gnireffuS – Do we see it right?
Suffering & persecution that comes from seeking to advance the gospel paves the way for the gospel to advance. Ouch! But it’s true…in the early church & still today. That does not mean we should seek suffering – probably not a great idea to start an outreach ministry called jerks for Jesus, “seeking to anger our neighbors one household at a time!” Nor does it mean suffering itself advances the gospel – without a right response it will only produce the root of bitterness and not the fruit of growth. But suffering of some kind (2 Tim 3:12) will happen because the gospel confronts religion’s (& irreligion’s) prideful pursuit of power. When this suffering is met with obedience the result will be joy & multiplication. It can only happen by remembering we have been saved by sheer grace and Jesus is Lord, not just as a doctrinal confession but as a daily celebration. That’s what Sunday’s sermon was all about. And in the end, we see two beautiful paradoxes. Suffering for Jesus brings deeper joy in Jesus. The more the gospel is stamped on the more it spreads. You can listen to this message from Acts 5:12-42 here.