ENDURING TRIBULATIONS AND THE BOOK OF PHILLIPIANS
The book of Philippians is a powerful book that encourages Christians to endure suffering joyfully. Paul exhorts believers to rejoice when he himself was bound up in chains.
People rejoice when they get cars and great jobs but Paul was rejoicing when he was in chains ,having been beaten why ? He had the Holy Spirit whose fruit is joy among other good things. He had the truth and held on to the words of Jesus and his command to rejoice when one faces persecution for his sake.
In these last days we are commanded to rejoice despite the global turmoil that will make the hearts of many to fail. That command can only be fulfilled when we are filled with the Holy Spirit hence the need to be daily filled and daily seeking renewal of the Spirit in our hearts and lives.
WHY WAS PAUL SUFFERING IN CHAINS ?
Paul was suffering because of spreading the Gospel. Nothing else. He was not a political activist for the Republican party, not a tax rebel, not fighting for Jewish rights but for preaching Jesus Christ. He however encouraged the Philippians that the suffering was a sermon to those in the palaces of Rome.
Phil 1: 12-13
But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
But Paul was not sorrowful about his imprisonment though it was painful and fearful, he knew it was for Christ’s sake and that Christ had said suffering will come for those who stand for him.
In today’s Christianity a lot of leaders are not willing to suffer for the truth of Jesus Christ.There are a lot of evil demonic doctrines that have taken the church captive but leaders are not willing to stand up for the truth because they know it is a very heavy price and difficult. It takes faith and boldness.
However such a price should not stop you and me from proclaiming the truth and standing for sound doctrine. As long as it is the gospel of Jesus Christ we are preaching , count it all joy when you suffer for that gospel. Jesus said great is your reward in heaven when men shall revile you for HIS SAKE. So stick on preaching Jesus and his doctrine alone.
Paul affirmed that his suffering was going o be turned into salvation. Hence he encourages saints that when their enemies come against them for the sake of the gospel, they should NOT BE TERRIFIED-DO NOT FEAR. Their actions against you justify the coming judgment against them which unto you will be your salvation.
For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
We are called not only to believe on Jesus but to suffer for Him. Now that is deep love, that is passion.
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
WHAT WAS PAUL’S JOY IN THE MIDST OF HIS TRIALS
Paul ‘s joy was that the believers would grow in all that he taught them and be conformed in the image of Christ. Even if he was in a dark prison and chained and beaten, he always wanted to hear that the church was growing in the faith and in love for one another
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Is this what we see today where Western Christianity is preached and practiced? Where Convenient Christianity is the order of the day. Where True Biblical Christianity, New Testament based, is called legalism?
Today ‘s leadership rejoice at getting accolades and dainties of men, praise of men. They rejoice when men say good words about them, getting awards and mansions. Rarely do I hear these leaders ask about the growth of the those who listen to them.
They sell books and cds and do not seek to know the impact about the books like whether Christian fathers have started fathering right after reading their books of Fatherhood or the book was just a beautiful array of words and man’s wisdom. Whether their books are in sound doctrine and whether they should sell books at exorbitant prices in the first place. Why ?
By their fruits we see they are concerned about profits and not the health of the saints in the faith. They encourage you only when you pay them money , faithfully .You know when one is concerned about profits ; when they write things to please the ears of men and not writing about the things that God wants men to hear .No wonder the New York Book sellers love them .Remember that those who are loved by the world are enemies of God ?
Today ‘s Christian leaders receive the world’s pomp and circumstance in public but no ridicule or mockery or hatred because they do not want to give the truth of God’s word thus love the praise of men than the praise of God.
Paul being a Christian leader was a friend of God but an enemy of the world and that is why he suffered for the church.HE WAS BEATEN IN PUBLIC , STRIPPED, MOCKED, DELIVERED TO LIONS. Yet he was not ashamed about it. He was doing this for the sake of the believers. That is true Christian leadership when we esteem others better than ourselves to the point of death. Pray that God would raise up such leaders at such a critical time as this.
Leaders who can encourage the saints without a fee or encourage them despite persecution for the name of Jesus Christ. Thank God for the places around the world where there is non -convenient Christianity ; where we hear of leaders who have died for the name of Christ and are in prison suffering for the name of Christ.
Paul’s joy was to see the believers in heaven when Jesus returns, showing that he did not labour in vain.
Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Phil 2 :16
Today’s leadership in the church is not concerned about believers to the point that pastors do not know their flock, spiritual status. They may know where they live and where the work, social class but they do not encourage the flock in their relationship with the Lord and others.
But Paul am sure wants to see Timothy and Silas and all the men and women he encouraged in the faith. His joy is their joy .Family joy, the joy of the church of Jesus Christ.
REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS….THINKING ON GOOD THINGS
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
Paul repeats the command to rejoice , only in the Lord. The Lord Jesus knows the pain and suffering we go through for his sake because he also faced it but endured it because of the joy set before him. What joy ?
