Would You Leave Christ to Suffer Alone: The Gospel of a Suffering Christ Without Room for Suffering Christians

Today’s selected reading is found in the two New Testament epistles which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Thessalonica. More specifically, today’s passage encompasses and covers both epistles in their entirety, thus forming a full and complete picture of that which the apostle Paul sought to write and present unto them. ”Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; knowing, brethren, beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sonded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:1-10).

            HAVING RECEIVED THE WORD IN MUCH AFFLICTION! As you read the words which are found within the opening chapter of the first epistle written unto the Thessalonians you will come across and encounter this particular phrase, and it is one which we must needs recognize and understand when reading the epistles and words Paul wrote unto these saints. If you take the time to read the narrative and account of those in Thessalonica you will find that when the apostle Paul came unto them after departing from Philippi he went in unto the synagogue and reasoned with them three sabbath days out of the scriptures, as he opened and alleged that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen from the dead, and that this Jesus who suffered, and died, and rose again was in fact the Christ. As you continue reading the words which are found within this particular narrative you will find that there were initially those within Thessalonica which believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas—not only of the devout Greeks a great multitude, but also of the chief women. What you will find, however, is that while there were indeed those who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ there were Jews among them which believed not—and not only believed not, but were moved with envy, and took unto them certain lewd fellows that they might gather the company against Paul, against Silas, and against Timothy. These Jews would incite much of the city in an uproar and contention against the apostle Paul and those who traveled and journeyed with him, and made the emphatic statement and declaration that those who turned the world upside down had come unto and among them. It is in the eighth verse of the seventeenth chapter where you will find these Jews and those whom they gathered unto themselves troubling the people and the rulers of the city. Oh it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that which is written and found within this particular passage of Scripture, for when the apostle Paul wrote concerning them receiving the word in much affliction—that which he was speaking of was the tremendous conflict, chaos, strife, and contention that surrounded the preaching of the word of truth which they preached unto and among them. When the apostle Paul wrote unto them concerning their receiving the word in much affliction he was referencing to the tremendous distress and division the Jews which were present among them had wrought among them, and how the Jews which were there in the midst of the city would incite both people and leaders alike against the apostle Paul, and against Silas—and not only against Silas, but also against Jason and certain brethren whom they drew before and unto the rulers of the city.

            RECEIVING THE WORD IN MUCH AFFLICTION! RECEIVING THE WORD IN MUCH TRIBULATION! THE CONFLICT SURROUNDING THE WORD! THE CONTENTION SURROUNDING THE WORD! THE PREACHING AND TEACHING OF THE WORD IS NOT ALWAYS WELL RECEIVED! THE DIVISION SURROUNDING THE WORD! THE OFFENSE SURROUNDING THE WORD! When and as you read the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Thessalonica you will find him writing and speaking unto them concerning the great distress and great contention and confusion that rose up in the midst of them in response to the word of truth concerning Jesus the Christ. You cannot read the words found in the opening chapter of the first epistle written unto the Thessalonian saints and not look back over and upon the narrative and account of the apostle Paul and Silas together with them, for it would be as the apostle Paul, Silas and Timothy would be present among them that there would be great opposition that would rise up against them for the sake of the word of the gospel—and not only for the sake of the word of the gospel, but also for the sake of the knowledge and declaration that Jesus was indeed the Christ, and that this Jesus suffered, and was crucified, and rose again on the third day. It would be those Jews whose hearts would be hardened, and those Jews who would not raise themselves up against the apostle Paul, against Silas, and against the gospel they preached unto them. The narrative and account you find in the New Testament book of Acts is one which must needs be understood, for when you read the opening chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Thessalonica you will find him speaking concerning their receiving the word of God with much affliction—something which is actually quite interesting and intriguing when you take the time to think about it. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the awesome importance and significance of the narrative and account of the saints which were at Thessalonica, for although they would hear, and although they would receive the word of God concerning Jesus, they would receive it with much affliction and in much opposition. The Thessalonians would indeed hear the word concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet that word would be steeped and surrounded by much affliction and opposition, as the Jews which were present there in the midst of the city would raise and lift themselves up against both the apostle Paul, as well as the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.

            It is truly something worth reading and considering when coming to and approaching the epistles which were written unto the saints in Thessalonica, for the words you find in these epistles were written unto a people who had witnessed and beheld the tremendous opposition, the tremendous affliction, and the tremendous controversy that surrounds the preaching of the gospel. When those in Thessalonica heard the words which the apostle Paul preached unto them, and how they argued and contended that Jesus was indeed the Christ, there would be those among them who would immediately seek to discredit that which these servants of God would indeed bring and present unto them. Oh this is something which must needs be carefully considered, for more often than not we think of the gospel being preached under ideal and promising circumstances, and yet the truth of the matter is that there are times when the gospel is indeed and is in fact met with resistance, opposition and affliction. When we think about and consider the parable which Jesus spoke concerning the seed which was sown among four different types of soil we find those different types of soil representing the different types of hearts which would be present among those who would hear the word concerning the kingdom of God. This parable would reveal unto us different responses to the preaching of the word of God concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, and it would reveal the different types of hearts which would be present when the seed would be sown. Of course we know and understand when reading the gospel narratives concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ that there were those during the days He preached and ministered who received the word He preached, and those who refused and rejected it. We know that not everyone who heard the word which the Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught and preached received the word with joy and gladness, and immediately believed upon Him. There would be tremendous opposition and affliction that would surround the teaching and preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ when He would speak unto them concerning the kingdom of heaven.

