Some Christians are under the impression that the suffering “doctrine” or teaching is a legalistic religious mindset but is it?
Let’s look at what the Bible has to say about suffering.
To suffer ( sumpaschō ) according to the Bible means to experience pain and in particular regarding persecution. Suffer also means (pathēma ) hardships and emotional pain.
We know that Jesus suffered for us but did you know that we are called to suffer for him?
According to Romans 8:17 we are children of God and joint heirs with Christ ifwe suffer with him so that we can also be glorified (exalted to dignity) with him.
In the same way that Jesus carried his cross to complete the mandate given to him so must each of us carry our cross to fulfill our mandate given to us by God.
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. (Philippians 1:29)
The pain of persecution may include bodily and emotional pain. Jesus was never sick from disease and infirmity but bodily pain and mental torment was inflicted upon him. Jesus was persecuted for who he was and for the message he brought.
Scriptures tell us that Christians will suffer persecution because we belong to Jesus. And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. (Galatians 5:11)
Scriptures tell us that the sufferings (pathēma hardships, emotional pain) of this world are insignificant in comparison to the glory that will be revealed in us.
2 Corinthians 1:6 tells us to endure suffering for that reason. For as we partake of suffering for Christ’s sake so shall we partake of the comfort of the Comforter. The Holy Spirit will always comfort us in our sufferings. (2 Corinthians 1:4)
Suffering produces patience in us . After we have patiently suffered for a while then we will produce new life. In the same way as the pain of child birth produces new life, we will have the joy at the end of our suffering!
What Satan means for our hurt God always turns into life for his glory so patiently endure the suffering you are going through! (Roman’s 8:28)
If you are in a place of suffering right now for Christ’s sake then rejoice for scriptures tell us that your reward in heaven will be great ! To suffer for Jesus sake will turn into life for you!
With God’s strength we can endure our suffering and with his love shed abroad in our hearts we can love and pray for those who persecute us; so that they will come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. (Matthew 5:10, Roman’s 5:5, Matthew 5:44)
Is God fair? It depends on your definition of fair.
If you mean does God show favoritism or bias to anyone then the answer is no. BUT if you mean does God distribute evenly then again the answer is no.
According to Acts 10:34 God is no respecter of persons.
This means that God does not show partiality or unfair bias based on favoritism BUT God does choose people for different gifts and callings according to his purposes.
God gives some people what seems like an advantage in some area but he makes that up by giving others an advantage in another area. This spiritual principle we can see in the bible verse of God bestowing more grace on a “comely vessel.” 1 Corinthians 23:24
We see by God’s distribution of the talents in Matthew that God does not always distribute his gifts evenly.
According to that parable Jesus gave one person 5 talents, another 2 talents and another 1 talent according to their ability or in other words the gifts and callings of the Lord allotted to them.
Each were equally accountable for what they did with their talents. (Matthew 25: 14-30)
It ended up that because the guy with 5 talents increased what he had, God gave him even more and the guy with 1 talent, he ended up loosing his talent.
Interesting enough but it was the guy with the least amount of talents that did nothing with his. Sometimes we may think that because we don’t have a lot of advantages that we are less accountable. This is not true. No matter how much we have been given by the Lord in our ability, we are still accountable to use that talent for the Lord Jesus glory. Remember the one who uses their talent will get even more talents.
Even though it seems like we may have been given an unfair playing field in actuality what we have are really only differences. Remember scriptures tell us that to one is given…..and to another is given…according as the Lord wills. (1 Cor. 12)
Can we increase our gifts and callings? The answer is YES! For example, I heard a testimony about a man in Africa from a poor village who waited all day to see a famous preacher and track him down to get prayer for a blessing.
Out of thousands of people attending that meeting only one stayed behind to seek out a blessing. It ended up that right after that encounter the young African man went back to his village and prayed for his people. Revival broke out in his village. This young man is a high profile evangelist in Africa today.
So as you can see while God is no respecter of persons he will bless the person who uses the gifts bestowed with more gifts and the person who does nothing or mismanages their gifts will suffer loss. (2 Corinthians 10:12)
This is why God says that those who compare themselves with others are not wise. We are not accountable for the next guy’s life but we sure are for our own!
