Suffering for Christ


Suffering for Christ

(Scripture Passages on Distress, Persecution, Peril, Suffering, Tribulation, Trials, Affliction, and Hardship for the Faithful Follower of Christ Jesus)

The genuine disciple realizes that God calls him to a life of sacrifice, devotion, and commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his identification with Christ and His revolutionary way of life, many people will not understand and some will bitterly oppose such a counter-cultural stand.

Let us review those passages that speak of the hardship we must face, the persecution that will be inflicted, and the suffering that may come our way as we serve our Lord Jesus. You will discover and maybe be surprised that there are such a large number of them—and this list is not even complete!

Why would this be a helpful reading for us? First, as we read these passages, we will clearly see that God did not promise us a life of pleasure, prosperity, and popularity! Instead, He promises us that there is a cost involved in our following Jesus as genuine disciples. Second, this exercise will destroy mistaken illusions of the Christian life. If inquirers are considering following Christ, they will see that a cross must be carried by every true believer (Mark 8:34). There will be difficulties, rejection, and sacrifices to some degree of everyone, without exception (cf. Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12).

There follows a list of some of the main passages that speak of suffering, persecution, and hardship that come upon the Christian who follows in the footsteps of Jesus his Lord (cf. 1 Peter 2:21ff).

Passages that Promise Hardship, Suffering and Persecution

  • “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:10 NNAS).
  • ” Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me” (Mat 5:11 NNAS).
  • ” Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Mat 5:12 NNAS).
  • ” But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. . .” (Mat 5:44 NNAS).
  • ” But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes” (Mat 10:23 NNAS).
  • ” . . . yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away” (Mat 13:21 NNAS).
  • ” From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day” (Mat 16:21 NNAS).
  • ” . . . but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands” (Mat 17:12 NNAS).
  • ” Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city” (Mat 23:34 NNAS).
  • ” Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name” (Mat 24:9 NNAS).
  • ” For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will” (Mat 24:21 NNAS).
  • ” But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Mat 24:29 NNAS).
  • ” . . . and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away” (Mark 4:17 NNAS).
  • ” And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31 NNAS).
  • ” And He said to them, ‘Elijah does first come and restore all things. And yet how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer many things and be treated with contempt?'” (Mark 9:12 NNAS).
  • ” For those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will” (Mark 13:19 NNAS).
  • ” But in those days, after that tribulation, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT” (Mark 13:24 NNAS).
  • ” The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day” (Luke 9:22 NNAS).
  • ” For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute'” (Luke 11:49 NNAS).
  • ” But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:50 NNAS).
  • ” But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation” (Luke 17:25 NNAS).
  • ” But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake” (Luke 21:12 NNAS).
  • ” And He said to them, ‘I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer'” (Luke 22:15 NNAS).
  • ” You are those who have stood by Me in My trials” (Luke 22:28 NNAS).
  • ” Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:26 NNAS).
  • ” Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day” (Luke 24:46 NNAS).
  • ” Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20 NNAS).
  • ” These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NNAS).
  • ” But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:18 NNAS).
  • ” So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41 NNAS).
  • ” Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become” (Acts 7:52 NNAS).
  • ” . . . for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:16 NNAS).
  • ” . . . strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God'” (Acts 14:22 NNAS).
  • ” But Paul said to them, ‘They have beaten us in public without trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now are they sending us away secretly? No indeed! But let them come themselves and bring us out'” (Acts 16:37 NNAS).
  • ” . . . explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ'” (Acts 17:3 NNAS).
  • ” . . . serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews” (Acts 20:19 NNAS).
  • ” . . . except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me” (Acts 20:23 NNAS).
  • ” I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons” (Acts 22:4 NNAS).
  • ” . . . that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:23 NNAS).
  • ” And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance” (Rom 5:3 NNAS).
  • ” . . . and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” (Rom 8:17 NNAS).
  • ” For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18 NNAS).
  • ” Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Rom 8:35 NNAS).
  • ” . . . rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer” (Rom 12:12 NNAS).
  • ” Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse” (Rom 12:14 NNAS).
  • ” . . . and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure” (1 Cor 4:12 NNAS).
  • ” I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is” (1 Cor 7:26 NNAS).
  • ” And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor 12:26 NNAS).
  • ” For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Cor 15:9 NNAS).
  • ” . . . who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor 1:4 NNAS).
  • ” For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ” (2 Cor 1:5 NNAS).
  • ” But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer” (2 Cor 1:6 NNAS).
  • ” . . . and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort” (2 Cor 1:7 NNAS).
  • ” For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Cor 1:8 NNAS).
  • ” . . . who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us” (2 Cor 1:10 NNAS).
  • ” For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not so that you would be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you” (2 Cor 2:4 NNAS).
  • ” . . . we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing” (2 Cor 4:8 NNAS).
  • ” . . . persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor 4:9 NNAS).
  • ” For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Cor 4:17 NNAS).
  • ” . . . but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses” (2 Cor 6:4 NNAS).
  • ” Great is my confidence in you; great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction” (2 Cor 7:4 NNAS).
  • ” For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within” (2 Cor 7:5 NNAS).
  • ” . . . that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality” (2 Cor 8:2 NNAS).