            This is something that is worth thinking about and considering, for while it is true that there are various types of soil and hearts that surround the preaching of the word concerning the gospel of Jesus the Christ and the kingdom of heaven, there would also be different types of environment that would be present when that gospel would indeed be preached. It’s worth noting that when you read the seventeenth, the eighteenth and the nineteenth chapters of the New Testament book of Acts you will find the gospel being preached in Ephesus, in Thessalonica, in Berea, and in Corinth, and in those cities and towns there would be great controversy and opposition that would surround the preaching of the gospel. One might even say that wherever the apostle Paul went and whenever the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ was preached, it would almost always stir up the unbelieving which were present within those cities. You cannot read the narrative found within the New Testament book of Acts and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and tremendous opposition and affliction that would take place within the life of the apostle Paul and those who traveled and journeyed with him. You cannot read the narrative found within the book of Acts and not encounter just how much the gospel incited the unbelieving and hardened of hearts which were present within these cities. What’s more, is that more often than not you will find most of the opposition being stirred up by those unbelieving Jews whose hearts were hardened and who would and could not receive the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus the Christ. It would be in Thessalonica, in Berea and in Corinth the apostle Paul would face and experience the resistance of the Jews who would rise up in affliction and opposition toward and against the preaching of the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. It would be in Thessalonica where we would first see this opposition, as the Jews there—those who believed not and were moved with envy—would gather unto themselves lewd fellows whom they would incite against the apostle Paul and those who were traveling with him. Not only this, but you will find in this account the Jews and those whom they had gathered unto and among themselves setting all the city on an uproar, assaulting the house of Jason and certain brethren in the midst of the city.

            As I sit here today I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with and by this reality, for it shines a tremendous amount of light on to the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Thessalonians in each of the epistles which he wrote unto them. We dare not must not miss and lose sight of that which is found in the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts, for what we find within this chapter is a powerful picture and demonstration of the tremendous affliction and opposition that surrounds the preaching of the word, and concerning the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul would write unto the saints which were at Thessalonica, and would remind them of the great struggle, the great conflict, and the great contention that surrounded their hearing the preaching of the word concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. What is truly astonishing and amazing when you take the time to consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture is when you read how the apostle Paul was indeed willing to bear up under and contend with the opposition and affliction that would surround the preaching of the word concerning the kingdom that men might hear the truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. It is truly something worth thinking about when reading the words found in the opening chapter of the first New Testament epistle which was written unto the saints which were in Thessalonica, for the words which you find in this epistle powerfully and wonderfully demonstrates the tremendous reality that the apostle Paul was willing to endure whatever he needed to that the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ might be preached and might be heard.

            WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO ENDURE THAT THE GOSPEL MIGHT BE PREACHED? WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO BEAR UP UNDER THAT THE NAME OF JESUS MIGHT BE PREACHED? It is something worth noting and pointing out when reading these words written by the apostle Paul that he was indeed willing to endure much hardship, much affliction, much opposition, much suffering, and much trial and trouble that the gospel might be preached, and that men might not only hear the name of the Lord Jesus, but might also believe on the name of the Lord Jesus. The apostle Paul was willing to endure anything and everything toward and against him that the gospel might not be hindered, and that it might go forth with power, with strength and with might. What’s more, is that if you read the Scripture you will quickly encounter that how you handle, how you respond to, and how you bear up under suffering, affliction and opposition can indeed and can in fact directly impact the preaching of the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, and concerning the kingdom of heaven. Would it shock and surprise you to think and consider that it is possible for your response to suffering and affliction which rises up within your life and against you can indeed either enhance or impede the preaching of the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ? Would it surprise you to think and hear that how you respond to suffering and affliction with your life can have a negative and adverse effect on how the gospel is preached, how the gospel is received, and whether or not men and women truly believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ? I am absolutely and completely convinced that how we handle, how we bear up under, and how we respond to suffering and affliction can indeed and can in fact hinder how well men and women are able to receive the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more, is that I would dare say that there is something truly powerful about the gospel being preached—and not only being preached, but also being received in and with much affliction, for it is when the gospel is preached in the midst of much affliction that those who are hearing the gospel are ultimately getting the truest sense of what the gospel actually is. There is something to be said about the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ being preached in the midst of, and being preached in spite of affliction, opposition and suffering, for it allows men and women to truly see what walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ truly demands and requires of them.

            Permit me to be bold right here and suggest that one of the reason why there are many weak and feeble Christians among us in our churches who are unable to bear up under suffering, and who are unable to bear up in the midst of affliction and opposition is not only because they have not truly heard the gospel of the Lord Jesus the Christ, but they have also not seen that which the gospel is truly and ultimately about. In fact, if you think about and consider what the gospel of Jesus truly is—it is not about Jesus healing the sick, nor about Jesus raising the dead, nor about Jesus causing the blinded eyes being opened, nor even about Jesus causing the lame to walk. If you read and listen to the words which the apostle Peter, the apostle Paul, the apostle John, and others spoke concerning Jesus you will find that the heart of the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ is His suffering and His death. Of course we ultimately know and understand that Jesus would indeed rise from the dead on the third day and would ultimately ascend unto the right hand of the Father, but at the very heart and core of the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ is His suffering and death. What’s more, is that I am convinced that there is something about the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ being preached in the midst of, and being preached in spite of suffering, affliction, opposition that truly adds weight and power to the message concerning the Lord Jesus the Christ. Oh we like preaching Jesus risen from the grave, and we like preaching Jesus as having ascended unto the right hand of the Father which is in heaven, however, we are not as public, nor as open and vocal about a Jesus which suffered, and a Jesus which died—this despite the fact that the very heart and foundation of the gospel is the suffering and death of Jesus. In fact, without the suffering and without the death there would be no resurrection, and there would be no ascension. If Jesus did not suffer He would not have been crucified, and if He had not been crucified He would not have died and been buried, and if He had not been buried He would not have been risen, and if He had not been risen from the grave He would not have ascended unto the right hand of the Father which is in heaven.

