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Unleavened Bread Ministries with David Eells

Suffering Brings Fruit

David Eells– 4/21/24


We must suffer the loss of our old life to bear the fruit of Jesus.  We must take up our cross daily to suffer the death of the flesh in obedience to the Word. Patiently enduring our cross brings quick results. Many have been going through suffering and the Church is about to go through great suffering. We all need to learn how to handle suffering the right way, because it’s one of God’s greatest tools for bringing about the righteousness of Christ in us. As disciples of Christ, we learn from the examples we have from Him and His apostles and many Christians throughout history.  

We are told in 1Pe 2:18 Servants, [be] in subjection to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward (“unreasonable”). 19 For this is acceptable (Greek: “grace”), if for conscience toward God a man endureth griefs, suffering wrongfully. It’s okay with God, and should be with us, to endure grief and suffering, even wrongfully, as it was with Jesus. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye sin, and are buffeted [for it,] ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer [for it,] ye shall take it patiently, this is acceptable (“grace”) with God. 21 For hereunto were ye called (We are called to suffer for doing right): because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps:  

22 who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously. He left it all in the hands of His Father. When we’re suffering, that’s when our lowest instincts – all sorts of pride, rebellion and anger – come up in our mind, especially when we’re suffering at the hands of another who we think should know better. But God brings us through suffering because of the lusts of our own flesh. For example, Christ, suffered for doing good and we are going to suffer for doing good, too. 1Pe 3:14 But even if ye should suffer for righteousness’ sake, blessed [are ye:] and fear not their fear, neither be troubled; 15 but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord … So we get blessed by Father for suffering wrongfully. 

Our first temptation when we suffer at the hands of a person or circumstance is to not make “Christ as Lord” in our heart; instead, it’s every other fleshly desire that comes to mind. Jesus “committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously” when He was suffering. In other words, He wasn’t taking thought of vengeance or falling into the mind of the flesh; He was leaving it up to God and He tells you the same thing: “sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord.” 1Pe 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ suffered in the flesh, arm ye yourselves also with the same mind. Consider it your privilege and Christian duty to suffer in the flesh as Jesus did. 

Do we have a mind like that? The fleshly mind is to run from any kind of suffering, to avoid at all cost the thing that we need the most. Christians in the United States, especially, need suffering because God wills it and people need to be delivered from their selfish interests and self-centeredness. 1Pe 4:1 … for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin … When our flesh is suffering, it’s because it’s not getting its way. When the flesh isn’t getting its way, we’re not sinning. It’s so simple. We’re called to suffer in the flesh and we need to know that suffering is our most precious friend. 1Pe 4:2 That ye no longer should live the rest of your time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. We need suffering so we can live the rest of your life as a servant of Jesus Christ, free from the bondage of the flesh.  

How do you know suffering is from the Lord? When you understand God’s purposes in suffering, it makes it a lot easier for you to endure because you see the good purposes behind it. We are no longer deceived by Satan into wrestling with flesh and blood, or into blaming, or anger. 1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you, which cometh upon you to prove you … The problem is that we see it as strange; we think that there is something not quite right about suffering but we need to change our mind. We need to have the mind that is in Christ and we need to expect that we’re going to suffer for the name of Christ so that His name, His nature, can be manifested in us to prove, perfect and purify us.  

1Pe 4:12 … as though a strange thing happened unto you: 13 but insomuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory also ye may rejoice with exceeding joy. If we can manage to rejoice in the midst of suffering, it will make it a lot easier. The Bible commands us to rejoice in our suffering. Rom 5:3 … We also rejoice in our tribulations: knowing that tribulation worketh stedfastness (perseverance); 4 and stedfastness, approvedness (character); and approvedness, hope. Suffering is all about bringing about the revelation and manifestation of the glory of God in us.  

It goes on to say, 1Pe 4:14 If ye are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed [are ye]. 19 Wherefore let them also that suffer according to the will of God commit their souls in well-doing unto a faithful Creator. Why does it say “Creator”? Basically you’re like the clay in the Creator’s hands when you do this. It says “Creator” for a purpose because that’s how God creates in us the righteousness of Christ.  

