“You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” Matthew 10:22, NASB
“If you are a follower of Jesus and maintain a consistent, Christlike walk and behavior, you must expect to experience persecution and rejection also. Your Christian testimony will be scrutinized and criticized. People will treat it as they treated the Savior—they will despise it” ~CH Spurgeon
Is that a disturbing statement? Somehow, in our Americanized theology, we brush such claims off. Maybe happens to some, we claim, but it’s not the rule.
I came across this quote shortly after a bullying incident at our local school. It was unrelated to church, but it got us talking. In our home. In our Jr. High Sunday school. For us, this was a timely read. We need to wake up so that we can stand. I’ve worked with quite a few youth over the past decade and so often we run into the happy clause. “God wants me to be happy.”
They haven’t read the book of Job yet.
They don’t know what a martyr is.
They haven’t really studied the life of Christ.
Matthew 10:16-24 blatantly warns us. If we’re seeking the applause of men, we’re in the wrong religion. Jesus was despised and rejected. Can a servant be above his master?
Teaching Jr. High kids this was a downer. They didn’t leave feeling happy to be in church Sunday morning. But they got it. Why did Jesus warn His disciples? Because they needed to get it. Perseverance doesn’t come from false hope. It comes from real faith. Faith that is tested, refined by fire. Pure. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
If we are to be set apart for Christ, we will not blend in. Standing out won’t always be comfortable.
Spurgeon goes on to say, “If they did not prize the polished gem, do you think that they will esteem the rough cut jewel?”
Not a chance.
Jesus asked us to count the cost. Then take up the cross. Will it be worth it? If I seek heaven and not the approval of men, will it be worth it?
Rejected by men, loved by God. (1 John 3:1-2)
I’ll take it.