            WATERED DOWN GOSPELS WITH NO POWER AND WITH NO CONTEXT! I absolutely love how when writing unto the saints which were at Corinth, as well as the saints which were at Thessalonica that the apostle Paul emphatically declared that his gospel was not with wise, with persuasive and with eloquent words of man’s wisdom, but was with the power and demonstration of the Spirit. Oh it is the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit that produces the signs, the wonders and the miracles which accompany the preaching of the Word, however, I would strongly ask where the demonstration of Jesus the Christ is among us. We spend so much time crying out for the demonstration of the Spirit with signs, with wonders, with miracles, and with power, however, we spend very little time crying out for—much less desiring the demonstration of Christ upon whom the gospel hinges and rests. Oh there are countless men and women who desperately and earnestly desire the demonstration of the Spirit with power, however, they have absolutely no interest in the demonstration of Christ in suffering. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—what good is a gospel being preached with the demonstration of the Spirit in power if that same gospel cannot also have the demonstration of Christ in suffering? What good is preaching a gospel that has a demonstration of the power of the Spirit, and yet it cannot and does not have the demonstration of Christ and His sufferings? It would be when writing unto the saints which were at Philippi the apostle Paul would write and speak of partaking and being a part of the fellowship of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it would be when writing unto the saints which were at Rome the apostle Paul would write about suffering with Christ. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and powerful truth, for it brings us face to face with the absolutely tremendous truth that as much as we earnestly, and as much as we eagerly desire the demonstration of the Spirit among us as a result of preaching the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, there must also needs be a demonstration of Christ—and not only a demonstration of Christ, but also a demonstration of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

            I sit here today thinking about how absolutely necessary it truly is to hear and receive the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ in and with much affliction, as well as witnessing a demonstration of the sufferings of Christ within our hearts and lives, for it highlights and underscores the true heart and nature of the gospel. I am absolutely and completely convinced that much of the gospel that has been preached has not only been watered down, but there also has not been any demonstration of the Spirit, nor even a demonstration of Jesus the Christ. Oh it is indeed and it is in fact wonderful to have a demonstration of the Spirit with power and might among us when the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ is preached unto us, however, I am absolutely and completely convinced that there must needs be a demonstration of the Lord Jesus Christ—and not only of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also of His sufferings. The apostle Paul firmly believed that the sufferings, the afflictions, the trials, the troubles, the infirmities, and the persecutions he experienced in this life not only allowed him to be a partaker of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ, but actually worked to the benefit of the preaching of the gospel. Oh it is necessary that we understand this, for there is indeed a second witness to the gospel—one which we most likely do not talk about, nor even consider within many of our churches and Christian circles. Oh there is indeed the witness of the Spirit that is directly linked to the gospel, however, I am also completely and utterly convinced that there is a witness of Christ directly linked and connected to the preaching of the gospel. In fact, I would dare say that if there is merely the demonstration of the Spirit without and apart from a demonstration of Christ with the gospels we preach among us in our days there is much hindrance to the gospel which we are preaching. There is not a doubt in my mind that as surely as there must needs be a demonstration of the Holy Spirit with power and with might among us when the gospel is preached there must also be a demonstration of Christ—a demonstration of the sufferings of Christ. Oh there are too many Christian ministers and leaders who are preaching the gospel, and yet there is absolutely no demonstration concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.

            I am going to be bold right now and ask whether or not you can, and whether or not you should expect to preach the gospel with the demonstration of the Spirit in power if you are not willing to also preach the gospel with the demonstration of Jesus the Christ in suffering. I would dare say that if you are one who is absolutely unwilling to preach the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ without and apart from the demonstration of Jesus in suffering, you ought not, you dare not and you must not preach the gospel thinking and expecting to preach the gospel with the demonstration of the Spirit in power. What’s more, is that it is possible to hear the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ being preached, and even see and witness signs, wonders and miracles among you in your midst, and yet it does not actually produce genuine and authentic disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was Jesus Himself who spoke of many coming unto Him in that day, saying, “Lord, Lord,” and how those individuals cast out devils in His name, how they prophesied in His name, and how they did many wonderful things in His name, and yet He will emphatically declare unto them that He never knew them. Oh, I am absolutely and completely convinced that it is possible for the gospel to be preached—or at least a certain degree and measure of the gospel being preached among us—and there even being a demonstration of power and might, and yet true disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus the Christ are not produced among us. The more I read and consider this truth the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that until and unless we are willing to preach the gospel with the demonstration of Christ in suffering we dare not and ought not preach the gospel concerning Jesus expecting the demonstration of the Holy Spirit with power. Oh it is the signs, the wonders, the miracles and the power that bear witness to the truth of the gospel, however, it is the demonstration of Christ in suffering that actually show how the gospel is lived, and how the gospel is fleshed out among us within our generation. Oh signs, wonders, and miracles are definitely wonderful witnesses to the preaching of the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus the Christ, however, I am convinced that none of these truly produce the type and quality of disciples and followers the Lord Jesus Christ requires.

