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Lesson #20

Suffering For Christ

     One who is living a faithful Christian life will face opposition for his faith in various ways.  Paul says, "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12).  The things we suffer are temporary while we live here on the earth, but we have a great eternal reward reserved in Heaven for us.  Jesus says, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:10-12).

     The persecution we face today is not being crucified or stoned to death, but is verbal and being shunned.  Jesus says, "Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast your name as evil, for the Son of Manís sake.  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!  For indeed your reward is great in heaven" (Luke 6:22-23).  In todayís world it is becoming less and less popular to be a Christian.  Even some of the persecution may come from our own brethern, as it did in Paulís day (Galatians 2:4).  "If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and God rests upon you.  On their part He is blasphemed, but your part He is glorified" (1 Peter 4:14).

     The reproach that we may endure for being a Christian glorifies our Lord.  "Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter" (1 Peter 4:16).  "But even if you should suffer for righteousnessí sake, you are blessed.  And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled" (1 Peter 3:14).  There are a number of examples in the Bible of people being persecuted for righteousness sake and taking it patiently and even rejoicing.  "And when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name" (Acts 5:40-41).  Would we rejoice if we were beaten and threatened because we are a Christian?

     Peter says, "But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God" (1 Peter 2:20).  What should be our attitude toward those who persecute us?  "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse" (Romans 12:14).  Also Jesus says, "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:44-45).

     When Christians in the first century were being persecuted and some even to death, they went everywhere preaching and teaching the good news.  Persecution didnít stop them.  "At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria.ÖTherefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:1, 4).  If we were persecuted like this today, would we stop being a Christian?  If being a Christian was a crime today, would there be enough evidence to convict us?  We should count it a joy that we can suffer for the cause of Christ because we are "heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him" (Romans 8:17).  We dare not deny the Lord if we are subjected to persecution.  "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us" (2 Timothy 2:12).  We should look forward to eternity when we will be with the Lord.


Questions Lesson #20
Suffering For Christ

(Click on the button of the answer of your choice)


1)  (2 Timothy 3:12)  All who live godly in Christ Jesus

      Will not suffer persecution.

      Will suffer persecution.

      Will be well spoken of by all people.


2)  (Matthew 5:10-12)  Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake.


3)  (Matthew 5:10-12)  We are blessed

      When people shall falsely say all kinds of evil against us for righteousness sake.

      When people have nothing to say about us.

      When we fellowship those of the denominational churches.


4)  (Luke 6:22-23)  We are blessed when men shall hate us for Christ's sake.


5)  (Luke 6:22-23)  Why should we rejoice and leap for joy when we are persecuted for Christ's sake?

      We should not rejoice.

      We should rejoice if we are not persecuted.

      For great is our reward in Heaven.


6)  (1 Peter 4:14)  We should not suffer reproach for the name of Christ.


7)  (1 Peter 4:16)  When we suffer for being a Christian

      We should be ashamed.

      We should try to avoid suffering persecution as a Christian.

      We should not be ashamed.


8)  (1 Peter 3:14)  We should be troubled when we suffer for righteousness sake.


9)  (Acts 5:40-41)  What did the apostles do when they were beaten for teaching in the name of Jesus?

      Rejoiced because they were counted worthy of suffering shame for Christ.

      Cried.

      They no longer taught in Jesus' name.


10)  (Matthew 5:44-45)  We should hate our enemies.


11)  (Acts 8:1, 4)  What did the Christians in Jerusalem do when they were scattered by persecution?

      Ran and hid.

      Stopped teaching the word of God.

      Went everywhere preaching the word of God.


12)  (Romans 8:17)  We are joint heirs with Christ if we suffer with Him.


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