This a sermon transcript preached by Timothy Williams. These were preached many years back, some decades ago. Preacher Timothy Williams is not associated with any church, denomination, or ministry. Blessed are those who love the honey of God’s Word!
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
This sermons transcript is located at www.luke1425.org
Sermon Area Basic Introduction
Not Even Death
Not even death can keep a preacher from preaching. A godly preachers words come from fire in the bones. But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. (Jeremiah 20:9)
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.
There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead.
Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted. (Acts 20:7-12)
The sermons normally lasted 45 to 60 but do not grumble that my sermons were long. True by today’s milk toast entertain me Christian standards they are lengthy. But not long when one considers the days are evil and that ignorance floods the church. …making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:16)
Preach The Word
I never preached about the Word of God. Rather I was led by the Holy Spirit to preach the Word.
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season;
correct, rebuke and encourage
with great patience and careful instruction.
(2 Timothy 4:2)
To Suffer With Christ, Part 3
What we’re going to do is eventually hit the book of Mark and we’re just going to go through it and see the way Jesus suffered, and the way that we’re going to suffer with Jesus. Paul writes to Timothy first and then he writes to us but in 2 Timothy 1:8 Paul writes to Timothy and he says, “Now, Timothy, join with me in suffering for the gospel, and do that by the power of God.”
2 Timothy 1:8 – So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,
That invitation is open to all of us who want to draw closer to Jesus Christ. If we want to be children of God, that invitation is for everyone. That really is the invitation of the gospel. It would be as if you were preaching a sermon and the five steps of salvation are: Join with me in suffering for the gospel and that would be all five steps. If you want to belong to God, then suffer by the power of God for the sake of the gospel. And yet what does it mean to suffer with Christ? And to do that by the power of God? What does that really mean in our lives? And are we a people that really know what it is to suffer because of Jesus Christ? We should be a people that know—that I think we already know. And people who profess the name of Jesus Christ should know what it means to suffer with Jesus. It should be one of the first things in their lives that they know about. In some ways before they know the deeper mysteries of Jesus, before you can fathom who the antichrist, is the way he’s going to come back, and all the different tribulations that are going to take place. The thing that a Christian is going to know first hand by experience is the suffering with Jesus Christ. Too often we know it in terms of context, in terms of ideas, rather than it really affecting us and being in our life.
Well, Paul prayed a prayer that gave him joy when he prayed it. A lot of us have things that we like to pray about, favorite things that we like to hold up to God, whether it be for our children or for our family, for our husband or wife, for people in prison. There are certain prayers that I think each of us have that are close to our heart. And some of those God has placed in our heart. But one of them is going to be central to us. In Philippians 3:10. Paul says:
Philippians 3:10 -11 – 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, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
That’s really a prayer of Paul. We all say “I want to know Christ,” but we’ve got to go deeper than that. What is it you want to know about Christ? Most of us say, “I want to know the resurrection power.” But what we fail to realize and what God is showing us is that in order to know the resurrection power of Jesus Christ you have to know the death of Jesus Christ. And you have to share in the sufferings that belong to Jesus in order to share His life. That we have to be a people experiencing the sufferings of Jesus and sharing in those in order that we might share in the resurrection power that comes from Christ Jesus. Basically what we’re saying is, and what God is saying is that when you’re filled with the Spirit you experience everything that is in Christ Jesus, both the sufferings and the joys. And Paul prayed this prayer and I think it was very close to his heart that he prayed it. This is a prayer, certainly, that is close to the heart of Jesus Christ. When someone is praying and saying, “I want to know everything there is to know about the kingdom of God,” that’s a very close prayer. Jesus is certainly turning an attentive ear to that kind of prayer. This should be the heart of every believer. This is what should give us the light, to be able to say, “I want to know the sufferings of Jesus.” Basically Paul is asking God, “God, place me in the center of Your will and give me work to do that’s in Christ Jesus. Give me a chance to do good deeds. Give me a chance to even fail in doing good deeds.” A lot of us are afraid to pray and ask God to put us in the battle for fear that we’re going to fail. Much better to ask God and fail than to never ask and never be placed in the battle. Who would you be more pleased with—one who got in and tried and did their best with what they know and yet failed at it or the one who always sat back and said, “Well, I’m going to fail before I start” and never starts? Better to try and make every effort to enter the kingdom of God than not to try at all. And so whether you’re able to move on or not you’re still asking God to place you in the middle of His will, to show you what battles to fight, to show you what race to run. Paul’s not praying simply for the privilege to share in the miracles of Jesus. He’s not praying just to have some goals or plans that are in Jesus. He’s not praying about some program or some mission that he has. This is just plain, good old fellowship between man and God. That Paul is praying. He’s just saying, “Look, I want to know Christ. I want to fellowship with Him.” He’s not praying about any particular miracles. He’s not saying, “God, I really thank You that these people were made well because I had a handkerchief and they could lay it on that person and be well.” That’s not what he’s praying. He’s saying, “I just want to know Christ. I just want to know Him.” He says, “Not only do I want to know Him but I want to have the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings and His death in order to share His resurrection. And then somehow to obtain the resurrection from the dead.” And so this is just a basic prayer of being in communication with God, of fellowshipping with Jesus Christ. And God answered this prayer mightily. We boast that our God is a God who answers prayers. We like to boast to other people that God answers our prayers. Well, let’s see how God answers this prayer that Paul is praying, how He might answer your prayer.
Let’s go to 2 Corinthians 11. Now you remember that when we pray we pray to God that’s able to answer us more than you can ask or more than you can imagine. Now you imagine yourself in the most impossible, worst situation of suffering for Jesus. You imagine the grossest thing you can imagine and God is able to answer you far more than that. So whatever you ask or whatever you imagine in your heart, God is able to do that amazingly more than whatever you ask. I can remember first thing promising, “Okay, God if You do more than I can ask or imagine I’m going to imagine a lot and I’m going to ask a lot.” No use not asking if that’s the kind of God we pray to. In 2 Corinthians 11 we’re going to see how God answered Paul. And as we read through this I want you to circle every aspect of the suffering that Paul experienced in Christ Jesus and compare it to what you’re experiencing. In other words, if you’re sharing in this suffering I want you to circle that so you can say, “Yeah, I’m suffering in that.” 2 Corinthians 11:21.