            A GOSPEL OF POWER MINUS SUFFERING!  A GOSPEL WITH THE WITNESS OF POWER, YET ABSENT THE WITNESS OF SUFFERING! I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the awesome and powerful truth that there are countless men and women who might hear a version of the gospel being preached, and who might even witness and behold a demonstration of the Spirit with signs, wonders and miracles, and yet they have missed the presentation of the gospel in suffering, in affliction, in opposition, in infirmities, in trials, in persecutions, and in tribulations. We must needs remember how Jesus the Christ declared that in this world we would have many trials and many troubles, and yet to not fear because He overcame the world. It was the apostle Paul who preached that we must needs through many trials enter into the kingdom of heaven, and yet we seem to think that we can preach a gospel minus suffering, a gospel minus affliction, and a gospel minus infirmities, trials and troubles. Oh with this being said I must needs ask a very pointed and powerful question—namely, how many men and women who preach the gospel among us within our churches are truly wiling to suffer for the Jesus they are preaching about. How many ministers and leaders among us are willing to suffer with Christ as much as they are willing to preach about Christ suffering? Oh there are countless ministers and leaders who have absolutely no issue preaching about a suffering Christ, and yet they have absolutely no context, nor any framework for a suffering Christian. I would dare say that if you have a suffering Christ you must also have a suffering Christian, and if you profess yourself to be a Christian and you are unwilling to suffer with and suffer for Christ then your “Christianity” might very well be shallow and utterly useless and worthless in the sight of both God and His Christ. We cannot, we dare not, we must not preach a suffering Christ and not also at the same time preach a suffering Christian, for the two are intrinsically and inextricably linked and connected together. What’s more, is I would dare say that you cannot have the one without and apart from the other. I would dare say that we cannot truly say we worship, follow and believe in a suffering Christ if we ourselves are not willing to suffer with Christ and suffer for Christ.

            I fully realize and recognize that these words might come off as harsh—perhaps even offensive to you who might be reading them, however, I am absolutely and completely convinced that one of the greatest hindrances to the gospel is one that is absent any demonstration of Christ in suffering. Even though there might be a demonstration of power with signs, wonders and miracles, there must also needs to be a demonstration of Christ in suffering. The apostle Paul was indeed able to declare that his preaching was with the demonstration of the Spirit in power, however, we must also recognize and understand that his preaching was unto and among the churches and cities with the demonstration of Christ in suffering. The apostle Paul never preached the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ without and apart from the two-fold witness of the demonstration of the Spirit in power and of Christ in suffering. There are far too many men and women who are preaching the Lord Jesus Christ and speak of the demonstration of the Spirit with power, and yet not only are they unwilling to preach concerning a suffering Christian, but they are also unwilling to be a suffering Christian themselves. THE ABSENCE OF SUFFERING CHRISTIANS WHO ARE UNWILLING TO TALK ABOUT CHRISTIANS SUFFERING! CHRISTIANS WHO PREACH ABOUT JESUS SUFFERING, YET ARE UNWILLING TO SPEAK ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN SUFFERING! Oh, there is not a doubt in my mind and in my heart that we dare not and must not preach a gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ who suffered and died without also preaching a gospel concerning Christians, disciples, and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ suffering themselves. Tell me dear reader—what good is a Christ who suffers if you are unwilling to suffer with and suffer for Him yourself? What good is a Christ who suffers if He cannot bring you into the place where you are willing to suffer with and for Him. WE dare not and must not think that it is enough for Jesus to suffer alone, and our unwilling to suffer with and for Him. What’s more, is that we dare not allow Jesus to suffer alone simply because we are unwilling to suffer with and for Him. If we preach a suffering Christ without a willingness to suffer with and for Him then we are no better than the disciples who abandoned and fled from Him in the garden leaving Him to suffer alone at the hands of the religious leaders, the scribes, the chief priests, and the elders of Israel.

            LEAVING CHRIST TO SUFFER ALONE! WHEN CHRISTIANS ALLOW CHRIST TO SUFFER ALONE! THE TRUE MEANING AND CONTEXT BEHIND SUFFERING WITH CHRIST! WHAT GOOD IS A GOSPEL THAT DOES NOT HAVE A CONTEXT OR FRAMEWORK FOR CHRISTIANS TO SUFFER WITH CHRIST! WHAT GOOD IS YOUR CHRISTIANITY IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO SUFFER WITH CHRIST AND EXPECT CHRIST TO SUFFER ALONE? WOULD YOU DARE EXPECT CHRIST TO SUFFER ALONE? WOULD YOU DARE EXPECT CHRIST TO SUFFER WHILE YOU REIGN? WOULD YOU DARE EXPECT CHRIST TO SUFFER WHILE YOU REMAIN COMFORTABLE? WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU EXPECT CHRIST TO SUFFER SO YOU CAN SOMEHOW AVOID IT! JESUS DIDN’T SUFFER SO YOU COULD BE FREE FROM IT AND EXPERIENCE A LIFE THAT IS SOMEHOW ABSENT OF IT! WHAT GOOD ARE CHRISTIANS WHO PREACH A CHRIST WHO SUFFERS AND AT THE SAME TIME LEAVE HIM TO SUFFER ALONE! HOW MANY OF US ARE TRULY WILLING TO SUFFER WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST?

            The more I think about and consider this reality of the gospel of Christ being preached with a suffering Christ at the very center of it, and yet there being the absence of suffering Christians, the more I can’t help but think and consider that in much of our preaching today, Christ is left to suffer alone. We know that all the disciples fled from Christ in the garden, we know that Judas betrayed Him, we know that Peter denied Him, and we know that John followed from a distance, and it is this reality that brings us face to face with the tremendous truth that when Jesus Christ suffered here on this earth, He did in fact suffer alone. The struggle and conflict I find myself coming face to face with right now is that of Jesus continuing to suffer alone—not because He is still suffering in the flesh today, but rather because His body which remains here upon the earth is unwilling to suffer with Him. There are countless men and women who are preaching Jesus Christ as having suffered, and preaching Jesus Christ as dying, however, when it comes to themselves suffering, they have absolutely no context, nor framework for any type of suffering. It is truly something tragic to think that Jesus could still suffer alone, and is left to suffer alone simply because we are willing to preach a gospel of Christ’s sufferings, and yet aren’t willing to preach a gospel that invites his disciples and followers into those sufferings. Nowhere in any of the gospel narratives, nor anywhere in any of the epistles written by the apostles or early church leaders will you find any type of context or framework for a Christ who suffers and dies alone, and yet does not issue a strong and powerful invitation given unto His saints and followers to suffer with Him. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truly remarkable and astounding reality, for it brings us face to face with a shallow gospel that is okay with a Jesus who suffers, and yet has an issue and takes offense with Christians suffering. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—what good is the gospel you preach if not only is there no context or room for Christians to suffer, but also for there to be no demonstration of Christ in the midst of your preaching? What good is it to preach a gospel that highlights and underscores the suffering of Jesus, and yet provides no room, nor any space for Christians to suffer with and for Him.