You know, suffering can be wasted. In the midst of suffering or a trial, you need to commit your soul in “well-doing,” in doing what is right in the midst of that trial. The suffering is coming upon you for a reason to prove you and to bring about the righteousness of Christ in you. Don’t waste suffering because you don’t want to have to go through it again like the Israelites who had to go back through the wilderness because they didn’t pass the test. You need to make it useful by committing your soul in well-doing in the midst of it. We can’t stop the suffering but we can do what’s right in the middle of it.  

1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 whom withstand stedfast in your faith, knowing that the same sufferings are accomplished in your brethren who are in the world. The world suffers from the same things that we suffer from, but here’s the difference: 10 And the God of all grace, who called you unto his eternal glory in Christ, after that ye have suffered a little while, shall himself perfect, establish, strengthen you. God has promised that through suffering, He will perfect you.  

If you look on suffering as God’s method of perfecting you, that makes it much easier to endure the suffering and it also makes you not so willing to run away from it. The thing that we need the most is the thing that we seek to run away from or avoid the most. If you have a mind to please the Lord in the midst of suffering, if you have a mind to live Godly, first of all, you are going to suffer. 2Ti 3:12 … All that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. Those who desire to live godly are going to suffer and persecution is only one area of that suffering, but you can’t avoid it. Suffering is God’s method of deliverance and of setting us free. 

There’s all kinds of suffering because there’s all kinds of flesh that needs to be brought forth. Don’t waste the suffering that you go through on self-pity, animosity, anger and, especially, don’t waste the suffering that you go through on rebellion. The first rebellion that you have when you go through suffering is you want to run from it. Jesus didn’t do that.

When Jesus was going to the Cross, He said in (Luk 22:42)Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me. What “cup” was that? It was the “cup” of suffering. Jesus wasn’t going to take it away or run from it and, finally, He came to the revelation that it wasn’t God’s Will to take it away. So He went through it patiently. He didn’t stand up for Himself.  He stood up for the people. He stood against the Pharisees. He stood up for the truth they were trying to destroy. They defamed him to try to destroy the credibility of that truth.

1Pe 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously. That’s suffering that was not wasted. Suffering that’s wasted is if you get in the flesh in the midst of it because then it will just come around again. Jesus didn’t waste suffering; all of it was useful and that’s what we want. We want all the suffering that we’re going through and that we’re going to go through, to be useful and to have the right effect in our lives.  

You need to stop and think. Php 2:5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. When you’re suffering in the flesh, you’re ceasing from sin. 1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. You get a cleansing either way. If you’re humble enough to confess your sins, He is faithful enough to cleanse you of all unrighteousness, so have faith that you’re going to get your cleansing. You cannot waste suffering in depression and self-pity, if you’re rejoicing. You can’t do both at the same time and that’s why He commands you to rejoice in the midst of suffering. If you realize what suffering is for, then you can give thanks because it is for your perfecting.  

Even Jesus became perfect through the things that He suffered. 1Jn 3:16 Hereby know we love (agape), because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. Now this speaks of laying down our old life, which is the lusts of the flesh, anger, rebellion; this is agape love. Agape lays down the flesh life; agape is the opposite of the flesh life. 

We become perfect, which is obeying the Word and learning to agape, through suffering. Agape comes from the inner nature of the spiritual man and it is conquering the carnal man; it is giving up your life according to 1 John 3:16. Suffering brings about this agape love, which is the nature and way of God’s Kingdom. If that is God and what we are looking for is godliness, then we can’t help but be as an end result, agape.  

In fact, you’ll know that love is nothing less than obedience. “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” It’s not mushy feelings; it’s just obedience. When Paul described agape to you 1 Corinthians 13, he said that it’s more important than speaking in tongues, more important than knowledge, more important than faith. In fact, he said that if you had these things but didn’t have love, you were nothing. The end result of everything that God wants to do in you is agape1Co 13:13 But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three: and the greatest of these is love. Notice, the thing that is going to get you into God’s Kingdom is love because the King is Love.  

