Rev 1:9 KJV – I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
John describes a life situation he did not share in common with the church members… he was banished to an island (Patmos) because he proclaimed the word of God and testified of his prior experiences during the first coming of Christ. What a wonderful example of a living sacrifice!
Folks, there are times that we all need to stop and be honest with ourselves. We need to be willing to search our hearts and come to an honest evaluation of what lies within us. For this morning, can we take a moment and HONESTLY answer this question… How much are we willing to suffer for Christ?
Are we willing to suffer mockery? How about rejection by our friends or our family? Are we willing to suffer defamation of our motives and character? What about loss of a promotion, a raise, or even our job? What about physical suffering, imprisonment, or torture, as do some missionaries who face persecution every day? Or, of course, are we willing to make the ultimate sacrifice… physical death of a loved one or ourselves?
Going down through these questions (and many others we could ask) is a very sobering exercise for us all, probably for myself more than for any other.
My desire is not for us to say “Yes, I would be willing to suffer all these things for His name’s sake.” To do this would be to think much too highly of ourselves and set ourselves up for a great fall…
Pride [goeth] before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
Anyone who is brutally honest in this evaluation will come to the conclusion that, it would only be by God’s intervening grace that we would be willing to suffer these things for His name’s sake…
“But in all [things] approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and [yet] true; As unknown, and [yet] well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and [yet] possessing all things.” (2 Corinthians 6:4-10)
Apart from His intervention, NO ONE could stand under these things. Let us all acknowlege the truth and say, “We are totally deficient, but our Lord is perfectly sufficient to meet our every need” …
“And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency [is] of God; “ (2 Corinthians 3:4-5)
“ And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
May we all enter our day fully trusting in the Lord… We realize that opposition to our testimony may come our way, our only hope of remaining faithful will be His gracious enabling.
May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation: