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Chosen: A Call To Suffering



"For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory."
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We are so grateful to have our brothers and sisters from all over the world here with us today.
We praise God that He continues to grow our ministry, reaching even more people! God is great!
We continue you lift up all in prayers. 
What a tremendous encouragement it is to know that when we have to go through difficult times, challenging times, times of peril, somebody is being strengthened, somebody else is going to reap a rich reward of blessing and experience of glory. God does not deal in cheap grace. God's grace is free to all of us, anybody who is willing to receive it, however, it's not cheap!  Because someone, somewhere has been involved in the suffering that made it possible. 
How often, when we sit church, with the open Bible before us, we seem to easily forget that this Book, the written form of God's Holy Word, comes to us saturated with the blood, sweat, and tears of men and women of the past. Those who had been burned at the stake, that we might have this Book in English, and be able to read it. Men and women have been imprisoned, who died in chains, those who have been tortured, and torn asunder, in order that we might have this Book, we now hold in our hands. This Book, that we so often take for granted. 
Beloved, we must never forget that, in a fallen world, there is going to be suffering when the Word of truth is dispensed among men. If we are called upon to suffer, then someone else is going to reap the rewards. 
In God's sight, there is always a direct link between the difficulties we may have as believers here and the joy and glory that awaits beyond. "If we endure with him, we shall also reign with him," we have already seen that. We should know that.

I believe that it is wrong to read these verses as though they mean that by our suffering and our enduring hardship we gain the right to a crown. That is never the case in the Scriptures. We do not "win" a reward; we do not merit favor from God, ever. There is no faithful service which we do that somehow places God in our debt and obliges Him to give us a reward. We need to understand that. We do not deserve God's grace, we are unworthy.

We need to understand, that suffering is a test of the reality of our faith: If we truly are Christ's, if He has genuinely come to dwell within us, that fact will always manifest itself by our willingness to suffer with Him; to give up ourselves for Christ's sake, to resolutely set ourselves against the allurements and temptations of this present age and live a different lifestyle. A life that demonstrates a transformation has truly taken place in our lives.

That is the manifestation of the true Christian life. If that is there, then, it is absolutely certain that we shall share with Him because we belong to Him. However, if we are unwilling to suffer, if the moment our Christianity begins to pinch a little bit, if we are asked to give up something that we enjoy doing and living in a way that God does not approve of, or even laughed at, by the world around us, then we have to wonder if that is not telling sign, that our Christianity is a fraud.

"If we deny him, he also will deny us." He knows truth about us, the truth in us. He knows what is real and that which is not. If we are simply using Christianity to get God to do something for us, to bless us, to show favor toward us, this will be the true test of it: When the moment of pressure comes, we will give Christianity up; we will fade into the woodwork, as thousands of professing Christians are sadly doing today, under the increasing pressures arising in our time. 

And, if that is the case, then He who knew all along what was true of us will, in the hour of manifestation of all the secrets of men's hearts, say to us, as He said He would say to many who came to Him saying, "Lord, Lord, have we not done many mighty works in your name?" -- "Depart from me. I never knew you," 

However, if He is in us, He will hold us safely in His hands until the end. He will restore us; He will bring us back to Himself. He will labor through abundant and amazing ways to turn us away from that which has temporarily derailed us. He will bring us back at last to humility, to repentance, and confession of our evil, to restoration, so that we walk with Him by His grace.
Let us bow our heads in prayer.
Heavenly Father,
Father, as always, we thank You for this Word for us, for the incredible truth that You have chosen to reveal to us. We pray for the wisdom and discernment needed to understand and make application to our lives. Grant us the boldness and courage to share the Good News with others whose lives we come in contact.

Lord, we ask that You would reveal to us, those whose hearts You have prepared. We lift up our brothers and sisters to You who faithfully serving You, sharing the truth, in countries where Your people are being persecuted. Raise them up and empower their voices, that even one more might hear. That their faithful witness will impact the lives of those they touch. May it all be for Your great glory.
In Christ's name

Today's Message: Chosen: A Call To Suffering

We are facing times that try men's souls, times when we need to take God's Word very seriously. These are the times that test the reality of our faith. Whether we stand or fall is going to determine whether we really have the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and will submit ourselves to the necessary dedication of a soldier, the discipline of an athlete, and the diligence of a farmer, that we might see the results in abundant harvest to the glory of God. This not an easy road, however, it is the Christian life. The life to which we have all been called.
Open with me please your Bibles to the Second Book of Timothy chapter 2 verse 10.  The words in this verse are sobering words. This life is a testing ground where we have been placed, in order to openly manifest before the watching world whether we really are Christians or not. I believe that this the ultimate test. The greatest test we shall face in our lives.