Paul said you can make the greatest sacrifice but if you don’t have love, there is no profit. 3 And if I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor,] and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Paul says that “love suffereth long.” How do you get longsuffering? You get longsuffering by going through a lot of suffering with people and circumstances; otherwise, you aren’t going to get it. 1Co 13:4 Love suffereth long, [and] is kind; love envieth not (because self is the opposite of agape); love vaunteth not itself (not self-centered or egotistical), is not puffed up, 5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked …  

Do you know how not to get provoked? You can get hardened to being provoked by having an opportunity over and over again to be provoked. You suffer with it so long that you give up. By this repetitive thing that comes against us, we can become hardened to our bad reaction to it. All we have to do is desire to please the Lord and see Jesus in the mirror because He exchanged His life for yours and you will overcome. It is not always overnight like you want, but eventually, if you desire to please the Lord in suffering, you will because suffering has that kind of work on you. That’s why nobody is going to escape suffering. 

I know people may still have questions about their suffering, but it is necessary, and our actions can determine how and when they end. Suffering is also for the purpose of bringing an end of sin so we can live to the Will of God. 1Pe 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ suffered in the flesh, arm ye yourselves also with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 that ye no longer should live the rest of your time in flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. Suffering “in the flesh” here is not necessarily in your body but in the carnal nature, the old man. We are partakers of Christ’s sufferings to be proven and to manifest His glory.  

12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you, which cometh upon you to prove you, as though a strange thing happened unto you: 13 but insomuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory also ye may rejoice with exceeding joy. Christ’s sufferings brought Him to obedience and perfection, and they will bring us there, also. Heb.5:8 Though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation.  

Suffering comes in order that our Creator may finish His new creation work in each of us. 1Pe 4:19 Wherefore let them also that suffer according to the will of God commit their souls in well-doing unto a faithful Creator. We must cooperate with God in this process in committing our souls to Him. We will suffer in order to be perfected, established and strengthened. 1Pe 5:10 And the God of all grace, who called you unto his eternal glory in Christ, after that ye have suffered a little while, shall himself perfect, establish, strengthen you. Notice suffering has an end.  

Walking by faith and patience in suffering will cause us to be counted worthy. Also, we need to keep in mind that this suffering is only a token of what we deserve. 2Th 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which ye endure; 5 [which is] a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God; to the end that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer.  

Scripture tells us that all of God’s true children will suffer chastening. What is chastening? Chastening is suffering evils and calamities in order to reveal sin and motivate us to serve God. It manifests the fruit of righteousness and causes us to be partakers of holiness. Suffering is necessary if we want to come into sonship. Heb 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which reasoneth with you as with sons, My son, regard not lightly the chastening of the Lord, Nor faint when thou art reproved of him; 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, And scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 It is for chastening that ye endure; God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is there whom [his] father chasteneth not?  

8 But if ye are without chastening, whereof all have been made partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened [us] as seemed good to them; but he for [our] profit, that [we] may be partakers of his holiness. 11 All chastening seemeth for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yieldeth peaceable fruit unto them that have been exercised thereby, [even the fruit] of righteousness.  

Our attitude in physical suffering should be that Jesus bore our curse on Himself and therefore we are delivered. Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 that upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus … The curse here covers all of the curse of the Law mentioned in Deuteronomy 28, which is everything detrimental that came upon man for his sins. If a person in the midst of chastening does not believe that Jesus took away the curse, he will not be delivered in many cases but, instead, suffers from an evil heart of unbelief. Our flesh goes through a suffering as we endure to the end of the trial of faith, to see the manifestation of the healing or deliverance we are believing for. Some get delivered through another’s faith – one who has responsibility for them, as with Jairus, the Centurion, the Syrophoenician woman, mom or dad, etc.)  

Heb 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God: 14 for we are become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end. 1Pe 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed. Jas.5:13 Is any among you suffering? let him pray. Is any cheerful? let him sing praise. 14 Is any among you sick? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 and the prayer of faith shall save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, it shall be forgiven him.  

Abraham and Sarah were under a curse of barrenness many years until they believed God’s promise. This faith justified, in other words, reckoned or accounted them righteous, and gave them access to grace to be delivered. Rom 4:21 … And being fully assured that what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 Wherefore also it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. 5:1 Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; 2 through whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand …  

Abraham received grace to be delivered from this Deuteronomy 28 curse because he believed. We are told that we must agree only with the Word of God when we are under judgment in order to be justified and to prevail. Rom 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be found true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy words, And mightest prevail when thou comest into judgment. “Prevail” as used here means to come through the chastening victoriously and be delivered from it.  

