This Present Distress

Present Distress

Sunday 01/31/21

Series: Maintaining this Hope

Message – This Present Distress

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This Present Distress

Our focus was 1Jn. 3:1-3,

“(1) See what marvellous love the Father has bestowed upon us–that we should be called God’s children: and that is what we are. 

For this reason the world does not recognize us–because it has not known Him.  

(2)  Dear friends, we are now God’s children, but what we are to be in the future has not yet been fully revealed. We know that if Christ reappears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.  (3)  And every man who has this hope fixed on Him, purifies himself so as to be as pure as He is.”

As I told you a few weeks ago there are several words associated with the arrivals of Jesus and I told you that there were several arrivals the scriptures speak of – His birth being the first.

I also told you that each “appearing” of Jesus coincides with an age of the church. 

WE ALWAYS FOLLOW OUR LORD IN ALL THINGS.

Jesus’ first appearing was associated with His suffering and so the first age of the church is one of suffering as well.

Now we ended our last teaching by beginning to read in 1Cor. 15 about the rapture and the resurrection of the body and we will get back to that in this teaching, but in reviewing that message I thought it wise to back up a little and fill in some gaps.

The resurrection of the body is taught in connection with suffering which agrees with the 1st appearing of Christ Jesus.

Our general rule of thumb is that if it is true about our Lord it is true about us. If He suffered – we will suffer. If the world hated Him, it will hate us. If He rose from the dead, we will rise from the dead. If He was crowned with Glory following His suffering, we will as well.

There is a basic order to salvation just as there was an order to the fall. 

Ironically this is found in 1 Cor. 15 where we will end our teaching later this morning, but we will start off there as well. Turn with me to 1Cor. 15:42-49, 

“(42) So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.  (43)  It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.  (44)  It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.  (45)  And so it is written, “THE FIRST MAN ADAM BECAME A LIVING BEING.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.  (46)  However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.  (47)  The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.  (48)  As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly.  (49)  And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.”

So we began, as dust- a natural man and wind up a spiritual man.

In regard to the kingdom of God, however, we start off with a reborn spirit and end with a spiritual body… and you know all too well that this is a progressive work.

  • We are already reborn in our spirits.
  • We are working out the salvation of our souls and in the end,
  • We will receive the full redemption of our bodies…but suffering comes first!

Now suffering can take many forms. From the very simple to the extreme. Simple suffering can take the form of simply not living as other people in the world do. They are free, in this life, to pursue their own pleasures – and we to serve the Lord. 

A great passage which illustrates this is a psalm of Asaph.

Ps. 73:1-20, “(1) God is indeed good to Israel, to the pure in heart.  (2)  But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my steps nearly went astray.  (3)  For I envied the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  (4)  They have an easy time until they die, and their bodies are well-fed.  (5)  They are not in trouble like others; they are not afflicted like most people.  (6)  Therefore, pride is their necklace, and violence covers them like a garment.  (7)  Their eyes bulge out from fatness; the imaginations of their hearts run wild.  (8)  They mock, and they speak maliciously; they arrogantly threaten oppression.  (9)  They set their mouths against heaven, and their tongues strut across the earth.  (10)  Therefore His people turn to them and drink in their overflowing waters.  (11)  They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High know everything?”  (12)  Look at them–the wicked! They are always at ease, and they increase their wealth.  (13)  Did I purify my heart and wash my hands in innocence for nothing?  (14)  For I am afflicted all day long, and punished every morning.  (15)  If I had decided to say these things aloud, I would have betrayed Your people.  (16)  When I tried to understand all this, it seemed hopeless  (17)  until I entered God’s sanctuary. Then I understood their destiny.  (18)  Indeed You put them in slippery places; You make them fall into ruin.  (19)  How suddenly they become a desolation! They come to an end, swept away by terrors.  (20)  Like one waking from a dream, Lord, when arising, You will despise their image.”

Another very practical example of this most basic and simple type of suffering can be found in Corinthians.

1Cor. 7:25-35, “(25) Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy.  (26)  I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—that it is good for a man to remain as he is:  (27)  Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife.  (28)  But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.  (29)  But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none,  (30)  those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess,  (31)  and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.  (32)  But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord.  (33)  But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife.  (34)  There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband.  (35)  And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.