I would encourage you to follow along with me as I read to you our text, to set it in our minds, as we prepare our hearts for what the Holy Spirit has for us today. I pray that you will receive it with open minds, open hearts, that you would be richly blessed. II Timothy 2:10.

"For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory."
Here, Paul is emphasizing a concept that is not often welcomed or well received with Christians today—hardship. Over the years, in speaking with students of the ministry, I often emphasized the need for the preacher boys to "pay their dues." I daresay that the overwhelming majority of young men and quite honestly, some who are not so young, who attend seminary school, have imagined that they would graduate and immediately be pastoring megachurches. They knew they were exceptional preachers, a benefit to everyone who was privileged to hear their sermons preached and it was only a matter of time until the saints recognized their superior abilities. 
The theme that the Apostle Paul is continuing on hardship in service of the Lord becomes evident from the first word of the text—“Therefore!” When we read, we often give scant attention to prepositions such as the first word in this verse. However, he is drawing a logical conclusion from what he has just stated. In order to refresh our memories, lets look quickly at the opening verses of the letter. 
"You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.  Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.  The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned."
Paul has enjoined the pastor especially to prepare men for ministry, equipping them to serve. Fulfilling this responsibility will entail suffering; but suffering because of service to the Lord is to be embraced, rather than spurned. Suffering itself is not particularly praise-worthy; suffering because of the Faith merits the Savior's commendation. In Matthew 5:10-12, we have Jesus’ statement on this matter. "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Throughout the preceding verses, Paul has insisted that the pastor must have the singular focus of fulfilling the appointment received from the Lord of Glory. The soldier aims to please the one who enlisted him. The athlete must compete according to the rules. The farmer must toil if he anticipates a share of the crop. However, in each instance success is recognized and rewarded only at the completion of the battle, or after the contest is concluded, or after the crop is harvested. Until the appointment is fulfilled, all must anticipate toil, deprivation and exhausting labor. In pastoral service, no man should expect praise and commendation for his service.
At best, the pastor is only doing what he was called and appointed to do. The same truth holds for every follower of the Christ. This is a shocking revelation for many people to deal with in our world today, however, commendation for service rendered is not given in this life. Jesus appears to have stunned His disciples when he challenged them concerning this matter. In Luke 17:7-10, Jesus said, "Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’"
Therefore, the Apostle writes, "diá hoûtos," "For this reason!" For this reason I am appointed a servant of the Risen Son of God, For this reason I am appointed to steadfast service in His Name, For this reason I am appointed to fulfill faithfully my appointment, " I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory." The assembly to which He appointed me is to receive my full attention at all times. 
I have on occasion spoken with younger preachers who complain because they didn’t receive as large a field of service they felt they deserved. I have often gently reminded them that God appoints; we do not hire out. I believe that each of us must be reminded on occasion that God does not appoint to positions beyond our capability. He appoints as He sees fit, always seeking the benefit of His holy people. No appointment is to focus on commendation now. We who serve the King of kings are not to seek the applause of dying people; we are to look to the glory that awaits the conclusion of our service. 
In II Thessalonians 1, Paul, in writing to saints who were suffering because of the faith, he reminded them that those who persecuted them would suffer greatly at the return of our Lord, and they would be commended. I encourage you to listen as I read to you what he wrote. "For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 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, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power."
However, Paul is not yet finished; he immediately reminds these fellow believers that this will take place. "when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed." The purpose of Jesus’ return is "glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed." Judgement of the wicked seems almost incidental, a matter of tidying up. Listen to the conclusion of Paul's thoughts, as he adds a prayer for those who suffer. 
"To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."
I believe the pastor must keep his eyes focused on what occurs after his service, that all believers must ensure that they remain focused on what is coming. We are not to become so entangled with the affairs of this dying world that we forget why we were saved. Christ saved us so that He may be glorified in us! Allow that to just sink in for a moment. Jesus Christ is returning to be glorified in His people! Even now, Christ is being glorified in us. Of all believers, the pastor must remain focused on what comes after his service. 
Let's look at our text again, "I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen,"  I must confess that the word "everything" gave me to pause when I first read this verse. My initial reaction was, "Everything?" Allow me to explain, enduring everything for the sake of those who are chosen does not include abuse. Disturbingly, many professed Christians seem to be of the opinion that when they hire a pastor, he is then expected work "for them," meeting their wants and demands. This has caused me to realize, that as preachers, we have obviously done a poor job of instructing the assemblies of the responsibilities of the pastor.
In Ephesians 4:10-16, the Apostle Paul writes " He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love." 
