Suffering for Christ
Bible Text: Colossians 1:24 | Speaker: Pastor James Zaebst
“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church”.
This verse speaks of sufferings of Christ that are still left to be suffered. Christ suffered greatly (Isaiah 53:3-10). But the suffering of Christ is not done, the suffering continues on with the suffering of His followers (John 15:20), including Paul (Acts 9:15-16).
People in our day recoil at the thought that a very real and significant part of our Christian life is willingly taking our part in the sufferings of Christ that are still left. Many see the Christian life as an escape from suffering. It is not that at all! The Christian life, rightly lived, includes a willingness and a real sense of duty to share in Christ’s sufferings. God’s Word speaks repeatedly in finding real joy is suffering for Christ (Luke 6:22-23).
The hatred of the world towards the believer is to be counted as a blessing that brings rejoicing and leaping for joy. If the world loves you, God’s Work clearly states that it serves as an indication of your own degree of worldliness (John 15:19).
In early Acts the Apostles ministry resulted in imprisonment (Acts 5:12-18). In spite of this they made a stand for Christ (Acts 5:27-29). They rejoiced in their beatings and imprisonment (Acts 5:40-42). The persecution and suffering served as a badge of honor that testified to their worthiness (Acts 5:41).
Paul as well certainly did “suffer great things” (Acts 9:16). In II Corinthians 11:23-33 Paul details some of the specific sufferings of Christ that he had the privilege of sharing. The list includes labor, beatings, imprisonment, death (Acts 14:19), stoning, shipwreck, a night and a day floating in the sea, robberies, conspiracies to kill him from Jews, Gentiles and non-believers, weariness, cold, lack of food, clothing and shelter. Through all of this Paul “took pleasure” and “became a fool in glorying” (II Corinthians 12:10-11).
Sadly today many believers compromise their faith. They go along to get along. In doing so they miss out on what God’s Word clearly describes as a source of genuine heartfelt joy.