Suffering and Glory!

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.” 1 Peter 4:12-14

St. Peter returns here to what he had often touched upon in this epistle, namely, to exhort the Christians to behave with patience and integrity under their present severe persecution; to which purpose he uses the following arguments: –

First, He intimates that it was not a strange or unusual thing for the people of God to be persecuted.

Secondly, That if they suffered here as Christ did, they should hereafter be glorified with him.

Thirdly, Besides the prospect of that future glory; they had at present the Spirit of God for their support and comfort.

Excerpted from “The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” a commentary by Adam Clarke 1831

Words of Grace for Strength!

In the USA, the attitude for most who claim to be Christian, is to look on suffering and persecution as strange and abnormal. It seems to come as a surprise when we face adversity of any kind. But the Apostle Peter writes that we should consider it normal as a Christian. Why should we be treated better by the world than was our Savior? The Apostle Paul warned Timothy “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12 So, Christians should expect persecution, especially those who are making an active stand for Christ in these Last Days. Satan is not concerned with those who are on the sidelines of Christianity or those who only give lip service to faith, his attacks are reserved for those who are actively opposing him, those who are not only watchmen on the wall but who are soldiers of the cross, fighting him and his demonic agenda.

Peter writes that in suffering for Christ we will be glorified with Him. That should be the goal of every believer, to rejoice in the suffering because of the honor it will bring. When as Christians we are ridiculed, denounced and reproached for what we believe, when our convictions are rejected, we should rejoice in the privilege of sharing what Christ suffered as a Man. We may even receive physical wounds and scars for our commitment to Him, but even so, how much greater the rejoicing when we see Him and receive from Him our reward for having suffered in His name. We need to understand how absolutely satisfying our lives can be, how exciting it can be to live, how rewarding eternity will be, when we are sold out to Jesus Christ and are willing to endure anything to bring honor and glory to Him.

The evidence in a Christian’s life of true obedience to Christ is not wealth, health, or living “your best life now” but is in fact of facing persecution and suffering. This is the true sign that the Glory of God rests upon a Christian, because it is evidence of being in the fight. While we know every Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, He empowers in an extraordinary way those who are completely devoted to the cause of Christ. These are those the Holy Spirit is enabling to make a difference in a lost and dying world, and they experience His presence and power in a way that others do not. They, like the early believers are able to rejoice that they are “counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” Acts 5:41

And yet, while the Christian can and should rejoice in personal suffering faced as evidence of God’s glory upon a life well lived for the Lord, it is not outside of personal obedience to pray for relief from suffering which other Christians experience. A true Christian soldier will neither run from the fight the Lord has placed before them nor avoid supporting other Christians in battle. After all, living in the True Church, His Remnant Church, requires us to  look after and fight for each other as well.

As we are living in these Last Days, as suffering and persecution is beginning to be to be in evidence in His Remnant Church in America, as well as the rest of the world, it is time for those who are in Christ to “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

The Rapture is Imminent! The Tribulation will follow! And;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

Grace in the Church Age

In Acts 2 we find the birth of the Church at Pentecost, and in 1 Thessalonians 4 we find the description of the Rapture of the Church. The entire period of time between these two events is the Church Age, and the Church Age is encompassed in its entirety by the Age of Grace. Extending from the Cross of Christ, to His Glorious Appearing at the Second Coming to establish His Millennial Reign, the Age of Grace is typified by God’s offer of Eternal Salvation through the shed Blood of Jesus Christ, to all who would trust in Him as their Lord and Savior.

The Church Age within the Age of Grace is the Age of the “ecclesia,” those who are “called out” as the Body of Christ. These “called out” ones, identified as Christ’s Church, exist for the purpose of revealing Christ to the world by carrying out His will as a revelation and example of His Grace. The command to the disciples by Christ in Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” is for them to be witnesses, to share with all mankind the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, within the Scriptures there is not one single passage which states that the whole world will be converted during this Age. In fact, Christ Himself shared this fact within the parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13. In Acts 15:7 -17, in the account of the Jerusalem Council, we find that God’s purpose for this Age is the calling out of a people for His Name which includes both Jew and Gentile. As the Church we are then told in 2 Corinthians 6:17, that because we are called out of the world, that we are to be separate from the world.

The first mission given to us as the “called out” followers of Christ, the Church, is the evangelization of the world, and not the conversion of the world. It then follows that the purpose of God for His Church in this Age is not the reformation of society, or the enrichment of the faithful, and it is certainly not the establishment of His Kingdom.

The Church is the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:17-23), which is joined together to serve one another as we serve God; the Church is the Bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-30), whose purpose is to glorify God; the Church on earth is the habitation of God (Ephesians 2:19-22); the Church is an example and illustration of the grace of God (Ephesians 2:5-7), which in fact is what gives unique character to this Age; and the Church is a royal priesthood (2 Peter 2:4-10), to serve God among men in this Age.

The second mission given to us as the “called out” followers of Jesus Christ, the Church, is to understand the promise that, for the cause of Christ, we will suffer and endure persecution (Matthew 5:12, John 15:20, Romans 12:14, Philippians 1:29, 2 Timothy 3:12, 1 Peter 3:14, 1 Peter 4:16, Revelation 2:10) because of the ever-increasing wickedness of the world in which we live. Yet the blessing in this promise is another promise, the promise of a great inheritance and reward (Matthew 5:12, Colossians 3:24, 1 Peter 1:3-5, Hebrews 11:6, Revelation 3:7-12) for having remained faithful to the calling.

I believe today that the “church” we see in the world has moved very far away from its calling, from the divine purpose for which it was intended. What most people today see as the “church,” has no real resemblance to the Church of Jesus Christ. Today’s “church” has failed to be separate from the world, a “called out” body for the purposes of God. In the “church” today we find that many have embraced socialism, humanism, environmentalism, hedonism, and the worship of Mammon. While in still other “churches” they endeavor to appropriate from Israel, the promises which God intended for Israel alone, which I believe has done more to turn the “church” from its appointed course than any other. This error alone causes the “church” to turn away from a literal interpretation of Scripture, which in turn creates a denial of prophetic truth. By embracing this false theology the “church” relegates itself to a place in the world and defines its mission as a responsibility to improve the world.

So the “church” today defines itself by building magnificent structures, acquiring earthly things, courting political power, embracing social and societal conventions, embracing tolerance, compromise and inclusiveness, in an effort to coexist with all religions. All of this is in direct opposition to the Word of God, and an appointed call to separation and holiness in anticipation of the return of Jesus Christ. The “church” which is most evident in the world today is certainly not the Church of Jesus Christ.

Yet there is still a remnant of believers, who are truly following the mission given by Jesus Christ, who comprise the True Church today, what we see as His Remnant Church of the Last Days. I believe it is the ministry and mission of the Church to be witnesses for Jesus Christ until He returns for His Church (1 Thessalonians 4), and that He alone can effect change in this world, and will do so when He sets up His Millennial Kingdom at His Second Coming (Revelation 19).

I believe the Rapture of the Church is imminent, we are living in a time when prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes. It is my prayer that in this last remnant of time before the “called out” Church is called up to meet our Savior, that a Holy Spirit inspired awakening will take place among mankind, and within the apostate church. It is my prayer that we will see souls saved, and the church restored to its original mission and calling. The end of days is at hand and;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome