THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

PROGRAM AIR DATE – 10-6-13

LESSON TITLE: “GOD’S PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO SUFFER.”

WELCOME

WELCOME TO THE LIVING WORD PROGRAM ON THIS WONDROUS LORD'S DAY MORNING. WE THANK GOD THAT YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO BE WITH US TODAY, AS WE COMMIT THIS TIME TO OUR WONDROUS CREATOR. WHAT A GREAT PRIVILEGE WE HAVE TODAY TO JOIN IN THIS OPPORTUNITY TO PRAISE OUR GOD AND GLORIFY OUR SAVIOR. MAY WE EACH DO OUR PART TO MAKE THIS TIME ACCEPTABLE IN HIS SIGHT AND ACCORDING TO HIS WILL. NOW, LET'S APPROACH OUR FATHER'S THRONE IN PRAYER.

PRAYER: OUR GOD AND FATHER IN HEAVEN, WE THANK FOR THIS DAY AND THE MANY BLESSINGS IN LIFE. WE THANK YOU FOR THE PRIVILEGE THAT WE HAVE TO BE CALLED YOUR CHILDREN AND TO BE THOSE THAT LIVE ACCORDING TO YOUR WILL WHICH HAS BEEN DESIGNED FOR US AND DELIVERED FOR US IN THE BIBLE. FATHER, WE ASK THAT YOU WOULD HELP US EVERYDAY TO LOOK TO YOU FOR STRENGTH AND COURAGE AND THAT WE MIGHT ALWAYS STAND STRONG AND LIVE THE WAY WE SHOULD AND THAT WE MIGHT RECEIVE THAT GREAT REWARD IN THE END THAT IS OFFERED TO US THROUGH THE GIFT OF YOUR SON, JESUS CHRIST. IN HIS NAME WE PRAY, AMEN.

TODAY WE WANT TO BEGIN WITH A HYMN THAT REMINDS US THAT WE ALWAYS NEED TO BE READY AND PREPARED FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD. SO, THIS MORNING WON’T YOU JOIN IN WITH THE CONGREGATION AS WE SING TOGETHER OUR FIRST HYMN OF THE MORNING. THE NAME OF THE SONG “PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD!”

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

ONE OF THE SADDEST THINGS IN LIFE IS TO LOOK AROUND US AND TO FIND SO MANY WHO REJECT GOD. WE DON'T ALWAYS SEE THIS REJECTION IN THE FORM OF WORDS, BUT NONE-THE-LESS WE SEE IT IN THE WAY PEOPLE LIVE. THE BIBLE TELLS US THAT JUST SAYING LORD, LORD ISN'T ENOUGH. JUST BECAUSE I KNOW WHO GOD IS DOES NOT MEAN THAT I AM JUSTIFIED IN HIS SIGHT.

HOW MANY TIMES A DAY OR WEEK DO YOU SEE SOMEONE SAYING WORDS OR DOING THINGS THAT REALLY PROVE THEY ARE NOT INTERESTED IN THE THINGS OF GOD? OR HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU FIND SOMEONE WHO CLAIMS TO LOVE GOD DO THE VERY SAME THING? AGAIN, THE PROOF IS IN OUR ACTIONS. WE ARE KNOWN AS RIGHTEOUS OR WICKED ACCORDING TO THE THINGS THAT WE DO OR SAY ON A DAILY BASIS.

I OFTEN WONDER IF THOSE WHO REJECT CHRIST, IN WORD AND DEED, REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE DOING. THE PSALMIST DAVID SAID, "FOR THE LORD KNOWS THE WAY OF THE RIGHTEOUS, BUT THE WAY OF THE UNGODLY SHALL PERISH," PSALMS 1:6. AGAIN IN CHAPTER 53 AND VERSE 1, DAVID ADDED, "THE FOOL HAS SAID IN HIS HEART, "THERE IS NO GOD." THEY ARE CORRUPT, AND HAVE DONE ABOMINABLE INIQUITY; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD." YOU SEE THE FACT IS WHEN ONE REJECTS GOD BY THEIR ACTIONS OR WORDS, THEN THEY ARE LOST, ALONE AND WITHOUT THE ONLY THING THAT CAN OFFER THEM A WONDROUS AND PEACEABLE ETERNAL LIFE.