The One who descended and Who also ascended is Christ. He gave ascension gifts to the saints, including apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Jesus gave these gifted men to the churches for the specific purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry and for building up the body of Christ. I'd like to draw your attention to their primary responsibilities do not include doing the work of the ministry, though they are responsible to fulfill their ministries; their primary responsibility is to equip the saints, in order that they can do the work of the ministry. In rightly performing his duties, these gifted men will build up the body of Christ. The goal of their labors is building unity of the faith and instructing in the knowledge of Christ, in order that the faithful can mature and grow strong. Ideally, a congregation will be equipped to stand firm against every error even in the event that the pastor is removed. 
I believe that surest path to the church’s spiritual stagnation, to the pastor’s burnout, or both, is to expect the pastor to become so engulfed in activities and programs that he has too little time for prayer and the Word. It is his lack of knowledge of truth of God’s Word and his obedience to it, not lack of programs, that will destroy God's people. Even successful programs, that are accomplished in the flesh and for human satisfaction rather than the Lord’s glory, are more destructive to the body of Christ, than ones which fail that are done in the Spirit.
Clearly, Paul is speaking of his willingness to endure deprivation, opposition from outsiders and even demands on his time. The word "upomenō," which is translated "I endure" is a compound word meaning "to stay behind, to await, endure" It came to speak of patient steadfastness that does not shrink from trouble. The modern concept of a pastor being a sort of Caspar Milquetoast is not substantiated through appeal to Scripture. The New Testament pastor is willing to stand firm against error for the sake of the flock over which he has been appointed. He is not always looking for a bigger position because he has been appointed by God, rather than hired by men. I am compelled to let you in on an amazing truth here, being chosen by God and suffering for God are inseparable. 
In Acts chapter 9, God sent Ananias to Paul after the enraged rabbi was blinded en route to Damascus to imprison the faithful.When Ananias argued against going, the Lord commanded, "But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.
Beloved, this truly amazing in light of our approach to calling people to discipleship today! We attempt to shield people from knowing of the difficulties of serving God; yet, the Lord says that Paul would know from earliest days "how much he must suffer for My name's sake." I believe this speaks boldly to the fact, we should be more honest and call people to suffer together with Christ. Just as God chose Saul of Tarsus, He surely chose each follower of the Christ. What an amazing truth about His calling is that He did this choosing before the foundation of the world. 
To make the application let's read I Corinthians 1:27-29, in which Paul writes "but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God."
When we are the chosen in Christ, no one can cause us to be rejected. Allow me to provide the answer to that question, No One!
Romans 8:33-34 teaches us that "Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us." In light of this truth, I find it to be astonishing that the Apostle Paul was forced to defend his ministry for Christ, which he did in II Corinthians 11.
I believe that every pastor who follows hard after the Lord can relate to what the Apostle Paul has written. The principle presented is not that the pastor is to be a sort of glorified go-fer; the principle illustrated here, is that the pastor is must refuse to quit when the going gets tough, allow me to insure you, the going will get tough! Regardless of how difficult it becomes, the pastor is always to move toward the goal of building up and equipping the saints. The pastor understands that he must answer to the Head of the congregation; Christ Jesus. The pastor also knows that he must give an account for each person under his charge. I must stress this point, the pastor shall give an account to God for his service. And he must also give an account for the impact of his service on each and every individual under his oversight. There will be no excuse before God, if the shepherd of souls has failed to declare the truth, holding those who hear to the high standard of the Word. I just cannot stress this enough!
Make no mistake that the Apostle Paul’s focus in this verse is the pastor of the congregation. However, the concept he presents to us here, is applicable to every born again believer. I believe this is ignored among the people of God today. Furthermore, I believe that they do so because they hold an highly exaggerated, exalted opinion of themselves! Despicably, many Christians today, show less respect to the body of Christ than they do to the cashier at the local service station. Such an attitude reveals that the modern Christian has become seriously infected with the spirit of the age. We must therefore, guard our hearts, to ensure that we do not slip into such dreadful error. For each believer has been granted the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good of the body of Christ.
In Closing...
Allow me to ensure you that when I proclaim the message of life, I am confident that some who hear have been appointed to life. There is no fear or anxiety that the message will return void, or prove meaningless; rather, I am able to speak boldly, because I know with certainty that listening are some who will believe!
Furthermore, I am confident that my fellow true believers will be encouraged and strengthened in this holy faith which we share. Allow me to clarify my point, I am not confident because my words have power. To the contrary, my words have no power, but the Spirit of God working through His Word is turning some to life each  and every time I speak. Similarly, when you speak to others concerning this holy Faith, your testimony has little power; however, the Spirit of God works powerfully through you to convict concerning sin, righteousness and judgement. God works powerfully through His people! The purpose of the pastors suffering is so that the grace of God can reach those whom the Lord has appointed to life.
Beloved, God has chosen us and appointed us to serve as workers together with Him, in delivering the message of Life. Throughout the Word the teaching that we work together with God appears again and again. God has provided us with the gift of salvation through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, I implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God, working together with Him, Who has provided His life as a sacrifice for our sin!
May it be so... 
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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