Enduring Hardship. Sermon and prayer points by Pastor E A Adeboye
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Read: Matthew 5:10-12
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
The devil knows the glorious tomorrow that awaits every believer in Christ when they cross the finish line of the Christian race. This is why he fights tooth and nail to derail us from reaching our goal. He was a part of the heavenly bliss that will be our reward, but he lost his place due to evil thoughts (Isaiah 14:12-15). He does not want us to taste what he lost; hence he works through wiles to bring us down (Ephesians 6:11). One of the wiles that Satan uses in making believers in Christ abandon the Christian race is hardship. Some people have pulled out of heaven’s marathon before getting to the finish line, due to their inability to endure hardship. Our Lord Jesus Christ describes such people in Mark 4:17:
“And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.”
The expectations you had when you entered the Christian faith matter a lot. The Christian faith is not a bed of roses. The way of the cross that leads to Heaven is not a path laden with gold and easy to take. If anyone tells you that once you believe in Jesus, all your problems will disappear and everything will always go well, you are being deceived. The day you signed up as a believer in Christ, the die was cast and the battle line was drawn between you and the kingdom of darkness. From that day, you became a sworn enemy of the forces of darkness. They will surely attack you and try to make you feel miserable.
You are expected to endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ (2 Timothy 2:3). The inability to endure difficult and trying times makes one a bad soldier of the cross. Even when God blesses you, He still leaves room for you to be persecuted, tried and ridiculed. Your faith in Christ may be tested through lack, hunger, unanswered prayers, false accusations, ill health, and so on. Jesus in our Bible reading taught that if you can take persecution, being reviled by men and false accusation in good faith, you are blessed and on the path to Heaven. On the other hand, if you easily get offended by these, if nothing is done to correct your attitude, you may become derailed from the faith. Are you offended in Christ? Towards the end of his stay on earth, John the Baptist began to doubt if the same Person he had declared to be the Son of God was the true Messiah (Matthew 11:2-6). In His reply to John’s questions, the Lord told him not to be offended in Him. It is a good thing to suffer persecution for your faith in Christ. Never get to the point of being offended in Him.
Father, let patience have its perfect work in my life, so that I will be wanting in nothing.
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