise team stinks … their songs are foul stenches in God’s nostrils; their hearts are filthy by the rancidity of false doctrines; they do not know the word of God so they cannot sing with uprightness of heart, nor with understanding His righteous judgments — they have not been taught to know them according to the scriptures.
It kind of makes one think, who is really suffering according to the will of God? Well, let’s start with self. Am I suffering according to the scriptures? Is that old man in me dead and buried in the ground (so to speak)? Remember, those who belong to Christ Jesus are commanded to crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts (Galatians 5:24).
Now, let’s take a brief look into only four (of many different) areas of sufferings according to the scriptures in the following order:
- Suffer with Christ.
- Suffer with others.
- Suffer for self.
- Suffer chastisement.
SUFFER WITH CHRIST—
Do we really know what it means to suffer with the Lord Jesus Christ?
The phrase “suffer with” in our key verse Romans 8:17 means, to experience pain jointly or of the same kind; to suffer evils (troubles, persecutions) in the like manner with another.
Consider the following references:
- (Philippians 1:29-30) For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
- (Romans 8:18) For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
- (Colossians 3:3-4) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
- (2 Timothy 2:11-13) It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
If we suffer together, we will be also glorified together. If we suffer with Him; bear afflictions as He did; are persecuted and tried for the same thing — we show that we are united to Him. It does not mean that we suffer to the same extent that He did, but we may imitate Him in the kind of our sufferings, and in the spirit with which they are borne; and therefore show that we are united to Him.
We suffer with Christ so that we may be also glorified together with Him. This necessity of conformity to Him in suffering in order to participate in His glory is taught alike by Jesus Himself and by His apostles.
Consider these references:
- (John 12:24-26) Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
- (Matthew 16:24-27) Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
SUFFER WITH OTHERS—
Consider these references:
- (Galatians 6:2) Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
- (Ephesians 4:2) …With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love…
- (Colossians 3:13) …Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
- (James 5:16) Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
- (1 Peter 3:8-9) Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
SUFFER FOR SELF—
Let’s look at what Peter wrote as it relates to suffering for self:
“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” — 1 Peter 2:19-25
Consider these references:
- (Hebrews 12:5-6) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
- (Proverbs 3:11-12) My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
- (Psalm 119:71) It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
- (Psalm 119:75) I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.
- (Proverbs 13:24) He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
- (Jeremiah 10:24 ) O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.
- (Revelation 3:19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Have you ever endured or experienced a real beat down from the Lord? I know that might sound like a crazy question, but, let’s put it another way. When was the last time the Lord scourged you, that is, taken you to the Holy Ghost woodshed because you said or did something wrong that effected you and other people?
Now we’re getting somewhere….
Those of us who truly love the Lord have learned to know when He is angry with us. It reminds me of my childhood days when my parents were upset with me for my disobedience. I could actually sense their anger against me before punishment was given. They loved me and it was shown beyond doubt because they didn’t want me to fall into any type of trouble, especially, if it would cost my life or the injury (or life) of any other person. We learned that the Lord provided us with the same sense of love from the beginning with Adam and Eve when He displayed His first act of mercy towards mankind. We learned to know when God is pleased or displeased — and because we are His children … He chastens, rebukes, and scourges us.
Hebrews 12:5-10 says, “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.”
Finally. The best part of the Lord chastening and scourging us is that the result is for us to be partakers of His Holiness … if we endure unto the end. And for this reason, we will become partakers of the blessed first resurrection!
Let us endure sufferings and chastening so that we may be deemed worthy (and eligible) to escape all these things which shall come to pass, to stand before the Lord in peace and confidence …and… to be with Him in His kingdom, forever. Amen?!
In Christ We Do Remain
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