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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Too Hard!, continued
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, (Philippians 3:10—NIV)
Paul says we are to share the sufferings of Christ. Paul did not say that Christ suffered so we do not have to suffer. This doctrine is totally unscriptural.
How about the life of the Apostle Paul? Did he lead an easy life or a hard life? What do you think? According to Paul his life was very hard, ending with imprisonment in a Roman jail (very hard indeed!) and martyrdom.
Tradition says all the Apostles were martyred with the possible exception of John the Revelator.
The record of Church history is one of imprisonment, torture, breaking up of families, life in the catacombs, martyrdom. One could not claim the life of the followers of Christ has been easy.
We of the twentieth century in America are not experiencing vicious persecution in the present hour. We have been promised an unscriptural "pre-tribulation rapture" that will prevent our suffering. Since such a fantasy will never take place, will we be able to stand during the age of moral horrors on the horizon? Will we be able to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ?
But let me tell you why we are accused of being "too hard."
The current Evangelical gospel is that if we make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ we have our ticket to Paradise where we will live forever in a mansion, having no trouble or problems of any kind. What are we required to do in the meantime? Absolutely nothing. Oh it would be nice if we tried to serve the Lord (not to the point of serious inconvenience of course).
What if we continue to live in the flesh? Not to worry! It's okay with the Lord. His grace is taking care of our behavior.
This is really a wonderful gospel, not true of course, but very pleasant. We have a nice Blondie and Dagwood marriage and all the kids are grouped around us in the evening as we read the Bible and pray. And we all are waiting to go up in the Rapture. Isn't this nice?
Is this the way it is in your family? Most likely not. The chances are your family is dysfunctional and the Great Tribulation will probably not be much worse than what you are experiencing right now. I am speaking of Christian families.
Such is the army of God in America in 2000. This pastor does not preach the wonderful grace-rapture-Heaven gospel or anything resembling it.
We are preaching that you are not a true Christian until you deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus. Where do you carry your cross? To the place of execution.
We are teaching that God will permit Satan to put you in prison, figuratively or literally. There you will stay until God finds you faithful and grants you the crown of life.
We are teaching that much of the Christian life is hard, sometimes very hard. You have to keep on doing things for which you have no heart. Sometimes you are forced to take steps you do not wish to take but that are necessary for the sake of your family.
To be continued.