(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the American King James Version).
The Christian has the promise of divine blessings and favour for living a life of obedience to the commandments of God. We are to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God which shall be revealed in us. However, the Christian’s life is not just one of bliss and glory. We are not only to rejoice because of the blessings and grace we enjoy. Part of the Christian experience is to suffer persecutions and tribulations for Christ’s sake. Suffering for Christ is to be experienced by all genuine Christians, though in different forms and in varying degrees. When tribulations and trials arise because of the cross of Christ and his gospel which we live and preach, we are to rejoice and be glad. We are to give glory to God for the opportunity and privilege to be counted worthy to share with the Lord in his sufferings. That’s what the New Testament teaches.
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Romans 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience;
Romans 5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
Romans 5:5 And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you:
1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.
1 Peter 4:14 If you be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you; for the spirit of glory and of God rests on you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
1 Peter 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
1 Peter 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1 Peter 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
1 Peter 4:19 Why let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as to a faithful Creator.
2 Timothy 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
2 Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
Christian suffering is not optional nor can it be avoided. The Lord Jesus taught that anyone who would come after (follow) him should be prepared to deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow the Lord. The Lord also taught that no true disciple of his would escape persecution for the sake of the Word of God, the same way he himself couldn’t escape it, since no disciple can be greater than his master. Whatever the master passed through, every true servant of his must experience. The Lord suffered unjustly while on earth, and left us all an example to follow in his footsteps. No true disciple of Christ can escape suffering unjustly and being persecuted for righteousness sake.
Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Luke 9:24 For whoever will save his life shall lose it: but whoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
Luke 9:25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
Luke 9:26 For whoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.
John 15:18 If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you.
15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
John 15:21 But all these things will they do to you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.
John 15:23 He that hates me hates my Father also.
John 15:24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
John 15:25 But this comes to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
1 Peter 2:19 For this is thank worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
1 Peter 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? but if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps:
1 Peter 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
1 Peter 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously:
1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.
2 Timothy 3:10 But you have fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity, patience,
2 Timothy 3:11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
Mark 10:28 Then Peter began to say to him, See, we have left all, and have followed you.
Mark 10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Truly I say to you, There is no man that has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
Mark 10:30 But he shall receive an hundred times now in this time, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
It’s important that every Christian is made to understand at the beginning of their walk with God that persecutions and tribulations are an integral part of our Christian heritage, in addition to the blessings of Christ and the glory that shall be revealed in us. Unto us it is given, on behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. Persecutions and sufferings are the means by which God allows our faith to be tested and purified and made stronger. They are the means by which our character and Christian experience are developed and built up. If we do not understand and accept this doctrine, not only will we be discouraged when trials come our way, we may become offended by them and abandon the faith. Deceived by the unbridled prosperity gospel, which preaches only the blessings of the cross but not its sufferings and shame, many a Christian have abandoned the faith, when adversity came knocking, being unprepared to deal with sufferings as part of the blessed inheritance of the Christian. Like Job’s wife, they’re ready to curse God and die, when the storms of life arise. Because such faiths have no depth, since they are not built on the Word of God, but are founded on the enticing words of man’s wisdom, they easily crumble under the weight of persecutions and tribulations.
Philippians 1:29 For to you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
The Acts 14:19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.
The Acts 14:20 However, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
The Acts 14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,
The Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
James 1:2 My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations;
James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience.
James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1 Peter 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you,
1 Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:6 Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
1 Peter 1:8 Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
1 Peter 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
Matthew 13:3 And he spoke many things to them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
Matthew 13:4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
Matthew 13:5 Some fell on stony places, where they had not much earth: and immediately they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
Matthew 13:6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
Matthew 13:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
Matthew 13:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundred times, some sixty times, some thirty times.
Matthew 13:18 Hear you therefore the parable of the sower.
Matthew 13:20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it;
Matthew 13:21 Yet has he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution rises because of the word, by and by he is offended.
Job 2:7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to his crown.
Job 2:8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself with; and he sat down among the ashes.
Job 2:9 Then said his wife to him, Do you still retain your integrity? curse God, and die.
Job 2:10 But he said to her, You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
Not only are we to prepare for, and to expect persecutions and suffering for Christ, we are also to display the right attitude towards them. When faced with trials, we shouldn’t grumble, complain, threaten or fight back. We are not to despair or be downcast. We are to be positive in the midst of trials, knowing we are sharing with the Lord in his sufferings, and will also share with him in his glory, for only those who joyfully partake of the sufferings of the cross will share in Christ’s glory and throne. We are to commit our ways to God and count it all joy for the privilege to share in Christ’s sufferings and develop Christian character and experience. We are to give thanks to God in all things, including our trials, for all things work together for good to those who love the Lord. When we know these truths and live by them, the joy of the Lord will fill our hearts and strenghten us in our tribulations. In the world we will have tribulations, but the peace of Christ will keep our minds and hearts even in our tribulations, which we will eventually overcome by his grace. We are to be of good cheer even in the midst of tribulations, because our Lord has overcome the world. In all circumstances, we are more than conquerors!
Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:11 Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Matthew 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
The Acts 16:16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
The Acts 16:17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show to us the way of salvation.
The Acts 16:18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
The Acts 16:19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace to the rulers,
The Acts 16:20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
The Acts 16:21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
The Acts 16:22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
The Acts 16:23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
The Acts 16:24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
The Acts 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises to God: and the prisoners heard them.
The Acts 16:26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
The Acts 5:17 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
The Acts 5:18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
The Acts 5:19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,
The Acts 5:20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
The Acts 5:21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
The Acts 5:22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned and told,
The Acts 5:23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.
The Acts 5:25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.
The Acts 5:26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.
The Acts 5:27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
The Acts 5:28 Saying, Did not we straightly command you that you should not teach in this name? and, behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood on us.
The Acts 5:40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
The Acts 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
The Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
2 Corinthians 12:8 For this thing I sought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Romans 8:36 As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
In conclusion, tribulations, persecutions and sufferings for righteousness are an integral part of Christianity, which every genuine disciple of Christ must experience in their walk with God. They serve as the means of trying and purifying our faith, and of building character and experience in us. God has ordained that every child of his must pass through the school of tribulations to learn obedience and develop spiritual maturity. We must therefore learn to count it all joy when we suffer for Christ’s sake and for the sake of his gospel, for we will only share in Christ’s glory if we are partakers of his sufferings.
Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him.
1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.
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