“So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high
priest; … Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and
supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save
him from death, and was heard in that he feared; THOUGH HE WERE A SON, YET
LEARNED HE OBEDIENCE BY THE THINGS WHICH HE SUFFERED;” (Hebrews 5:5,7-8)
We are studying the subject of suffering and
We opened our first study on this subject by telling
you that some “Word of Faith” Christians have the wrong idea that, by using
their faith, they can reach the place in this life where it is possible to
live above tests, trials and sufferings.
Although I personally am a
strong believer in and an advocate of the “Word of Faith” message, I
disagree with such an unscriptural position.
Jesus’ life was not free
of tests, trials and sufferings. He learned obedience by the things
that He suffered.
Jesus’ Disciples, the Apostle Paul and all
followers of Christ learn obedience to the will of God for their lives
Jesus is our example in suffering, therefore, we
will suffer. Any man or woman who has ever been used by the Almighty
in demonstration of His Spirit and power has been matured through suffering.
In part one of this study
the point was made that there are different types of suffering. There
are types of suffering which are not ordained of God and there are types of
suffering which are ordained of God.
In that study we covered the
types of suffering that are not ordained of the Almighty to perfect His
We saw that suffering in sin does not produce
We saw that suffering in sickness and disease does not
We also saw that
suffering in poverty is not the will of God and does not produce
Finally, we saw briefly from the Bible that eternal
damnation or even the unscriptural teaching of “Purgatory” does not produce
perfection in Believers.
It is never the will of the Almighty for
anyone to suffer in any of these areas, and anyone who teaches otherwise is
a teacher of vanity. (Matthew 15:9)
However, we do know that there is a type of suffering that is
ordained of God for Believers because Jesus is our example when it comes to
that particular type of suffering.
Before we can talk about what that
particular type of suffering is, we must first establish the following
Suffered for Us in Two Different Ways
“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:” (1Peter )
The first way that Jesus suffered for us was as our sin Substitute.
Here Peter reveals that Jesus has
suffered once for sins and that once was enough.
As our sin Substitute, Jesus not only bore our sins on the Cross, He also
bore the penalties for our sins, which are sickness, disease, poverty and
eternal separation from the Almighty.
It is not possible for us to
follow Jesus’ substitutionary footsteps back to Calvary and offer
ourselves for the sins of the world. Going to the Cross was something
that only Jesus could do for us. He is sinless. We are not.
In December of 1988, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the end of a
long day of study, I took a few moments to check in on the local news
broadcast. To my amazement I found myself watching a live broadcast
of a man sitting in the middle of the street and dousing himself with
To my further amazement the camera crew actually stood
there continuing to film, allowing him to light a match at which point he
literally burst into flames.
Finally, an onlooker jumped upon the man with some sort of a
large coat or blanket and smothered the flames, but not before the man had
done serious damage to himself.
One of the camera crew asked the man,
“Why did you do that to yourself?”
The horribly burned man responded,
“To redeem myself from sin.” It is not possible for human beings to
redeem themselves from sin. Jesus suffered once as our sin Substitute
so that we would not have to suffer in this way.
Yet the Bible does say that there is a way that Jesus suffered
for us in which we are to follow Him as our
“For even hereunto were ye called: because CHRIST ALSO SUFFERED
FOR US, LEAVING US AN EXAMPLE, that ye should follow his steps:” (1 Peter )
The way that Jesus suffered for us, as an example, was in the
way He suffered persecution for His uncompromising stand on His Father’s
As we have seen, the Almighty does not use sin,
sickness, poverty or damnation to perfect and to mature His family.
He does allow the process of persecution to strengthen us to hardship and
difficulty and to bring about maturity. (See Isaiah 41:10 in the Amplified
Persecution with Christ Produces Perfection
“For THIS IS THANKWORTHY, IF A MAN FOR CONSCIENCE TOWARD GOD ENDURE GRIEF, SUFFERING WRONGFULLY. For what glory is
it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, WHEN YE DO WELL, AND SUFFER FOR IT, YE TAKE IT
PATIENTLY, THIS IS ACCEPTABLE WITH GOD. For even hereunto were ye called:
because CHRIST ALSO SUFFERED FOR US, LEAVING US AN EXAMPLE, THAT YE SHOULD
FOLLOW HIS STEPS: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
Who, WHEN HE WAS REVILED, REVILED NOT AGAIN; WHEN HE SUFFERED, HE
THREATENED NOT; but committed himself to him that judgeth
righteously:” (1Peter 2:19-23)
Peter is not talking about Jesus suffering in sin, sickness,
disease, poverty or damnation. Peter is talking about Jesus suffering
wrongly for preaching and living the Word of the Almighty.
