How Long, O Lord

This is one of the most convicting yet joyful sermons I’ve heard in a long time. I also don’t believe I’ve heard a sermon preached from Revelation, at least not beyond the first three chapters. The Bethlehem Conference for Pastors and Church Leaders from which it is taken has been such a blessing and a burden to me personally. The focus was on the suffering of the church and preparing pastors to be preparing their congregations for the times of suffering promised. I personally know virtually nothing of suffering “dishonor for the name [of Jesus]” (Acts 5:41) and I have, since watching much of this conference and study on my own time, been asking God to show me what that means for me as a Christian in the times we find ourselves today in America (or wherever he may lead in the future). And not just to show me, but to give me that suffering, whatever it may be. God has pressed upon my mind and heart of late such a strong desire to follow the footsteps of Jesus. And what I find in that path, in Jesus’ own words and the words of his Apostles in the days following his departure, that the main thing promised to us in this physical reality of life is suffering. The absence of it in my life causes me to ask of myself why, when so often and so strongly it is said, that those who follow Christ will receive for themselves the same suffering Jesus bore, why I do not experience that same suffering often, even at all. I pray that in the words presented from Revalation 12 by D. A. Carson will also stir up in you conviction and a desire for the same.

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

(1 Peter 4:1-2, 17-19 ESV)