Let’s look at Mat 16:21-27 From that time began Jesus to show unto his disciples, that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up. Jesus was willing to suffer at the hands of these wicked men and even lose His life to do the will of the Father. We too must suffer to lose our carnal life to please the Father.

22 And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall never be unto thee. (And there's your prosperity gospel. It's something we all have to get rid of, and Peter had to get rid of it. He understood suffering before it was over. And we have to understand it too, so we can cooperate with God and thank Him in the midst of it.) 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art a stumbling-block unto me: for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things of men(Whenever anybody wants to escape the suffering of the death to self, this is where they're at.) 24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

And that is to the painful death of “self”. Self is who you were before you knew God in His fullness, self is there and dying out as Christians who walk as disciples discover. It's not a sudden thing, it's a progressive thing. You have to make choices to give up the old life and accept the new life. And of course, you've got a lot of people around you that don't like that and don't want that and become angry with you because you don't follow with them anymore. 25 For whosoever would save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it. Life here is the word, psucheĢ„ (Greek) It means soul-life, which is synonymous with self-life.  

Comparing this verse to one in Luke where Jesus is talking about us giving up our own self, you see that self is synonymous with the soulish lifeLuk 9:25 For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose or forfeit his own self?   We have to give up our old soulish self-life. It is identified as the way that we've always been and done things. That person has to die in order to take on the life of Christ. The higher life is the born again soul life of Christ. Well, the devil wants us to grow in the self-life. To gain the things that promote the self-life, to run after the things, the idols, that promote the self-life. But we must go the other way to cooperate with God in the death of self. And this is painful to the old man. And he's out to gain the whole world even after he becomes a Christian. He has to have a renewed mind to understand that he needs to crucify the self-life. 

Back to Mat 16:26 For what shall a man be profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? or what shall a man give in exchange for his life? 27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then shall he render unto every man according to his deeds. So if we don't take up our cross and follow Jesus, we cannot be his disciple as He said. And this is suffering and painful, but it is the price we pay for bearing fruit unto eternal life. The world comes against us. Sometimes we may think God has forgotten us, or he's left us in the hands of the wicked or whatever. It takes these people to put us on our cross; a crucifixion of the old self life. Of course we can have as much of the new life of Christ as we want but we must expect this suffering.

Let’s look at Act 9:10-16 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and the Lord said unto him in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go to the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one named Saul, a man of Tarsus: for behold, he prayeth; 12 and he hath seen a man named Ananias coming in, and laying his hands on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 But Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard from many of this man, how much evil he did to thy saints at Jerusalem:  

Well, as you can imagine, Ananias was fearful and questioning the Lord. He was about to put his life on the line here but he decided, the Lord knows best and He'll take care of all that and He did. He was willing to sacrifice his life in order to see the will of God done here. So he was questioning the Lord because Saul was a Pharisee of Pharisees and demanding the penalty of the Law on the Christians who had come to know Jesus. And the nature that Paul had was antichrist, although he was very religious. There are many very religious people out there that are antichrist, and they're quite willing to put you on your cross if you're devoted to the Lord and you're devoted to keeping His word even to the death of self.   

Continuing in verse 14 and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call upon thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 for I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name's sake.  (So Paul was going to suffer the same thing as Ananias.)

So here's a man that is a about to become a great man who reflects the life of Christ, but he had to give up everything. He considered it all dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, and he was willing to walk away from it all. He had prestige, he had the respect among his people. They, of course, turned on him when he turned to follow Christ and go down that road of bearing his cross, and it was painful. He went through many things. He mentioned them many times, but he was willing to do it for the great result that was coming in his life and for the sake of the elect. 

Now look here in Rom 8:12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: 13 for if ye live after the fleshye must dieTruly living after the flesh is very simply living the way you always lived to please self. Everybody who doesn't know Christ, even religious people who claim Christ, walk after the flesh. It's the natural thing to do. But Paul said it's the way of death. He's talking to brethren here when he says, but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  

When you walk after the Spirit, He will lead you to sonship. He is the Spirit of adoption. He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become a son at the last. We start out a child of God, but as we mature in our death to self, believing we have been given His life, we become sons.  Notice; he that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become a son at the last. First we are a servant who is a child. In a household there are servants but they are certainly not sons who have special privileges and authority over servants.. And that's exactly what he's talking about here in this teaching. 15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 

So it’s the Spirit that brings us to adoption, first spirit, soul and then body; the fullness, of course, is the new body. But He brings us to this adoption if we follow His Spirit, if we're led by the Spirit of God, we will manifest our sonship. In fact, we have our sonship by faith if we follow the Spirit, and that's how we're empowered by the Spirit to go and manifest sonship. 16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: (That's where you start out as children of God.) 17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ(and here's the condition) if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.  

