Gleans from Sunday End of Month with Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.
DLBC Gbagada, Lagos HQ
28th July 2019
Topic – PARADOX OF BECOMING STRONGER THROUGH SUFFERING
Text – 1 Peter 3:14; 1:6-8; 2:19-21; 3:17-18; 4:15-16; 5:1,10; Exodus 1:12
“But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled” (1 Peter 3:14). Peter the Apostle from personal experience and the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, as Lord and Saviour, wrote to believers and the Body of Christ that we should be happy if we suffer for righteousness’ sake, and that we should not be afraid of their terror neither be troubled. Satan and the persecutors thought that suffering and persecution would weaken the Church; the Jews too thought that the gospel would not go beyond the province and perimeters of Jerusalem, Judah and Samaria because of the suffering but they were wrong. As you look at this First General Epistle of Peter, he touches amply on this subject of suffering (1 Peter 1:6-8; 2:19-21; 3:17-18; 4:15-16; 5:1,10). Suffering will come, but let it not be as a result of sin or evil; suffer for righteousness. The Epistle highlights the suffering of saved, forgiven, regenerated children of God. Satan intends to weaken, destroy, devastate the saints through suffering, but the paradox of the Christian life is that suffering makes saints stronger; battles make saints brighter and better believers; and persecutions make pilgrims purer. The word of God makes it very clear that instead of oppositions, persecutions and sufferings destroying us as Christians, they make us stronger. “But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel” (Exodus 1:12). You will grow and be stronger because persecution will not destroy but develop you in Jesus Name.
Point 1. PRESERVING A GOOD CONSCIENCE WHILE SUFFERING
1 Peter 3:16-18; Romans 2:15; Hebrews 8:10; 10:16; Titus 1:15-16; 1 Timothy 4:1-2; Hebrews 9:14-15; 10:19-22; Acts 24:16; 1 Timothy 1:5
“Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing” (1 Peter 3:16-17). Having a good conscience, that you are a child of God, following the way of righteousness, you keep on doing well rather than evil. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). As onlookers see that in the arena of suffering we maintain a good conscience, this will bring them to God. The conscience is very important while we are suffering; for it will either accuse or excuse us (Romans 2:15). The conscience will accuse you if your lifestyle negates the Word of God that you hear. But if you are suffering for righteousness, living the life of a true child of God, and your life and the doctrine match, then your conscience will excuse you, that those your persecutors have a problem. If the law of God is written in the hearts of unbelievers how much more we unbelievers. God writes His law in our hearts, so if we disobey or negate it, then our conscience will accuse us that we are not suffering persecution, but punishment for our sins (Hebrews 8:10; 10:16). God supervises what He has written in our hearts, so we should live by that law in your heart, by the power of the Spirit of God, day by day, moment by moment. Then your conscience will bear witness that you are doing the right thing. “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled” (Titus 1:15). To the believer in Christ, all things are pure – the Bible, doctrine, Name and worship of God; they are sacred. If somebody does not really know the Lord, the life he lives and his character will tell, and the conscience might not be challenging him anymore because something happened to the conscience. Does your conscience ever challenge, accuse, alert, remind or speak to you? If you are a child of God, your conscience will remind you of the word of God, and how to live your life in accordance to the teaching of the Bible. When the devil comes, he removes sound doctrine of righteousness, holiness and he plants his own evil doctrines. That is why you find people you expect are saved and the word of God written in their hearts, doing contrary to the Word. That’s why you need to take that conscience to the Lord, and He will purge, purify and cleanse it from every evil action, thoughts and doctrines of the devil. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14). Have you ever taken your inner man to the Lord to be cleansed and touched by the Lord? When your conscience is purged, purified and aligns with the word of God, you will have boldness and confidence to pray, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19). And then you have the good conscience to live before God and man. “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16). To maintain the good conscience you have to exercise yourself, just as you do the physical exercise of running, jogging, swimming, to be sound and healthy; nobody will do it for you, just as nobody can breathe or eat on your behalf. You have to do any restitution by yourself. to maintain a good conscience before God and man. You must carry your good conscience everywhere even when what you are saying is against you; you must maintain that good conscience.
Point 2. POSSESSING GODLY CHARACTER WITHOUT SECRETLY SINNING
1 Peter 4:1-5; Deuteronomy 13:6-8; 2 Kings 17:9,25,34,40-41; Psalms 19:12; 44:20-21; Proverbs 9:17-18; Ecclesiastes 12:13,14; Jeremiah 23:24; Ephesians 5:11-12; 1 Corinthians 15:33,34
You know persecutions can make some people compromise, commit crime and evil, and give up their faith; but you are not that kind of person. If you have suffered for righteousness, don’t continue in sin. “Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him” (Deuteronomy 13:8). Stand against any enticement to secretly serve another god or do contrary to the Word of God, it does not matter how close that person is to you. Maintain a good conscience and godly character. “And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city” (2 Kings 17:9). The laws, commandments and statues of God were no more sacred to them. They forgot that the eyes of the Lord can see what things are done in the secret and His ears can hear. They lived as if there is no God who is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent. If you are still living according to your former manner of life, although you say you are saved and converted, such salvation and conversion have no record in Heaven (2 Kings 17:40-41). It is godly character void of secret sin that marks us out as children of God. “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults” (Psalms 19:12). This should be the prayer of the people serving God faithfully. God knows the secret of the heart, our thoughts and actions. (Psalms 44:20-21). To the secret sinner, stolen waters are sweet but God is taking note of all those evil and unrepentant sinners will perish in hell. (Proverbs 9:17-18). “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14). Secret sinners don’t believe that, they are church goers, know the Bible and some are even workers and preachers but they do not believe that God will bring every secret thing to judgement, they act anyhow. If the GS or the senior pastor will not discover them, they do it without checking their conscience. Do you practice secret cult, society within our church? You don’t believe in God and are no more a Christian. You will not be a secret sinner nor support a secret sinner-leader. Our Church will not be a secret cult nor a place where a criminal or sinner will come to hide. It is in an uncompleted building that criminals hide, and this is not an uncompleted Church. This is Deeper Life Bible Church, and if you hear that this is what the GS wants us to do, as led by the Spirit of God, and somebody secretly calls you to disobey him and the Church, if you listen to that individual you are a secret sinner, and if Christ comes, you will not make it to heaven. I pray that you will make Heaven in Jesus’ name. We are so sure that if you walk by the word of God that comes from this Pulpit, rest assured you will make it to Heaven. The GS has no secret, and if you can live an open, honest, holy and transparent life like that, heaven will be waiting for you. “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:24). God knows everything, there is nothing hidden from Him. “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34). When somebody comes and wants to introduce you to secret sin, reject it; be awake to righteousness and sin not.