Hated for His name’s sake?

John Piper

When you suffer, writes Peter (1 Peter 3) better to suffer ‘for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.’ The Church is more and more spoken against, sometimes deservedly, but often not so. How does this affect our role as witnesses to Christ? This first of three brief posts on the theme of opposition comes from John Piper.

 

John Piper writes: “Can the gospel spread and thousands be converted, and churches grow, and love abound where Christianity is continually spoken against? Yes. It not only can; it has.

“… How do we know this? Consider the way Luke reports the state of the church in the book of Acts. When Paul finally gets to Rome near the end of his life, he invites the ‘local leaders of the Jews’ to come and hear his gospel. What these leaders say about the ‘sect’ of Christians is very significant. They say, “With regard to this sect we know that it is spoken against everywhere.” (Acts 28:22).

“This is not surprising to disciples who knew that Jesus said, You will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake’ (Matthew 24:9). And: ‘Woe to you, when all men speak well of you’ (Luke 6:26). And: ‘If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!’ (Matthew 10:25).

“The early church was an embattled church. Yes, there were seasons of calm (Acts 9:31); but that was the exception. Most of the time there were slanders and misunderstandings and accusations and persecutions, not to mention internal disputes about ethics and doctrine. Virtually all of Paul’s letters reflect controversy in the church as well as affliction from outside. The point is not that this is desirable, but that it need not hinder great power and growth. In fact, it may be the occasion and reason for great power and growth.”

From John Piper in Pierced by the Word.

16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 1Peter3:16-17 ESV

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Patient tenaciously?

Utmost
It’s the thing about a hero that they win in the end.
Having a trustworthy hero can change the way we
face the past, the present and the future if only we
are able to outwait the doubts about him that each
new peril we face creates in our minds and hearts.
This first of 3 brief posts on the theme of patience
comes from Oswald Chambers.

‘Be still and know that I am God.’ Psalm 46:10

‘Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance combined with the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire. Tenacity is more than hanging on, which may be but the weakness of being too afraid to fall off. Tenacity is the supreme effort of a man refusing to believe that his hero is going to be conquered. The greatest fear a disciple has is not that he will be damned but that Jesus Christ will be worsted, that the things He stood for-love and justice and forgiveness and kindness among men-will not win out in the end; the things He stands for look like will-o’-the-wisps. Then comes the call to spiritual tenacity, not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately on the certainty that God is not going to be worsted. If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled. One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God. Remain spiritually tenacious.’
‘Because you have kept my word about patient endurance…’ Revelation 3:10 ESV

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest