THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 11-29-09
LESSON TITLE: “THE NEW COVENANT…SPEAKS BETTER THINGS: BETTER TO SUFFER”
“In the beginning - God - created the heavens and the earth!” This morning, it is before this awesome, great and mighty God which we assemble - to praise, laud and magnify His wondrous name! Will you approach His Almighty throne with me in prayer at this time!
Let me thank you all for joining us this morning. What a blessing it should be for all of us to assemble this day to worship God. I hope we will each do our part to make this offering to God acceptable in His sight. Furthermore, I hope we will give ourselves to God everyday as faithful children, that we might we found perfect in the end.
Well, it’s already time to praise our God through song. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “I Am Thine Oh Lord?”
(SONG # 1)
In John 4:14, Jesus told the woman of Samaria that there was a water that everyone needed to know about! In fact, Jesus told her that, “…whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” Wow, what a powerful water this must have been! And what was the woman’s response? In verse 15 we read, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” You see this type of water even sounded great to the Samaritan woman. But what was Jesus talking about? He was talking about Himself.
How blessed we are to have a savior who is referred to as “living water,” and the “bread of life.” Jesus has the ability to spiritually quench our thirst and hunger completely, just as bread and water can quench our physical needs.
So what is our part to play, as those who already have the “living water” and the “bread of life?” In Revelation 22:17, we read, “And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires let him take the water of life freely.” As the bride of Christ, let’s proclaim to the world the very same truth which Jesus did. Our Lord is the “living water” that all men need in order to quench the great thirst of our spiritual lives! So, just as we have come to the water to drink, let’s give everyone else the same blessed opportunity. Have you responded to the “living water from Jesus?”
This morning, we will continue our discussion on the “The New Covenant… Speaks Better Things.” Our specific message of the day is entitled, “Better To Suffer?” So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, we will be lead in these main thoughts of the day.
As far as our guest speaker, we are happy to again have brother Chuck Northrop with us. Brother Chuck is a full time instructor with the Bible Institute of Missouri. He is also one of the ministers at the Kansas Expressway Church of Christ. We thank him for being with us this day and look forward to him leading our thoughts together from God’s Word.
Well, it’s time to join in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.”
(SONG # 2)
By Chuck Northrop
Before we begin our lesson this morning I want to express my appreciation to you for being with us. We appreciate you tuning in to our broadcast. We appreciate you and we appreciate your interest in spiritual matters. We are truly grateful to you.
In the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about things that are better. We have talked about a better hope, better covenant, better promises, and many other things as well. When we think about those things that are better, we’ve been looking at for the most part the book of Hebrews. But we also recognize the things that are better also are a blessing for us.
In Ephesians chapter 1 and verse 3, Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, and he wrote that “All spiritual blessings are in Christ Jesus.”
Now if all spiritual blessings are in Christ, then there are no spiritual blessings out of Christ or at least none that are real spiritual blessings. Now if all spiritual blessings are in Christ then I have to ask myself, “How do I get into Christ?”
Well Galatians 3 and verse 27 and Romans chapter 6 verses 3-4 answers that question. We are baptized into Christ. Now there are some prerequisites of being baptized into Christ. One has to have faith that God is. One needs to repent of their sins and one needs to confess Christ before men, and then they are a candidate for baptism.
Well we find among those things that are spiritual blessings is salvation. In 2 Timothy 2 and verse 10 we find that salvation is in Christ, again the spiritual blessing that is in Christ.
So there is one thing that we don’t normally think about being a blessing to us and that is the idea of persecution or suffering. In 1 Peter chapter 1 or 1 Peter chapter 3 and verse 17, Peter is writing to the churches of Asia Minor. Those churches and many of those members of those churches and Christians that were scattered in Asia Minor were being persecuted.
And Peter writing to them said this, “For it is better if the Will of God be so that you suffer for the well doing than for evil doing.” Now notice the contrast being made there. To suffer for good doing or well doing is much better than to suffer for evil doing.