2 Corinthians 11:22 – Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I.
Now you can circle all of those. In Christ Jesus you are all those things. You’re grafted in, you’re a fellow Jew, you belong to Christ Jesus. Now verse 23 says:
2 Corinthians 11:23 – Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.
Are they servants of Christ? Now you can circle that. At least you make that boast, you make that claim by the very fact that you claim to be a Christian. You are saying I am a servant of God. We sign some of our letters here, “a humble slave of God.” Of course he says, “I am out of mind to talk like this.” He’s out of his mind to boast, that’s the whole point. He says, “I am more. I have worked much harder”—go ahead and circle that if you can—“been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.”
2 Corinthians 11:24-27 – Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea. I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
Now how many of those can you circle? Very little do we share in the sufferings of Jesus. Now Paul is able to say in one little verse in this letter, “I want to know the sufferings of Jesus” and this is what God manifested. And what’s holding us back? He says:
2 Corinthians 11:28-29 – Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
You see you look again at verse 29, “Who is weak and I do not feel weak?” Paul is saying, “Look, when you guys want to talk about weakness I feel weak too. I feel unspiritual. I don’t feel qualified for all the sufferings I’m facing.” If you talk to Paul in the hour of his flesh he doesn’t have the strength to sustain himself in shipwrecks and beatings. To be hit with rods. He doesn’t have any of those. Who isn’t weak and I feel weak? Everybody feels weak. There isn’t anybody who says, “Okay, Lord, I’m ready for whatever sufferings You’ll dish out. It doesn’t matter. I want the worst You can possibly give to me all week long and I’ll stand it, God. I’ll do it for You.” All of us have to bow before God and say, “There isn’t any way we can do it except by the Spirit of God.” And so Paul was saying that’s not an excuse for not asking. That’s not an excuse for not participating in the sufferings of Jesus. If the sufferings of Jesus overflow in your life then the comforts overflow. God will not give you sufferings without giving you comforts. Now a lot of time you don’t experience that and the reason is because you don’t have the faith. You won’t allow God to really give you the faith to be really comforted in that situation. You look at the wind and the waves and you sink. And the only way you’re sustained is because Jesus reached down and He picks you up. You’re not walking on water; you’re about ready to drown. You’re constantly saying, “Oh, Lord, save me.” You’re out there on the lake, there’s no doubt about that. You’re out there on the water but you’re up neck deep instead of walking on top of it and really being victorious.
I can remember the first time I started facing very, very small trials; I was constantly right up to my neck. I felt like any minute God was going to leave me and I was going to be destitute and that was it. As time goes on your faith grows, you’re able to walk on water, but you have to begin to participate in those things. You have to at least step out, you have to at least sink a little bit in order to begin to experience the comforts that come from Jesus.
He says, “Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?” Paul is saying, “Look, I know all of you inwardly burn after sin. There’s that sinful nature that just wants to run and please itself. Now I burn the same way. I’m not any more superior than the rest of you, in the sense of being without sin.” He was the worst of sinners. So if God can pour this kind of spirit of suffering for Jesus Christ on the worst of sinners what can He do with you and I? So to say that you’re sinful is an excuse. To say that you’re weak is an excuse. Jesus Christ knows both of those things. He knows you’re sinful and He knows you’re weak. Why would He have you say, “Share in My sufferings,” and then expect you to do it under your own power, just put you out there and say, “Do it”? So don’t use weakness as an excuse, don’t bury your talents. You never will. A lot of you have been spending years in the prayer closet never stepping out, never getting out and doing anything, saying, “I’ll just wait on God to do something.” And the fact is, God is waiting for you to do something. He’s told you to do it and you won’t step out to do it.
Remember that when Jesus had the twelve disciples with Him it wasn’t too long in His ministry when He was sending the seventy-two out and they didn’t know hardly any of the message at all. Of course, they were just casting out demons and making people well when He was sending the seventy-two out and they didn’t know hardly any of the message at all. Of course, they were just casting out demons and making people well, we realize they weren’t trained too well. But they preached the good news and they had a wrong joy about it, they were excited about those things but God taught them. They were willing to be taught.
Yes, you’re going to suffer for Jesus. You’re going to be sharing with someone and they’re going to be getting mad at you and you’re going to say the wrong thing. The wrong words are going to slip out of your mouth but that’s how you learn. You’re not going to know every doctrinal point that somebody brings to you, but you’ll know enough to tell them the words of life. You may not know how to overturn tables in the temple, but you’ll at least be able to go into the temple and teach other people, be able to start somewhere.
Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 12:10. Not only does Paul share with us the sufferings that he endured but verse 10 says:
2 Corinthians 12:10 – That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Now that is a very precious verse. Look at that. “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight . . .” I delight. He delights in those things. He’s excited about those things. He says, “I love weakness, I love insult, bring them on. I love hardship and I love persecutions and I love difficulties.” That’s what gives him joy.
You know, I looked up the word “delight” and this is from the Random House Dictionary of the English Language: Delight means a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment, joy or rapture. You know, just the highest you can achieve in terms of pleasure. Paul is saying, “I’m in rapture city whenever I face hardships. I just can’t wait for the next weakness to come along. You guys look, I am just overjoyed whenever I’m insulted. I love it. I love to be insulted for the name of Jesus Christ.”
