Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Persecution in Christ Greater than Pleasure in the World

"Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;" (Hebrews 11: 25)

When we read about the persecution that Moses suffered with the people of God, we have to look a little deeper. What does it really mean to suffer?

It does not speak of financial lack of physical abuse, nor do we find ourselves enduring the same harrowing torture that Jesus took for us, because no can ever die as He did for us:

"1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2: 1-2)


"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:" (1 Peter 3: 18)

and also

"13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2: 13-15)

Jesus explained to His disciples, before He was crucified then rose again, and before they would receive His spirit, that they would face persecution. Yet he prefaced this stern reality with greater glory:

"28Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. 29And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, 30But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. 31But many that are first shall be last; and the last first." (Mark 10: 28-31)

We may feel that we are giving up everything, yet if we truly understand our dead state apart from Jesus ("Apart from me, ye can do nothing" (John 15: 5), we understand that we have nothing, and thus we need everything from him.

Just as Paul had explained to the Philippians that he counted his past, life and works of self-righteousness, for naught (Philippians 3: 7-11), so too we recognize that the pleasures of this world are nothing compared to the glory we receive through Jesus, even in the face of persecution in the world:

"28Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now." (Galatians 4: 28-29)

We are children of God, and have receive the promise of His Spirit. Men and women under law will persecute us, much of the time because they work and receive not benefit for their efforts (cf. Isaiah 55: 1-5)

Regarding the pleasures of sin for a season, we should not hesitate to reject it:

15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (1 John 2: 15-17)

Why settle for what does not last, when He has called us to eternal things?

Consider even this account:

"7My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.
8With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" (Numbers 12: 7-8)
Better than Pharaoh, Moses spoke to God face to face.
Why would we settle for the pleasures of this empty world? Today, we receive the eternal life, glory, and power which comes from Jesus!

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