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Purity and Persecution

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
July 29, 2022 12:00 am

Purity and Persecution

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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July 29, 2022 12:00 am

Be reminded of how Christ suffered for doing the right thing.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Friday, July 29th. Today we continue to discover the connection between purity and persecution, a lesson in perseverance. Now usually when we think about persecution, we think of somebody throwing us in jail and putting us behind bars and doing all kinds of things to us. But I want to tell you, Satan's very subtle. He sends persecution in all kinds of forms, and he doesn't always throw folks behind bars to persecute them.

He knows how to get to you in ways that have nothing to do with being in prison. All of us at times, if we live a godly life, are going to be persecuted. That's just part of the Christian life because that's what Paul said to Timothy. He said, those who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. Those who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

And that does not mean that we are to entice people to do it or to act so foolish that somebody would respond. But he says those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. And it's interesting that the church is always courting the world, wanting the world to see things their way and we compromise our conviction to get the world to sort of accept us. Listen, according to scriptures, the world ought to be extremely angry with the body of Christ.

Why? Because our lifestyle should expose their wickedness before God. And so here's the way Peter starts. He says, therefore, based on what he's been saying, since Christ, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, that is crucified, arm yourselves also with the same purpose or the same mind. Now, go back to verse 18 of chapter three, how do you suffer in the flesh, for Christ also died for sins, once for all the just for the unjust in order that he might bring us to God. Now here's the key, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, the just for the unjust. Now when he says in chapter four, therefore, since Christ also suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose or the same mind. Now, how did Jesus suffer unjustly? All of his suffering was unjustly. Jesus never suffered justly for anything. That is, Jesus, the sinless Christ suffered unjustly for those of us who are unjust and deserve the punishment.

How did he respond? Because however he responded, what Peter's saying is this, and this really blessed me. You know, I've read that a lot of times, but somehow, I guess I just needed to hear that for myself. He says, when you are persecuted or when you suffer unjustly, how are you to respond? So look back over in verse 18. Now, how did Jesus suffer? There are two words that sort of sum up the way Jesus suffered. When he was persecuted and suffered, two words. First of all, he did it with patience. He was very patient.

And secondly, he was very submissive. He didn't defend himself. He didn't fight back. They lied about him.

They did everything possible. And very patiently, he took and absorbed, very patiently, he was willing for them to say and to do anything and everything. And when he could have called down legions of angels and absolutely wiped them out in a split second, he submitted to their persecution. Now, what is the response of the believer?

What does he say? Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves. Now, the word arm here is the same word used to refer to very heavily armed Roman soldiers.

I don't mean someone with a little small round shield and a short sword, but a man with a big shield that could cover his whole body and a long javelin. He says, arm yourselves, heavily arm yourselves also with the same mind. Jesus' mind about persecution was submissive in spirit and patient in spirit. He says, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. Now, what in the world does that mean? Because it looks like you and I are not going to sin anymore.

And we've talked enough about that I'm not going to go into a big explanation for it except to explain this. What he's saying here is this. When he says because he who has suffered in the flesh, now we're talking about the believers who are suffering because of persecution have ceased from sin. That does not mean we don't sin anymore. But what it means is we have been released. We have been released from the ruling reigning power of sin in our life. That power has been broken. The truth is that living the way we used to live is out of style.

Let me tell you something. When a child of God deliberately willfully sins against God, it's out of style. That is it's out of who you are. He says you and I have been crucified with Christ and the reason God identified us in the crucifixion is in the breaking of the power of sin. We are no longer trapped and enslaved by the power of sin. Now we are free to live the life that Jesus Christ provided in his resurrection power.

So that he says beforehand, what did you do? The lust of the flesh. Now it is the will of God.

Let me ask you a question. Which of the two dominates your life most of the time? Getting your needs met or following the Lord Jesus Christ will for your life? Which is the dominant factor in your life? Which is the dominant prevailing thought in your mind? Got to get my needs met. Got to have this.

Got to have that or Lord, what would you have me to do? Is it more of the flesh or more of the will of the Father? Do you struggle more with the with the flesh? Or is there an abiding rest within you?