Now when we think about things that are better, we recognize that there are things in life that are always better than other things. It is always better to suffer for good than to suffer for evil. Think with me for a moment. Ladies walking down the street and a mugger comes up and he tries to take her purse and she takes that purse, she swings back and she smacks the guy right on the head. Well you know, the guy kind of deserved what he got because he was doing evil. We recognize that if he has a headache for three days then so let it be. But in the same scenario she is getting ready to be mugged and a bystander comes into the picture, an innocent bystander, and he sees what is happening and he is going to protect this lady and then she mistakenly smacks him, and the mugger then hits him on the jaw and he then has some other kinds of injuries, then we say, “Well we feel sorry for that man.” You see but it is better to suffer for good than to suffer for evil. We recognize that in everyday life. So it was as far as Peter was concerned that Peter was suffering for Christ. He said, “It is better to suffer for good, for well doing, than to suffer for evil.”
Now when we think about suffering, you know when we put our minds back into the idea of the 1st century and we think about those Christians that suffered in the 1st century generally speaking we think about some kind of suffering for blood. Whether they were tortured or whether they were burned to death or however it might be, we think about those Christians who were put on stakes on Nero’s driveway and set on fire. But you know, the persecution that happened in the 1st century wasn’t always to blood. The book of Hebrews really deals with that. There were some who were suffering that the Hebrews writer was writing to and they were suffering in many ways. But notice in chapter 12 and verse 4, it says that, “They did not resist unto blood.” Did they mean they were not persecuted? Does that mean they weren’t suffering? Well of course not. In fact, in chapter 10 he learned that there were many ways in which they were suffering. They were (inaudible) and they had many things that were taken from them, probably material blessings and material possessions that were being taken from them. They suffered as Christians.
Well as Peter writes then the book of 1 Peter, he is dealing with suffering. Many of the things that we’re going to talk about this morning are really concerning the things of suffering that Peter writes about. But as we think about those things, we must keep in mind that their suffering wasn’t always unto blood. In fact, Peter would talk about that suffering that their name was being blasphemed among others, and that people were reproaching them and speaking all kinds of evil against them. They were suffering pretty much the same way.
You know probably if we’re being persecuted today because of godliness, it is not meaning a persecution that is unto blood. We’re not being tortured or we’re not being killed because of that reason, at least not in America. But it is nonetheless that we do sometimes suffer. When we refuse to participate with a group of men that gather around, or women, and they are gathered around telling dirty jokes and we refuse to participate and they start making fun of us or something of that nature. Well you see we are suffering because of Christ. Or if we refuse to carouse with people or go, you know, doing things that people sometimes do that they ought not and we stand against it and they call us something like, “Oh you goody two shoes,” or whatever it might be. You see we don’t suffer unto blood, but nonetheless we still are suffering. Well Peter is addressing these things. He wants us to understand that we need to understand that it is better to suffer for good than to suffer for evil.
Well how is it better that we suffer for good? Well let’s look at this and consider some things that we might learn from that and some ways in which it is better or some benefits that we receive or we could say some blessings that we receive as a result of suffering. Well one blessing that we receive as a result of suffering is it provides an opportunity of growth.
Think about this for a moment. In Hebrews the 11th chapter, we find that the Hebrews writer is given as a great cloud of witnesses of men like Abel, Enoch, and Abraham and Sarah, and many others as well who were obedient in the faith from the various things that God had commanded them to do. But you know at the end of the book of Hebrews, or at the end of the chapter of Hebrews, Hebrews 11 we find that he lists some different things that they were enduring. He said in verse 36 and 37, “And others had trials of cruel mocking and scourging, moreover of bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned. They were (inaudible) tempted, were slaying with a sword. They wandered about in sheepskin and goatskin being destitute, afflicted and tormented. You see they were going through all those things. But now the Hebrews writer points out in chapter 12 that the discipline of the Lord or the chastising of the Lord is for our benefit. Look at chapter 12 and verse 11. He says, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present but painful nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto those who have been trained by it.”
That suffering can provide an opportunity of growth for us. We grow and we suffer. And so it is the case then that it is a great blessing to us for growth. But also as we think about the suffering that it aligns us with godly men, godly obedient men and women of the past.
Now we just read Hebrews chapter 11 and we noted those various ones in that particular passage and we read that particular passage that talked about those men and things and the women and those particular things that they were going through. The point is that when we suffer like they suffered, we are aligning ourselves with those great men of the past, those great saints that we so admire in so many different ways.
