“Sermon title: The Cross of Suffering and the Call to Perseverance”
Date: Sunday, October 7, 2018
Text: Matthew 5:10-12
“10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Speaker: Pastor Joseph
Introduction: What if I were to tell you that it is expected for followers of Jesus Christ to suffer and endure pain in the world; biblical discipleship is a call to suffer and deny oneself to King Jesus. This morning’s sermon focuses on Christian suffering and the call to perseverance in the midst of our affliction and tribulation. We will discuss the perspective of Jesus on human suffering as it relates to discipleship and exercising faith in God; second, we will look the biblical call to suffer as it is associated with biblical discipleship; finally, we examine some key verses that talk about christian attitude toward suffering and the future hope awaiting for those who suffer and persecute for King Jesus.
- Jesus’ perspective on human suffering
- He links suffering to human sin and the fallen world, but he insists that we should repent to prevent further natural disasters: Luke 13:1-4
“13 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? “
- Jesus construes suffering in the form of persecution as a mark of true discipleship.
- He predicts that his followers will be persecuted because of their faith in him and perseverance in God.
- Jesus interprets his own suffering and affliction as a model for Christian suffering.
Jesus on Christian suffering and persecution in the book of Matthew
- 10:39: Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
- 16:25: For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
- 19:29: And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold[a] and will inherit eternal life.
- 24:9: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.
2. Followers of Christ are called to suffer because of the Gospel
- Matthew 5:10-12,”10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
- Philippians 1:29, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.”
- Acts 5:40–42, 40 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus and let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.”
- 8:17, “17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
- 1:29, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake”
- Philippians 3:10-11, “10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
*** D. A. Carson observes, “There have been more Christian conversions since 1800 than in the previous 1,800 years combined, and there have been more Christian martyrs since 1800 than in the previous 1,800 years combined.”
- In the book of Revelation, Apostle John writes this book while he was undergoing suffering/in prison for the Gospel (Rev 1:9), to churches undergoing suffering (2:10, 13), about the suffering that will take place before the second coming of Jesus (see esp. Rev 11–13). He writes, “I, John, your brother and partner in tribulation…”
***Read about the 10 Famous Christian Martyrs
- What should Christian attitude toward suffering and persecution be? Or how should Christians respond to suffering and persecution
- God wants us to trust him and not to lose hope: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him” (Job 13:15).
- Christians are called to endure and to rejoice: “3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:3-7)
- “That we may grow into the likeness of Christ and that we may learn about his sufferings: “Suffering for Being a Christian, 12 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. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
- It is good to suffer for doing good and what is righteous : “19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:19-23)
- Christians are blessed if they are persecuted for righteousness: Matthew 5:10-12
***“John Bunyan lost his first wife, had a daughter who was blind, and found himself incarcerated for 10 years for preaching in public.”
***“Spurgeon’s mother had 17 children of whom 9 died in infancy.”
4 Encouraging Truths about Suffering (source: article from Christianity)
- Suffering Moves Us to Hold Tight to Jesus
- Suffering Helps Us to Sympathize with Others
- Suffering Helps Us to Sympathize with Others
- Suffering Exercises Our Faith
- There is Hope for those who are suffering in Christ and for His Sake
- Paul says that God will set everything right in the future: 8:18–25
3. Our Present Suffering will lead to Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[a] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
***God will end all human suffering in the age to come: Revelation 21:1-5
21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”