            If you allow me to be so bold I would have to say that it is no gospel at all that simply allows Jesus to suffer and yet does not invite His disciples and followers to suffer with and suffer for Him. It is a truly tragic and dangerous gospel where Jesus suffers and is crucified, and yet His disciples and followers have absolutely no place, nor any part in His sufferings. Oh how truly tragic countless churches and Christian circles are when they preach a Jesus who suffers, and a Jesus who is crucified, and yet they provide and offer no context for Christians to suffer and to experience affliction and opposition. We do ourselves and the gospel a great disservice when we somehow make ourselves the exceptions to the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, and being invited to be partakers in His suffering. We do a great dishonor and disservice when we think and believe we can preach the gospel of Christ’s suffering, and the gospel of Christ’s death, and do so with the demonstration of the Spirit with power, and yet there is the absence of the demonstration of Christ in suffering and affliction. Heaven help that preacher who thinks they can preach the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and yet have no space within their doctrine or theology for the suffering of His followers and disciples. Oh dear reader, please know and understand that Jesus didn’t suffer so you wouldn’t have to, nor did He die upon the cross so you wouldn’t have to. In fact, before Jesus ever carried His cross along the Via Dolorosa He invited us to partake of that cross, and to deny ourselves and take up our cross. What’s more, is that Jesus emphatically declared that he who does not deny himself and take up his cross is not worthy of Him. Oh there must needs be a context and framework within the gospel we preach for our willingness to suffer with the Lord Jesus Christ, and for our willingness to suffer for Him. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the awesome and incredible truth that we as the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ have been invited to suffer with the Lord Jesus Christ, and that as much—if not all the more—as there is a demonstration of the Holy Spirit in power, there must also needs to be a demonstration of Christ in suffering. Much danger and harm has been done by Christians who want to try and separate the power of the Spirit from the suffering of Christ thinking that the two can somehow be separated from each other. Much damage has been done within many of our Christian circles and churches by ministers who preach a gospel of the sufferings of Christ, and preach a gospel of the death of Christ, and yet there is absolutely no room, nor is there any space for the suffering of His followers.

            CAN YOU CALL YOURSELF A DISCIPLE OF JESUS IF YOU ALLOW HIM TO SUFFER ALONE? CAN YOU CALL YOURSELF A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO SUFFER WITH HIM? CAN YOU EVEN CONSIDER YOURSELF A DISCIPLE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO PARTAKE IN HIS SUFFERING? HOW CAN YOU EVEN THINK YOU CAN BE A DISCIPLE AND FOLLOWER OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO SUFFER WITH HIM, AND IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS? HOW CAN YOU EVEN THINK YOU CAN BE A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST AND YET HOLD TO A GOSPEL WHERE THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO CONTEXT OR FRAMEWORK FOR CHRISTIANS TO SUFFER WITH CHRIST? AS SURELY AND AS CERTAINLY AS WE HAVE A SUFFERING CHRIST THERE MUST ALSO BE A SUFFERING CHRISTIAN, AND EVEN A SUFFERING CHURCH! WHAT GOOD ARE DISCIPLES AND FOLLOWERS OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IF THEY CANNOT AND ARE UNWILLING TO SUFFER WITH HIM? I sit here today thinking about and considering absolutely tremendous reality that a gospel that has at the very heart of it a suffering and crucified Jesus and yet does not have as a demonstration of it Christians—those who profess to be followers and disciples of Christ—who are unwilling to suffer with Christ is a shallow gospel. What’s more, is that I would dare say that a gospel that preaches Jesus as one who suffered, and as one who died and was crucified, and yet does not also have any room and space within it for His disciples and followers to suffer with Him and for Him is a gospel that excludes the lordship of Jesus Christ within it. Oh would it shock and surprise you to think and consider that it is possible to have a gospel with Jesus as the suffering and crucified Savior without and apart from Jesus as Lord? I would dare say that if your gospel has Jesus as the only who has suffered and who can suffer without your taking any part in that suffering within your life is a shallow gospel that is absolutely and completely void of Jesus as being Lord. Not only this, but a gospel that has Jesus as the only who can suffer and yet has no room for His disciples and followers to also be those who suffer with and for Him is only a partial gospel. This must be recognized and understood, for a partial gospel might be viewed as the gospel in the eyes of some, however, it is not the gospel in the eyes of God the Father, nor in the eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

            It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when you read and consider how the apostle Paul wrote unto these saints concerning their receiving the word with much affliction, for not only would they hear a gospel of a suffering Christ, but they would also see the demonstration and manifestation of a suffering Christian. Oh, this is incredibly important, for is it possible that there are very few Christians among us who are actually willing to suffer with and for Christ because they have never witnessed or beheld someone suffering with and for Christ? I am convinced that in much of our western Christianity and much of the gospel that is preached in many of our churches there is very little gospel that is preached which also has directly linked to it Christians and Christ-followers who are ready, willing and able to suffer with the Lord Jesus Christ. Much of the gospel that is preached in our churches expects the Lord Jesus Christ to be the only one who has suffered and can suffer, and that we are somehow immune and exempt from suffering. Oh I can’t help but wonder what many among us within our western sphere of this world would do and how many of us would respond if we began experiencing true suffering—the likes of which Christians in the Middle Eastern countries of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the like have experienced and are presently experiencing. The truth of the matter is that much of the gospel we are preaching in our generation and in these days is only a half gospel and only a partial truth, for it allows absolutely no room, nor any space for Christians to suffer alongside and to suffer with the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember when the apostle Peter declared unto Jesus that he was ready follow Christ to prison, and even die alongside and with Him? Oh his words and his sentiment were noble and admirable, however, we would later find him denying knowing the Lord Jesus Christ—and not merely denying Him once, but denying Him three times. Oh I can’t help but wonder how many of us wouldn’t even be willing to make such a declaration unto the Lord Jesus the Christ within this generation and within the days in which we are living. How many of us are actually willing to not only go to prison for Christ, but also—if need be—suffer and even die for Christ.

