Thank you for sharing this Brother. How did this message impact me? In many ways....
It was a great encouragement! We are called to suffer with Christ, there's no other way. Suffering makes us to cease from sin, because we no longer live for anything our flesh desires...only for the will of God. (All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution)
We are no longer to do the will of the gentiles, which is anything that "conforms" to the ways of this world.
7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
(Its time to be serious and sober minded. Always watchful in prayer. Jesus told His disciples to pray so they wouldn't enter into temptation. If I don't pray without ceasing, Im open to temptation. Adam and Eve walked in the presence of the Lord, yet the devil being so cunning and crafty made Eve question what the Lord told her not to do. You can eat freely from any tree, but don't touch this one or you will surely die. The Lord tells us to keep away from the appearance of evil, yet satan who disguises himself as an angel of light, whispers in the ear...it won't really hurt you, just do it a different way, and you will be safe. He is known as the father of lies, he can't tell the truth)
We are told to be hospitable to one another without grumbling. The opposite of grumbling is being thankful, and treating one another with kindness. Romans 1 is an example of what happens if we stop glorifying God and stop being thankful....the fruit of disobedience is costly. Rather take strangers in and minister to them...loving in action.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad through fiery trials! Thats very encouraging!
14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (its amazing to know the Spirit of God rests upon those who suffer with Him. It was humbling to hear the testimony of our brothers and sisters who were held for ransom while being persecuted for the name of Jesus, since no one paid their ransom, they were sent back to South Korea. No matter how much they fasted and prayed, they did not experience the power of God as they did in persecution. So they saved up enough funds to GO BACK to Afghanistan so they could experience the Power of God resting upon them in persecution!! WOW!! This is what impacted me the most!!)
1 Peter 4:17 stood out to me. (17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?)
Notice it says "obey" the gospel of God and not just "believe" the gospel of God.
If I love Jesus, I will obey Him....even to death!! Persecution is coming very soon.
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. (Let us not be easily ensnared in sin, but stay watchful in prayer to resist temptations and the devil.)
This was so refreshing. I needed to hear this and be reminded.