ON THE OTHER HAND, CONSIDER THE PRIMARY STATEMENT MADE IN THE FIRST VERSE WE READ A MOMENT AGO, WHERE DAVID SAID, “FOR THE LORD KNOWS THE WAY OF THE RIGHTEOUS.” GOD TRULY KNOWS AND SEES THE FAITH OF THE RIGHTEOUS BEFORE HIM. AND THE BLESSED PART OF IT, IS THAT THE RIGHTEOUS WILL NOT PERISH. ISN'T IT THE OLD BELOVED VERSE FOUND IN JOHN 3:16, THAT SAYS, “FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE." NOTICE THE SAME TERMINOLOGY IS USED HERE, BY SAYING, "THE BELIEVERS WILL NOT PERISH," BUT HAVE "EVERLASTING LIFE." IN THIS VERSE WE SEE THAT JESUS HIMSELF TAUGHT THE GREAT PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE FOR THOSE WHO ARE FAITHFUL. BUT AGAIN, EVEN CHRIST, A FEW VERSES DOWN, REMINDS US THAT, "THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE ARE CONDEMNED," VERSE 18. AND FURTHERMORE, IN VERSE 19, WE ARE TOLD WHY THEY PERISH, BECAUSE THEIR "DEEDS ARE EVIL."

AS THOSE WHO LOVE GOD AND HIS WILL, LET'S MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE LIVING AS RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD OF WICKEDNESS. HOWEVER, LET'S ALSO REMEMBER THE GREAT RESPONSIBILITY AND DUTY WE HAVE TO HELP THOSE WHO ARE NOT IN THE LIGHT, TO FIND THE LIGHT, AND FOLLOW THE WILL OF THE SAVIOR.

TODAY WE WILL BE CONTINUING OUR SERIES ON, “HIS OWN SPECIAL PEOPLE.” OUR SPECIFIC LESSON OF THE MORNING IS ENTITLED, "GOD'S PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO SUFFER." SO PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US THIS MORNING AND AFTER OUR NEXT SONG TOGETHER I WILL RETURN TO GUIDE US IN THIS LESSON FROM GOD'S WORD. IT'S NOW TIME TO JOIN IN OUR SECOND HYMN OF THE DAY, THE NAME OF THE SONG, "PURER IN HEART O GOD."

LESSON

BY RAY SULLINS

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR RETURNING WITH US THIS DAY AND GIVING US THE OPPORTUNITY TO STUDY GOD'S WORD AT HOME. IT'S ALWAYS A PRIVELEGE TO BE WITH YOU AS WE FOCUS ON THOSE THINGS THAT PERTAIN TO ETERNAL LIFE. THERE IS CERTAINLY NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAT WE COULD LOOK AT THIS DAY, THE LORD'S DAY, THAN HIS WILL. THAT IS GOD'S WILL THROUGH HIS WORD. ISN'T IT GREAT TO BE A SPECIAL PEOPLE OF GOD? IN FACT, WE ARE AS THOSE WHO ARE CHRISTIANS, HIS OWN SPECIAL PEOPLE. THAT IS THE SERIES THAT WE HAVE BEEN CONSIDERING FOR THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS IN TRYING TO LOOK AT MAYBE SOME UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS OF THOSE WHO ARE SO SPECIAL IN THE EYES OF GOD AND WHAT MAKES THEM SPECIAL BEFORE THEIR CREATOR SO TODAY THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTION AS WE CONSIDER TOGETHER THE FACT THAT WE ARE GOD'S SPECIAL PEOPLE. AND WHAT MAKES US SO SPECIAL AS WE READ FROM 1PETER 2 IT IS BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN BLESSED BY GOD AND CALLED OUT OF THE DARKNESS AND GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO ILLUMINATE IN THIS WORLD. HOW DO WE ILLUMINATE? WELL, ONE AREA THAT WE ARE TO ILLUMINATE IT IN AND ONE THING THAT WE ARE TO DO AS OUR GOD HAS ASKED IS TO BE ABLE TO ENDURE AND OVERCOME THE TRIALS OF THIS LIFE. I ALWAYS FIND IT QUITE INTERESTING WHEN PEOPLE VERY QUICKLY WANT TO BLAME GOD WHEN THEY HAVE PROBLEMS IN LIFE. I FIND IT INTERESTING THAT THEY ALSO LOOK FOR OTHERS TO BLAME AND VERY QUICKLY WANT TO BE UPSET AND FRUSTRATED JUST BECAUSE TRIALS COME THEIR WAY. THEY MIGHT EVEN BEGIN TO QUESTION IF THERE IS A GOD AT ALL.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH US ABOUT SUFFERING? WILL WE SUFFER? IS IT TRUE THAT IF WE SUFFER THAT WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO KNOW THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO OVERCOME THE SUFFERING? WHAT IS OUR ATTITUDE IN SUFFERING? DO WE ALLOW IT TO BEAT US DOWN AND TEAR US DOWN TO WHERE WE ARE UNABLE TO FUNCTION ANY LONGER OR SERVE GOD AND BE HIS LIGHTS IN THIS WORLD OR DO WE FIND JOY? THAT'S WHERE WE BEGIN THIS DAY IN JAMES 1. JAMES IDENTIFIES HIMSELF AS THE AUTHOR OF THIS BOOK AND THEN HE REFERS TO THE 12 TRIBES, THE FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS OF THE JEWISH FAITH. HE THEN SPEAKS OF THE IDEA OF THOSE WHO HAVE COME OUT OF JUDAISM AND THE JEWISH FAITH TO FOLLOW JESUS AND LOVING THOSE THINGS OF OLD BUT NOW EMBRACING THE THINGS OF THE NEW LAW AND OF JESUS. HE GOES ON TO SAY THIS IN VERSE 2, “MY BRETHERN, COUNT IT ALL JOY WHEN YE FALL INTO VARIOUS TRIALS.” SOMETIMES THERE ARE THINGS THAT WE READ IN THE BIBLE THAT ALMOST DON'T MAKE SENSE. WE MIGHT ALMOST BE CONFUSED WHEN WE SAY WELL, THAT'S THE OPPOSITE. WHAT DO YOU MEAN? WHEN YOU HAVE TRIALS YOU ARE SAD. WHEN YOU HAVE PROBLEMS YOU ARE UPSET. NO, WHAT IT SAYS SPECIFICALLY IS COUNT IT AS A JOY AND REJOICE. WHY? WHY WOULD WE EVER THINK WE COULD REJOICE IN TRIALS? WELL, THERE ARE SEVERAL REASONS I THINK WE WILL SEE THROUGH OUR TEXT THIS DAY BUT I DO WANT TO SAY THAT BECAUSE WHEN WE SUFFER THESE TRIALS WE KNOW THAT WE ARE NOT ALONE. GOD IS THERE AND HE HAS PROMISED THAT HE WILL DELIVER US FROM ALL OF THEM. NOT SOME OF THEM BUT HE WILL DELIVER US FROM THEM ALL. HE WILL GIVE US A WAY OF ESCAPE AND MAKE US VICTORIOUS ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE. AREN'T THOSE BEAUTIFUL IDEAS? NO WONDER WE SHOULD COUNT IT A JOY WHEN WE SUFFER THOSE TRIALS.

