Christians have always been an island of righteousness in a sea of paganism. Amid today’s cultural pressure points, we must rethink our view of suffering for the sake of Christ. Pastor Lutzer offers three incentives for Christians to suffer well. What if Christians don’t have a sympathetic government or the freedom to worship?
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Transcript: Welcome, once again, to 5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer. I want to say to those who are listening, some of you have been with us for a long time, others of you may be new to this program, but all are welcome. And I hope that you take the time to subscribe and to follow. My desire is to help you in your Christian walk to think through the issues that we face as Christians, but always make sure that we have a biblical response to what is happening around us.
If you’ve been with us, you know that I’ve been speaking about my book entitled “No Reason To Hide: Standing For Christ In A Collapsing Culture.” This book was written with the intention, as I’ve mentioned, to help us think through the pressure points. But the last chapter has to do with suffering for Christ. And you know, I think, that we as Americans have to rethink suffering for Christ. Many people today believe that if the church were all that she should be, we’d discover that we always have freedom, that we have a government that is sympathetic to our concerns, and on and on. It’s not the way it’s been throughout centuries of church history. The church has always been an island of righteousness in a sea of paganism, and we’re going to have to learn from our brothers and sisters who have gone before us what suffering for Jesus Christ really means and what it takes to endure that suffering.
The first thing I want to emphasize is that we are called to suffer. The apostle Paul says in Philippians chapter 1, “To you it is given on behalf of Jesus Christ not only to believe in His name [We love that part] but also to suffer for His sake.” Suffering is the calling that is given to us as Christians. And we in America, of course, we think that that should never happen to us. But it is happening. It’s happening in various ways.
Something else about suffering, and that is that we must recognize that it gives us special blessings. I’m going to paraphrase 1 Peter chapter 4, where it says, “Beloved, rejoice for the fiery trial that is to try you and don’t be surprised as if some strange thing has happened unto you but rejoice in as much as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings.” And then it goes on to say that the “spirit of glory and of God will rest upon you.” And it’s verse 19, I think, that goes on to say that he who suffers according to the will of God, let him “commit himself to God as a faithful Creator. We’re called to suffer. Suffering has special blessings.
Now, I’d like to emphasize that, in the end, we must recognize that we should do all that we can to bring about biblical justice to this world. But so often, we have to deal with injustice that we cannot fix. And I want to leave you with this thought: The bible says that, in the end, God is going to adjudicate all of the unrighteousness in the world. If we are faithful, we will be properly rewarded and, in the end, it’s going to be worth it all. I spoke to someone who argued before the Supreme Court of the United States. She argued a case which she should have won. Injustice was done, but I encouraged her by reminding her that it says in 1 Peter that Jesus Christ, when he was reviled, reviled not again. When he suffered, he uttered no threats, but he kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously. Not even Jesus, not even his case, has been fully adjudicated. That will still happen in the day of judgment.
“So, Pastor Lutzer, what is it that you are saying?” I’ll say exactly what I’m saying: Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men persecute you, and revile you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you.” He goes on to say you will be rewarded. From my heart to yours, if you are suffering today for Christ—maybe losing a job, maybe being marginalized, vilified on social media for biblical convictions—it’s easy to say, but it’s biblical, rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great shall be your reward. Thank you so much for joining us for these episodes. We trust that God will continue to bless you, to encourage you. And remember, you might want to get a copy of my book entitled “No Reason To Hide: Standing For Christ In A Collapsing Culture.” But as for today, well, you already know how I always end, just go with God.