As the Lord leads, I write to encourage the hearts of His faithful saints in the aftermath of my posts from July 4, 2021. In particular, I remind you that all we temporarily now, and will suffer through to the end of our mortal lives or the return of our Lord Jesus Christ is worth it since we are richly rewarded by Him eternally (Romans 8:18)! Until then, you know that it is our privilege to suffer to whatever extent we do in His likeness and cause to His glory (1 Peter 4:12-16). Trust me; I already know this is easier said than done. Yet, this is God’s will for us in spite of the falsehood in much of American Christianity that makes personal dream fulfillment, health and material prosperity its focus.
What exactly are we suffering for at the end of the day as Christians? Is it not for the sake of Christ as His followers and the Kingdom of God He represents as King and Judge?1 Yes, and He does not deceive us about the cost of following Him until He returns to bring the Kingdom of God to earth declaring plainly to all: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross (an instrument of suffering and death), and follow Me,” (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23, NKJV). Moreover, He soberly urges such ones to “count the cost” which is very steep in prioritizing first love for and sacrificial service to Him in His Kingdom causes (Luke 14:25-35, NKJV).2
This is just as He also lived and served His Father during His earthly sojourn; suffering the agony and humiliation of being crucified naked on a Roman cross to bring about our salvation as foretold (Psalm 22:1-18; Isaiah 53:1-9; John 3:13-17, 19:28-30). As our example in everything, He who insists we be prepared to suffer for Him and His Kingdom causes, suffered first and far greater than any of us that follow Him ever will (Matthew 10:16-33; John 15:18-25; 1 Peter 2:18-25)!3 Thus, as those redeemed for the Kingdom we suffer for its present message in the Gospel from God calling mankind to repent of sin and believe on King Jesus for salvation (Luke 24:46-48; Acts 17:30-31)!
Too, we suffer now, as He did for the Kingdom’s transcendent eternal principles, morality and ethics well articulated in the Bible (Psalm 119:89; Luke 21:33). God has given men freewill and the right to refuse the Gospel and Kingdom. Stirred by demons and hardened in heart by sin, many who reject the Gospel and Kingdom are not simply content with rejection, but feel it necessary to persecute believers among other wicked motives to justify themselves. The uncompromising stand of the faithful our God is “the only true God,” His Gospel the only means of mankind’s salvation and His Word the sole “truth” infuriates them (Isaiah 43:10-13, 44:6-8; John 3:18-21, 17:1-3, 14-17, NKJV).
Atheists, other secular unsaved, jaded unbelieving professed Christians as weak or outright false brethren and religionists along with apostates persecute the faithful around the earth with hostile mockery, scoffing, exclusion from family and community relations as well as support, destruction of personal and church properties, incarceration, physical violence and martyrdom as foretold. As also foretold, however, God will vindicate the suffering His saints have endured and our long wait in faith since the 1st century A.D. for it beginning with the destruction of counterfeit Christianity’s mother (Revelation 17:1-19:4). This is followed by Christ’s glorious return (2 Thessalonians 1:3-12)!
On that special one of a kind day, God in Christ will show the world how much He valued the faithfulness of His saints by glorifying us for all to unavoidably see. For the dead in Christ that are raised and His mortal remnant will receive from Him their immortal bodies aglow with the brilliant eternal glory of God shining from them against the backdrop of the darkened heavens as we obey His summons to join His glorious presence in the sky (Isaiah 13:9-10; Daniel 12:2-3; Zechariah 14:5b-7; Mark 13:24-27; 1 Corinthians 15:50-57; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)! For most of the unsaved on that day, our eternal glorification will be among the last things they see alive on earth.
Gentile survivors with the protected elect Jewish remnant will see our reign with Christ over this earth and universe follow our glorification and full outpour of divine wrath (Daniel 7:13-14, 21-22, 27; Revelation 7:1-8, 20:4-6). We will reign as kings and judges as with all things pertaining to the eternal Christian life, in the image of Christ!4 This is exceedingly greater than Noah and Lot’s after wrath experiences! So then, let the faith in our God of the faithful--even every aspiring strong man and great woman of God in the image of Christ--take to heart all He has promised us as vindicating victory and be comforted in “the whole counsel” of His Word (Acts 20:27, NKJV).5 This is as I wrote to you in a previous word of encouragement.6 Our suffering for Christ is not in vain (James 5:7-12).
1 Read the August 1, 2021 post, Jesus Christ King And Judge!, under the category, Instruction.
2 See the two-part post beginning August, 18, 2019, Lined Up Behind Jesus, under the category, Instruction.
3 See the two-part post beginning May 17, 2020, Persecution, Hatred And Betrayal and Persecution Of American Christians Intensifying on November 29, 2020, both under
the category, Bible Prophecy.
4 Read the July 19, 2020 post, Ruling The Earth Under Christ, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
5 As I write in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ are the Lord’s faithful! The book and
companion Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study and Great Woman Of God Women’s Group Study are available at your favorite internet book seller and in the
Strong Man Store.