the statement that this is the only type of suffering that is acceptable
with God.Jesus was reviled,
criticized, hated, threatened, rejected, defamed, falsely accused, maligned
and cruelly persecuted in every possible way even by “spiritual” people who
thought they were doing the will of God by harming Him.
continued to preach, to obey what He knew was the will of God and to ignore
His self-appointed critics. This is how Jesus learned
This is how all Believers will learn obedience if they
truly desire the will of God.
Persecution for the Word’s sake will cause any Believer who is
serious about the deep things of God to grow up in a great big hurry.
Anyone who truly desires the perfect will of God for his or her life and
true revelation of His Word is going to pay a price. There is a
stepping up in the realm of the spirit that the Almighty has ordained for
all who desire it.
But there is a price that must be paid. It
is called persecution.
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal
glory by Christ Jesus, AFTER THAT YE HAVE SUFFERED A WHILE, MAKE YOU
PERFECT, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (1
There is only one way to perfection, establishment in the Word
of Faith, spiritual strength and grounding. It is not suffering in or
because of sin. It is not suffering in sickness and disease. It
is not suffering in poverty. It is not suffering eternal separation
from the Almighty.
It is suffering persecution.
The Bible says
that the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh.
When you make a decision that you are going to obey the Word of
God and pursue His plan at all costs, other people’s flesh will begin to
war against your spirit.
When you begin to walk in the light of God’s Word, the light in
you will begin to reveal the darkness in others, whether you mean for it to
As difficult as it is for some to accept, the Bible reveals
that anyone who is not submitting himself or herself to the will of God is
submitting to the will of Satan. (Ephesians 2:1-3)
When you begin to submit yourself to the will of God, Satan and
demon spirits, who are in control of the people around you, get all stirred
up and agitated.
The end result is persecution in the form of false accusations,
rejection, hatred, defamation, evil reports and the like.That is just plain Bible. (Matthew
5:11,12; 10:14,17-36; John 15:18-21; Acts 5:41; 13:45; 14:22; 1Corinthians
4:10-13; 2Corinthians 6:8-10; 11:26-28; 2Thessalonians 1:4; Ephesians 4:27;
6:12; Hebrews 13:13)
Do not start wondering where you might be out of the will of
God when people all around you begin to behave this way. Know that
you are getting closer to the bulls eye.
People who are not suffering
persecution for the Word’s sake should get on their knees and ask the
Almighty the following question. “Why is the devil not stirred up and
agitated by me? Where am I out of Your will?”
Satan and demon spirits were always agitated by Jesus’
commitment to His Father’s will and Word. When Satan and demon
spirits are not agitated by your commitment to your Father’s will and Word,
you are not following Jesus’ example.
That is a very positive,
negative word intended only to encourage you.
Takes Faith to Suffer Persecution with Christ
“So that WE OURSELVES GLORY IN YOU IN THE CHURCHES OF GOD FOR
YOUR PATIENCE AND FAITH IN ALL YOUR PERSECUTIONS AND TRIBULATIONS THAT YE
ENDURE: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye
may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them
that trouble you;” (2Thessalonians 1:4-6)
There are some, as I said earlier, that believe they can use
their faith to reach a place in this life where they live above tests,
trials, tribulation and persecution.
These same individuals wrongly
believe that it is a lack of faith to suffer persecution. They look
at those who are being persecuted for the Word’s sake and wrongly assume
that those individuals are suffering because they are out of the will of
The fact of the matter is, the Bible
reveals that you will suffer persecution and tribulation for being in the
will of God and that it takes great patience and faith to endure it.
People who think they are living free of tests, trials,
tribulation and persecution, because they have such “great faith”, seem to
have no idea in the world that they are not being persecuted because Satan is
not intimidated by them.