  • ” For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality” (2 Cor 8:13 NNAS).
  • ” I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure” (2 Cor 11:27 NNAS).
  • ” Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10 NNAS).
  • ” For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it” (Gal 1:13 NNAS).
  • ” . . . but only, they kept hearing, ‘He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy'” (Gal 1:23 NNAS).
  • ” Did you suffer so many things in vain–if indeed it was in vain?” (Gal 3:4 NNAS).
  • ” But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also” (Gal 4:29 NNAS).
  • ” But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished” (Gal 5:11 NNAS).
  • ” Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ” (Gal 6:12 NNAS).
  • ” Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory” (Eph 3:13 NNAS).
  • ” . . . the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment” (Phil 1:17 NNAS).
  • ” For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Phil 1:29 NNAS).
  • ” . . . because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick” (Phil 2:26 NNAS).
  • ” More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ” (Phil 3:8 NNAS).
  • ” . . . that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil 3:10 NNAS).
  • ” I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need” (Phil 4:12 NNAS).
  • ” Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction” (Phil 4:14 NNAS).
  • ” Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” (Col 1:24 NNAS).
  • ” . . . therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure” (2 Th 1:4 NNAS).
  • ” You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Th 1:6 NNAS).
  • ” . . . but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition” (1 Th 2:2 NNAS).
  • ” For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God” (1 Th 2:9 NNAS).
  • ” For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews” (1 Th 2:14 NNAS).
  • ” . . . so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this” (1 Th 3:3 NNAS).
  • ” For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know” (1 Th 3:4 NNAS).
  • ” . . . for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith” (1 Th 3:7 NNAS).
  • ” This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering” (2 Th 1:5 NNAS).
  • ” For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you” (2 Th 1:6 NNAS).
  • ” . . . and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire” (2 Th 1:7 NNAS).
  • ” . . . nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you” (2 Th 3:8 NNAS).
  • ” . . . having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work” (1 Tim 5:10 NNAS).
  • ” Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Tim 1:8 NNAS).
  • ” For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Tim 1:12 NNAS).
  • ” Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 2:3 NNAS).
  • ” . . . for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned” (2 Tim 2:9 NNAS).
  • ” . . . persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!” (2 Tim 3:11 NNAS).
  • ” Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12 NNAS).
  • ” But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim 4:5 NNAS).
  • ” But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone” (Heb 2:9 NNAS).
  • ” For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings” (Heb 2:10 NNAS).
  • ” For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Heb 2:18 NNAS).
  • ” Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Heb 5:8 NNAS).
  • ” Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb 9:26 NNAS).
  • ” But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings” (Heb 10:32 NNAS).
  • ” . . . partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated” (Heb 10:33 NNAS).
  • ” They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated” (Heb 11:37 NNAS).
  • ” Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate” (Heb 13:12 NNAS).
  • ” Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2 NNAS).
  • ” Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12 NNAS).
  • ” Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27 NNAS).
  • ” As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord” (James 5:10 NNAS).
  • ” Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises” (James 5:13 NNAS).
  • ” In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials” (1 Pet 1:6 NNAS).
  • ” . . . seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow” (1 Pet 1:11 NNAS).
  • ” For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly” (1 Pet 2:19 NNAS).
  • ” For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God” (1 Pet 2:20 NNAS).
  • ” For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps” (1 Pet 2:21 NNAS).
  • ” . . . and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Pet 2:23 NNAS).
  • ” But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED” (1 Pet 3:14 NNAS).
  • ” For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong” (1 Pet 3:17 NNAS).
  • ” Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” (1 Pet 4:1 NNAS).
  • ” . . . but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation” (1 Pet 4:13 NNAS).
  • ” Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler” (1 Pet 4:15 NNAS).
  • ” . . . but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name” (1 Pet 4:16 NNAS).
  • ” Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right” (1 Pet 4:19 NNAS).
  • ” Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed” (1 Pet 5:1 NNAS).
  • ” But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world” (1 Pet 5:9 NNAS).
  • ” After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (1 Pet 5:10 NNAS).
  • ” I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Rev 1:9 NNAS).
  • ” I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan” (Rev 2:9 NNAS).
  • ” Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev 2:10 NNAS).
  • ” I said to him, ‘My lord, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb'” (Rev 7:14 NNAS).

Conclusion

Ask yourself these basic questions:

  • Are we willing to suffer for Christ?
  • Are we willing to be persecuted because of our holy way of living?
  • Are we willing to face tribulation and distress by putting Jesus first in our life?
  • Are we willing to be rejected for our faith when we choose God and turn from sin?

Ask yourself these additional practical questions:

  • Are you willing to lose your job because of your commitment to righteousness?
  • Are you willing to suffer rejection by a husband or wife because of your devotion to Jesus?
  • Are you willing to be rejected by your parents, your children, or other family members because you are a Christian?
  • Are you willing to suffer deprivation of any kind because you serve the Lord? Lose sleep? Forego meals? Lose money? Suffer loss of possessions? Expend time?
  • Are you willing to become poor if that is the outcome of following Christ with uncompromised devotion to Him?
  • Are you willing to suffer the loss of your life dreams, your life plans, your retirement, your worldly success, your friendships, your popularity–if this is the outcome of serving with a true heart?
    Christ calls on us to give up our life for Him!
  • Are you willing to take Him at His word?

Richard Hollerman

 

 

 

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