6 See the August 16, 2020 post, To The Word Of God!, under the category, Encouragement.
There is no other way to say it but directly: those of you who have been and are being taught by whomever Jesus Christ is only lowly, meek and mild are being deceived! Truly, by His own testimony the Lord Jesus does invite persons weary and heavily weighted down from the “labor” of life in sin and religion to “Come to” Him, “take” His “yoke upon” themselves “and learn from” Him because He is “gentle and lowly in heart.” In doing as He says, these persons “will find rest for” their “souls,” (Matthew 11:28-30, NKJV). To the humble, He presents Himself gentle and humble. But the proud in their sins should beware; this same Jesus holy and strong is King and Judge of all mankind!1
Even His Personal advance man, John the Baptist, was concerned if in fact Jesus of Nazareth was Israel’s long awaited Anointed of God--her promised King and Deliverer. After sending back word to John, the Lord essentially gave his eulogy and followed this sharply rebuking three cities of the Galilee that had been privileged to see many of His mighty works of power including Capernaum where His ministry was headquartered (Matthew 11:1-24). Then, the Lord Jesus prayed to His Father in the hearing of all present and on the basis of Their mutual knowledge and relationship, immediately pivoted to His hearers to issue the invitation cited in the opening of this post (Matthew 11:25-30).
Their King stood in their midst loving on them, but they did not receive Him because He did not fit their preconceived profile nor subscribe to their practice of external religion that blinded them as evidenced by what happens in Matthew 12:1-45. He invited faith in Him by the same kind of humble persons He had previously called “Blessed” in a sermon proclaimed to those assembled to Him on a mountain (Mathew 5:1-6, NKJV). Gentle and humble as “The Lamb of God” is part of the character and demeanor of Christ He still presents to those at this very hour that come to Him humble and broken in their sins (Psalm 51:16-17; John 1:29; Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Peter 1:18-19, NKJV).
Unfortunately, either through genuine or willful ignorance or purposeful deception, many have portrayed the Lord Jesus as only “The Lamb” or worse, still the cute, harmless “Babe” in the manger. This has led to many false teachings such as Christ being not just tolerant, but accepting of biblically defined sin, His endorsement of other gospels including that built on covetousness for prosperity at all times and syncretism that seats Him at the table with religious figures and idol worshippers antithetical to His Word. And as if these were not enough as examples, many professed Christians deny God's Word denying Christ is now, “the Judge of all the earth,” (Genesis 18:25, NKJV)!2
Blinded by flawed presuppositions, reading into Scripture, purposeful corruption of the same and personal desires for what they want Christ to be, the false teachers also fail to see who He is in fullness not only as “The Lamb of God,” but “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David,” (2 Samuel 7:12-17; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:30-33; Revelation 5:5-6, NKJV). Validated by His resurrection, in strength and manner of a warrior He commenced issuing commands out of His delegated royal authority and continued reigning from the throne He shares with His Father upon being seated after His ascension (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:4-11; Ephesians 1:15-23)!3
To this hour the risen Christ reigns and as Judge is directly responsible for giving authorization for every judgment that has been and will be carried out on earth just as His Father assigned Him (John 5:24-30; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11; 2 Timothy 4:1, 8; Revelation 20:11-15). He judges with the ready mercy He displayed at Sodom, as foretold of and taught by Him (Genesis 18:23-33; Isaiah 11:1-5; John 7:24).4 Thus, not the righteous or the unsaved humble He foreknows will come to Him need fear. It is the proud wicked to include religionists who resist the Gospel and insult His Person and cross by inventing other ways for folk to come to God besides Him that have much to fear at His soon coming in wrath (John 14:6; Acts 4:8-12; 1 John 2:18-23).5
A proud, overzealous religionist and Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus came to understand something of the terror involved encountering the risen Christ in His glory. In persecution of Christ’s followers, he was on his way to Damascus, Syria to round up and bring any back to Jerusalem in chains. A light “suddenly” engulfed him “from heaven.” “He fell to the ground and heard a voice” not gentle in tone, but resolute and full of authority. The Speaker identified Himself as “Jesus” and Saul “trembling” addressed Him “Lord,” (Acts 9:1-8, 22:6-11, 26:12-15, NKJV). Jesus in royal posture and fearful roar will be gloriously revealed from Heaven for all to see with the foretold results (Jeremiah 25:30-31; Matthew 24:29-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 1:7-18, 6:12-17, 19:11-16)!
When He comes, He as King and Judge will reign as He has from His resurrection; doing so in His whole eternal character and demeanor as foretold in prophetic Scriptures.6 For example, Psalm 99 declares His universal worship alone as “the LORD our God” and repeatedly emphasizes His holiness (vss. 1-3, 5, 9, NKJV). In His strength He loves justice and sees that it is administered with equity and righteousness; giving His laws as He once did with the saints of old (vss. 4, 6-8). Indeed, He will not be defeated in bringing forth justice for all (Isaiah 42:1-4)! This reality precludes the resumption of abominable idolatry, sorcery, sexual immorality, lying, exploiting and oppressions of any kind during His reign for He “will be a swift witness against” the guilty as Judge (Malachi 3:5-6, NKJV).
1 Read the three-part post beginning January 29, 2017, Jesus, Son Of Man, under the category, The Cause.
2 The Lord did not lose touch with any of His eternal designations or former experiences as deity in His permanent incarnation as the Man, Jesus of Nazareth. In fact, in
Genesis 18:25 Abraham spoke truthfully in that moment of His eternal standing as God the Judge and also prophetically, as the Man his future Descendant since He
stood before him in Human form (John 8:56-59)!
3 As the second Adam, Christ gloriously reigns fully God and fully immortal Man! See the August 11, 2019 post, The Man From Heaven, under the category, Glory To God!
4 Read the two-part post beginning July 18, 2021, God: No Repentance, No Peace, under the category, Call To Repent.
5 See the March 28, 2021 post, The Righteous Wrath Of God, under the categories, Bible Prophecy and The Cause.
6 I present Christ’s blended character and demeanor of Lamb and Lion as that of the Strong Man of God and what the Father wills to conform His adopted sons to as His
image in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. The book and companion Strong Man Of Men’s Group Study are available at your favorite internet book
seller and in the Strong Man Store.
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