Now it is a fact that Christians do suffer.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing alright today? Oh, I hope so, bless your heart. Boy I know some days are better than others and some are worse than others and some days you feel, “Oh do I have to get up today and face all that”? I know how it is, but you can face anything with Jesus. Have you learned that? “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”, which being brought down to my level means I can do anything God asks me to do because He’ll enable me will me to do it. You can face the day with the Lord, and do it successfully. “Thanks be unto God which always causes us to triumph”, always a winner in other words. “Always cause us to triumph in Christ and makes manifest by us the fragrance of His knowledge in every place”. Always a winner. Never a loser with Jesus. Hallelujah. Aren’t you glad that’s so? I am.
We’ve been taking a little detour, a little miniseries if you will, just sort of a break in between our study of the book of Mark and we’ve been in Philippians, just sort of hitting the high spots you might say. We came through chapter 2. Talked about, talked about the fact that God is working in us to will and to do, He takes care of the want to and He takes care the performance, if you’ll let Him. There’s no such thing as saying, “I can’t”, when you’re dealing with Almighty God. I can’t pray out loud, I can’t witness to others, I can’t quit this habit, I can’t straighten things up in my life. Well, humanly you’re telling the truth, but there is somebody else living within you if you’re a believer on the Lord Jesus, the indwelling Holy Spirit of God mediates all of the Almighty power of God to you, and so it is God which worketh in you, both to will, He’ll take care of the want to, He’ll take care of the performance of God’s perfect will in your life. Never have to say, “I can’t”. Aren’t you glad that’s so? Believe it and start to live it.
Well, then we went over in Philippians 3, and we noticed that when God is working in you, it involves a change in your value system, what things were gained to me, those I counted lost for Christ, just like so much garbage, and your relationship changes and then you really know Him. And then in sort of explaining that concept went over to 2 Corinthians 4, where we saw that there is a new life, and new shine, a radiance, a new message, and a life of service instead of being served. Well, that brought us into the beginning then of Philippians 3:10, “Oh that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings being made conformable unto His death”. To know the Lord Jesus, means your values change, your relationships change, and your lifestyle changes. Now, what really is involved in all of that? He says, “And to know Him and the power of His resurrection”.
Just for an illustration of what happens when resurrection power becomes real in people’s lives, turn with me to the book of Acts just for a quick looksee, in those early chapters the book of Acts. Prayer, the, power of His resurrection. They had been convinced, the disciples and others with them, of the reality of the risen Jesus. He was alive and He was alive in a body, a body that could talk and touch and eat and be seen and be fellowshipped with.
Now, what is the power of His resurrection? First of all, it was power to obey and go back and wait in prayer.
Second, it was power to stand up in chapter 2 and, and speak of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, “The God of our fathers is raised up Jesus, whom ye crucified. Be it known unto all a house of Israel that God hath made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. Repent therefore”, chapter 2, “Power to stand up and speak”.
Three, “Power to meet the needs of people where they are”. Peter, fastening his eyes upon this beggar at the gate of the temple said, “Look at us”, and he said, “Silver and gold have I none but such as I have, give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk and took him by the right hand.”
Power from God went from Peter into the body of that man and he leaping up stood and walked and entered with them in to the temple walking and leaping and praising God. Dr. Pettengill used to say “The testimony of his leaps was better than the testimony of his lips”. And so in chapter 5 ,chapter 4, it is, it is chapter 4, “Power to face the Inquisition”, he said, “Be it known not if we this day be examined”, see there was an Inquisition there, “if the good deed done to the impotent man, be it known unto you all that by all the people of Israel, it by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him, doth this man stand here before you. Well, this is the stone which was set at naught by you builders which now has become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other”.
Power to stand and speak in the face of an Inquisition.
Power to discern, chapter 5, Ananias and Sapphira with their scheme to keep part of their money while professing to give it all.
Power to face opposition that would result in death, chapter 7 Stephen, the first martyr, the power of Christ’s resurrection. Power to transform, to transform the life of, of Saul of Tarsus. Power to meet the need of Cornelius, the centurion as he was waiting on God for a message. You go right straight on through, you’ll find as you turn the pages of the book of Acts, you’ll find the resurrected Christ is the, is the secret of the power that these people had. Power to pray even in jail, another earthquake came and loosed all of Silas and the beginnings then of that beautiful church of Philippians were witnessed.