Wisdom is given to those who seek out how to utilize their gifts and talents. The Bible tells us that all we have to do is ask! (James 1:5)
No matter how hard the battle is Christians must hold on to the hem of Jesus Christ’s garment until victory comes ! (Matthew 9:20)
Many times when we don’t see immediate results and heaven seems silent our flesh is tempted to panic but Jesus wants us to look to him, the originator and completer of our faith, and not at the storm around us. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
No matter how rough the waves, how deep the waters, or how hard the wind blows, we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. (Mathew 14)
Satan knows his times is short and he is mad as hell. Knowing our weakness, and the weakness of others, the evil one will send forth those fiery darts but our faith in Jesus Christis what will bring us through to victory every time. If we do not give up. (Ephesians 6:16, Galatians 6:9)
Faithful is he who has promised! So hang on, keep pressing through in prayer and having done all you are required in scriptures to do just keep standing. (Hebrews 10:23, Ephesians 6:13)
God’s power will be released to rescue you from your fiery trial. Jesus will turn your way and see your faith. He will lift you up out of despair and make you whole again. Jesus will turn your sorrow into joy once more! Do not be afraid! Do not doubt his love for you! Hang on with every last thread of your being to his garment!
Your victory is sure! Look up for help is on its way!
Continue to put your trust in Jesus Christ through the storm and you will not be disappointed! Remember that he has promised to come through for you and God never breaks a promise! (Roman’s 10:11 Psalms 25:3)
The word continue according to the Greek definition means to persevere diligently, attend to in exercise, wait on, adhere closely to.
So in other words Christians are being admonished to continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty (persevere) carefully with much effort (diligent) show up and engage in physical activity (godly exercise) attending with close attachment ( draw near) in immediate proximity. (up close and personal)
Sounds like a mouthful but you get the point when it’s broken down.
Prayer is not always a quicky petition. When we don’t get an answer right away many of us want to give up. We think that the Lord Jesus doesn’t care about our situation because he doesn’t show up immediately and meet our need.
Well, God just isn’t a fast food God. It doesn’t work that way. There are many variables (and that’s a different message ) as to why we don’t see immediate results to our prayers.
Suffice to say, constant prayer is needed. It’s called seeking and seeking is a prerequisite for answered prayer. We seek until the answer comes and sometimes it takes an extended period of time. (DANIEL 9)
Notice in Jeremiah 29 that the Lord Jesus says that if we seek him in prayer that he will hear us. The Lord says that if with our whole heart we seek him we will find him. Our answer will come! The Lord tells us that he will deliver us from our captivity and restore us. It’s a spiritual principle. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much scriptures tell us. (James 5:16)
Seeking the Lord Jesus requires fervency! Prayers that are passionate and intense. In other words heart felt seeking bordering on desperation is required in prayer.
If there is one thing irresistible to the Lord it is sincerity and persistence prayer. Why do you think that the woman with the issue of blood was commended by Jesus? She was so desperate that she was willing to humble herself and grab on to the hem of his garment. That’s diligent prayer! (Matthew 9:20)
The unjust judge according to Jesus’ story gave the persistent seeker her request and the Lord likened that case scenario to how persistence towards God gets answers to prayer. (Luke 18:1-8)
Do you have a desperate need?
Then continue in prayer till the answer comes. It will come!
Just keep seeking, keep knocking, keep praying and one day the door is going to open wide up for you! Jesus assured us of this in his word.
A phrase being thrown around in Christian circles today is “Hyper grace.”
Grace can be “hyper” to Christians who are not in need of hyper grace but from my perspective I need all the grace I can get !
Let’s examine the doctrine of grace in a hyper grace mode shall we?
Hyper means to be really active with energy and grace (charis in the Greek) according to the Bible is the divine influence on the heart which is freely given not by merit but by God’s sovereign power.
In other words grace is the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to help those born of God to be over comers of this world through faith since grace works through faith.
Well, what do you know! Energetic active grace by God’s Holy Spirit enables Christians to be over-comers! What are we supposed to be overcoming? Scriptures tell us it’s the world, the devil AND the flesh or ungodly desires of the soul realm and body.
So if anybody ever needed hyper grace it would be the hyper sinner! True grace is active with God’s energy. Just so you know all life operates by energy and even scientists don’t fully understand it.