Satan is not intimidated by anyone who does
their own thing, refusing to walk in the light of the whole counsel of
God. You can be the Pastor of a church of 10,000 people and be so
void of the Word of God in your life and so ignorant of His perfect will
for your life, that Satan will leave you sitting pretty right where you are
because you are no threat to Him.
On the other hand, you can be the Pastor of a church of 25
unfaithful people who handles the Word of God with excellence and strives
daily for the perfect plan of God. It seems as if every corner you
turn someone is just waiting to falsely accuse you, to treat you with
despite, to reject you, to slander you and to backbite you.
the type of individual that the Almighty will use to split the kingdom of Satan wide open.
Hang in there. God will promote you. (Psalm 75:6-7)
world and carnal Believers despise you even as Satan, the world and carnal
Believers despised Christ. (Matthew 10:22; 24:9-10; Mark ; Luke ; ; John ; )
“For therefore WE BOTH LABOUR AND SUFFER REPROACH, BECAUSE WE
TRUST IN THE LIVING GOD, who is the Saviour of
all men, specially of those that believe.”
Notice the Apostle Paul told young Pastor Timothy that he would
suffer reproach, not sickness or poverty, for walking out the plan of God
in his life.
The Greek word for “reproach” in this verse is “oneidizo,” which means, “to be defamed, railed on,
chided, taunted and reviled.”
Satan will always find someone to do
this for him whenever a Believer decides to go for the gold and execute the
plan of God for his or her life.
“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his
prisoner: but BE THOU PARTAKER OF THE AFFLICTIONS OF THE GOSPEL ACCORDING
TO THE POWER OF GOD;” (2 Timothy 1:8)
The Greek word used for “afflictions” here is “sugkakopatheo,” which means, “to suffer hardship in
Who is Paul telling Timothy to suffer hardship in
Well, with Jesus, of course. He is our Example in
suffering. When we allow ourselves to patiently suffer with Him in
persecution, He shares His power with us.
This is when the Gifts of the Spirit begin to operate. (1Corinthians
12:7-11; 2Corinthians 12:9-10)
Do not complain. Pray for those
who defame, rail on, chide, taunt and revile you.God will bless you for it. (Matthew
“Thou therefore ENDURE HARDNESS, AS A GOOD SOLDIER OF JESUS CHRIST
… IF WE SUFFER, WE SHALL ALSO REIGN WITH HIM: if we deny him, he also will
deny us:” (2 Timothy 2:3,12)
The Greek word for “hardness” in the above verse is “kakopatheo,” which means, “to suffer trouble from
There is just no denying it. It is completely Scriptural
to be persecuted either directly by Satan and demon spirits or indirectly
through worldly people or carnal Christians.
Someone’s going to jump and holler about
the following but the facts are the facts.
Possibly the greatest persecution you will endure will come from
other Christians who are ignorant of God’s Word and see no need to walk in
love. You are going to hear it all from, “Here comes Mr.
Holier-than-thou” all the way to things that are so belched up from the bowels
of Hell that I would not dare to print them in this study.
tight. Keep preaching. Keep on believing. Keep ignoring
You will be the one walking in power. You will be
the first one your critics run to when their babies are sick and they
simply cannot get a hold of Heaven.I have seen it over and over again.We just love them, forgive them and help them.
It takes faith to stay right where the Almighty has placed you
and suffer persecution because you believe in living clean, in healing,
prosperity, paying tithes and in walking in love even when those times come
when you would prefer anything else to it.
I know people who have been Born Again
for longer than I have been alive and they are still spiritual babies
because when the persecution heat rises, they run. (Mark 4:5-6) They
only submit to the will of God when it is easy.
That is not
submission. That is rebellion.
Persecution is not strange or unusual. (1 Peter ; 2 Peter )
the persecution is, the greater the coming joy and glory will be. (Romans
8:17-18; 2 Timothy ; 1 Peter )
It is an honor, not a shame, to be persecuted. It brings
glory to God. (1 Peter )
Not only will you suffer in persecution but you will also
suffer in resisting the temptation to avenge yourself or to go back into
the world of sin. (Luke 8:13; Romans 12:19)
Do not give in. You
will only end up paying for the same ground twice.