Alright power, the power of His resurrection, resurrection. What actually makes that real in my life? That’s what you’re asking. It’s one thing to talk about it or illustrate it, but it’s another thing to experience it. Well, I have to tell you that the Holy Spirit of God is the one who makes all of this real in your life. “When He the Spirit of truth is come”, Jesus said, “He shall teach you all things. When the comforter, whom the father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things your remembrance, whatsoever now I have said unto you and when they bring in before pray, and pray Kings and magistrates”, Jesus said, “take no thought how or what thing you shall answer for it is not ye that speak but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. When He is come, He will reprove”, that means our word convict the world. “When He is come to you”, see I will send Him unto you, this is John 16 verse 7, “I will send them unto you and when He is come to you, He will reprove the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment”. So, conviction comes through the Holy Spirit of God. “Witness, beautiful witness of Christ”, verse 13, “He shall not speak of Himself, he shall speak of Me. He shall glorify Me”, and so on. Witness, a beautiful witness comes from the Holy Spirit of God.
Answered prayer comes through the ministry of the Holy Spirit of God, “Hitherto if you ask nothing in My name, ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full”. Now, the power of, of a risen Christ is found not in talking about Him, but in yielding to Him as He is made real to you by the indwelling Holy Spirit. When you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and you are born from above, when you become a Christian in other words, the Holy Spirit of God moves and your life. Romans 8:9 says, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His”, and first Corinthians 6:19, Paul was talking to the Corinthians who certainly were in a good deal of trouble in their lifestyle and, and the circumstances of their life, they weren’t perfect in other words, but he said, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which ye have”, present tense, “have of God”. You’re not your own for you’re bought, with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, both of which belong to God”.
Okay, the Holy Spirit of God dwells within you, beloved and He then is the one who makes the risen Jesus real in your life. Oh, then yield to the Spirit of God consciously. Take care that you don’t grieve Him, “Grieve not the Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed until the day redemption”, Paul says in, in the book of Ephesians and he lists some of the things that grieve the Spirit of God. Unclean living, and resentment, and hatred, and unforgiveness, and anger, and wrath, and clamor, and evil, and speaking and malice, and unkindness, and hard heartedness. Oh, don’t grieve the Spirit of God with these things, but instead yielded to Him as He speaks to you through the Word and obey Him and He will make known to you the power of this risen Christ of whom we speak.
Paul goes on in Philippians 3:10 to talk about the fellowship of His sufferings. Now of Philippians 1:29 says, “Unto you it is given on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him but also to suffer for His sake”. Peter in his letter said, “Don’t be surprised concerning the things you have to suffer, but rejoice in this much is your partakers of His glory”. Now it is a fact that Christians do suffer. None of us in this particular culture are being lined up and shot at 5 o’clock in the morning, but there are other, other ways that pressures put upon you. There’s job pressure, there’s family pressure, and there’s peer pressure at school and in the community, and all sorts of things are used to put pressure on you because you’re a Christian. Maybe you are the only Christian in your family and, and that does seem at you can’t do anything right, even if you leave the cap off of the toothpaste tube one morning, somebody is going to come out grumbling and say, “What kind of a Christian is that? Left the cap off the toothpaste”. Ridiculous things, petty things are used to, to put pressure on you because you’re a Christian.
Now, he says, “Don’t be upset about that as though some strange thing happened to you, but rejoice inasmuch as you’re partakers of Christ’s sufferings”. What is the point? The fellowship of Christ’s sufferings is the small, the miniscule, microscopic portion of the great divine hurt that He allows you to experience. See, God is hurt because of sin. God is heartbroken because of sin and He allows you to experience a little of that so that you’ll know something of what Jesus felt for you on the cross. The fellowship of Christ’s sufferings is what God lets you go through in order that you might understand a little of how He feels about the world’s sin and woe and need. Do you understand that?
The next time you have some troubles because you’re Christian, maybe you’re passed over for promotion because people think you too religious at the office or the shop, maybe your family gets on your case and is really working you over because they don’t like the fact that you are a Christian. The next time you’re experiencing pressure because you’re a Christian, just look up and say, “Thank you Jesus that I can share a little something of how you must feel over the world’s woe and sin”. Good idea?
Dear Father today, may we know something of Thy great heart of love, as we share the fellowship of Thine knowledge and of Thy sufferings, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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