IT ALSO TALKS ABOUT IN SCRIPTURE THE FACT THAT WHAT A JOY IT IS TO SUFFER AS A CHRISTIAN FOR WHAT GREATER THING CAN WE DO TO SHOW GOD THAT WE LOVE HIM IN BEING WILLING TO SUFFER FOR HIM. WHY WOULD WE SUFFER? WELL, THE WORLD HATES RIGHTEOUSNESS OFTEN. THOSE WHO ARE OF THE DARKNESS AND CHOOSE SIN DO NOT LIKE TO BE EXPOSED BY THE LIGHT. THEY HATE GOD AND THEY HATE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND THEY HATE THOSE THINGS THAT ARE GOOD BECAUSE IT MAKES THEM FEEL EVEN DARKER AND EVEN MORE SINFUL. WE ARE PERSECUTED OR HARMED WITH WORDS SO THEREFORE WE SUFFER BUT WE SHOULD COUNT IT ALL A JOY. WE SHOULD COUNT IT ALL A JOY WHEN I AM LIVING RIGHT FOR MY GOD AND YET I SUFFER BECAUSE OF THAT. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL THING. HOW MUCH MORE GOD WILL LOVE AND CARE FOR ME AS A FAITHFUL CHILD WHO IS WILLING TO ENDURE TRIAL AND HEARTACHE. NOTICE WITH ME IN THE SAME TEXT OF JAMES 1 WHAT IT SAYS IN VERSES 3-4 IT SAYS, “WE SHOULD REJOICE IN SUCH TRIALS BECAUSE PATIENCE IS PERFECTED.” HE SAYS HERE THAT WE KNOW THE TESTING OF OUR FAITH PRODUCES PATIENCE AND THEN WE LET PATIENCE HAVE ITS PERFECT WORK. HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT OF LEARNING PATIENCE OR BEING PATIENT AS A WORK? PATIENCE HAS ITS PERFECT WORK IN WHAT? LEARNING THAT WE HAVE FAITH IN GOD AND THERFORE HE WILL REWARD US AND SEE US THROUGH. IT MAY NOT BE RIGHT NOW, IT MAY NOT BE ON OUR TIME FRAME OR SCHEDULE, IT MAY NOT BE AS WE HAVE THOUGHT IT OUT IN OUR OWN MIND, BUT IF WE ARE PATIENT GOD WILL REWARD US. GOD WILL DELIVER US. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL THOUGHT TO KNOW THAT TRIALS SHOULD BE A JOY TO ME BECAUSE THEY DRAW ME NEARER TO GOD. THEY HELP ME LOOK CLOSER TO GOD. THEY MAKE ME ENGAGE IN PRAYER TO GOD MORE. THEY MAKE ME AS A CHILD UNDERSTAND THE NEED FOR A FATHER, A CAREGIVER, A PROTECTOR.

BUT WHEN THINGS ARE GOING GOOD WHAT DO WE DO? WE DO THE OPPOSITE. WE PRAY LESS, WE GO TO WORSHIP LESS, WE SERVE GOD LESS, AND WE HAVE LESS OF THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST BECAUSE WE BECOME COMPLACENT OR APATHETIC. WE BEGIN TO GO THROUGH THE MOTIONS AND BEGIN TO FEEL THAT WE REALLY DON'T NEED GOD. BUT WHEN TRIALS COME OR WE REALLY LEARN AND KNOW WHO GOD IS OR WHEN WE REALLY KNOW AND LEARN THAT WE CAN TURN TO HIM THEN WE WILL BE REWARDED. THERE'S ANOTHER THOUGHT IN THE SAME TEXT FOUND IN VERSE TWELVE WHEN IT SAYS, “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHO ENDURES TEMPTATIONS. WHO ENDURES THESE TRIALS, SOME OF THOSE TRIALS BEING TRIALS OF BEING TEMPTED BY SIN DOING THOSE THINGS CONTRARY TO THE THINGS OF GOD. BLESSED IS THAT MAN FOR WHEN HE HAS ENDURED, WHEN HE HAS BY FAITH PATIENTLY ENDURED BY THE HELP OF GOD AND HE FINDS HIMSELF SUCCESSFUL IN OVERCOMING SUCH THINGS THEN HE WILL RECEIVE THE CROWN OF LIFE THROUGH GOD HIMSELF.” AREN'T THOSE BEAUTIFUL THOUGHTS? AREN'T THOSE BEAUTIFUL IDEAS THAT WE FIND STRENGTH IN AND THAT WE UNDERSTAND ACCORDING TO THE WILL GOD? WE WILL LOOK AT SOME OTHER NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES IN A MOMENT BUT WILL YOU CONSIDER WITH ME WHAT WE NOW KNOW AS THESE TRIALS.