Another way, another definition that you can use is “to leap for joy in that day.” It says, “I delight in persecutions, I delight in difficulties.” Or if you want my definition, you’re so full of pleasure you’re beside yourself. You just get so excited about what you’re going through you just can’t wait for the next time. Now that doesn’t necessarily come right at first but it will come in time. Can you really say, “I delight, I thrive on it, I feed on difficulties for Jesus Christ?” Another important point in verse 10 there; “That is why, for Christ’s sake.” There are people that endure persecutions, hardships, and insults but it’s not for Christ’s sake, it’s not by the power of God, it’s not by the Holy Spirit. I love it, I delight in it when the Holy Spirit works the courage through me, when He gives me the words to write letters and send out tracts, I can’t wait for the next one to come along. And people tell me not to mail them any more and I just can’t wait to send them all out. Whenever God gives me permission to mail them I can’t wait to do that. I know I’m going to get flack. I know who I’m going to send to and there are sometimes when my stomach is just turning over, you know? And that’s a tough situation. I keep thinking about what’s going to happen. Pretty soon you begin to delight in the message, you become excited about those things. You become excited about difficulties, you become excited about being in weakness. Are we so full of pleasure when we’re insulted? Are we excited about that? When it’s difficult to find an answer to answer someone about Scripture, do we delight in that? And all this is because you’re doing God’s will as God’s Spirit directs.
I’ll tell you the most times I get bored is when there’s nothing going in Christ Jesus. When there are no difficulties to be overcome. When there are no goals in Christ Jesus. When everything is just really quiet, that is the hardest time for me in Christ Jesus. I constantly want something to happen. That doesn’t come from the noble Tim Williams, that comes from Jesus who lives in there because God wants His kingdom advanced. He wants things done. I want to box people in the corner so they have to repent. I want the words given to me at the proper time so that they just can’t go anywhere, but that repentance hits them every time. But you’ve got to get in and wrestle with people. You’ve got to get in and persevere with them. You’ve got to get in and suffer. You’ve got to be insulted by them and you just keep smiling, you keep loving them, and you say, “Come on, just keep insulting me, we’ll keep talking.” As long as they’re insulting me you know what? At least we’re in dialogue. It’s when they shut up and they say, “Oh, I love that person, don’t worry about it,” and they just love you and put their arms around you and won’t say anything. There’s no joy in that—you can’t get anywhere with the gospel, they’re just putting up with you. When they’re angry, when that sinful nature is rebelling, when they can’t stand to be around you, when they’re insulting you and putting you in difficult situations, when they take advantage of you—praise God, because then you’re planting seeds. Then you’re the salt of the earth and they can see your love, then they can see your gentleness. When there’s no one to write and no one to call that’s when I go bananas. I want something to do in Christ Jesus. “That’s why for Christ’s sake I delight in weaknesses in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak then I am strong.” I love it when I get called at two o’clock in the morning and I can’t pick up the phone because I’m too tired. We need to be a people longing for that and desiring that greatly, saying, “God, mature me to a point that I can delight in those things for You; that I’ll talk with people every week and they’ll get mad at me every week and they’ll do whatever it is they want to do but I’ll keep going back and I keep speaking the truth and I keep declaring the message.” Do you delight in inconvenienced preaching, when it’s out of your way? When you’ve got to pick up what you’re doing, you’ve got to go over and talk to someone and you’ve got to invite them to church? I praise God that a couple of people we’re reaching out to don’t have telephones. It pulls away the convenience that comes from just picking up a phone and we have to get over there and be with the person. We have to say, “Look, I’m here. The car’s there, the motor’s running, let’s go.” And they have to make a point to be here because you’re standing there right before them presenting the message. It’s so easy to say no to God on the phone. Praise God when you don’t have enough time to do all the things in Christ Jesus that God has given you to do. When you can delight in weakness saying, “Oh, Lord, there is no way I can get all of this done today.” Praise God when you invite someone gross to dinner and you just can’t stand to have them there but you delight in it anyway. How few of us delight in danger and how few of delight in toiling and laboring for God. We preach when it’s convenient, we share the message whenever it’s nice and cozy for us, whenever we have all the answers first and we’ve got all our scriptures lined out. We don’t ever get ready, we don’t arm ourselves, we don’t go in prepared. Oh, let’s delight in hardship and let’s delight in persecutions and let’s do that only by the power of God, of course. Let’s basically get out there and begin to suffer. I can preach on this from now until Jesus comes back and unless we go out the door and do it, it hasn’t done anybody any good.
Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 6. In the same letter Paul goes over some more of his troubles and I want you to circle the ones you’re participating in. Now you said you were servants of God, right? How many people here are servants of God? Okay, good, that pretty well moves all of us together in unity. 2 Corinthians 6:3, then, we’re going to be talking about you and I. Since we are servants of God verse 3 says:
2 Corinthians 6:3 – We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.
Okay? I’m not going to let anybody put anything in front of me or I’m not going to put anything in front of them where they can blame me for anything. I’m going to live so righteous, I’m going to live so holy, I’m going to be so perfect in front of them. And if I sin I’m going to confess, I’m not going to give them a chance to point it out, I’m going to go running to them. But we don’t put any stumbling block in front of anybody. In fact, we are servants of God. Verse 4 says:
2 Corinthians 6:4 – Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;
“Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way.” We say, “Okay, look at my life. Here, here, and here, I’m the commending letter, you look at me.” Now you just circle the things that you participate in. In great endurance—go ahead and circle that if you can. “In troubles, hardships and distresses.” Now of course, before you circle these please ask God if you’re in that category. What you may be calling hardships and distresses may not be hardships and distresses. It may be everyday life and woe. So let’s be a little careful here. Verse 5:
2 Corinthians 6:5 – in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger;
“In beatings”—not too many of us can circle that—“imprisonments and riots”—I long for the riots. Anyhow, “in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger.”
