Jesus promised persecution. Why, then, would we follow him?
MAY 29, 2023
Jesus promised persecution. Why, then, would we follow him? Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Welcome to Key Life. I’m Matthew, executive producer of the program. Our host is Steve Brown. He’s an author and seminary professor who teaches that God’s amazing grace is the key to a life of radical freedom, infectious joy, and surprising faithfulness to Christ.
Thank you Matthew. We’re kind of at the end of this series. We have this chapter and one more chapter and then I’m not sure what we’re going to do. I think we’re going to go back and study the book of Acts. Still have a few chapters left in that study and I’m praying and thinking about and fasting, and if you believe any of that, you’ll believe anything. I am praying about it though. What are we going to study on this broadcast once we finish this book and Acts. By the way, I hope you had a great week-end. And I hope your pastor sermon was as good as mine. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been looking at the themes, and I’ve been saying a lot more than you’ll find in the book, but the themes of a book that just came out called Laughter and Lament: The Radical Freedom of Joy and Sorrow. It’s written by a world famous author who is good looking and bright and intelligent and one of the truly great books in the history of the church, not. But it’s not half bad and the themes are Biblical and they’re good and they’re worth thinking about. So, we’ve been spending time talking about that. And this morning we’re going to look at Doesn’t He Shine, that we as Christians are Called to Shine. But before we do that, let’s go before the throne. Father, we come into your presence pleased, surprised, amazed that we’re here. They lied to us. They told us you had to be good to be here. You had to, you had to be really obedient and memorize Scripture and pray a lot in order to be here. And then when we couldn’t pull it off, we turned to leave and you stopped us with your words. Welcome, child, welcome. We came running and like Peter with Jesus, we’re not going anywhere because you have the word of life. Father, thank you for giving that to us, the word that we’re forgiven, the word that we’re going to live forever, the word that we’re yours and you’re never going to leave us alone in the dark. The word that your love is unconditional. We praise you and we worship you. Father, you know everybody who’s listening now and you know the areas of life that are good and bad and sad and glad. Father, remind us that you’re sovereign over all of it and you are good and good all the time. And as always, we pray for the one who teaches that you would forgive him his sins cause they’re many. They call him reverend and he’s not. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Jesus said, and this is John 16: 1 through 4.
I have said all these things.
You’ve got to remember, this is just before the cross.
I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 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. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father nor me. But I’ve said these things to you that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told them to you.
Now, if you’re in the recruiting business for Jesus, I would keep that text quiet. I mean, I wouldn’t put that on a banner or put it on a bumper sticker cause it’s not the best call for following Jesus. You remember when Winston Churchill, and I think I mentioned this last week, replaced Chamberlain as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He gave a speech to the House of Commons and he said that he could promise nothing but blood, sweat, and tears. One would think the House of Commons would say to him, are you crazy? We want Chamberlain back, but they didn’t. They gave Churchill a standing ovation and you wonder why? And when you look at the honesty of Jesus, you know, we love to underline places in Scripture that promise us all kinds of good things and there are good things, but we need to read the places that aren’t underlined, like blood, sweat, and tears texts. And if they are there, and they are there, and Jesus never lies to us, then why in the world would we follow him? Buddha would be better. They don’t have a diet plan and they’re always smiling. I mean, why follow Jesus? So, I move the previous question, why? Personal answer is the glory of the battle. There’s, and you know this is true. There’s something challenging and attractive about standing for what most people think is a lost cause. Being willing to die for that cause and clinging to that cause no matter the opposition or the pain. There’s something stirring when we sing that old hymn.
I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back. The world behind me, the cross before me, no turning back, no turning back.
That’s why Paul spends almost all of chapter 11 in II Corinthians boasting about the fact that he had suffered for Christ. There’s really glory in the battle and standing for Jesus when it’s hard is a part of that. If you want to find meaning in your life, whether you’re a believer or not, find a cause that is bigger than you. And for God’s sake, stand with it. As you know, I’m an old guy and I remember the time when being a Bible believer was not popular. The main line denominations had the big churches and the big money, and the books that sold. And we met in storefronts in a lot of places. And I made a decision to join. I had been a student at a graduate school in Boston of theology and I was this side of liberal wacko, and I’m not going to go into details, but God came and God changed my life. And all of a sudden I was faced with the reality that this is true, the Christian faith is true. And it was worth giving my life for. And then everything changed, man, it really did. And I watched that too. When you’re old, you can see the movements taking place in your organizations. Our churches began to grow, our books begin to sell, our magazines became the most read Christian magazines in the world. And I sat on the board of those magazines. I mean, I watched it happen. All of a sudden, the mainline churches were dying, the mainline people who had made fun of us stopped laughing, the mainline people who had refused to have anything to do with us all of a sudden wanted to be our best friends. And during that time when things were so successful and so good, everybody wanted to be an evangelical. Everybody wanted to be orthodox. Everybody wanted to be a Bible believer cause we were ourselves, the cool kids. That was kind of a heady time. It was good. I mean, we had power. We had access to the President of the United States, and I remember when my late mentor Fred Smith said he got worried when the path between the church and Washington got too well worn. It was dangerous territory. That was heady time, it was kind of nice to be a part of the cool kids. It was kind of nice to be the pastor of the going churches and have your books selling and being asked to speak everywhere. And then all of a sudden in the last 10 years that came to an end. I have a friend in Atlanta who wrote a very good book, relating to what had happened in our country, and he called it Minority Rules. What he was saying is that we’re now in a minority, we don’t have any power anymore. Nobody wants to be around us, we’re not the cool kids anymore. And the more I pray about it, the more I find out that’s not all bad. In fact, it’s just the opposite. We’re living in a time when we’re getting down to the muscle. And if you stand for this cause, the cause of Jesus, people won’t like you, but listen to me. You’ll sleep better at night. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown resuming our tour through the Biblical truths that inspired his latest book, Laughter and Lament. Today we explored the difficult idea that choosing to follow Jesus is to walk a path that winds through pain, suffering, and persecution. Challenging words, but true and ultimately encouraging, more good stuff tomorrow. Hope you’ll join us then. Well, you may have noted this yesterday, maybe not, but Sunday was Pentecost Sunday celebrating that moment when the Holy Spirit fell upon the Apostles as recounted in Acts 2. So, it’s a timely thing that we recently spoke to Michael Reeves on Steve Brown Etc. about the Holy Spirit and the relationship that exists within the Trinity. And good news, you can hear that entire conversation on CD, for free, when you call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD or to mail your request go to Keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Just ask for the free CD featuring Michael Reeves. Finally, would you prayerfully consider partnering in the work of Key Life through your giving? Giving is easy. Just charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or join the growing number of folks who give safely and securely through text. Just text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that the 28950 and then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.