Must We Suffer to Have Victory?

As I’m perusing the notes to the Introduction to BSF Acts, the circle stuck out at me, particularly the part about victory.

To have victory in this life we must suffer for Jesus.  And we must do this because Jesus did.

I’m not for sure I agree with this.  At all.

Jesus suffered, tis true.  But he suffered because of man.  Could Jesus have died without suffering?  Don’t people die today without suffering?

I would wager yes.

Lesson 3, Day 3 talks about this as well.  Here, the apostles rejoice because they have been flogged and “counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” Acts 5:41

Just because I’m worthy doesn’t necessarily mean I have to suffer.  But I am able to suffer just as Jesus did.

I don’t think persecution is the end result.  Or even opposition.

I’m not suffering right now (far from what the Apostles and Jesus did–I mean who amongst us has been flogged???) and I believe I’m doing Christian work–work set before me for the Lord to do.  So does my work have to end in persecution?

I do believe people come against me but not quite like Jesus.  Take this blog for example.  How  many people have nailed me to the wall with looks because of what I’m doing?  Also, with my column.  People love to tell me I’m wrong on certain things, which is fine.  But some people are mean and denigrating.

I’m baffled to be quite honest with you.  Baffled at what BSF is getting at.  Miffed if it’s what I think they are getting at (saying I have to be persecuted or I’m not fulfilling God’s work for me).

Unless it’s on this level.  Because then this would be true for everyone:  who amongst us doesn’t have someone who doesn’t approve of us or what we are doing?  At least in some small way or capacity?

I’d love to hear everyone else’s take on this.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 1, Day 4: Acts 1:4-11

Summary of passage:  Jesus gives the disciples a command to not leave Jerusalem until they have received the gift from His Father, which is the Holy Spirit.  The disciples asked Jesus if he was going to restore the kingdom of Israel and Jesus says it is not for them to know the Father’s timing; it is for them to be witnesses for him in Judea, Jerusalem, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Then Jesus was taken up before their eyes into heaven.  Two men in white suddenly appeared next to the disciples and said this same Jesus will come back again in the same way you have seen him ascend.  (Basically, quit gawking and start talking!  You have much work to do!).

Questions:

8 ) Yes.  Before Jesus, man has always been separated from God by man’s sin.  Jesus enables man to be with God because Jesus has taken our sin upon himself.  Therefore, we must have the Spirit of Christ within us in order to be with God (Summarization of Romans 8: 1-9).  If we receive Christ, we receive his Spirit and we become alive with righteousness (Romans 8:10).  This Spirit is what allows us to share in Christ’s glory (Romans 8:17).

1 Corinthians 12:13 says everyone drinks of the same Spirit (God does not discriminate).

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 says God put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit and as a seal of ownership, claiming us as His.

Galatians 4:6 says 2 Corinthians basically and says this Spirit cries out to God as our father.

9) According to Webster’s dictionary, baptized means “to purify or cleans spiritually” or to “give a name to or christen”.  [Notice Christ in christen]. Fill means to spread through; to possess and perform the duties of; to make full; to place a person in.

Baptism to me usually is one act.  It takes place once.  We ask Jesus into our hearts.  Bam!  He’s there.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit to me means having the Spirit always present. Ephesians 5:18 says don’t be drunk on wine but be drunk on the Spirit.

The difference is subtle.  You can be baptized with the Spirit but then lead an ungodly life (but still going to Heaven).  Or you can be filled with the Spirit all the days of your life and live a life as Jesus would (as humanly possible) and still go to Heaven.  It’s in the application.

I love the Stephen example (Acts 6:3-4).  I’m assuming all the brothers were baptized with the Holy Spirit.  But the Seven were chosen because they were full of the Spirit.  Stephen is described as such twice in this example.  So there was something about Stephen that made him stand out and I believe it was because he lived his life with the Spirit (God and Jesus) as his guide.  They walked in the ways of the Spirit.

10a)  Proof of power was when the Holy Spirit descends on them and Jesus commanded the disciples to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

b) Personal Question.  My answer:  As a disciple of Christ, I can choose to walk in his ways and live my life according to the Bible’s commandments and be an example to others; a witness to those who do not know Him and share the Good News to those I meet.

11a)  I think they were stunned, shocked, awe-struck, bewildered, and amazed that all the prophecies had come true.  Could this really be happening? they might have thought.  Am I really seeing Jesus, the one and only Jesus, ascend into Heaven?

They might have been sad to see Jesus go–a man they had spent the better part of three years following, living, and breathing with every day and every hour.  It would be like losing a loved one here at home.  They might have even been in denial Jesus was leaving for good, reluctant to believe their best friend, teacher, and leader was leaving for good.

They were probably confused, befuddled a bit by what was happening; wondering when Jesus would return since they kept asking him; wondering when his kingdom would come and pining for it.  Still waiting for an earthly kingdom when Jesus all along had been talking about a spiritual kingdom.

I’d be speechless.  The two men dressed in white had to break their reverie and bring them back to the present by speaking to them while they were still dazed and bedazzled.

John 16:6-7 Jesus says, “You are filled with grief.  But I tell you the truth:  It is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you.”

b) The men tell the disciples not to worry, fret, or be sad because the same Jesus will come back to earth in the same manner as they just witnessed him go.

Conclusions:  I had fun with this lesson.  Finally back in the swing of things. Learning new things (always makes me happy).  Clarified some thoughts in my head.  Couldn’t stop typing really.  The beauty of BSF at work.