2 Corinthians 6:6-10 – in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as imposters; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
Then he goes on to say:
2 Corinthians 6:11-12 – We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.
He does all these things. He’s this kind of man of God, these sufferings are a part of his life and guess what? The Corinthians won’t love him. They’re holding back part of their love. They’re being drawn to other men. He does all these things, he proves himself to be a servant of God, and they won’t love him. And all he’s asking for, in verse 13 it says:
2 Corinthians 6:13 – As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.
So when you’ve done all these things, when you’ve been in endurance, troubles, hardships, distresses, hard work, sleepless nights, purity, understanding, kindness, Holy Spirit, good report and bad report, dishonored by report, known and yet regarded as unknown, when you’ve done all these things and nobody appreciates you for it and nobody loves you for it, then you can begin to circle some things. But how many of us suffer some small things in Christ Jesus and our brothers and sisters come and go, “Wow, that was really good. You did a good job there”? Now we need encouragement from one another but when you’ve done it and nobody says anything, when they don’t give you one ounce of encouragement, when nobody says, “Go talk to that person,” you go anyway. When you speak the truth to somebody, not because somebody told you to speak the truth, but because you’re in that relationship with God because of sufferings are overflowing in your life, because you’re just speaking truthful speech because Jesus can’t speak anything but the truth, it’s impossible for God to lie, Scripture says, when you’re doing all those things and nobody told you to do it, nobody commended you for doing it, nobody built you up and said, “Boy, you’re really great and that’s good,” then let’s start circling some things. When you’re out there alone and it’s you and God and you’re fighting that battle and you’re obeying Him because He tells you to, not because somebody else does, then we’re really in a position of saying the Holy Spirit is overflowing sufferings in our lives.
Look at that list again. Servants of God, endurance. Do we endure with those that we’re preaching to? Do we settle down and put the tent down and say, “I’m going to camp right here on your front lawn until you repent. And I’m going to endure it. You can insult me, you can slander me, you can do whatever you want and I’m going to sit there and speak the truth to you and love you whether you like it or not. You’ll get bulletin after bulletin, letter after letter, tape after tape, and you can line your trash can with it, but you’re still going to get them”? “In trouble”—people will give you all kinds of trouble. They’ll come out and ask you questions, they’re going to look for sin in your life, they’re going to put your life to the test, they’re going to put you over the fire. They’re going to do all kinds of things. They’re going to slander you, they’re going to have somebody else try and get back at you, they’re going to do all kinds of things. It’s called troubles for Christ Jesus. It’s called the sufferings of Jesus. All because you’re presenting the message. “Hardships and distresses”—who of us aren’t distressed as we being to reach out to people? At how slow they are sometimes to come around? Those are the sufferings of Jesus.
Remember we said last week that unless your sufferings hinge upon evangelism then you’re not suffering? Everything springs from doing the work of God and that is to preach the good news. In beatings and imprisonments—be with someone alone sometimes as you work with them at work and you’ve presented the message to them and they’re hostile toward you and you’ve got to work three or four hours with them. Don’t think if you’re in prison sometimes. “In riots, hard work, sleepless nights”—are we working hard for the gospel? Some of these we can live. I’m not telling you to go out here and have yourself arrested for the gospel. But all of us can be working hard for the sake of Christ Jesus, can’t we? Can’t we go in the prayer closet and say, “Okay, God, I’m here. I’ll do whatever You want me to do. I want to do it, I long to know the sufferings of Jesus. I want to be a hard worker for You. Now teach me what I need to do. What does it mean to be a hard worker? Do I need to be here at the church building to take care of things? Do I need to be over here doing some things?” Hard work can be all kinds of things that are covered and all kinds of things that you’re doing. What’s so difficult about doing hard work? My goodness, if your boss offers to give you a raise some of you are going to do hard work. And you aren’t being allowed to participate and know Jesus Christ. And how many of us are hard workers? Even in your every day job from eight to five or whatever you’re doing, that can become a source of hard work if you turn that over to God. You’re not there just doing your job, you’re persevering with people’s lives. You’re slipping tracks inside desk drawers. You’re persevering, you’re constantly looking for ways to spread the message. You’re saying things here and there or you’re being quiet here and there. You’re mourning when everybody else is laughing. We can certainly do hard work. We can certainly have sleepless nights in Christ Jesus. The workers are few. We’re the servants where God can call up any time and say, “Get up and go. Get up and pray.” We can hunger and thirst for righteousness. We can do it in purity. We can do it in understanding. We can do it in patience. We can do it in kindness. We can do it in the Holy Spirit and we can do it in sincere love. We can do it in truthful speech—certainly truthful speech. Jesus is the Spirit of truth and if we allow the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, when people say things that are wrong around us what are we going to do? We’re going to speak the truth. We won’t throw our pearls before pigs but we will speak the truth. If we say we want to know the sufferings of Jesus Christ we don’t have to go too far. Here they are, right here. One of the sufferings of Jesus is speaking the truth. Don’t blame me if sometimes God tells you to speak the truth and you sit there and your mouth won’t even open.
“In the power of God.” Start to speak and live the message and verse 8 will happen in your life. “Through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report.” Some people are going to speak good of you, some people are going to speak bad of you. You’re going to be genuine, you’re actually going to be in Christ Jesus, but everybody’s going to think you’re an imposter. They’re going to think you don’t belong to Christ Jesus. You’re going to be known, yet regarded as unknown. Dying, yet living on. Beaten and yet not killed. Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. See, how is that possible? How can there be sorrow and rejoicing at the same time? Simple—you’re rejoicing in your sorrows. You’re rejoicing in the fact that you’re persevering for people and you’re praying for them. You rejoice in the sufferings of Jesus Christ. Look at this, “poor, yet making many rich.” How many of us are rich and making many poor? We’re so full of Christ Jesus. We’re so close with Jesus in our walk, we’re so rich in Him and there are people starving spiritually around us because we won’t get out and suffer for them. We’re holding it in. We won’t get out and suffer. Make yourself poor, make yourself so empty spiritually that the only thing you can come back to is to collapse on the floor and say, “God, I need more of Your Spirit.” You know, take the gallon of the Holy Spirit you’ve got and dump it out for other people so that you’re completely empty and come back in dry, and weary, and burdened, and feeling the weight of sin and the battle, and come in and say, “Okay, God, refresh me in You.” And you’ll get a gallon and a half. And you’ll get two gallons. Pretty soon it becomes a spring of living water. Empty out what you’ve got. You may not know much in Christ Jesus. You may not be able to answer every question but at least answer out what you have. At least begin to take the small steps of experiencing the sufferings that are in Jesus. Oh, that we pour ourselves out for other people! God will pour more and more in us in order to pour more out.