Jesus held on the promises of God that despite the excruciating suffering he would rise again and be glorified with the glory he had at the beginning and that he would sit on the right hand of the Father.
With such PROMISES, Jesus endured the cross and obeyed the Father to the end.
Now we have promises from the Father and our Lord Jesus that if we endure to the end suffering for his name sake we shall receive all that the Father has prepared for us because he loves us.
The promises of Prosperity Gospel are promises of earthly things of this world. Things that can be stolen and destroyed and very soon will disappear into the hand of the banks due to economic crisis. But the promises of God, no economic crisis can touch them and no thief can steal them. Why cling to such temporal comfort and such shallow words of worldly peace and hope.
So Paul shows us how to rejoice in the Lord ..in praying with thanksgiving and in thinking good things. What good things can we as Christians think about..THE PROMISES OF GOD, HIS TRUTH IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING.WHAT GOD SAID…HIS WORD IS OUR DELIGHT.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
This is how Paul endured his suffering and chains. He stood firm on God’s word and his experience with God throughout his ministry. He prayed with thanksgiving.
Let us follow his example for he followed the example of Christ. Yes many fearful things are up against us and yes TBN and Jack Van Impe ,all we see how big their lies were soon. But we will not fear for we know what God said about these days and his promises for those who endure to the end.
If you do not know what God said about these days I urge you to take time now and find out in his word right now what he said. The curtain is torn and all you have do is ask him for his Holy Spirit in faith.The hour is late but be of good cheer Jesus has overcome the world , we shall overcome if we abide in him.
In Christ Jesus ,
AS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH : DAYS OF VIOLENCE
By Arthur Owiti
“ But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,…Matt 24:36-39
Jesus said that the last days will be as the days of Noah when people went about doing their own things as Noah was building the ark in preparation of the ark. When one finds out what was happening in those days of Noah one is convinced that we are living in the last days. WE are experiencing days of VIOLENCE AND WICKEDNESS.
We are living in an angry world. With people fighting for the man made scarce resources, people are almost taking up beastly mannerisms in the things they do.
People are angry with governments failure to deliver , angry with the elite ,the stress of life and general disorder that is increasing in the day to day endeavors of a world going mad.
Nations are getting angry at each other with Israel being at the center of worldwide condemnation.In Kenya religion is angry at religion fighting for political power between State Christianity and Islam.
A look at the Greek Crisis and the Louisiana residents we see a lot of anger some of which is justified. However the bible expressly warns us that anger can lead us to sin and that we should be able to control it.
Yet God is also angry and he has every right because he created his world and gave his son to die for the world ‘s sins yet they reject him .Angry at the world’s continued, increasing, proud defiance against him. Not only the secular world but the Christian circles where people are holding and teaching various strange doctrines that God hates.
All these distress of nations as Jesus calls it is a sober call to remind ourselves what Jesus said about these days. He said they will be as the days of Noah.
The days of Noah were days of violence and wickedness. The bible clearly says that the earth was filled with violence. God was grieved.
And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. Gen 6:6
Reading such a portion of scripture one cannot help but really be humbled by the extent of wickedness that filled the earth. Injustice was the order of the day and God had to judge it ,swiftly. The earth was destroyed by the floods.
After the floods the Lord still reiterated his hate for violence and bloodshed when he told Noah that whosoever shed blood of another shall have his blood shed.
And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. Gen 9 : 5-6
God hates bloodshed . A quick run to the last book of the Bible , Revelation, we see this hatred for bloodshed established again.
One of the end time actions of God is going to be to avenge the blood of his saints. Many Christians are going to die in the last days fracas that will hit the world justifying the statement of Jesus that it will be as the days of Noah.
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. Rev 6: 9-11
And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. Rev 16:4-6
For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. Rev 19 : 2
A look at the first seals in Rev 6 reveals that three of the seals contain bloodshed with the fifth seal specifically on Christians.
The kingdom of God suffereth violence and the violent take it by force ??
Sadly many of us Christians used to believe that this verse meant that Christians are to be violent .What we did not know that this was referring to the rulers of Jesus’ day who were against his message of the kingdom of God and that it will have to suffer opposition.
Those who hold that Christians are to be violent are the Dominionist who will think that bloodshed of others in the name of God is righteous.
Yet the fruits of violence are prevalent all over the world.The seeds may have been planted recently or have existed for years but the harvest is nigh.
Do not fear but abide In Jesus Christ for the New world order chaos is on course.
When I see how the media is working up people in Kenya on the referendum elections ; when I see Europe’s debt crisis being a global pandemic and when we see the political tensions in the Middle East and the Arab world one is amazed at how these architects of Antichrist government are truly using a well planned script.
The fact is Christians should be prepared to be a true witness to the world in the upcoming events as they continue in love sharing the little they have with one another and others who are in need. It is at such times that one holds on to the word suddenly. These world changing events are going to take place both gradually and suddenly. It is the latter word that people seem to forget.
Stay in the Word.