Timothy Jesus

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“How should a Christian respond to persecution?”

Answer: There’s no doubt that persecution is a stark reality of living the Christian life. The apostle Paul warned us that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus told us to expect persecution from the world because if they persecuted Him, they will persecute His followers also. Jesus has made it very clear to us that those of the world will hate us because they hate Him. If Christians were like the world—vain, earthly, sensual, and given to pleasure, wealth, and ambition—the world would not oppose us. But Christians do not belong to the world which is why they hate and persecute us (John 15:18-19). Christians are, or should be, influenced by different principles from those of the world. We are motivated by the love of God and holiness, while the world is driven by the love of sin. It is our very separation from the world that arouses the world’s animosity toward us. The world would prefer that we were like them; since we are not, they hate us (1 Peter 4:3-4).

As faithful Christians, we must learn to recognize the value of persecution and even to rejoice in it, not in an ostentatious way, but quietly and humbly because persecution has great spiritual value. First, persecution allows us to share in a unique fellowship with our Lord. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul outlined a number of things he surrendered for the cause of Christ. Such losses, however, he viewed as “rubbish” (Philippians 3:8), or “dung” (KJV), that he might share in the “fellowship of [Christ’s] sufferings” (Philippians 3:10). The noble apostle even counted his chains as a grace (favor) which God had bestowed upon him (Philippians 1:7).

Second, in all truth, persecution is good for us. James argues that trials test our faith, work or develop (endurance) in our lives, and help develop maturity (James 1:2-4). For as steel is tempered in the flames of the forge, trials and persecution serve to hone down those rough edges that tarnish our character. Yielding graciously to persecution allows one to demonstrate that he is of a superior quality than his adversaries. It’s easy to be hateful, but an ugly disposition throws a light upon our human weakness. It is much more Christ-like to remain calm and to respond in kindness in the face of evil opposition. Without question this is a tremendous challenge, but we have the power of the Holy Spirit within us and the wonderful example of the Lord to encourage us. Peter says of Jesus, “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).

Third, persecution enables us to value the support of true friends. Conflict sometimes brings faithful children of God together in an encouraging and supportive way they might not have known otherwise. Hardship can stimulate the Lord’s people toward a greater resolve to love and comfort one another and lift one another to the throne of grace in prayer. There’s nothing like an unpleasant incident to help the more mature rise toward a greater level of brotherly love.

So, when we think about it seriously, we can move ourselves forward, even in the face of antagonism, whether from the world or within the church, and press on. We can thank God for His grace and for His patience with us. We can express gratitude for those whom we love in the Lord and who stand with us in times of distress. And we can pray for those who would accuse, misuse, or abuse us (2 Corinthians 11:24; Romans 10:1).

Recommended Resource: Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe.


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Are You Fully Committed to God?

Are you committed to serving God daily? 7 days a week 24hours a day?

I do not mean just on Sundays. Or just on Wednesday nights, or Thursday nights, etc.

Question: “What does the Bible say about commitment?”

Answer: There are numerous references in the Bible addressing the Christian’s commitment in various aspects of lives: to our families, our neighbors, employers, the church, our health, and in all things we do and say (Ephesians 6:5; Hebrews 10:25; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 31). But the Bible also teaches that the chief commitment of our lives is to God Himself. Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38).

Jesus is telling us that every fiber of our being, every facet of our lives must be committed to loving and serving God. This means that we must hold nothing back from Him because God holds nothing back from us (John 3:16). Furthermore, Jesus tells us that our commitment to Him must supersede that of even our families: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27). Such commitment means our family relationships may be severed. It means our commitment to Christ demands, if given an “either/or” situation, we turn away from them and continue on with Jesus (Luke 12:51-53). The bottom-line is that those who cannot make that kind of commitment cannot be His disciple.

Jesus is warning us in advance. The reason for such commitment and loyalty is that the trials we may have to endure will be quite demanding; our allegiance to Him at times may be arduous (John 15:18). Jesus alerted His disciples: “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). Even the apostle Paul echoed His warning: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

Jesus has made it plain the cost of discipleship: “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24). In essence, the true cost of commitment to Christ is one’s total self-denial, cross-bearing, and the continual following of Him. These imperatives picture for us sacrifice, selfishness, and service. A cross epitomized ultimate punishment and humiliation (Galatians 3:13). More than that, it fully demonstrated the love of God (Romans 5:8)—selfless and sacrificial in the giving of His life for the world (Matthew 20:28).

It was the apostle Paul who exemplified the Lord’s example of commitment to sacrifice and service. He said: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Total commitment to God means that Jesus is our sole authority, our guiding light, our unerring compass. Being committed to Christ means being fruitful; it means being a servant. Our axiom is simple and succinct: “For me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21).

Recommended Resource: Commitment: My Heart Christ’s Home by Robert Munger.


 

 

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We can be saved and not fully committed to the Lord. We can hold a position in the Church and not be committed to the Lord.

Do you perhaps; happen one way in the church and another way outside of the church. Or do you have Pastor Salvation?

Philippians 2:12: Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Just be aware that you will be rewarded for your actions as well as I will be rewarded for mine.

I suggest that we make wise choices in serving the Lord.

Before; there was a list of things to place in the order of the importance to you. We must be Fully committed to God. This is a personal journey.

Are you committed to serve the Lord; regardless of who or what comes in your life?

If no one else goes, I am going. Sometimes; It may seem it is just you and Jesus. That is the majority

 

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