Two times I sent out tracts and people didn’t say, “Man, that’s great. Let’s just keep mailing more and more out.” I know that I want to mail out the “Leave Them” tracts—or I should say the Lord wanted to mail those “Leave Them” tracts—like we did the Christmas tracts. I didn’t hear a lot of cheers go up and the balloons didn’t go off. And I didn’t see much delighting in Christ Jesus and sufferings and insults and persecution of Jesus. What I heard was, “Oh, I don’t know if I want to send that out because I know what’s going to happen. I’m going to get some flack for that.” Or, I can remember talking to one sister in the body and she goes, “You really like this, don’t you?” When I walked away going, “Yeah, I do,” and it wasn’t until I was leaving that I thought, “Yeah, I’m supposed to like this. This is what I’m supposed to rejoice in. This is my delight.” The more tracts I can have, even my own wife, and I love her dearly, she’ll look at that tract and she’ll go, “Boy, that’s the way to start it.” You know, everybody’s heart cringes. That’s what it needs to be. We delight in those things. It’s truthful speech, it’s the message. And I can’t wait to grow and more in that. I can’t wait until a brother and I go up to St. Louis and sit down at the Catholic Church and enjoy ourselves there. You know, I’m going to shake, I’m going to tremble. My stomach is going to be turning in knots. That’s okay, I’ll delight in it later. Colossians 1: 24 says:
Colossians 1:24 – Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.
Do we rejoice in suffering for the sake of the body? We miss a lot of joys because we won’t suffer. Paul says, “I rejoice in those sufferings that come about in my flesh for what was given for You.” When a woman has a child she’s in a great deal of pain but once the child is there she rejoices in that and she forgets her pain. And there’s an extreme amount of joy. I suffer, surely in being up and laboring and working, but I rejoice in those sufferings and I want to fill up more of those sufferings, more of those things in my life, and doing this all totally by the power of God. There’s a rejoicing in doing things in the kingdom and a lot of us miss the joy because we won’t suffer. We won’t let God fill up in our flesh the sufferings of Jesus. It’s going to hurt, it’s going to sting, it’s going to be inconvenient. It’s going to be hard to get out of bed. It’s going to mean you’re going to be extra busy. Be careful of language that says, “I want to stay home and pray today.” God is calling you to go out and suffer. Oh, there are times to go in and pray, there are times when in our hearts we’re just tired and we’re just weary and we just don’t want to give any more. And so we use the excuses, “I just want to pray,” or “I just need to rest in the Lord.” Do everything by the power of God. Listen, you can rest in the midst of sufferings. You can be in prison in chains singing songs and hymns. The greatest joys I know are being in the hardships. That’s when God fills you with the Spirit of joy and confidence, knowing how to answer every man, knowing how to be quiet in every situation. When you can run into a battle and be courageous in that battle, that causes songs of joy. Psalms say within the camp of the righteous you hear songs of victory. Well you have to get in the battle to have victory. You have to shout before the walls of Jericho fall.
Let’s look at Romans 8, and remind ourselves that belonging to Jesus and being a child means you participate in the sufferings. Romans 8:16, it says:
Romans 8:16-17 – The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
It can’t be repeated often enough that we are not children of God unless we participate in the sufferings of Jesus. It can’t be repeated enough that you don’t know the joys of Jesus Christ until you suffer with Jesus Christ. It’s only those who suffer deeply with Jesus know the joys of Jesus. How many of you have seen visions and things of heaven that you’re not allowed to tell anybody else in this body? Anybody? Paul was. Paul was given such exceedingly great visions that a demon was sent to torment him to keep him from becoming prideful. He was told things that he was not permitted to tell. Now why is that? Because as the sufferings overflow in his life so does the comforts. Do we want visions? Do we want dreams? We want the power, we want weapons of righteousness. What is God going to give you weapons for? To do battle. What’s He going to give you visions for? What’s He going to give you comfort for? So you can do battle, so you can suffer. If God pours out His Spirit of prayer in you that’s not just so you can get in your prayer closet and praise God for the next two hours and be in an ecstasy there. That’s so that you can pray for other people, so that you can be praying for those suffering in the church. You can always be sorrowful and yet rejoicing at the same time. “If indeed we share his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” No one will inherit the kingdom of God unless they share in the sufferings of Jesus. There’s no discussion, there’s no other interpretation, there’s no other way to look at it—that’s the plain truth.
Let’s go to the book of Mark. Let’s go to Mark 1, and let’s begin to see how Jesus suffered and how we are going to suffer. The things that we’re going to look at are going to be in your life. Mark 1:10, Jesus comes to be baptized. John the Baptist, of course, baptizes Him and it says:
Mark 1:10 – As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
Oh, I wish that the Holy Spirit would have had to tear the gates of heaven open to get to me so quick. But I don’t have that kind of submissive heart. When the Holy Spirit saw Jesus Christ it was like all of heaven couldn’t contain that Holy Spirit. It just tore open heaven.
Mark 1:11 – And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Now look at the blessing. How many of us would like to hear those words? “I love you. With you I am well pleased.” And God comes to Jesus and He speaks these words but why is He doing this? One, of course, to communicate His love. Any father communicates that to his son. But look at the next verse. Look at what happens to Jesus immediately. Verse 12:
Mark 1:12 – At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert,
God comes along and heaven is torn open, the Holy Spirit descends, it comes down as a dove. God says, “You are my Son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased,” and then at once, immediately after that, it’s out to the desert with Jesus. It’s out to where you have to suffer, Jesus. And so you received the Holy Spirit, you’re filled with the Spirit, guess where the Holy Spirit is going to lead you? Out to the desert. Now you don’t think that’s true? Where were the Israelites led right after they come up out of Egypt? The desert. Everyone who comes to Christ Jesus, everyone who is baptized, everyone who receives the Spirit is sent immediately to the desert.
