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Gospel Suffering

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
September 22, 2022 12:01 am

Gospel Suffering

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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September 22, 2022 12:01 am

The more we speak up for the truth of Christ, the more we'll attract the attention and opposition of the world. Today, Steven Lawson shows that following Jesus involves enduring suffering and persecution on account of His name.

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Today on Renewing Your Mind. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

In other words, if there is not persecution, to some degree the kingdom of heaven is not yours, and evidence that you're in the kingdom is that you catch some degree of flack for your faith in Jesus conveys to us through them. A moment ago by the apostle Paul: Edward, beatings, floggings, Stonington shipwrecks, so he speaks to us with great credibility when it comes to being persecuted for righteousness this week on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. Steven Morrison is examining Paul's instructions to the church at Philippi full tells them in extension tells us that we can expect to suffer for the sake of Christ. Come with me to Philippians chapter 1 and verse 29 and 30 for this session to begin by reading the passage for to you it has been granted for Christ's sake not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now here to be in me from these verses we learn that all believers are appointed by God to pay a price for their faith. Suffering for the gospel is inevitable as we live in a fallen world.

The degree of suffering or catching flak for our faith will differ from one believer to the next, depending upon where God has placed you and who is around you and relate the cultural climate of the time, some followers of Christ pay a greater price than others but all believers will face some opposition some resistance, some pushback for their faith in the gospel and if not, I think Paul would say to us.

I wonder if you're even a Christian if you're not receiving some opposition. So this is what Paul is wanting to Philippians to know that what suffering they are undergoing for the gospel in that godless culture is actually par for the course is no strange thing that is happening to them and it is precisely what the Philippians are experiencing and what Paul wants them to know he wants them to know this, that if God has given you the gift of saving faith. He will also give to you suffering for the gospel and that these two are a package deal. You cannot have one without the other is not a multiple-choice you get the pick and choose what you want whenever God gives the one he always gives the other.

That's is clear is sunlight in this text. These two believing and suffering both gifts from God are inseparably connected.

There the heads and tails of the same coin. So I want to begin by just asking you this question. Have you seen this in your own life. What price you paid for being a Christian. It could be with in your own household.

It could be within laws it could be with work associates.

It could be people in your neighborhood. I don't know how that would look in your life, but I'm just simply saying what Paul is saying here that when God gives the gift of saving faith. He also gives the gift of suffering for Christ. So as we look at these two verses a breakout to me very easy.

The first heading is the gift of believing the second heading is the gift of suffering and the third heading is the example of suffering. So let's look first how Paul begins this would be under the heading to the gift of believing this is for to you the refers to believers. All the believers there and Philippi and this can be extended to all believers everywhere. Whatever century whatever continent you live for to you it has been granted something has been given to every believer and is given for Christ's sake and for the honor of Christ for the glory of Christ, and he says first not only to believe in him. You see, it must be given to a person to believe in Christ. Saving faith does not originate within a spiritually dead soul saving faith does not work its way up from within us.

Saving faith has to come down from heaven saving faith must be a grace gift that is bestowed to the elect of God to be given. Saving faith is to be given the ability to believe and until this gift is given. You cannot believe.

And there are so many passages in the New Testament that that teach this limited give you a couple just to nail this down and this goes back to Martin Luther's book the bondage of the will. Hebrews 12 verse two looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of faith who authors saving faith in the believer. Jesus Christ and the faith that Jesus authors is a faith that will keep on believing it will never go back to unbelief. He gives of faith that keeps on believing that is why he is not only the author but the perfecter of faith.

No believer will ever become an unbeliever because Jesus does not give a defective faith that only believes for a season that only believes for the moment of the faith that Jesus gives is a faith that will believe throughout the entirety of one's life and on into eternity.

Another passage would be Ephesians 2 verse 89 for by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not as a result of works, lest any man should boast. What what is the gift of God will grammatically. The closest antecedent is faith really both the grace and the faith is the gift of God's saving grace redeeming grace reconciling grace. That's all God's gift, is it not through the merit of Christ, but so also is faith the gift of God that he must give before someone can believe this one other passage second Peter one and verse one, which is an often overlooked passage, Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours did you hear that every believer has received a faith that is the same kind as every other believer, and by that it means a true, genuine, authentic, embracing of Christ as Lord and Savior. You're taking notes. Acts three verse 16 says I can paraphrase that all faith in Christ is faith that comes from Christ and through Christ so as not only is Jesus the object of our faith. He is the source of our faith.