We've talked about glorification many times and how it comes to us as we behold Jesus in the mirror and become transformed into that same image, which is a son of God2Co 3:18  But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit.   When we accept the fact that we don't live anymore and Christ lives in us, the Spirit can begin to use that Gospel faith to empower us to grow to the place of sonship. He says, “if so be you suffer with him.” We're going to be joint heirs if we suffer with Him, as Jesus already said in Matthew 16, if you lose your life, you will gain your life.  

And you can begin walking that way by faith as a baby in Christ. Every baby Christian should walk that way, denying self in order to obey the word of God. If you obey the word of God, you are bearing your cross because it is contrary to the natural life. If you use your reason that you've received from your natural parents, you'll follow the flesh and you will lose out. You have to drop your reasoning and take on the reasoning of Jesus Christ through the word of God. It doesn't make sense to your carnal man because he's contrary to God. The flesh is actually called the enemy of God. If you want this sonship that we're talking about, you're going to have to receive and be led by the Spirit of God. Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Read Acts to be filled with the Spirit the Biblical way.

Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-wardNotice: The sufferings are miniscule compared to the glory of sonship. Now I mean when we moan, we groan, we try to avoid suffering all we can and when you avoid suffering, guess what? You're avoiding the death of the old man and the resurrection life of the new man, Jesus Christ in you. You're not choosing to have more of Jesus. 

Now there is suffering that we shouldn't glorify because if God says, by whose stripes you were healed and you think, ‘No, I'm going to suffer this infirmity because it will glorify God,’ you're wrong because the Bible says by whose stripes you were healed. You're supposed to avail yourself of the healing of God and that's what gives glory to God as Jesus clearly showed. When you read all the wonderful stories of Jesus healing the sick, you glorify Him because He heals the sick. You don't glorify Him because He leaves them sick. And 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.  

22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, (The adoption of sons. Yes, we are in this process of crucifixion of our self-life. You've already got a born again spirit so you're a child of God, but the old soul life, the old mind, will and emotions has to die in order that you have the renewed mind of Christ and sonship. And he goes on to say, to wit, the redemption of our body. Now that's the full manifestation of sonship is when you get the new body. In order to get the new body, you need to have the new soul. And this new soul is the mind, the will and the emotions of Christ, and will gain you a new body.  

We've already talked about how that there are different bodies; star glory, moon glory and sun glory in the Kingdom, and we all would like to have sun glory, which is a body likened to His body. Not everybody will have that. Not everybody will have the same reward, contrary to popular opinion. 24 For in hope were we saved: but hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopeth for that which he seeth? 25 But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. We're entering into this process, and even in the midst of this process, we don't see the end of our salvation. We see the beginning of it and you know Peter called it “the end of your salvation,” and that is the full manifestation of sonship. As long as we're on this earth, we're going to come into this manifestation in spirit and in soul and, to the extent that you have manifested Christ in your soul, you will have a body accordingly. 

Now, how many things did the apostle Paul have to suffer in order to become a true representation of Christ? I mean, you can't give away something you don't have. He wasn't the great apostle in the beginning. He had to first learn these things and he learned them very quickly, and he became a great man because he did not refuse the suffering that the Lord sent his way. The suffering of the loss of self and religious life, etc. 

Let’s look at 1Co 4:9 For, I think, God hath set forth us the apostles last of all, as men doomed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, The more you look like Christ in what you do, say, walk the more the world will hate you and the more the religious world will hate you. As Jesus said, “if they hated me, they will hate you.’ Because the natural mind is so contrary to the spiritual mind and the spiritual walk, you’re a spectacle, because there are many critical people out there who've refused the way of the cross. They have become persecutors, even though they still call themselves Christians. This is the way, this is the pattern and so these people, of course, are going to criticize you. The more they go down that road, the more corrupt their mind becomes, and they begin to be competitive and to lie and to slander and to come against you. 