Mark 1:13 – and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
He wasn’t tempted for two days; He wasn’t tempted for three, but forty long days. Forty days He didn’t hear God say, “I love You, I’m well pleased with You.” Forty days He was out in the desert where there is thirst. There isn’t much Holy Spirit out there. There isn’t much water out there. And that’s where you’re going to be led. The first thing the Spirit is going to do. Remember the Holy Spirit, the Spirit will lead you to face sin head on. Our human nature is to back away from dealing with sin. And to put it off for a day or two. Our nature is to when someone is in sin next door, or we need to share the message with someone, what is it naturally do? We run from it. That’s sin, and every time you run from it, call it sin. Whether that be sin in your life or sin in somebody else’s life or preaching the gospel. If you run from it and God hasn’t told you to run you’re in sin. Because the first thing the Holy Spirit leads anyone to do is to face sin head on. Ill-equipped, out in the middle of the desert, total dependence upon God, no strength of your own. He hadn’t eaten during this time. He drank water but He didn’t eat. You see your sin, you see other people’s sins and you face those things head on. It says He was with the wild animals. He was with the wild animals and Satan was tempting Him at the same time. Remember we saw in 1 Peter 4:1, to arm yourselves with the same attitude as Christ Jesus? Suffer in your body with sin. Jesus is suffering with sin at this point. He’s being tempted and there’s a suffering going on. The first thing God’s going to do is send you out in the desert. “Okay, let’s get real. Throw away the cigarettes and see if your body doesn’t suffer. Stop that sin and see if your body doesn’t suffer and don’t see if Satan doesn’t tempt you.” See if all the wild animals you used to call friends come in and keep company with you. See if they call you up and see if you want to come to a party. “Why don’t you come over?” Or, “Why don’t we take this trip?” You may not be in the party scene, you may be in the money scene. You may be into all kinds of things, but you watch, those wild animals are going to come around you and they’re going to tempt you to be drawn back into those things. You’re going to suffer, you’re going to hurt. The first suffering is that you face sin. You look at it head on and you see sin for what it is. You see yourself for what it is and we do ourselves a great handicap—we do ourselves a great injustice by not allowing God to show us the sins that are in our lives that are dragging us out there. We don’t suffer with Jesus because the first thing Jesus did was suffer in dealing with sin.
The second thing is, you’re going to thirst for the presence of God. You’re going to long for that time of rest. But this is forty days without rest. This is forty days without water. This is the repentance without rest. This is forty days of repenting and doing battle, of getting weaker and weaker, which He stayed. Not getting stronger. It’s each day the flesh is being drained of its power and each day you’re being totally dependent upon God and there’s going to be moments when you think you’re going to give in but it’s forty days of wrestling. And you’re going to thirst for the presence of God. You’re going to thirst to be back there where you were baptized. You’re going to say, “Man, how was it that I was baptized and for a week everything went great? I overcame everything. I was just in pure joy.” But then the Spirit led you out in the desert and you had to deal with all these other things and then you feel like you’re going to sink and you have sunk at different times. The battle may seem too long, it may seem that forty days is too long. But that’s part of the sufferings of Jesus.
The third thing is, you’re going to have to let the Holy Spirit lead you to a place of weakness. At once, you get out and you become weak. And praise God that He does that. Praise God that He’s baptized and put you out where you can’t stand. Because what sets in there is that reliance upon self. There sets in the pride and the self-righteous. There sets in “Hey, I can do this. This is no problem.” Praise God when He takes the believer and He puts him in the most difficult position he can be placed in. When everybody else around him deserts him or insults him or puts him in hardship. Praise God when He does that so that you have to depend upon God. Praise God when He deals with sin in your life so quick you can’t even handle it. You’re just holding on to the train that belongs to Christ Jesus and you’re barely doing that. Praise God because the Holy Spirit leads you to a place of weakness, fasting for forty days without food. God wants you to depend on His power only. Paul says that we despair even of life but this happens so that we might depend upon God who raises the dead. Praise God when the only strength you have is angels.
Look again at verse 13, it says He was with the wild animals and angels attended Him. Praise God when the only thing that gets you by is the grace of God. When no man is able to ease your conscience. When you’re wrestling with sin and you’re agonizing over it and things are really going bad and even though men come up to you and say, “Look, everything is going to be all right, trust God,” praise God when that isn’t enough.
I can remember a time when things were so bad and things were falling apart and things looked a lot worse than they were now and Carla would say to me, “Tim, things will be okay. You just need to trust God.” And other people would tell me that, what few people that were there. I can remember telling Carla with tears, “It’s not good enough. You telling me isn’t good enough and it never will be good enough. I’ve got to hear it from God.” Praise God when angels have to tend you and the battle is so severe that no man is able to soothe your conscience. When sin is so great in your life and God is dealing with it that it doesn’t matter how many times I tell you you’re forgiven or how many times you claim the blood of Jesus, praise God when God speaks it to you. Now don’t go out here and put yourself in that situation, please don’t go do that. Next time you’re in a battle and I come and encourage you don’t say, “Well, I’ve got to hear it from the Lord,” I don’t want to hear that. Praise God when you’re sufferings so hard in Christ Jesus that my words don’t mean anything. Not when you’re facing every day little discipline by God, or you’re speaking the message and you’re getting a little bit of flack. I mean when you’re shipwrecked, when you’re all alone, when nobody loves you, when everybody’s insulting you, when everybody’s slamming you and nobody is giving you love and encouragement. And then somebody gives it to you and you say, “It isn’t good enough, it doesn’t matter, my soul is forlorn. Oh, God, deliver me.” That’s what I’m talking about, that’s what God is talking about. And praise God when you finally reach a point where the angels are the only thing that give you grace.
How many times was Paul in prison and it says an angel stood next to him and strengthened him and said, “Be strong, Paul, and preach the message”? Praise God when that day happens so no man will be able to defile your spirit either, because you’ll be able to listen to God, you’ll be seeking to please Him only.
Number four, you’re going to lose your desire for the food of this world. The food of this world is money, the food of this world is pleasure, its plans and its goals, its home, its children, its IRAs, its future. When you get out there and the Spirit leads you out in the desert away from the world, away from the things of Egypt and the first thing you begin to crave is a Big Mac. The first thing you begin to crave is the pleasures you used to indulge in. Praise God when He gets you out in the desert and the Spirit says, “Okay, now, sit there in the desert and fast. Get away from the world. Don’t partake of anything in the world. You just sit there and you drink water, which is the Holy Spirit. You just take Me in. Get away from your Bibles, get away from your commentaries, get away from your cassettes, get alone unto Me into the desert, into the Holy water.” And that’s what the Spirit is going to do. At once It leads you into total dependence upon God. And whether you like it or not, and I know most of you like it, God’s going to constantly be leading you out there to be alone, at once. At once get out there alone, dependence on Me. Even praise God He gives us brothers and sisters, but always with the dependence upon the Father.