He gives the faith to believe in him and in acts chapter 11 in verse 18 it says that a door was opened for their faith.

So the heart remains shut and closed until God opens that door to believe it says God has granted to the Gentiles. Repentance that leads to faith so you're saying is, is that all saving faith is the gift of God under simply the reason is because one without Christ is spiritually dead.

Dead men don't believe deadman only stink dead men cannot come to faith in Christ until life is given to them and they are granted the gift of faith. So were abundantly clear on this.

Not hard to understand.

Maybe hard to swallow, but is not hard to understand that lead second noun to the gift of suffering is not to say in verse 29 but also to suffer.

There we see that believing and suffering are a package deal. You can never have one without the other and this word suffers a business is a strong word Cosco in the Greek it means to be afflicted inflicted with pain, and in this context, it's obvious. The reason for this inflicted pain is because of one's testimony and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you take the Oxford English dictionary, and you look up the word passion what you will find is the primary meaning is the passion of Christ as he suffered in the garden of Gethsemane that it's it's it's a deep feeling as he had blood coming out of his sweat glands. And then there's secondary meaning is the passion of the martyrs as they suffered for the gospel. That's what this word suffer means and what Paul is saying is what the whole rest of the Bible's teaching that second Timothy three verse 12, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution by just take us to some some passages just to verify this in Matthew chapter 5 verses 10 through 11.

It is that the crowning the attitude, the eighth and final beatitude and it really everything is led up to this final beatitude. Blessed are the poor in spirit blessedly more blessed are the meek. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for for righteousness. Blessed are the gentle Blessed are the merciful. Blessed are the pure in heart.

Blessed are the peacemakers, we come now to the eighth beatitude is the only one it's repeated infected. It occupies three verses just to wait its reality and importance. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. In other words, if there's not persecution, to some degree the kingdom of heaven is not yours you're outside the kingdom and evidence that you're in the kingdom is that you catch some degree of flack for your faith if you live as the first seven beatitudes would call us to live. You're going to stand out like a star on a dark night, dear, you're going to be cutting against the grain.

There's going to be an inevitable consequence for living with that kind of humility and to be that attempt to be that kind of a peacemaker know there's going to be some some blowback. He says in verse 11. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great for the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. I preach this in Russian people are in tears. I preach this in America over the lesser weirs and people scratch their head to say what he's talking about all the time. The tide is changing and this is more relevant than tomorrow's newspaper. This is where we now find ourselves and it will separate the wheat from the tares that it will separate.

Just even church attenders from those who are actually born again and who know the Lord because we flying the flag for the Lord Jesus Christ come to Matthew chapter 10 just for a moment just to look at a few other verses Jesus said to his disciples, behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves to be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.

I don't think the world's changed. I don't think much is changed. Look at verse 22. You will be hated by all because of my name, verse 24. A disciple is not above his teacher, nor slave above his master.

It's enough for the disciple to become like his teacher and his slave like his master. We say all I want to be like Jesus. I want to be like my master will continue read verse 25. If they called the head of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they malign the members of his household, as we are becoming like Christ. We will also suffer like Christ. Did anyone receive greater rejection and reviling than our master of that is true of the head of the house much more for the slaves and the servants you and me who are in this house come to John chapter 15 is very quickly. John chapter 15 is always great to go to cross-references because it shows how the Bible speaks with one voice that it never contradicts itself and it adds weight to a particular passage to see how the whole rest of the Bible is saying Amen to this passage is affirming what this passage is, is teaching in John chapter 15 beginning in verse 18. If the world hate you could better be translated since the world hate you. You know that it has hated me before it hated you.

If you were of the world, the world would love it so. But because you're not of the world, but I chose you out of the world. Because of this the world hates you. It doesn't mean love less. That means hate verse 20. Remember the word that I said to you slave is not greater than his master that they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. Will we see here the inevitability for all disciples of Christ to receive persecution for their faith in the more godless the society and the more fanatical the false religion, the greater is the persecution in acts chapter 14 and verse 22 is Paul is planting churches on his first missionary journey.

Is he traveling through Galatia.

The cities in Galatia and he comes back to revisit some and he appoints elders and in those churches. He says this to them to the church through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God is what he announces to each individual church hardly would seem to be a church growth strategy through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And then when we come to the book of first Peter the book of first Peter makes is so very clear. In fact, that's how the book begins in first Peter chapter 1 Peter and apostle of Jesus Christ to those who reside as aliens scattered. Why would they be scattered as a been run out of town scattered throughout Pontius Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia, who are chosen of the doctrine of election becomes very precious when you're rejected by the world to know that you're a first round lottery pick by God that he has chosen you before the foundation of the world as you are in the midst of being utterly despised and rejected by the world will come to chapter 4, first Peter chapter 4 and beginning in verse 12 this a good verse for us to hear beloved.

