“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” 1 Peter 4:12-14
As followers of Jesus Christ, Peter encourages us not to be surprised by the trials and tribulations that we are experiencing or will experience for the sake of the King.
Because, make no mistake, even though you share the love of God to those around you, even though you stand for Jesus and His truth in love and even though your primary motivation is to speak the truth of God’s word and “set forth the truth plainly” so that that souls may be saved, sooner or later, your faith as a follower of Jesus will cost you. The question is when the time comes, will you be prepared to pay the price?
When you make a bold stand for Jesus Christ you can be guaranteed of persecution – societal, spiritual or very often both. It’s just the way it is, it comes with the territory. In the words of Jesus, “A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also”, John 15:20
But the deal is this, we can only partake of Christ’s glory when we have suffered for the sake of Him name. We can only gain the crown in the next world when we have carried our crosses in this one. Jesus had to bear His cross and afterwards He was glorified. There is no crown without the cross.
Trials and persecutions for the sake of Christ are also a test of our faith – Anyone can profess to be a follower of Jesus Christ when all is well, anyone can profess to the goodness of God when there are no trials, anyone can profess to stand for Jesus when there is no opposition or persecution …
But will we make the same stand for Jesus and hold true to His word when society imposes values that oppose and contradict the truth of scripture?
Will we hold fast to the truth of scripture that marriage is between a man and a woman or will we capitulate under the pressures of the culture to conform, compromise and “love” without zero accountability to God?
Will we unashamedly lead those that desperately need the saving grace of God to Jesus Christ, even if it makes us unpopular or will we instead “sugar coat” the truth of God’s word, water down the Gospel and play down the eternal peril that face those that die without Christ, just to make the gospel more “user-friendly” ?
Will we use the excuse of “love thy neighbor” to condone and even celebrate lifestyles that God has clearly declared sinful, ultimately “loving our neighbors all the way to an eternity without God?”. When pointing them to Jesus would have set them free from the bondage of sin? When speaking the truth could have potentially saved their souls?
Will we give silent consent to the murder of millions of innocent souls through “abortion rights”, even though Matthew 18:6 says “But whosoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Will we give silent consent when society says gender is how you feel and not how God has biologically created you, even though God’s word, clearly states in Genesis 5:2, that “He created them male and female and blessed them”.
Will we stand with Christ, reach out to the world in love and speak the truth in love, without compromise, or will we silently stand with the world against a Holy and loving God?
Will we stand for Christ before men or when the pressure comes, will we deny Him and stand with man against God? Remember the sobberring words of Jesus in Matthew 10:32-33
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven”.
Will we give silent consent to the rapid moral decay that has gripped society and “play down our Christianity” in order to blend in, not attract attention, survive and be “relevant to the culture”? Here’s the thing, Christ did not come to be relevant to the culture, He came to impact the world – we must do the same.
The reason we now find much of the world in the church today and why much of the modern church has lost its power, is because in an attempt by the church to be relevant to the prevailing culture, the church has allowed the culture to influence it.
We were not saved by the precious blood of Jesus so that we can be relevant to the culture, we were saved so that we can impact the culture for Jesus and bring the light of Christ to a lost world. We were not saved to “hide our lights under a bushel” but to become “cities on hills that cannot be hid” and point others to the salvation of their souls through Christ alone. No other ways, but Jesus Christ alone. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,John 14:6.
Merely professing to love others and accepting what God has declared sinful is not loving them – its in fact the most unloving thing anyone can do.
There are no saints and sinners in this world. We are all sinners. Some of us are sinners saved by faith in Christ Jesus, while others have chosen to rebel against God and continue in their sins.
God will not be mocked, the truth of His word is unchanging, and He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He will not change His mind or His word to make us feel better about ourselves or excuse what we know deep down is against His will. The world will pass away but His word will eternally remain fixed, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35
If we truly loved our neighbors we would not shrink back in sharing the truth – the truth of the love of God for those who are lost and the truth of the certainty of His judgment upon those who rebel against Him or dare mock Him.
If we truly love our neighbour’s we would unashamedly share the truth of the good news that Christ died for every human being on this planet so that our souls will not be lost and the uncomfortable truth of God’s wrath, so that the souls of men may be saved.
But doing so will not always be easy and sometimes will come with trials of our faith and persecution. But the trials we shall suffer the sake of Christ are incomparable to the glory that awaits those who persevere to the end – “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all”, 2 Corinthians 4:17.
Jesus Christ gave everything up so that we will be saved. Are we prepared to give everything up for His sake?
The salvation of your soul cost Christ His life. Your allegiance to Him will in turn cost you something as well.
The question is when the time comes will you be ready to pay the price?