The fifth thing is you’re going to begin to suffer because of the kingdom of God and not your sins. Now there’s a turning point with maturity. When you are suffering, not because of the sins in your life, but for the kingdom of God. When you’ve finally been out in the desert and God has dealt a crucial blow to your sinful nature and now you’re suffering, not because of your sins, but for the kingdom of God. You’re no longer dealing with fear of man; “Should I say something to somebody?” or “Should I speak the words of truth?” When you’re speaking and getting flack; praise God when you move past the points of the flesh into the Spirit. Hold your finger there in Mark for a second and go to Luke 4:13. Same story, same incident of the baptism, but Luke gives us a little more insight right after this temptation.
Luke 4:13 – When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
And verse 14 says that when this temptation is over with, when Jesus had been out in the desert and all these hardships had been faced, verse 14, there’s a tremendous promise there and this promise is for each of us. It says:
Luke 4:14 – Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.
He returned in the power of the Spirit. Do you want to walk in the power of the Spirit? Then get out in the desert. Don’t expect to be able to share the message with great boldness and healing, get out in the desert and then be able to return in the power of the Spirit. Know this, that the Holy Spirit is wanting to wrestle you down so that you can wrestle for other people. The Holy Spirit is wanting to crucify the sinful nature that lives within you. The Holy Spirit is wanting to lead you to a place where you’re doing battle for other people and not just for yourself. The Holy Spirit is going to lead you where the wild animals are and you’re going to have to see face to face the demon-possessed. I’m not there yet but I know that’s exactly where God is leading me to. Luke 4:14 says Jesus came back in the power of the Spirit and He went and preached the good news and cast out demons. With preaching the good news comes casting out demons. There will come a day. Praise God when He brings you face to face with the poor, whether that be physically poor or the spiritually poor. Praise God when He brings you face to face with the vile and the corrupt, the sick and the crippled, and you can bring words of healing. When you’re in the midst of lepers and they are gross looking if you’ve ever seen pictures of lepers. Praise God when you see that suffering and you love them anyway. Praise God when He leads you into confrontations with Satan face to face. I long for the day of that battle. I long not because I’m full of pride and some ego and some vain conquering, but I want to do everything in Christ Jesus that God will permit me to do. And if I can do battle with Satan face to face and do that in the power of the Lord I want that joy and I want that experience. Do we want that? I want to face the Pharisees head on. I want some day the opportunity to overturn some tables in the temple. Some day I want to be able to stand in the temple courts and preach the message. I want to be in danger with Paul’s brothers because I’m with real brothers.
Too often I’ve been around false brothers and there haven’t been any real brothers. Are we a soldier prepared to do hardships? That’s what we are called to be in Christ Jesus. A soldier gets up before dawn, Mark 1:35. It says:
Mark 1:35 – Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
We don’t have to go very far to get our quiet time. It’s warm where we go, but “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up.” I don’t set a goal and do this in the power of the flesh. I don’t say, “Okay, I’m going to do this,” and set this goal. Now God may be calling you to do that, and I plead with you to ask God to do that. There are times when Jesus prayed late at night. There are times when Jesus set out to pray and He couldn’t because of the people. Don’t lay down the legalistic laws that say, “Okay, very early every morning before the sun comes up I’m going to go out and pray in a solitary place.” You need to be asking God, “God, is that where I need to be?” Better to feel the weight of the conviction of the Holy Spirit saying, “You should have been up,” than never to hear it and never to feel it. I’d rather feel a thousand convictions than to feel no conviction. I’d rather sleep a thousand times and get up at nine o’clock late and say, “Oh, God, forgive my sin,” than to never hear it; than to never feel it, to never be called to it than fail in it. At least, God, give me the opportunity to fail. At least give me the privilege and the grace to fail, for Jesus to at least rebuke me. There is life and hope in that. Woe to those who sleep and get up and pray and we never hear a call to get up later or to be praying. We never hear the flesh groan because we’re going to pray. “A solitary place, where he prayed.” He went off. Not only are you to be praying continually but you’re going to be ready to be called into prayer at all times. When you’re ready to pray at all times you’re going to pray continually. Sometimes you’re going to be out praying just to be in fellowship with God, just to talk with Him. You’re just going to get lonely for Him, you’re just going to get up and talk to Him. There are times the Spirit is going to lead you to be alone with God. Now how is that going to come out in this day and this age? Let me give you a couple of small, very small hints of what that might be.
You know that two week paid vacation you get at work? Don’t go to Disneyland, go to be alone with God. You go to a solitary place. I don’t care if you’re married; I don’t care if you have kids or whatever, what gives you joy? Suffering through Jesus or Disneyland? Or Christian Silver Dollar City weekend? You know that three day vacation you get? Instead of running off to Mommy and Daddy you go running off to Dad. That extra time you get? Instead of going shopping you stay and spend it with God. You spend it praying for other people. You go camping with the family to seek God, not to enjoy the woods, not to use Scripture and say, “Oh, God, I’m glad You gave us the woods so we can go out here and have fun.” The best fun I know is facing hardships. I delight in those. It’s sheer ecstasy. Do our children see that? God’s going to lead you to pray that you won’t fall into temptation. How many of us need to pray that, that we won’t fall into temptation? There are times that you’re headed for trouble and God knows, He’s going to wake you up and say, “Get out of bed and pray.” Get out and pray so that you don’t fall into temptation.