I THINK OF THE STORY OF JOB. CERTAINLY WE ALL ARE FAMILIAR WITH THAT GREAT SERMON OF GOD ABOUT JOB DURING THE PATRIARCHAL PERIOD. WE ARE REMINDED OF A MAN WHO WAS WELL BLESSED BY GOD. HE WAS SO BLESSED THAT HE WAS WEALTHY AND RICH AND PERHAPS THE WEALTHIEST PERSON OF HIS DAY. DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT SATAN SAID THERE IN CHAPTER ONE OF THE BOOK OF JOB? HE SAID IN VERSE TEN WHEN HE SPOKE TO GOD THAT THE ONLY REASON JOB WAS FAITHFUL IS BECAUSE YOU BUILT A HEDGE. YOU BUILT A FENCE AROUND HIM AND YOU WON'T LET ANY TRIALS OR PERSECUTIONS IN BUT AS SOON AS TRIALS OR PROBLEMS COME HIS WAY HE IS GOING TO CURSE YOU AND TURN AWAY FROM YOU. WE SEE AS WE MOVE ON INTO CHAPTER 1 THAT GOD ALLOWS SATAN TO BRING ABOUT THOSE TRIALS AND TEMPTATIONS ON JOB, THEREFORE JOB LOSES EVERYTHING. HE NOT ONLY LOSES HIS WEALTH BUT HE LOSES HIS CHILDREN. CAN YOU IMAGINE NOT ONLY LOSING YOUR CHILDREN BUT EVEN YOUR DAUGHTERS OR SON-IN-LAWS? IT WAS A SAD DAY FOR JOB THAT FINALLY BROUGHT HIM TO HIS KNEES AS HE TEARS HIS CLOTHES AND SHAVES HIS HEAD AND FALLS ON THE GROUND AS HE WORSHIPS GOD. HE SAID GOD, ALL THESE HAVE BEEN BLESSINGS FROM YOU AND I CAME TO THIS EARTH WITH NOTHING AND I WILL RETURN TO YOU WITH NOTHING. JOB WORSHIPPED GOD EVEN IN HIS TRIALS. HE REJOICED, FOR GOD GIVES AND GOD CAN WHAT? HE CAN TAKE AWAY. GOD IS GOOD AND WE SHOULD LOVE GOD AS HE HAS LOVED US. WE SEE THE PRESSURE CONTINUE TO MOUNT AS HIS WIFE AND AS HIS FRIENDS CONTINUE TO BEAT AT JOB. HE EVENTUALLY BEGINS TO MAKE SOME MISTAKES IN QUESTIONING GOD. IT'S NOT SO MUCH THAT HE HAD QUESTIONS FOR GOD BUT IT IS THAT HE IS QUESTIONING WHETHER GOD HAS DONE THESE THINGS TO HIM. WE KNOW IN JAMES 1 THAT GOD DOES NOT TEMPT ANY MAN NOR CAN HE BE TEMPTED WITH EVIL. IT IS NOT GOD WHO IS THE TEMPTOR. GOD MAY HAVE ALLOWED SATAN TO TEMPT JOB BUT IT WASN'T GOD THAT TEMPTED JOB.

