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Would we want to suffer in iraq today?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by jim62, May 18, 2012.

  1. jim62

    jim62 New Member

    Feb 6, 2005
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    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Is Service -- Sacrifice or Privilege?
    [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]We are guilty of linking two opposing ideas -- sacrifice and missionary service, or maybe any service. We erroneously make them one and the same. Too often the youth of today look at any full time ministry as a sacrifice and therefore they recoil from the call of God upon their lives.
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The only true suffering that a believer is called upon to make is fully offered when he gives himself to God; when he lies down on the altar, when he allows himself, as Isaac did, to be willingly tied around the hands and legs by the ropes of submission and take his place on the woodpile of service. After that has taken place, joyful service amidst all the demands of god’s will is the natural outcome.
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Where are our volunteers for ministry today? Where are those willing to sacrifice for the gospel as many are willing to give themselves for our national defense? Many Christians have hearts deeply anchored to the material side of this world, anything that would call them to cut loose from it becomes a sacrifice in their minds that they must regrettably make in order to serve.
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Are our affections placed on the eternal? Alexander MacKay (1849-90) was a pioneer missionary to Uganda who possessed the right focus when he said, “It is no sacrifice, as some think, to come here as pioneers of Christianity. I would not give up my position here for all the world. . . duty comes before pleasure they say, but my duty is my pleasure.” [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]

    [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]We live in affluent America where we know almost nothing about suffering for Jesus’ sake. Yet, if we were to make a thorough study of the New Testament about suffering we would discover suffering for the gospel, for Christ’s sake is to be expected as normal.
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]There isn’t a single Bible college, seminary, or Bible school that I know of that has a course on the subject of suffering for the gospel as taught in the Word of God. No one has a course about the Underground Church or what is taking place among God’s people in over forty different countries where many are losing their lives for the sake of their testimony. Are we preparing God’s servants today for the suffering that, I think, will doubtless come to our country as well? And what about the local church where you attend... is the message a feel good message? Where are those who stand, having done all to stand, who contend for the faith and are living lives that correspond with the willingness to be in the world but not of the world? Are we willing to go outside the camp, baring His reproach? (Heb. 13:12-14) [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]While America was preoccupied with Watergate, Communists took over fifteen countries. Islam is gaining influence and power rapidly today, and many are losing their lives by the hand of this religion. Are we not preoccupied with our affluent age? The Churches of America are far removed from understanding why we are so powerless in reaching our world. Little if any teaching and training is taking place in the average church to help people understand what God’s Word teaches about suffering for His sake and glory.
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]A book I have just finished reading: Islam and Terrorism by Mark A. Gabriel. PH. D. (His Christian name) would give you great insight as to what is truly taking place. This is available at the Voice of Martyrs as well.
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]We Christians of America have been so mollified. (definition: meaning to soften in feeling, to pacify or appease.) Because of our ease, comfort and affluence we ignore, or shrink from the suffering Christians are experiencing in various parts of the world. (If you doubt the suffering, then you need to become aware of what is happening.... check at: http://www.persecution.com/)

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]How Does Suffering and Walking In the Spirit Relate?

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Those who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (II Tim. 3:12) If we are to reach our world for Christ and have the powerful influence the early New Testament Church had then we will need to learn to suffer, to expect to suffer. According to Acts 5:41 they rejoiced in the privilege they had in suffering for the gospel’s sake. We must not only expect suffering, but be willing to be so fervent for the Lord in a biblical, kind way, that we expect more and more persecution and suffering as we approach Christ’s coming. As the Holy Spirit led people to witness and to plant churches they endured suffering that came as a result of obedience to the Spirit’s leadership.

    Instead of being ashamed of suffering, Paul rejoiced in it. (Col. 1:24) How could anyone rejoice in suffering? The literal meaning of the word, sufferings in Colossians 1:24 refers to the pressures of life, the persecutions Paul endured. This word is never used in the New Testament for the sacrificial sufferings of Jesus Christ. We can’t add to His sufferings, but we need to be willing to suffer for His glory and in doing His will.
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]First of all, Paul was suffering because of Jesus Christ. (Acts 9:5-6, 15-17, 20) It was the fellowship of His sufferings that he desired to know. (Phil. 3:10) Like the early apostles, Paul rejoiced that he was counted worthy to suffering for Jesus’ sake. (Acts 5:41) It is an honor to suffer for the Lord. Secondly, Paul rejoice in suffering because of his love for the Gentiles. He was a prisoner in Rome because of his ministry of reaching them with the gospel. (II Cor. 11:23-33; Eph. 3:1-13)

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]God intends for us to be willing to lay down our lives, not to
    count our lives dear unto ourselves.

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]God really means for the body of Christ, the church, to experience some of the suffering Christ experienced so that when we proclaim the cross as the way to life, people will see the marks of the cross in us and feel the love of the cross from us. Therefore our sufferings testify to the kind of love Christ has for the world. (Acts 15:25-26)
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Paul wrote, “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” (Galatians 6:17) The point of bearing the marks of Jesus is that Jesus might be seen through Paul’s life and Christ’s love might work powerfully in those who hear the gospel. Consider II Corinthians 4:10-12.
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]When the Holy Spirit has control of our lives, when we are walking in the Spirit we will be yielded vessels. We will have gotten on the altar as Isaac did with full willingness to die in the will of God if that is His will for us. Paul sought few earthly delights. His life was spent in labor amid dangers and turmoil much of which was caused by those who hated the truth of the gospel by the grace of God.
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]If you will study the book of Acts about two subjects -- suffering and the Holy Spirit’s leadership -- you will be blessed and come away understanding that the fullness of the Holy Spirit (His control) will potentially bring the joy of suffering for Jesus sake.

    The following references on suffering will bless you and challenge your heart:
    (Acts 5:41; 9:16; Rom. 8:17; II Tim. 2:12; Heb. 11:25; James 5:10; I Pet. 2:20-23;
    I Pet. 5:10; II Cor. 4:11)