There's a tenderness. Pastoral tenderness their beloved, do not be surprised by what he say that because they were surprised at what follows. Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal like that in front of the furnace of affliction. Like Shadrach me shack and Abednego do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing. So, as though some strange thing were happening to you, but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of his glory is referring the second coming, you may rejoice with exultation verse 14. If you are reviled for the name of Christ. You are blessed because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. Passage after passage after passage we read of the New Testament, especially encouraging believers as they are suffering for their faith and the Lord Jesus Christ spoke so directly to his disciples about this, even to the point in acts 183 says you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, under the uttermost parts of the world that word witness Mark Torres comes into the English language is marked her that to be a witness in the first century was synonymous with being a martyr and so a martyr is a witness, a witness is a martyr is just interchangeable words so but better to suffer for Christ temporarily spend all eternity with him in glory than to have a posh life now and end up in the bowels of hell forever was come back to our text we've been looking at Philippians 1 verse 29 for to you it is been granted for Christ's sake not only to believe in him, but also to suffer when last heading to put before you the example of suffering.

I don't really have much time to expand on it but it's in verse 30 Paul gives himself as an example of this suffering because we eat. We know how the Philippians will be thinking like I would say about Paul.

You're the greatest Christian ever lived, and you suffered. Sometimes we think well we suffer for the gospel because there must be something wrong about my life or my witness, no is probably because is everything right about your life and your witness.

And so Paul verse 30 uses himself really to encourage the Philippians has been true in my life is can be true in your life. Nobody is to live above this choice is experiencing the same conflict in this work conflict agon in the original language comes into the English language is agony. This same agony which you saw in me, will they saw when Paul was there and asked chapter 16 you can read about it on your own.

Paul was arrested, literally drug through the streets of of Philippi before the authorities and there he was beaten and flogged and then thrown into prison where he is in chains and stocks in and is suffering for the gospel in impulse I hate you saw the Philippian jailer who was converted saw it and he says, and now here to be in me meaning nothing's changed since Huff is fair with you is what happened when I was with you in Philippi is where my life is right now is Paul's in Rome in prison for the gospel change Roman soldiers 24 hours a day seven days a week and literally every stage in between is been 10 years since Paul was in Philippi in the time of this writing and for 10 solid years. Paul goes into town and preaches the gospel he lies will just go ahead and check himself into prison because it's inevitable that it's coming in. So Paul uses himself here to encourage the believers that this is true even of their former pastor and their spiritual leader and their father in the face and so it will be true in your life so match this question as we bring this to a conclusion. How do you catch flack for your faith.

How do you suffer right now and are you preparing yourself for the suffering that will come for naming the name of Christ. I do know this more we speak up for Christ the more we will draw the attention of the world and their resistance if we just remain silent and hide our faith and become a camouflaged Christian you may not stand out quite as much but if you live on the front lines of the Lord, you will have to look for fun.

That's a scary thought is doing. To be honest it does causes to wonder what may come to us in terms of persecution, but Jesus has promised never to leave us or forsake us for glad you joined us today for Renewing Your Mind.

I'm Lee Webb and we are pleased to feature Dr. Steven Lawson's latest teaching series rejoice in the Lord. Paul's letter to the Philippians in 42 messages we discover verse by verse, the joy of the Lord amid trial and suffering. This week is the first time we've made the series available. You can request the six DVD set when you give a donation of any amount. As soon as you get this process will be adding the teaching series to your learning library, allowing you to stream the series right away also receive the digital study guide that includes lesson goals message outlines and questions for group discussion.

You can find us or you can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343 unlimited just a moment to thank you for your support of leader ministries.

The Christian faith is facing a full frontal assault from our culture today. Many reject the existence of God and the reliability of his word without ever considering the overwhelming evidence it is our goal here to equip US believers to know what you believe what you believe it how to live it and how to assure it in your donations make that possible.

So thank you will tomorrow. Dr. Lawson will show us that in the book of Philippians, Paul had a goal for the church that the unity within the Trinity within the Godhead would be better picture of the unity that must be in the church to be one doctrine to be one in love to be one in purpose to be one admission to the one mindset I hope you'll join us for the message tomorrow. Here on Renewing Your Mind

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