But now returning to the book of 1 Peter we learn some lessons from that as well. In 1 Peter chapter 3, our text is verse 17, but notice 16. In that we learn that one of the great blessings of suffering is that it silences our users. In 1 Peter chapter 3 verse 16 he says, “Having a good conscience that whereas they speak evil of you as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”
I remember a number of years ago a gospel preacher was going down to South Texas to hold a meeting near his hometown. He was stopped at a restaurant and he was sitting in that restaurant and he knew the members of the church and there were some folks next to him in the next booth beside him and he couldn’t help but understand and hear what they were saying. They were talking about one of the members of the church and he recognized the name immediately. They were talking about this particular elder of the church. They were saying all kinds of things against him. Finally the other man that was sitting there stopped the other two and he said, “Look, you know that is not right. You know this is a good man.” You see the good actions and the reputation of the one that was right and holy stopped and silenced the mouths of the accusers. And so it is the case that one of the great blessings that we have is the silencing of the mouth of the accusers.
Another great blessing that we receive as a result of suffering is the idea that we can have joy and fellowship with Christ and His suffering. Well Peter deals with that. Let’s look at a couple of passages. In 1 Peter chapter 2 and let’s begin with verse 19. He says, “For this is thankworthy. If a man for conscience toward God endured grief suffering (he says) wrongfully. For what glory is it when he be buffeted for his faults, you take it patiently? But if when you do well and suffer for it, if you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” Now notice what he said there. This is thankworthy. It is worthy of thanks. It’s a joyous opportunity that we have to suffer with Christ.
In chapter 4 of the same book, 1 Peter, we learn there in verse 12-16 a similar great message. He says, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trials which is to try you as though some strange thing happened to you, but rejoice in so much as you are partakers of Christ sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye for the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part, He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf.”
So we find there in these passages that Peter is encouraging them that we can have great joy. We can rejoice in the suffering of Christ because we have had a… We can partake in that. We can be a sharer in those things. It is truly a joy to be able to share in the suffering of Christ. It is a great privilege that has been afforded to us that we can have fellowship with the suffering of Christ.
Another great blessing that we receive or benefit that why it is better to suffer for good rather than evil is the fact that well suffering for good is acceptable for God. Well what do we mean by that? Well look at verse 20 that we read just a moment ago. He says, “For what glory is it if when he be buffeted for your faults, ye take it patiently, but if when ye do well and suffer for it, take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” The word “acceptable” is translated commendable in the New King James translation, and it is the idea of being gracious and God is gracious to us and it is a gracious thing to be able to suffer for Christ.
But now let’s go back to our text and let’s notice one other thing as we think about these things. Now we’ve noticed how it is better for us to suffer for good, but let’s notice the contrast that is being made. We must suffer for good and not for evil. Well you see Peter also dealt with that in this particular book. Remember he talked about in chapter 2 the fact that if they suffered wrongfully and you endure grief, what glory is it? How can you rejoice over those kinds of things? It is only right that we suffer for the things that we do wrong. In chapter 4 as we read already he says, “If anyone suffers as a murderer, or a thief, or an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters,” he says, “if you suffer for those things, what good is it?” You see it is only right that we suffer for those things. We recognize that in life there are things that we do and that we have to bear the consequences of it and if we have to suffer for those things, then so be it. We recognize that that is just a part of life. I mean that is just life and that is the way it happens. But if we suffer for Christ and if we suffer for good, it is better and it is God’s Will that that is the case. It is better because it provides growth. It is better because it silences our accusers. It is better because we align ourselves with those great men and women of the past. It is better because it provides means of joy and means of fellowship for the suffering of Christ and it is better because it is commendable to God.
As we think about those things, let us never forget that we need to suffer for good so that we might grow. And we need to suffer for these things. It is so important for us. But you know, as we think about those things, I know that there may be some that have questions about it. And if you have questions about these matters or other matters that we could help you with concerning spiritual matters, then don’t hesitate to write or call. If we can help you in other ways, then please don’t hesitate. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks for being with us and we appreciate you.
(SONG # 3 - “I Need Thee Every Hour!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
But for now let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today’s lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:
The Living Word
2540 N. Kansas Expressway
Springfield, Mo. 65803
Many of these items are also available on our website, that address: www.thelivingwordprogram.com
Or if you prefer, you may call us at:
Are you willing to suffer for the sake of God? Thanks be to Christ that He left us an example, so that we might learn to do whatever it takes to put our God first and to give Him our best!