            What is truly interesting when you think about the gospel narratives which were written by the New Testament authors is when you come to the final chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find Jesus declaring unto Peter that when he was older he would stretch forth his hands, and another would gird him, and carry him where he would not choose nor ordain and appoint for himself. The apostle John would then go on to write how Jesus spoke this signifying by what death Peter would glorify God within this earth. It is necessary that we pay close and careful attention to this, for while Simon Peter would make the declaration that he would go to prison with and die alongside Christ, and yet would ultimately deny Him—we find at the end of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John that he would stretch forth his hands, thus signifying that he would be crucified just as his Lord was. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for there are very few among us who are actually willing to even make such a boast and such a declaration before and unto the Lord Jesus Christ—the declaration that we are not only willing to go to prison for the sake of the name of Jesus the Christ, but are also willing to die with and for Him. Such a statement is not one that merely speaks of Jesus as being Savior, but takes this declaration and belief that Jesus is Savior and allows it to transition into the place where Jesus is able to be Lord. Oh I am absolutely convinced that if, unless and until you are willing to suffer with Christ and suffer for Christ you have not acknowledge Him as Lord. We must needs realize and recognize that the apostle Paul didn’t suggest that if we believe with our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Savior we shall be saved, but rather he declared that if we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord we will be saved.

            I am sitting here right now writing these words and thinking about the tremendous truth and reality of the apostle Paul writing unto the Thessalonian saints, and when writing unto them he spoke of their receiving the gospel and word with much affliction. We must needs recognize and understand the awesome significance of these words, for although the apostle Paul would be among them with the demonstration of the Holy Spirit with power, he would also be among them with the demonstration of Christ in suffering. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for even in the second chapter of the first epistle which was written unto these dear saints the apostle Paul goes on to write and speak of the suffering which he experienced in Philippi before he even came unto them in Thessalonica. It would be in the opening verses of the second chapter the apostle Paul would write unto them concerning how their entrance in unto them was not in vain, and how even though they had suffered and were shamefully entreated in Philippi, they were bold in their God to speak unto them the gospel of God with much contention. Not only this, but a little further on in this particular chapter you will find the Thessalonian believers themselves suffering in like manner as the apostle Paul did among them. If you begin reading with and from the fourteenth verse you will find the apostle Paul writing how they became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea were in Christ Jesus, for they suffered like things of their countrymen, even as those in Judaea suffered at the hands of the Jews. Not only this, but the apostle Paul would also go on to write and speak of how those in Judaea killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and persecuted the apostle Paul and his companions. It would be in the process of this that they would not please God, and would be contrary to all men as they would forbid them to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved.

            Upon continuing to read the words which are found in the second chapter of this apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Thessalonica how they had been taken away from them for a short time in presence, but not in heart, and how they endeavored the more abundantly to see their face with great desire. The apostle Paul would go on to write and declare how he and his companions would have come unto them once again, however, Satan hindered them. What adds even more weight to this particular reality is when you consider the words which are found in the third chapter of the first epistle which was written unto the saints of Thessalonica. It is when you come to these words where you find additional language concerning suffering, concerning tribulation, concerning trial, concerning trouble, and concerning affliction, as the apostle Paul would speak unto them concerning his sending Timothy—their brother, their minister of God, and their fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ—to establish them, and to comfort them concerning their faith. What makes this so incredibly powerful is that this sending of Timothy would be to bring them into the place where they would not be moved by the afflictions faced within this life, for they ought to know that it was unto suffering, it was unto affliction, and it was unto tribulation they were appointed. The apostle Paul would also go on to write unto them concerning their time with them and how when they were with them they spoke unto them how they ought to suffer tribulation, and how it would ultimately come to pass. Oh please don’t miss this, for the apostle Paul would speak unto the Thessalonians and would speak concerning the godly in Christ suffering, and then they themselves would experience suffering and affliction. So great and so severe was the suffering and affliction which rose up against the apostle Paul and his companions that they were no longer able to remain and abide with them. Oh we must needs pay close attention to the words which are found in this narrative, for it brings us face to face with the tremendous truth that a gospel that merely has at the center of it a suffering and crucified Christ, and yet does not have a suffering Christian who has denied themselves and taken up their cross is not a gospel at all. Just as a half truth is still a lie and is no truth, so also is a gospel that has a suffering Christ and yet has no room or space for a suffering Christian is not merely a half gospel, but is no gospel at all.

