Suffering For The Gospel

Suffering For The Gospel

In reading some thoughts on 2 Timothy I came across this little statement: "Modern Christians must recognize that suffering for the Gospel is the norm, not the exception (cf. Matt. 5:10–12; John 15:18–21; 16:1–2; 17:14; Acts 14:22; Rom. 5:3–4; 2 Cor. 4:16–18; Phil. 1:29; 1 Thess. 3:3; 2 Tim. 3:12; James 1:2–4). [Bob Utley's commentary and study guide on 2Timothy].  Here are the scriptures rearranged for emphasis.

John 15:18–21 — 18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.".

John 16:1–2 — 1 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.".

John 17:14 — 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.".

Acts 14:22 — 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.".

Philippians 1:29 — 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,".

1 Thessalonians 3:3 — 3 that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this.".

2 Timothy 3:12 — 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,".

Romans 5:3–4 — 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,".

2 Corinthians 4:16–18 — 16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.".

James 1:2–4 — 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.".

Matthew 5:10–12 — 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.".

Such suffering is NOT the dealing with the problems of life that every human faces. These too must of course be dealt with while remaining faithful unto God. However, this refers to the suffering that comes because one is a believer. 

Such was varied in form but universal to all who live godly. Some may have been ‘minimal’ (as in name calling or such) to martyrdom. Not everyone will be martyred but will face opposition to their faith.

Such suffering bonds the disciples together as we strengthen, encourage, and help each other through such. Because of this bond, when one suffers they all suffer. 

Such suffering serves to produce spiritual growth in believers. We learn that God is faithful. We learn that the things of this life are temporary. We learn that this world is NOT our friendly home. It teaches us to long for our heavenly home wherein dwells righteousness.  

Hugh DeLong