As Christians we know that scriptures tell us that all things are held together by God’s power or energy.
Grace is activated by faith so if you need God’s grace to over come in this life then call on him to extend his grace to you. God’s grace will energize your heart to trust him to do what he has promised in his word to do.
If scriptures say that there is no power that can take you out of the Lord’s hand then that’s a fact. If scriptures say that you are more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ who strengthens you then that’s a fact. If scriptures tell you that grace abounds to the sinner then that’s a fact!
Next time some one tells you that you belong to the hyper grace camp just smile and nod because God’s grace is the active power of his Holy Spirit that will give you victory over every sin and every demonic attack. All you have to do is believe through faith in that fact and God will work his grace into your life!
That phrase is thrown around a lot in some Christian circles today so let’s just examine it from a Biblical perspective.
What does the Bible say about religion? According to Acts 26:5 Religion means (thrēskeia )ceremonial observance or traditional way of doing things.
Paul was a Pharisee who practiced the religion of a particular sect. (Heresy is the Greek word for sect.) A sect is a choice, a party, disunion.
In other words the Pharisees were a formally constituted by choice, and religious group that formed a ruling body over the society.
A Pharisee is a separatist belonging to a sect. One who separates in religious observance from other groups.
Galatians 1:13 scripture tells us that Paul practiced the Pharisee sect which transferred the precepts and traditions of ceremonial ordinances and laws according to their sectarian disunion from other groups.
Now that we know what a religious Pharisee is let us find out why Jesus was in conflict with them.
John the Baptist called the Pharisees and Sadducee vipers. ( Matthew 23:33 ) A viper strikes suddenly and injects poison into the body of its victim. So John was pointing out that these sects injected religion or their ceremonial observances into people which he considered to be poisonous.
In other words what the religious people of his time were doing was indoctrinating their deadly heresy into others rather than the pure word of God.
What was the deadly heresies that the Pharisees were teaching?
Jesus pointed out some of them.
In his parables and encounters with the religious people of his day he pointed out that the Pharisees were separatist elitists in their practice. They had ridged ways of doing things that did not have grace for any one else’s method.
These religious people looked down on any one who did not conform to their way of thinking. The Pharisee or religious spirit is a practicing elitist. One who separates in form from any one different than they are.
The religious spirit hates non conformity. If you are different with a different gift or calling watch out because the religious spirit will strike like a viper! The religious spirit is very territorial.
The religious spirit separates from non conformists and does not like to keep company with them. If you don’t do things their way then you are not welcome.
Jesus many times pointed out to the religious leaders that they were hypocrites. Claiming to belong to God the religious spirit in actuality is serving Satan. Why? Because self will, self exaltation, and self centerness is Satan’s nature, not God’s nature.
True Christian’s are led by the Holy Spirit not by a sectarian rule book. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin in order to bring change in the heart by his love while the religious spirit brow beats and tries to force conformity to their way of doing things.
Another thing scriptures point out about the religious or Pharisee spirit is that it is jealous of those who walk closely with God . The religious spirit will always attack the spiritual person because of jealousy.
Why is the religious spirit jealous? Simply because the true Christian is led by God and not by them. The religious spirit can see that those who walk in the Holy Spirit are led of God and non conformist to the agenda of someone else . This infuriates the religious spirit.
The religious spirit will always cherry pick the Bible for their own agenda. Jesus said that the Pharisees strained at gnats while swallowing camels. They fussed over every dot and crossing of T’s in the Bible but didn’t seem to see the more important things that Jesus tried to point out to them like loving people and helping them out.
The religious spirit prefers ceremonial practices and while this may be in a traditional frame work it can also come from a Corinthian mind set as well. The religious spirit in a Corinthian church setting also has rules and ways of doing things according to their way of thinking.
Many times the religious spirit in the Corinthian church will reject the more practical type of Christian who loves to serve and wait on tables but will also oppose others not conforming to their agenda. The Corinthian religious spirit will look down on others as being less spiritual than they are.
The Pharasee according to Jesus will also put burdens on others that they won’t carry themselves. The religious spirit will many times require you to live a certain way or do a certain thing that they themselves don’t do. In other words the religious spirit doesn’t practice what it preaches.
The religious spirit will also brow beat others in their religiosity but fail to apply mercy and grace. Their ways are higher than God’s ways! They have all the answers and if you don’t like their way of doing things well you are just not welcome into their little camp.
We Christian’s throw around the religious spirit doctrine alot when we don’t like to listen to someone else’s view point and have our own heart examined. Sectarianism is a principle attribute of the religious spirit.
Finally, the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus the Bible tells us. Sounds pretty harsh but the religious spirit hates the agenda of the kingdom of God. Notice how the Pharisees conspired to take Jesus and hand him over to Rome because they were afraid of loosing their place! (John 11)
The religious spirit on pretence will attack a true Christian because of their perverted version of truth but in reality it’s because the religious spirit knows when the Holy Spirit comes on the scene it’s got to get out of the way. The religious spirit loses its place!
No more running the show! No more praises of men! No more fleesing the sheep! No more control !
So how do you know if you are really dealing with a religious spirit?
Look for the signs !
You will be disliked, trying to control you and conform you, jealous of your walk with God, nit picking you with scriptures taken out of context to brow beat and condemn you, telling you to do something they don’t do and finally rejecting you if you don’t conform to their way of thinking.
The religious spirit is a crafty one. Residing in churches, institutions and even family and friends but be of good cheer because just like Jesus overcame the religious spirit so can we !
How? Jesus resurrection power put the religious spirit in its place. Oh, the religious spirit may deny Holy Spirit power and come against it but will never be able to counterfeit it. The religious spirit will never be able to stop Holy Spirit power either for greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world !
The best way to deal with the religious spirit is to depend on the Holy Spirit !
What does it mean to judge? Many times we hear people say, Don’t judge others! Why all the fuss about being judged? Why don’t we want to be judged? First of all if we have nothing to hide then why do we worry about being judged? Second of all if some one misjudges us then the Lord will defend us. He will prove them wrong, so its really not such a big deal.
However, I will explain the principle of judging according to scriptures and leave it to you to judge !
Don’t judge unless you are willing to be judged !
Judging or making a critical assessment of another always brings that same judgment back to us according to Matthew 7:1-3
The Holy Spirit will reveal to us when we judge others how that we do the same things that we are judging them about. This is a good thing!
God’s Judgment in this life is for for our good ! Judgment is correction in righteous. 2 Timothy 3:16
When the Lord reveals to us how we walk in the same sins that we see in others then we can have empathy for the person in whom we have judged.
We can then be able to take that beam out of our own eye by repenting so that we can pray with love and understanding for the one we have judged. We can pray that the Lord will show them their sin so they can repent , forgive, and come into healing too . James 5:16
The Bible says that if we judge ourselves then we won’t be condemned with the world. 1 Cor. 11:32
Judging our own hearts keeps us humble. The deeper we look into our own affairs the less time we will have to be looking into some one else’s affairs.
God wants us to bear one another’s burden not throw stones at them. Sometimes it takes God’s judgment in our lives to develop wisdom and understanding. Gal. 6:2
We soon find out that the very thing we criticize in another person probably is in our heart in some form of the other as well.
David said that he learned righteousness by God’s judgment on him.
David judged Uriah. He thought that Uriah did not deserve a beautiful godly woman because he was just a base heathen but after God judged him he realized what a heel he was .
Uriah in actuality was a godly man. Maybe not in the same way David was but esteemed in God’s eyes non the less. Uriah was selfless, loyal and giving. He had a servant’s heart. 2 Sam. 11
Christians are called to judge righteous judgment. Its in the Bible! Not according to appearance or the limited information that we have but according to Biblical protocol. John 7:24
We may not know all the facts in a given situation and can misunderstand. So if we are judged by the standards we judge someone else then the Holy Spirit can judge us by that standard in order to reconstruct our hearts.
This principle of judgment can be a good thing if we yield to the correction. It brings the light of the Holy Spirit on our life by revealing our sins, our heart motives, and our failures. This is so that we can make (by God’s power ) adjustments in our own lives.
Judgment by others is painful but be rest assured that God is dealing with them in how they judge us as well.