            WOULD YOU LEAVE CHRIST TO SUFFER ALONE? WOULD YOU LEAVE CHRIST TO DIE ALONE? WHAT GOOD IS A GOSPEL WHERE JESUS SUFFERS AND DIES ALONE AND HAS NO FOLLOWERS OR DISCIPLES WHO ARE WILLING TO DO THE SAME? IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO SUFFER WITH CHRIST—AND EVEN TO DIE FOR HIM—WHAT GOOD AND WHAT USE IS THE GOSPEL TO AND FOR YOU? THAT GOSPEL THAT HAS A SUFFERING SAVIOR AND YET DOES NOT HAVE SUFFERING SERVANT IS NOT A GOSPEL AT ALL! I have to admit that the more I read the words which are found within the epistles written unto the saints which were at Thessalonica the more I am brought face to face with the absolutely awesome and challenging truth that there are many who are walking to and fro today professing themselves to be disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet they are quite content to allow Him to suffer alone. There are countless men and women who are content preaching a gospel that has at the heart of it a Jesus who has suffered, and a Jesus who was crucified, and even enjoy proclaiming that Jesus has been raised from death to life and ascended unto the right hand of the Father, and yet they have absolutely no room in their hearts, nor their theology for a suffering Christian. There are countless men and women among us within many of our churches who have context or framework for Christians suffering—and not merely suffering, but experiencing suffering, affliction, opposition, infirmities, trials, troubles, tribulation, and the like. There are countless men and women who expect to have this great, this grandiose, and this grandeur ministry here in this life, and they expect it to be confirmed with countless signs, wonders and miracles, and yet they have absolutely no place for suffering within their lives. Oh with this in mind I can’t help but wonder if one of the main reasons why countless ministries, why countless organizations, why countless churches, and why countless churches are absent and void the demonstration of the Holy Spirit in power is because there is an absence of Christ in suffering. There are a number of ministries and ministers alike who earnestly and eagerly want the demonstration of the Holy Spirit with power in their lives and in their works here upon the earth, and yet they are absolutely and entirely unwilling to give and allow any room for the demonstration of Christ in suffering—and not only in His sufferings, but also in our own suffering.

            I have to say that I truly love the words and the language that is found within these two epistles, for the words found in these epistles bring us face to face with what is sorely missed and lacking in many of our churches, and many of our ministries, and many of our Christian organizations today in this generation. I can’t help but be the strong and overwhelming sense that there are countless men and women among us who would hope and expect to produce true disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus the Christ, and yet not only were those individuals given and introduced to a partial gospel, but that gospel was preached and proclaimed with an absence of the demonstration of Christ. Pause for a moment and think about how many men and women among us have absolutely no clue what the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ actually looks like and what it actually demands of them—not merely because they aren’t hearing it, but because they are witnessing and beholding it. What I mean by this is that there are very few ministers and individuals among us who are willing to preach the true gospel, and at the same time live out the gospel and it’s implications and meaning within and upon their lives. I am convinced that one of the greatest tragedies surrounding much of what is taking place around the gospel within our generation these days is the absence of the true reality of that which the gospel costs, that which the gospel asks, and that which the gospel requires. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—when was the last time you preached and proclaimed the gospel concerning Christ unto another, and you didn’t merely preach the gospel unto others, but you also preached the gospel coupled together with tremendous affliction, tremendous opposition, and tremendous suffering? When was the last time you preached the gospel and were willing to offer up your physical body for the sake of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ?

I sit here today and I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the fact that the gospel that is being preached today, and the gospel that is being received today might very well have kernels and elements of the true gospel with the apostles Peter, John, James, Paul, and the others preached and proclaimed, yet it stops far short of the ask and the invitation to disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ to suffer with, to suffer alongside of, and to suffer for Christ. Perhaps one of the greatest questions I find myself asking right now is how many men and women might very well be preaching right now, and have been preaching in recent months and years, and yet when true opposition, when true affliction, when true suffering, and when true persecution rises up among them in their midst because of the gospel they will abandon and no longer preach the gospel. Oh I can’t help but wonder if there aren’t men and women who might very well have successful—perhaps even large and grandiose—ministries among us within this generation, and they might very well have been engaged and involved in ministry for years now, and yet when true suffering and persecution begins rising up among us within this nation, they will cease preaching and proclaiming the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, and will cease preaching altogether. I firmly believe there are going to be ministers who have indeed preached among us within this generation—men and women who have perhaps even had successful internet, radio and television broadcasts—who have preached unto and among us, and yet when true opposition and affliction rises up for the sake of the gospel, they are not only offended, but they are also silenced. OFFENDED AND SILENCED MINISTERS! Oh I can’t help but get the strong sense that there are going to be a lot of ministers and ministries who are going to be exposed with and by suffering, affliction, and persecution when it truly does rise up among us within this nation. What’s more, is that I am convinced there are going to be countless men and women who have not preached, who have not had any type of formal ministry, and who have not had any type of influence within this generation whom the Lord is going to raise up in that day, for it is those individuals who are not only going to be able to preach Christ, but also suffer with Christ—those who are not only going to have the demonstration of the Spirit in power, but those who are going to have the demonstration of Christ in suffering.

            I do not know when our Lord is going to return, and I do not know when the final tribulation is going to take place and be experienced within and upon the earth, however, I can in fact state that we are living in the Last Days which are leading up to those final seven years of great tribulation within and upon the earth. With this being said I am brought face to face with the absolutely astonishing and remarkable truth that there are going to be countless ministries and ministers which are going to fall, which are going to collapse, and which are going to be completely and utterly abandoned when persecution, when affliction, and when suffering does indeed arise for the sake of the gospel. One of the greatest questions we must needs ask ourselves when considering the words of the gospel—and not only the words of the gospel, but also the words which the apostle Paul preached—is whether or not we can continue walking with and following Jesus when persecution, when affliction, when suffering does indeed and does in fact rise up. How many among us within our churches and Christian circles in this generation can and will truly be able to stand, endure and continue faithfully walking with and following Jesus the Christ when suffering and affliction rises up among us in our midst, and the comfortable Christianity that has been preached and lived among us is no longer an active reality, but is proven to be a farce.

            WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THERE WOULD BE SUFFERING? WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THERE WOULD BE AFFLICTION? WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THERE WOULD BE PERSECUTION? I can’t help but get the strong sense within my heart and spirit that there going to be countless men and women among us within this generation who are going to cry out and ask why we as the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ did not preach unto them the gospel, and why we did not speak to them of Christ, and did not warn them of hell, and proclaim unto them the kingdom of heaven. What’s more, is I believe there are going to be men and women among us who are going to cry out in the coming days—even in the last day—and ask why we were silent, and why were held our tongue and kept our peace without speaking to them concerning Christ and warning them of the wrath which was to come. With that being said, I am also entirely and altogether convinced that there are going to be men and women among us within our churches, within our Christian circles, and within our spheres of fellowship who are going to ask why we didn’t warn them concerning suffering. There are going to be men and women among us who are going to cry out and ask us why we preached unto them a smooth gospel—one that professed that we could live and experience our best life now absent any type of conflict, absent any type of suffering, absent any type of affliction, and absent any type of persecution. There are going to be men and women who are going to rise up among us in the coming days and cry out before and unto countless ministers asking them why they did not warn and speak to them concerning suffering, concerning affliction, concerning persecution, and concerning trials, trouble and tribulation. Even with this in mind, please note and please understand that I am not at all suggesting and saying that all of the sermons and messages that are preached among us within our churches should be centered upon the suffering of Christians and the affliction, the opposition and the persecution we can experience within this life. I am in no way suggesting that all of the messages which are preached from our pulpits need to center upon the suffering Christian and that there is absolutely no room or space for anything else to be preached. I firmly believe in preaching the whole gospel and the whole counsel of God, however, I am convinced that much of what has been preached unto and among us within this generation has been a partial gospel, a half gospel, and a partial truth that in all reality has no worth, no use, and no value unto, for and among us within this generation.

            As I am sitting here writing these words I can’t help but get the strong sense within my heart and spirit that there are indeed going to be entire ministries that are going to fall apart and collapse if and when a storm of suffering, if and when a storm of affliction, and if and when a storm of persecution rises up among us within our generation and within the days in which we are living. Much like the house of that foolish man who built his house on the sand will crumble when the storm arose—when the winds blew, when the rain came down, and the waves came crashing against the house—so also will entire ministries collapse and fall in the coming days. Not only this, but there will be men and women whose version and interpretation of Christianity can and will crumble in the same way, and will do so because they have believed a partial gospel, and have believed a half truth concerning what the gospel truly is. Consider the interpretation of that one who received the word on stony places as it was mentioned in the parable which Jesus spoke concerning the seed and the sower. It is within the interpretation of this parable we are brought face to face with the absolutely tremendous and remarkable truth of what can and will happen in the coming days, in the coming weeks, and in the coming months. If you begin reading with and from the twentieth verse of the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find the following words which were spoken by the Lord Jesus the Christ: “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended” (Matthew 13:20-21).

            FOR WHEN TRIBULATION OR PERSECUTION ARISETH BECAUSE OF THE WORD, BY AND BY HE IS OFFENDED! With this in mind—the truth that when persecution or tribulation rises up because of and for the sake of the word—I would like to invite you to consider the words which our Lord spoken and proclaimed unto His disciples when giving and delivering the Olivet discourse. If you begin reading with and from the ninth verse of the twenty-fourth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find the following words which were spoken by our Lord Jesus the Christ: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:9-14). AND YE SHALL BE HATED OF ALL NATIONS FOR MY NAME’S SAKE! AND THEN! AND THEN SHALL! AND THEN SHALL MANY BE! AND THEN SHALL MANY BE OFFENDED! Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the awesome significance and importance of these words, for these words bring us face to face with one of the greatest traps and snares that will emerge and rise up in the coming weeks, in the coming months, and possibly in the coming years—namely, men and women becoming and growing offended because persecution, affliction, suffering, and tribulation rises up because of the word concerning Christ. Oh dear reader, please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely tremendous truth, for there can and there will be men and women who are going to be offended among us—and not only be offended, but will also betray one another—because tribulation, affliction, persecution and suffering rises up because of the word. What’s more, is these individuals had absolutely no context nor framework for suffering within the life of a “Christian,” and within the life of a disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus the Christ. Oh the question I can’t help but ask myself is whether or not you can indeed call yourself a Christian and a Christ-follower if and unless you are willing to suffer with and suffer for Christ. Can you truly and indeed suffer with and for the Lord Jesus Christ, and so call yourself a true and faithful disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ?

As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to warn you who are reading these words that there are going to be countless men and women among us in the coming days who are going to find their voices being silenced because they only knew how to preach and proclaim the gospel concerning Jesus during times of peace, during times of rest, and during times of great comfort and ease. I am absolutely convinced that there are going to be countless ministers who have been preaching among us in recent months and years who are going to be offended in the coming days when suffering and persecution rises up among us within this nation and within this generation, and whose voices are going to be completely and utterly silenced because they don’t know how to preach the gospel in affliction, in suffering, in persecution and in tribulation. What’s more, is there are going to be countless men and women who have had no voice, and yet in the days ahead are going to be raised up as faithful witnesses, as faithful ministers, and as faithful voices before and in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ because they are not only willing to preach Christ, but they are also willing to suffer with Christ. Oh while there are those who would like to place a tremendous emphasis on those who might have a demonstration of the Spirit within and upon the ministry they are engaged in, I would dare say what is so desperately and critically needed is the demonstration of Christ in suffering. I firmly believe with all my heart that those who not only hear the gospel concerning a suffering Christ, but who also witness and behold a brother, a sister, a disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ willing to suffer with and for the Lord Jesus Christ will become a true disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ—and not because of what walking with and following Him means within their lives, but rather because they desire to walk as He walked and live as He lived. Oh that we would not only recognize the tremendous importance of the demonstration of Christ in suffering, but also that we would not be those who allow Christ to suffer alone because we are unwilling to suffer with and for Him in this life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s