Paul said in his second letter to Timothy, “(6) For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time for my departure is close.  (7)  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  (8)  In the future, there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.” ~ 2Tim. 4:6-8  

Epiphaneia OF course we also know that our suffering can also take a more somber and serious turn of physical assault and death.

Jesus encouraged the saints in Smyrna,

Rev. 2:10, “(10) Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” 

So this morning before continuing in 1Cor. 15 regarding the resurrection of the body which of course takes place at the very return or appearing of Christ Jesus that we are to live our lives anticipating – let’s look at some passages which affirm this pattern of Jesus suffering and our following in His footsteps… followed by a few examples of Jesus coming in glory and our sharing in that glory with Him.

Jesus’s first appearing was for suffering:

Heb. 2:9-11, “(9) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.  (10)  For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  (11)  For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,”

Acts 3:18, “But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.”

Acts 17:3, Paul in synagogue one day read from the scriptures “explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” 

Acts 26:23, Before Aggripa Paul describes his conversion and what it is about the message of the Gospel that upset the Jews enough to persecute him “that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” 

Acts 5:41, The Jewish counsel arrested the apostles and charged them as criminals against the law. Afterwards they beat them and released them due to the counsel of Gamaliel “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

In any and every age the cross is an offense to the world. In Paul’s day it was an offense against the Jews who relied upon circumcision for salvation. This was one of the major driving forces behind the Jewish persecution of Paul.

Acts 9:16, “For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” 

Gal. 5:11, “And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.” 

Gal. 6:12, “As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.”

But the Gentiles were not exempt either. The preaching of Christ and a life of conformity to His holiness elicited persecution as well because their lives were light and life shining in their darkness and they hated it! 

1Thess. 3:4, “For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know.” 

Which ends with parousia “(13) May He make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. Amen.”

2Thess. 1:5, “(3) We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, (4) so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, (5) which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is righteous for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,  (7)  and to reward with rest you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation [Apokalupsis] of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels,”

2Tim. 3:12, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 

1Tim. 4:10, “For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.”

Php. 1:29, “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,” 

1Pet. 2:20, “For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.”

1Pet. 3:14, “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “AND DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THEIR THREATS, NOR BE TROUBLED.” 

1Pet. 3:17, “For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

1Pet. 4:19, “(13) Instead, as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah rejoice, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory.  (14)  If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  (15)  None of you, however, should suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a meddler.  (16)  But if anyone suffers as a Christian, he should not be ashamed, but should glorify God with that name.

Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” 

So if His first appearing was for suffering, it therefore follows that when He comes again it will be in Glory and to Rule and reign. 

2Tim. 2:6-13, “(6) The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.  (7)  Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.  (8)  Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel,  (9)  for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained.  (10)  Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.  

(11)  This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.  

(12)  If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. 

If we deny Him, He also will deny us.  

(13)  If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”

Rom. 8:17, “and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” 

1Pet. 4:13-16, “(13) Instead, as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah rejoice, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation [Apokalipsis] of His glory.  (14)  If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  (15)  None of you, however, should suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a meddler.  (16)  But if anyone suffers as a Christian, he should not be ashamed, but should glorify God with that name.”

Titus 2:11-15

“(11)  For the grace of God has appeared, with salvation for all people, (12)  instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, (13)  while we wait for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (14)  He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a special people, eager to do good works. (15)  Say these things, and encourage and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

2Tim. 4:1-8, “(1) Before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom, I solemnly charge you:  (2)  proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.  (3)  For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will accumulate teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new.  (4)  They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths.  (5)  But as for you, keep a clear head about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.  (6)  For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time for my departure is close.  (7)  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  (8)  In the future, there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.”

Now, turn with me again to 1 Cor. 15 and we will read this very important passage in light of our union together with Jeuss in His suffering and our future union with Him in our resurrected and glorified bodies.

Lets look at some places where it is clear that Jesus’ return for His church is a pivotal teaching and time and how closely it is mentioned with Christ being formed in us and the Redemption of the body.

Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!