'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full"

Luke 14:23

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Punched or Praised?

In Philippians 1:29 Paul reminds the Christians in that city that as surely as they have believed in Christ, so they will also suffer for His name; as they walk in a manner worthy of the gospel (v. 27).
And just so they completely understood what he meant by 'suffering' he explained to them that it would be 'the same conflict that you saw I had' (v.30).

So I ask myself, what was that suffering and conflict that the Philippians had observed in Paul's life? Acts 16 tells us. Essentially, it was that he was beaten - physically. First by the local businessmen, then by the crowds and finally by the magistrates (Acts 16:19-24). This, of course, was how Paul was treated in every city he went (Acts 20:23).

Yes you say, but that was Paul. He was not talking about or to the average Christian. Yes he was; for that is not only the immediate context of this passage but also the proportion of the entire New Testament. A servant is not above his master. If they hated Jesus then they will hate you as you follow Him.

So I offer this question to Christian men in general, but specifically to those who claim to be called gospel-preachers: When is the last time you have been punched, kicked, spit on or beaten for simply heralding the gospel?

You say, "Well never; the times have changed you know." Yes, times have changed - but the devil has not, nor has this world and neither has the prideful, rebellious heart of man. Perhaps the gospel has changed? Not, of course, that the gospel could ever actually change; but perhaps rather the way you are preaching it?

May God raise up a generation of young men who will judge the success of their preaching not by how many times they have been praised but rather by how many times they have been punched.

"...and they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name" (Acts 5:41).

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