Originally scheduled for July 14
Peter, in his first letter, chapter 4, makes it very clear that a
convert to Christianity is going to suffer a great deal of abuse
from his secular friends for the privilege of being a Christian.
Here’s just a brief quote:
For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out
the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality,
lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable
idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with
them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; but
they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and
(1 Peter 4:3-5)
our Lord himself tells you that you are blessed when this happens.
"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and
falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. "Rejoice
and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way
they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
not have thought of it this way, but one of the things you do in
communion is to identify with the sufferings of Christ and therefore
accept the sufferings of the Christian. Any football fan understands
this; you wear the school colors to the game, you suffer at every
setback and rejoice at every score. We see the same thing in the
suffering of the Christian; it is the badge of real Christianity, of
someone who is really “in the game.” In fact, Christ goes so far as
to say that if you are not doing this you are not a real Christian:
"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My
time you partake of communion you are telling the world that you are
his disciple — and that therefore you are willing to carry your own
cross. If that’s all we say about it, it sounds very negative. But
we must remember that one goes through the cross to the light. If
practice is easy, the team does not improve. But if practice is
tough, the team gets better. You know what your Lord and Savior went
through to provide for your atonement. You know that you are not
greater than he is, but less. Therefore, you should expect to be
treated by the world with the same contempt that they had for Jesus
Christ. In communion, you say you are willing to suffer that for the
cause of Christ.
Therefore, before you partake of communion this morning, may I ask
that you examine your self and ask if you are prepared for the
suffering which you know must come.
prepared for the suffering which comes from the things you don’t
get? All those things the world teaches you to desire — the bonus,
the next promotion, the new boat — may not arrive. Are you prepared
to deal with it as a Christian?
prepared for the suffering which comes from the things you do get?
Are you ready for the ridicule, the lies and the strange
communion you say you are willing to suffer as a Christian should.
Before you partake, make sure you’re telling the truth.