I don't mean that you'll never struggle. He says this warfare is going on Ephesians chapter six, he says with the dress for battle every day because the warfare is a continuous constant thing. But as believers, here's the difference believers, the power of sin has been broken so that now beforehand, we sin because we couldn't help ourselves. Now we sin because we don't have to but we choose to sin against God. So he says, which one will it be for us so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh, no longer for the lust of men, but for the will of God.

We've been released from that now. But the time already passed, look in verse three, the time already passed is sufficient for you to carry out the desire of the Gentiles. Now what he's saying is look, he says, hey, you've wasted enough time already. You wasted enough time already living in sin.

So what's Peter saying? He says, you've spent enough time in sin. And the last person who thinks he's got to squeeze out of the world everything he can possibly find to have fun and to enjoy life doesn't realize he's squeezing something that's empty.

The world can't do it. Those of us who know the Lord Jesus Christ, we know how to enjoy life. He says don't waste your time. Now look, don't waste your time enough times already passed for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles or that is, live like the pagans. For this is what you used to do having pursued a course of sensuality. That word here means a lifestyle that is shocking to public decency. You and I could think about a bunch of folks who would fall in that category, couldn't we? He says lust, that is desire out of control.

That is, that word means something that is moving forward. That is, lust is desire out of control. It is a compelling evil desire, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties. Somebody says, that's no harm. If there weren't any harm in it, he wouldn't have put it here. An abominable idolatrous which is a conglomeration of everything that comes into your life and my life that comes between us and the Lord Jesus Christ. He says, you've had enough of that. That has no place in your life. Now, and in all of this, verse four, when you give up all of that, you become a Christian, you commit yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ, you start walking a holy, upright, righteous life.

What happens? Man, folks don't understand. And this is, this is the source of the persecution that's coming on these people. And that's why Peter's writing. And he said, now that's the way you used to live. Now you don't live that way any longer. That's who you used to be.

You're not that any longer. Now, and in all this, the unbelievers and your unbelieving friends, he says they have two responses. They're surprised. They're staggered.

You'd not say they were shocked. When they come and say, let's say, for example, you got saved this Sunday. You go back to your office and Friday, they say, Hey, we're having a big beer party tonight. And boy, you don't want to miss it. Well, I won't be there. Why not? Well, I got saved last week. You got what?

Well, I got saved last week. What does that mean? So you tell them what it means. You mean you're gonna stop having fun. Now that's their idea. You're going to stop having fun.

That's their whole attitude about life. You got saved. Now here's what happened. You got rid of your guilt. The power of sin was broken. Your name was written in the Lamb's book of life. All the promises of God are yours.

The Holy Spirit came into your life to seal you and to dwell you and all the wonderful things that happen. And they say, you're not gonna have any more fun. Now who's blind? It isn't us.

It's that crowd. They don't understand. So you go back to the office the next Monday morning, and somehow there's a strange coolness about you.

How you doing? You don't get invited to the next party. Now here's where you better watch it. You're listening carefully, say Amen. If you don't get invited and you feel hurt, you just blew it. They didn't invite me. You didn't have any business going to begin with. And so sometimes believers now, sometimes we respond improperly. Well, you know, at the office folks just, they just don't accept anymore.

Why not? Is it because your walk is a living, walking witness that has them under conviction and making them feel very uncomfortable? The truth is they don't even want you at the party. Your presence, they can't have as much fun. Now, instead of getting your feelings hurt, Peter would say, man, shout, hallelujah, because what's happened is what God says is going to happen.

What does he say is going to happen? First of all, they're going to think it's strange. And secondly, they're going to criticize you. Look, and in all this, they're going to be shocked, surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, living in sin. They're going to be shocked. Then you're going to feel the peer pressure. You mean you're not going out with us tonight?

No. You see, they don't understand. And my friend, if you'll look around you, what goes on in this world today among people who named the name of Jesus, we just shoot our testimony week after week after week.

The Bible talks about godliness, separation, holiness, and righteous living. Now, where in the world we get the idea that when you and I step away from the lifestyle we've been living, righteous, holy, godly, committed to Jesus Christ, why in the world did you ever think that they're going to be so happy to have you back? He says, they're going to think you're strange, you're an oddball, and therefore they're going to treat you that way.

So I'm going to warn you. You go to your office and you pout because you didn't get invited, you've missed the whole point. Their exclusion of you is part of the persecution. So, and in all this, they're surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you, they criticize you.

Now listen to what he says, but they shall give an account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. They're going to have to give an account to God for criticizing you. Now don't tell them that.

They'll find out in due season. Don't tell them. You and I are to live godly and expect persecution, not arrange it and manipulate it, but expect it. And so I want to tell you, if everybody thinks you're a great fellow and a great gal, and you work among people who are lost and everybody thinks you're just absolutely wonderful, maybe you need to get a good look at yourself and ask yourself the question, what am I, listen now carefully, not what am I doing, but what am I not doing? Those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

They won't understand you. Let me ask you a question. Is there anything about you that antagonizes an unbeliever? You say, well, now we shouldn't be antagonistic.

Let me ask you a question. What about Jesus? Something about him really bothered some folks. On the other hand, kids came running to him. On the one hand, people were magnetized to him.

On the other hand, they couldn't wait to get rid of him. So I want to ask you this question also. Not what are you doing wrongly, but what are you doing right that's making the unbelievers uncomfortable around you? So he says, you're going to be criticized. They're going to think you're strange and odd.

Now, the problem is this. When the world grows in its antagonism toward the body of Christ, as happened to these to whom Peter was writing, the persecution sets in fiercely and it becomes a bloody persecution, as is happening to hundreds and thousands upon thousands of Christians around the world today. And we sit very comfortably here, at least for a season, without that kind of persecution. But what's so right in your life that you make the ungodly uncomfortable? And you see, when you and I are living godly in Christ Jesus, they're going to get uncomfortable until they get so desperate. You know where they're coming? They're coming straight to you.

So don't worry about what they think. You just keep on living godly in Christ Jesus and here's what will happen. God will arrange their circumstances.

You know what he does? He allows them to make such messes of things. They get in such desperate straits. They're looking for help. You think they go to their drinking buddies and their carousing friends to ask for help? They very quietly will find you in the restroom or somewhere and say, hey, could I talk to you embarrassed before they're friends?

One of you and I could just chat a few minutes. Then it all comes out. And this man's wife told me this story. She said, my husband and I work for a very outstanding doctor. And I don't know exactly what her responsibility was, but this doctor every morning would listen to our radio program. Her responsibility was to write the sermon down. And so I guess she taped it and she had to write it out.

I guess he wanted the notes so he could read the notes and he had the notes. So she said, I had to write out your sermon. She said, I hated the sound of your voice. She said, I couldn't stand it. She says, in fact, I would try to hide and get busy so I wouldn't have to do it.

Every morning I had to write these sermons out. She said, I didn't like you. I couldn't stand the sound of your voice.

I didn't like anything you said. She says, I just couldn't stand it. One day, bottom's about to drop out and she's driving along. She turns right at you on, whose voice? She cut it off. Cut it off right there. She said, it's like God said to her, cut that back on. She cut it on. The last few minutes of the sermon, she says, God so convicted her and I prayed the prayer of salvation. She prayed the prayer right there in her car and got saved. So she says, I've been waiting to tell you how God saved me.

Now I'm going to tell you simply this. If God's after you, friend, He's going to get you. He's coming after. He's going to get you.

One way or the other, He's going to get you. And you may be the vessel that God uses to get somebody out there who's running from God. Don't worry about what folks think of you. You just be available before God and before the folks around you because no matter how odd they think you are and how much they criticize you, one of these days they're going to need you. And you be there ready to meet their need. Amen? Lord Jesus, we praise you for your loving kindness toward us. We bless you for blessing us and pray this night as we give your invitation that somebody here who's lost may be willing to confess their sins to the Lord Jesus Christ, believing that His all-sufficient, sacrificial atoning, substitutionary death at Calvary has paid the debt and has sealed the debt once and for all, paid in full, for those who will receive Him. And those who've been flirting with the world, flirting with its approval and its acceptance, those who've been denying your power in their life in the presence of their ungodly friends, those who have been playing around with the ungodly, those who've been courting their favor, seen in their presence, participating in their activities, acting like what they're not, I pray that great conviction might fall upon them to realize that's playing the hypocrite.

It's acting what we are not when we can't ever be that again. We praise you for the peace that passes all understanding when we walk uprightly before you in obedience to your perfect will. We bless you tonight in Jesus' name. Amen. Thank you for listening to Purity and Persecution. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-18 19:18:02 / 2023-03-18 19:25:38 / 8

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