Suffering with Benefits

John 3:22-24 WEB

After these things, Jesus came with his disciples into the land of Judea. He stayed there with them, and baptized. [23] John also was baptizing in Enon near Salim, because there was much water there. They came, and were baptized. [24] For John was not yet thrown into prison.   

John was not yet thrown into prison and Jesus was not yet crucified. So, they baptized. They served the Father’s will with humility and truth such that they both died horrific deaths. John was beheaded at the request of the daughter of an evil queen (Matthew 14:8-12 WEB). Jesus was crucified at the hands of the Roman government, at the request of the religious leaders in Jerusalem (John 19:15-18 WEB). Do you regularly see baptisms at your church? Do you ever see baptisms at your church? If people are regularly being saved and baptized, you probably have leadership that has experienced difficulties and has chosen not to draw back from obeying the Lord. On the other hand, if you have a group of leaders that is regularly bringing a message of wealth, health, and joy without the balancing message of suffering and pain in obedience, something is wrong. This group may have salvations, but the saved will probably fall away when the Father begins to discipline the new believer. Discipline will always come (Hebrews 12:7). The Father has an interest in growing people from the new birth in Christ to mature Christian walking and living the Christian life. The Father will convict of sin and will bring challenges to provoke change. He knows how to bend a twig. However, when a church only preaches the benefits of the kingdom and neglects to preach the obligations of the kingdom you will not see lasting fruit.  Attrition will be high. Being in obedience to the Father will bring great joy, with tribulation (1 Thessalonians 1:6 WEB.)

Lord Jesus, I want to follow your example. Please help me to be bold and willing to suffer when necessary for the gospel. Let my life bring lasting fruit. Help me to be bold unto suffering while I rejoice in all the goodness that comes from walking with you. Please make me a holy vessel. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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