FINALLY, THROUGH THE DISCOURSE, JOB IS QUESTIONED BY GOD. DO YOU REMEMBER THE STORY IN JOB FORTY-TWO? DO YOU REMEMBER THAT FINALLY HE WAS MOVED TO TEARS AND REALIZED WHO AM I IN GOD'S SIGHT? HE EVEN SAYS THERE THAT YOU HAVE QUESTIONED ME AND I HAVE SINNED. SINNED TO WHAT POINT? IT SAYS IN VERSE 5 OF CHAPTER 42. HE SAYS I HAVE SINNED AND IN MY EYES I EVEN ABHOR MYSELF. HE THEN SAYS I REPENT IN DUST AND ASHES. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL THING TO SEE AN EXAMPLE OF A MAN WHO LOST EVERYTHING AND WHO BEGAN TO BE WEAK, ALLOWING THE TRIALS TO GET TO HIM THROUGH WHAT OTHERS WERE SAYING. FINALLY IN THE END HE IS REMINDED THROUGH THE WORD AND POWER OF GOD THAT HE NEEDS HIS GOD. HE CAN OVERCOME WITH HIS GOD. HE WILL BE VICTORIOUS WITH HIS GOD. HE EVEN DOES WHAT? HE REPENTS OF HIS SIN AND OF HIS ERROR OF HIS OFFENSIVE WORDS TO GOD. HE AGAIN IS BLESSED WAY BEYOND MEASURE. THE TEXT SAYS THAT HE WAS BLESSED MANY FOLD OF WHAT HE ORIGINALLY HAD BEFORE. WHEN WE THINK ABOUT THAT WE REALIZE WHAT IT MEANS TO FIND THAT JOY, THE JOY THAT SAYS GOD CAN AND WILL HELP ME OVERCOME. THAT IS WHAT IT IS ABOUT AS A CHRISTIAN BECAUSE WE KNOW IN SUCH THINGS THAT WE CAN TURN TO GOD AND UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN THOSE TRIALS COME AND WE SEE THOSE PROBLEMS IN LIFE WE KNOW THAT WE ARE GOING TO BE OKAY. WE KNOW THAT WE ARE GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL. WHY? BECAUSE GOD IS THERE AND GOD HAS HELPED US TIME AND TIME AGAIN. JAMES 1 SAYS THAT WE SHOULD COUNT IT ALL A JOY WHEN THESE TRIALS COME AND THAT WE ARE BLESSED WHEN WE OVERCOME SUCH TEMPTATIONS TO RECEIVE THE CROWN OF LIFE. IT IS NO WONDER THAT IN JAMES CHAPTER FIVE, OF ALL THE EXAMPLES HE COULD HAVE MENTIONED IN RELATIONSHIP TO THE THINGS OF BEING PATIENT AND TO PERSEVERE THROUGH ALL THINGS OF LIFE, HE AGAIN MENTIONS IN VERSE 11, “HAVE YOU HEARD OF THE PERSEVERANCE OF JOB? ALTHOUGH HE WAS ONE WHO SUFFERED AT THE HANDS OF SATAN, HE OVERCAME WITH THE HELP OF GOD. HE WAS SUCCESSFUL.”