How few of us suffer in prayer because we spend so little time there. Not saying, “Well, okay, I need to get two hours right now.” But there’s a suffering in prayer. There’s a saying, “Okay, I’m going to stay here five minutes more. Two minutes more. God, can I stay here three minutes more? God, please work it within me.” Stay on your knees a short time and be asking the Spirit, “Do I need to stay here longer? Do I need to stay here longer?” There are times I want to hear, most times when I pray I say, “God, tell me when to get up.” And that’s hard to do. That’s hard to know, is it flesh telling me to get up or is it the Spirit telling me to get up? I praise God when the times I do get up and the phone rings as soon as I’m up. Or I get busy with a tract or I get busy with a phone call or a letter or whatever it is I’m supposed to do. There are times I sit down and say, “Okay, God, I want to spend an hour in prayer,” and I get down and I’m ten minutes in prayer and God says, “No, you spend forty-five minutes in the Word.” There are times I start to spend forty-five minutes in the Word because I don’t feel like praying and God says, “Pray.”
Especially pray to God when times are good because if you can’t pray to God when times are good you’ll never be able to pray to Him when times are bad. When you’re healthy, which is today, when you have freedom, which is today, pray and search after God. When you can be at worship Sunday morning and Sunday night and Saturday morning and Wednesday nights and Fridays. When you can be there, crucify the flesh, say no to it. Buffet your body, go into strict training and get in and serve God because there will be a day when you cannot.
I was just sitting here thinking, “Oh, Lord, I’m putting out a message here that doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of relevance.” And we’re not facing any great hardship. Even on the horizon there isn’t anything. And God said, “Tim, you don’t know what the future holds. You don’t know where they’re going to be in the future. You don’t know where you’re going to be.” Pray and search after God when times are good. When I preach an hour and it seems long, there will be a time when we’ll long to be in the Word an hour. There will be times when you’re down in some part of the country and dealing with very sinful and wicked people—I pray that that happens to all of you—and everybody is against you in that town. Everywhere you walk they look at you and wonder what you’re doing. If they don’t wonder what you’re doing, they make up all kinds of things you’re doing there. And you can walk in peace and you can walk in joy but you can’t go get an hour of quiet time. Some woman who is half demon possessed is at it and she comes in and plays the piano like she’s crazy. You don’t have time to say, “Oh, God, what do I do in this situation?” You come in and you put your boots on and you’re tying the shoelaces and somebody comes in, and they’re about that far from your face, telling you that you’re going to hell and you’d better repent. You don’t have time to say, “Excuse me, I’ll be right back. I need to go talk to my Father about this.” Now is the time to do it so that you can suffer for Christ Jesus. Know that your prayer times are going to be mixed. Don’t be putting God in the corner. There are times that you’re going to be in joy, there are going to be times you’re going to be suffering. There are times you’re going to rest, there are times when you wrestle. There are going to be times when you’re reading the Word and there are going to be times you’re praying the Word. There are going to be times when you’re near to God and there are going to be times when you think God’s hiding His face from you. There are going to be times when you’re in silence, there are going to be times when you’re crying out with loud cries and tears. But part of the suffering of Jesus Christ is praying and keeping in step with the Spirit as Jesus prayed. If it’s very early in the morning, while it was still dark, you’re going to get up, you’re to leave the house, you’re going to go a solitary place, you’re going to do whatever God calls you to do. And because you move into that kind of relationship with God, verse 39 will be yours. It says:
Mark 1:39 – So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
Oh, how I long to drive out demons. But it comes from prayer time. “Preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.” Let a course be laid out for you. What town do you need to go to? Who do you need to speak to? Ask God, “What is the course that is lined out for me?” All of us ought to be praying at least on Mondays saying to God, “What is the course lined out for me? What is the race and direction I need to go? Who is it I need to talk to and who is it that I need to go see?” And God may not lay it out clear for you. Just be in a position of waiting each hour saying, “Okay, God, what do I need to do, what do I need to do?” Waiting on God. You might have a phone call come in, that’s where you know you need to go. Or you might hear from the Spirit, “No, you don’t need to go there. You need to go do this or send someone else.” I don’t know. But ask the Lord and be ready to wrestle and to fight and to suffer. And let’s not hear any more, “Well, they’re closed to the message.” Let me tell you, almost everybody is closed to the message. It takes a little plowing, it takes a little work, and we live in a religious town. If one thing God has told us, He’s told us over and over again, we’re not being sent to a people of obscure speech, but people that ought to know God. But the sad case is they don’t have ears and they won’t listen.
In 2 Corinthians 1, blessed are those who find these sufferings. I’ll tell you honestly, and some of you may not have to experience it, but when I first faced suffering—what I face is very, very minor, it’s nothing at all—I was scared to death. It’s just been recently that I’ve been able to walk on the water and not be terrified at all. Or to know that when I’m getting fearful it’s no big deal, I just ignore it. But even if I’m called to face a demon I’ll go, but I may shaking to death and I may be scared. I used to not go. I used to hope to send somebody else. I’ll go. I may go and shake, I may go and fail, but I’ll go. 2 Corinthians 1:5 says:
2 Corinthians 1:5-6 – For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
If you’re suffering for somebody, let it be for them. If you’ve got comfort, let it be for other people. Verse 7:
2 Corinthians 1:7-9 – And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
Paul rejoiced in that, of despairing of life, he was so weary of living. He probably felt there was no hope and no victory. I’m sure Satan was attacking him saying, “Your mission’s going to fail. You’re not being led in triumphant procession in Jesus Christ. Everyone has deserted you.” You remember Paul writes and says, “Everyone in the province of Asia deserted me.” When you’re alone and every brother and sister has left you, oh, they might give us noble and good reasons, and you still stand firm to do the will of God then you’re beginning to taste the sufferings of Jesus. Because Jesus did everything without any encouragement from people.
Let’s begin to taste these sufferings and let’s count those as sheer joy and as ecstasy in Christ Jesus. Let’s count those as delight. So let’s be encouraging each other on to do what we need to do.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional. The original audio tape can be ordered free of charge by contacting Sound Doctrine Ministries.
Post # 5535
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Because Jesus said “sit down.”
| Other Sites |
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Everything here concerns repentance and living a holy life.
“The time has come,” Jesus said.
“The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15)
Everything here concerns repentance and living a holy life.