Matthew 24:9: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and sin and death.you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
What a glorious time Easter is! We are reminded of the everlasting victory over sin and death. Followers of Jesus can say with confidence:
1 Corinthians 15:55: “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
It is glorious. But, as I looked around our sanctuary this weekend, I was struck by the realization that it was not “glorious” for everyone. I am speaking predominantly of believers here. Salvation and an eternity with the Father is guaranteed for those who believe in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The issue is, believers still must live, work, and share the gospel in this broken, sinful and lost world. What are we to do when we don’t feel glorious? What happens when we are beat up and tried? Jesus has victory, He rose from the dead and ascended to heaven. We are still here and here – is really tough.
I think, in the wake of Resurrection Weekend 2015, about the families that lost loved ones in Kenya; their only crime – calling Jesus Lord. I think of pastor Saeed’s wife and precious children who endure another Easter without him. Why, because he sits in an Iranian prison; his crime – refusing to renounce his faith in Christ.
While those are highly visible, I also think of the believer who is unequally yoked and attended service without their spouse this Easter and the pastor, faced with dwindling attendance, who is discouraged because he has not performed a baptism in longer then he can remember. I also pray for those who are ridiculed and mocked at school or at the office for their faith. At times it feels like the Christian spends their life on earth swimming up-stream. If it feels like that for you today, you are right where God wants you.
I know, that wasn’t in the brochure right? When you accepted Jesus as master of your life; it was, well, glorious. Now, you’re tired. Jesus knew you would be. Jesus told the disciples the hard truth in Matthew 24:9. What that must have been like to hear? Here they are just before Passover and Jesus tells them, “Hey, the whole of humanity is going to hate you because of Me.”
This is one tough message to deliver and it is even more difficult to receive; particularly when you might be going through something even as you read this.
Rest assured, the voracity of God’s promises is proven out by our testimony. The promises of Jesus to be with us are not empty platitudes the can be counted on. Not because that promise appears 217 times in Gods word, although, that is proof enough. But, more importantly because that promise has been proved out in your own life. Think back to the last trial or difficulty you faced and how God delivered you from it. That is power, not your power but the power of God and the proof of his love for you.
The reason Christians wear a cross around their necks and not a crucifix is because the cross is empty! Jesus died one time for all time . He is risen and alive today. When the struggles of life arrived at our door step, we must keep our eyes on Jesus and trust in His will for our lives. This is difficult, sometimes beyond words. There are many times we go through a horrible trial and never understand why or what purpose that particular tragedy could have served. Take solace in the knowledge that God knows. 1 Corinthians 13:11:
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
This is saying that when we come face to face with Jesus all our questions will be answered. The tapestry of our lives will make perfect sense. His divine will shall be revealed!
While we have that promise, its fulfilment is not immediate. Not to worry, Jesus made sure our immediate needs would be covered as well. He created the church as a place where believers could come for spiritual refreshment.
Matthew 18:20: For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
For those who caught the fact that Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered,” pat yourselves on the back! He did not say millions, or thousands, or even hundreds. He said two or three. We, the believers, are the church and anywhere we are gathered and speaking the things of God, “in His name” He is amongst us! I take such solace in that during difficult times.Everytime I do as I am commanded and share the gospel Jesus is with me.
Did you catch that? even if you are the only one in the group who is doing things as unto the Lord, Jesus is there. That means whether the people you are with know the Lord or not, they are in the presence of the master of all creation! Scripture tells us that the word of God never comes back void – never.
So, go forth knowing that no matter how tough it gets, God is with you.
Joshua: 1:9: 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Maranatha (Come quickly) Lord Jesus!
Grace & Peace:
*If you would like to know more about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, email me at savedIIserve@gmail.com and let me know! I will be happy to lead you through what the bible says about salvation and accepting Jesus Christ as your savior.*