Tag: Suffering

Vegetating in selfishness?

Octavius Winslowby Octavius Winslow

“The Sensitiveness of Christ to Suffering”

Every believer, however limited and veiled from human eye his sphere of life–will create a public sentiment respecting himself. His relations, his friends, his neighbors–will form their opinion of his character, doings and life.

Few pass through life incognito to eternity! Few slide through society unseen, unnoticed, unfelt. Each individual Christian should especially live for an object. He should so live as to make his talents, influence, and example count upon the present and eternal well-being of all with whom He comes in contact.

“No man lives to himself.” As a “light”–He is to shine! As “salt”–He is to influence! As a “witness”–He is to testify for Christ.

In a world like this, where there is . . . so much evil to correct, so much temptation to resist, so much sorrow to soothe, so much need to supply, so much misery to counteract, so much ignorance to instruct, so much good to be done–none need be idle, dreaming away existence, vegetating in selfishness–not living for man, or laboring for God.

Oh, be an earnest, active Christian! Be up and doing! Life is too momentous, too solemn, too responsible–for sluggishness, inactivity, and selfishness!

We are gliding down the stream onward to eternity! Shall we spend our fleeting moments in grasping at the floating straw–when for every moment and act of our present course, we shall soon be cited at Christ’s bar for scrutiny and judgment?

Souls are perishing! Ignorance of the gospel is prevailing! Iniquity is abounding! Satan is unslumbering! Death plies its scythe, and the grave yawns each moment! An eternity of bliss or of woe is gathering deathless beings to its bosom, at every stroke of the pendulum!

Shall we not, then, be active and earnest in a world like this?

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11

“Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

by Octavius Winslow

Stephen: Godliness in Suffering

John MacArthurby John MacArthur

“But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55).

Because Stephen was so consistently Spirit-filled, it was natural for him to react in a godly way to persecution and death.

The cliché “Garbage in, garbage out” provides a good clue to the essence of the Spirit-filled Christian life. Just as computers respond according to their programming, we respond to what fills our minds. If we allow the Holy Spirit to program our thought patterns, we’ll be controlled and renewed by Him and live godly lives. And that’s exactly how Stephen consistently and daily lived his life.

The expression “being full” is from a Greek verb (pleroo) that literally means “being kept full.” Stephen was continuously filled with the Holy Spirit during his entire Christian life. This previewed Paul’s directive in Ephesians 5:18, “but be filled with the Spirit.” These words don’t mean believers are to have some strange mystical experience, but simply that their lives ought to be fully controlled by God’s Spirit.

Stephen gave evidence of his Spirit-filled godliness as He was about to die from stoning. Acts 7:55-56 says he looked to Jesus and let his adversaries and any witnesses know that he saw Christ standing at the right hand of God. Stephen did not focus on his difficult situation but fixed his heart on the Lord, which is what all believers must do: “Keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:1-2).

Stephen’s spiritual sight was incredible and enabled him to see the risen Christ and be certain of his welcome into Heaven the moment he died. We won’t have that kind of vision while we’re still on earth, but if we are constantly Spirit-filled like Stephen, we will always see Jesus by faith and realize His complete presence during the most trying times (John 14:26-27; Heb. 13:5-6).

by John MacArthur