22 September 2012

Counted Worthy to Suffer

The book of Acts is one of my favorites in God's Word. To be sure, I've heard many pastors twist and butcher it to fit their own church growth agenda, but when you sit down and read it for the history that it is, it's...well, it's fantastic. My morning study time has found me in Acts recently, and today I was excited to read one of my favorite passages:
But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.
Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council, all the senate of the people of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.” Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to. And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.
And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.
(Acts 5:17-42, emphasis added)
Those final two verses are simultaneously humbling, convicting, challenging and comforting. In a place where we do not (yet) risk imprisonment for preaching Christ, do we consider it a privilege to face the persecution that does confront us? If we found ourselves suffering—truly suffering—for the name of Christ, would we rejoice, and carry on in the ministry and calling to which He has called us? Might we even pray that, if or when the time comes, He would consider us worthy to suffer earthly dishonor for His name? Oh, Lord, it would be a privilege!

2 comments:

  1. "Oh, Lord, it would be a privilege!" AMEN

    Absolutely and without hesitation, I would be glad to suffer even unto death after all Christ has done for me.. It wouldn't even compare to not even an iota of what Christ has done for us ~for the JOY of knowing Christ in a much greater way. "For me to live is Christ and to die is GAIN"
    If I had to be in a foxhole with someone it would certainly NOT be Osteen or Furtick that's for sure. They will RUN just like Jesus said in John 10:12

    ~"The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it."

    persecution may be coming much sooner than many realize

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It came here already Linda...

      Delete

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