Suffering for the Name

Audio begins at 1:40 in the video above.

2020-06-20 – Year A – Proper 7 – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas
Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 69:1-15; Matthew 10:16-33

Following a Suffering Rabbi

  • As Christians, we have chosen to follow one who was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief…” (Isaiah 53:3). Jesus clashed with the authorities of his day, and he eventually died because of it.
  • Sometimes we expect our life in Christ to be a walk in the park. As the children’s song says, “Since Jesus Christ came in And took away my sin I’m inright, outright, upright, downright Happy all the time.”
    • And yet, If Jesus suffered, should we be surprised when we suffer?
    • Matthew 10:24-25
  • The Gospel is offensive to many who have not believed.
    • It seems exclusive.
    • It challenges the status quo of our culture.
    • It disavows us of the notion that we are “basically good people.”
    • Sometimes we have to deliver truth that people don’t want to hear.
  • When people are offended by the message of the Gospel, they sometimes attack the messenger who delivered it!

The Persecuted Church

  • “Rev. Canon Bayo and family [were] attacked in their compound on Tuesday, May 5, by Militant Fulani in the state of Plateau, Nigeria….at about 8:40pm, yesterday, while the family was having their evening devotion, 3 armed Fulani young men stormed the house with AK 47, machetes and other weapons. Stefanos gathered that the attackers forced their way into the room where the reverend and his family were having devotion and demanded that the reverend should give them money.” When he replied that he didn’t have any money, The Priest and his family were all shot and badly injured, thankfully all survived, but that is not always the case.
  • Abp. Kwashi on the Suffering Church
  • Thankfully, we have not generally suffered in America in the ways that are so common for our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world.
  • As Abp. Kwashi said, we need to support suffering Christians through encouragement and prayer.
  • Christianity Today article “11 Places Where Persecuted Christians Need Our Prayers”
    • China, Algeria, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Turkey.
    • I would add Nigeria to this list which is frequently a place of persecution.

Heartburn

  • Remembering and praying for the persecuted church can bolster our faith and give us courage to face our own trials.
  • Even though we are not generally faced with suffering bodily harm or death for our faith, we do sometimes experience suffering in smaller ways.
    • Lawsuits are becoming a weapon of choice against Christians.
    • Causing offense to people we care about
  • Despite these things, we must continue to speak and share the Gospel.
    • Jeremiah 20:9 – When we give our lives to the Lord, we can’t help but speak of him. Even if we suffer for it.
  • We can rely on the Lord to be our defender.
    • Jeremiah 20:11 – 
  • Even if we do suffer
    • We can use our suffering to fuel our prayers for the persecuted church
    • We can use our suffering to identify with Christ
    • We can trust that our suffering will not be wasted and God will use it for good
  • Joy in Suffering
    • Acts 5:41 – The Christians rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus.
    • Romans 5:3-5

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