It is much better to be judged by God in this life than in the next. There are no second chances in eternity. Hebrews 12:11
To judge by definition means to critically evaluate. God judges us all the time according to the Bible. That’s his job. Sometimes he even uses another person to reveal to us our sin. 1 Cor. 11 :22
1 Cor 2:15 is omitted by some modern versions of the Bible but the Greek manuscript says judge…. krino…judge…., determine, call into question, prove.
No where in the Bible does it say not to judge. In fact scriptures tell us to judge righteously and be prepared to have your own heart judged in the process. This is so that we can help the one we have had a controversy with. John 7:24
The Bible tells us to test the fruit, prove all things, be alert, be sober, watch unto prayer. 1 Thess 5:21
Many times those who don’t like to be judged are those who don’t want to deal with their sins. The Lord loves us unconditionally BUT he does not want us to stay the same. Jesus died to save us from our sin but he also saved us from the power of sin. John 3:20,21
The Lord wants us to be changed, transformed, sanctified by his Holy Spirit. Paul said he died every day to his old flesh and so must we. Roman’s 12:2
Don’t be afraid to be judged. Let the light of God shine on your heart when some one judges you. Look to see if there is some truth to what you are being judged about.
When you see a fault in someone else ask the Lord Jesus to show you how you may have some of that same stuff in your own heart. This is so that when we pray then we can identify with the person in whom we have judged. With the Lord’s compassion we are then able to love even more with God’s love that is in our hearts.
In this way we fulfill all the law of Jesus Christ by loving him and loving others also. Gal. 6:2
Did you know that the Lord tells us in his word that there are some things as Christians that we cannot do?
If we do these things then we cannot inherit eternal life. Now I know some preachers will tell you that it’s okay if you live after the fallen nature and make it to heaven but I’m not one of them.
If the word says it then it’s TRUE no matter who says other wise. Now you can give me all kinds of doctrinal leans that skip over these truths but I for one am not buying it and in my opinion its awfully foolish to reject God’s word in favor of somebody’s opinion.
I am a grace preacher but what separates me from some grace preachers is that I believe scriptures teach that if you are truly born of God then you will live like you are truly born of God.
The Holy Spirit’s job is not just to comfort us when we are going through trials but also to instruct us in righteousness, convict us of sin and remind us of God’s judgment for those who LIVE AFTER the fallen nature. John 16:8
So let’s examine the scriptures concerning what we cannot do as Christians and make it to heaven.
We cannot drink of the Lord’s cup and the cup of devils nor can we sit at the Lord’s table and also at the table of devils. (1 Cor. 10:20)
In other words eating and drinking communally with Satan’s kingdom and also in God’s kingdom, such as watching demonically inspired movies, hanging out in Satan’s den of debauchery, participating in demonic activities of any kind then going to church on Sunday and maybe a prayer meeting or two.
No, it’s either one or the other. Remember that Jesus said if we are luke warm he will spew us out of his mouth. We have to make a choice. God or the devil.
We cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve money, worldly affairs or any thing contrary to God’s word and serve God too. Again it’s a choice we have to make. Following after worldly success and ambitions or God’s agenda. (Matthew 6:24)
We cannot love the world and have God’s love in us too. If we love anything more than God then we cannot have God’s love flowing through us.
If we don’t put God first in our lives then we will not be able to have his full love and devotion to give to others. We reap what we sow in life. It’s as simple as that. (1 John 2:15, 16)
We cannot walk in darkness and in the light too. Sounds only obvious but in actuality when we sin we open our lives up to darkness and give Satan place in our lives. When Satan has place then he wants more place. Pretty soon the light that was in us becomes crowded out with darkness. ( 1 John 1:16,17 Matthew 6:23)
We cannot serve God and mammon too. Now money in and of itself is not evil. If Money is used by God and for God then money is in its proper place BUT if we serve money by letting it be our master then it becomes mammon. An idolatrous idol. We cannot serve two masters. (Matthew 6:24)
In conclusion, scriptures make it clear that we must choose who we will serve. The first commandment tells us to love God first above anything else. To do other wise reveals we do not really belong to God anyway. (Luke 10:27)
Do you have a decision to make today? (Joshua 24: 14,15)
If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father; Jesus Christ the righteous. (1 John 2:1,2)