18 May 2014: “Persecution for Christ”

May 18, 14 18 May 2014: “Persecution for Christ”

[slideshare id=36179466&doc=may18-140622235031-phpapp01]

 

Pastor’s Message:

Mark 8:31-32a [Jesus] began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this…”

The disciple Peter didn’t like what he heard and rebuked the Lord for saying such things; after all, they were having a thing: lots of people following Jesus who was performing miracles and giving them amazing teaching. Peter didn’t want a Jesus with a cross.

Thank God, Jesus didn’t listen to Peter but set His face like a flint towards Jerusalem, towards the cross so that you and I can have the gift of salvation.

The Christians of today aren’t different from Peter: they want a Christianity without the price of costly obedience. And it’s easy to slide into a sloppy and casual commitment when we are enjoying religious freedoms and peace. Jesus said in Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven…”

This raises an important issue: What if we never face persecution for our faith? Our persecuted brethren can only dream of the personal freedoms we enjoy. Why don’t we face persecution? Are we living truly religious lives? Could we be hiding our light by withdrawing from the world (Matt 5:14-16) and missing the opportunity for influence?

Wouldn’t it be a tragedy that the believers who’ve been blessed the most would do the least for Christ? When I come to the end of my life and no one takes my life from me, I want at least to be able to say in the presence of Jesus that I chose to lay it down as a living sacrifice for Him and that I’d stretched myself in costly obedience for the sake of the Gospel.

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