A FEW OTHER TEXTS THAT WE MIGHT LOOK AT ARE FOUND IN THE BOOK OF PETER. IT SHOWS US THAT IT IS NOT JUST JAMES BUT IT'S THE SAME HOLY SPIRIT THAT REVEALS SUCH TRUTHS TO ALL MEN. THEREFORE, AS WE TURN TO 1PETER 4, WE LEARN THAT IN VERSE 12 HE SAYS, “BELOVED CHRISTIANS BRETHERN DO NOT THINK IT STRANGE CONCERNING THE FIERY TRAIL WHICH IS TO TRY YOU AS THOUGH SOME STRANGE THING HAS HAPPENED TO YOU. DON'T FIND IT STRANGE THAT TRIALS COME. SATAN IS AFTER YOU. THE EVIL OF THIS WORLD IS AFTER YOU.” PEOPLE WANT TO BRING YOU DOWN. THEY WANT YOU TO TURN FROM GOD. DON'T THINK THAT IS STRANGE. IN VERSE 13 IT SAYS TO REJOICE. SOUND FAMILIAR? JAMES 1:2 WHERE IT SAYS REJOICE IN THOSE TRIALS. REJOICE, TO THE EXTENT THAT YOU TAKE PART IN CHRIST'S SUFFERING. WHEN HIS GLORY IS REVEALED THEN YOU MAY ALSO BE GLAD WITHEXCEEDING JOY. BE JOYFUL AND BE EXCITED THAT YOU WERE ABLE AND WORTHY TO SUFFER WITH CHRIST. DID CHRIST SUFFER? YES. WHO DID HE SUFFER FOR? HE SUFFERED FOR YOU. WHAT PUT HIM ON THE CROSS? WHY DID HE SHED HIS BLOOD? HE DID THAT FOR YOU AND ME? DON'T FIND IT STRANGE THAT WE SUFFER AS CHRIST SUFFERED AND WE SHARE IN HIS SUFFERINGS. AS WE SHARE IN HIS SUFFERING, DON'T FIND IT STRANGE THAT WE WILL SHARE IN HIS REWARD AND WILL BE BLESSED. YOU MIGHT RECALL IN 1PETER 4:16 WHERE IT SAYS IF ANYONE SUFFERS AS A CHRISTIAN LET HIM NOT BE ASHAMED BUT EVEN LET HIM GLORIFY GOD IN THIS MATTER. WHEN I CAN SUFFER FOR MY GOD AND KNOW THAT I AM BECAUSE I AM WILLING TO STAND FOR MY GOD. WHEN PEOPLE ARE ANGRY AT ME OR HATE ME FOR WHAT I AM DOING IT IS BECAUSE I AM STANDING WITH MY GOD. O' PRAISE BE TO GOD BECAUSE IT IS A WONDROUS THING TO SUFFER FOR GOD AND WITH GOD AND WITH CHRIST AND TO BE WILLING TO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO PROVE THAT WE STAND WITH THE LORD. NO WONDER IN THE SAME BOOK IN CHAPTER 3 WE READ AND WHO IS HE THAT WILL HARM YOU IF YOU BECOME FOLLOWERS OF WHAT IS GOOD. IT SAYS IN VERSE 14 THAT EVEN IF YOU SUFFER FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE, YOU ARE BLESSED. WE ARE BLESSED IN THE EYES OF GOD. WE ARE REWARDED NOW AND ETERNALLY WHEN WE ARE WILLING TO SUFFER IN THE NAME OF GOD WITH CHRIST FOR THE SAKE OF GLORY. WHEN WE ALLOW OUR LIGHT TO SHINE, EVEN WHEN THERE ARE THOSE WHO WANT TO SNUFF IT OUT, WHEN WE ARE BOLD IN THE THINGS OF GOD THEN WHAT A WONDERFUL THING THAT IS. HOW PROUD OUR GOD IS OF US WILLING TO BLESS US NOW AND ETERNALLY.

LET ME CHALLENGE YOU TO BE BOLD AS GOD WANTS. LET ME CHALLENGE YOU TO BE WILLING TO SUFFER AS GOD HAS SAID THAT THOSE TIMES WILL COME. LET ME REMIND YOU THAT IN DOING SO, THERE IS GREAT JOY AND THERE IS GREAT REWARD AWAITING THE FAITHFUL IN THE END.

CLOSING COMMENTS

LET ME THANK YOU AGAIN FOR CHOOSING TO BE WITH US TODAY FOR THE LIVING WORD PROGRAM. I HOPE AND TRUST, THAT TOGETHER WE HAVE ALL BENEFITED FROM THIS SERVICE TO OUR LORD. LET ME ALSO INVITE YOU TO JOIN US EVERY LORD'S DAY MORNING AT 7:30 AS WE GIVE THIS TIME TO OUR CREATOR.

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HOW BLESSED WE ARE TO BE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO SUFFER FOR OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. THEREFORE MAY WE ALL REMAIN FAITHFUL AND COMMITTED TO GOD, UNTO DEATH, KNOWING THE WE WILL RECEIVE A CROWN OF LIFE IN THE END!