This is the way it happened to every apostle and Jesus Himself and to all the prophets and all of the men that were men of God, they had to go through this. And so it is with us, you become a spectacle. Your lost friends and lost family look on you critically and you become a spectacle to the world and the worldly church. Now continuing for we are made a spectacle unto the world, both to angels and men. 10 We are fools for Christ's sake, (Yes, if you're going to be a fool to them, follow Christ and count the cost, sonship is great. The suffering is nothing compared to the great glory that is to come as we've seen.) but ye are wise in Christ (Now he's correcting their worldly thinking in a very sarcastic way.); we are weak, but ye are strong; ye have glory (Well, if you have glory in the world, guess who's giving it to you?), but we have dishonor. In other words, if you're going to follow in the steps of Jesus, like the disciples, and the apostles did, you're going to have dishonor in the world and you can count on it.  

11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place; Now, he's not saying that through faith you can't receive everything you need. My God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches and glory. He's has gone through the trial and the test. And many times you will go through the test too before you receive what you need and you want. It's not that God's going to let you go without if you walk by faith.

12 and we toil, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat: Everyone who walks in the steps of Jesus is going to be defamed, just like He was, just like the prophets were, just like the apostles were. You can see who's doing the defaming and it’s their job. These are the crucifiers, these are the Judases, these are the apostates. He goes on to say, we are made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things, even until now. And so you can see that even in our day, we're following in the steps of people like Paul and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. If you don't want to suffer, you are not going to be following Christ. 

So now let’s look at 2Co 4:7-18 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, (The treasure, of course, is that born again man, who is who is in the image of Jesus Christ. It's various sizes in various people because some are given over more or less to Christ. But the outer man's decaying while the inner man is being renewed day by day. We must give Christ room by the death of the old man because you only want one person to live in you and it’s your spiritual man.

The soul which is your mind will and emotions must be given over to your spirit by the power of the Holy Spirit. That's your spiritual man.) that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves; (What can you do of yourself that is not corrupted and fallen? What we want is the power of God because we are weak to bring about righteousness, purity, good works and so on. Therefore, we must depend upon a higher power which is God to give us this gift as we walk by faith.) 

8 we are pressed on every side, yet not straitened; perplexed, yet not unto despair; (Yes, we must suffer these things and it's confusing sometimes, which is the spirit and which is the flesh and which one are we following. The confusion comes in that our soul is somewhat double minded because we're partially in, partially out, partially spiritual, partially carnal, and so it is perplexing. But if we have a desire to live for God, He knows it and He will empower us and give us faith. And He will bring it to pass. But we go through these things to make decisions. Every time you make a decision against the flesh and for the spirit, you're gaining Christ and every time you make a decision for the flesh and against the spirit, you're gaining more flesh.) 

9 pursued, yet not forsaken; smitten down, yet not destroyed; 10 always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, (Jesus went to the cross and His flesh died but His spirit man did not die. I don't care what some people say. His spirit man did not die. His flesh bore our curse and died and we also must lose our flesh.) that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body. (Well, if you have Jesus manifested in your body, what is that? Sonship; yes, and to get there, the old self life has to die. You need to make up your mind that you'll believe the promises to obey the word of God. Put your faith in the Lord constantly, because He's the one that brings it to pass by His power. In other words, as we just read the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God and not of ourselves. Self has no way to please God.)  

11 For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (The false religions deny that Christ cometh in the flesh, which is antichrist. Repentance and faith is the means to come into the image of Jesus Christ, to bear His fruit, as in the parable of the Sower, 30, 60, and 100-fold. This is what we choose to go after and it is sonship.) 12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you. 13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written, I believed, and therefore did I speak; we also believe, and therefore also we speak; (So when you believe, and you speak it, you can have what you say.)  

14 knowing that he that raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also with Jesus, and shall present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the grace, being multiplied through the many, may cause the thanksgiving to abound unto the glory of God. 16 Wherefore we faint not; (And of course, you know when we're going through this suffering, the devil's going to tell you that God's forsaken you. But the truth is God is with you. Walk by faith and see the end from the beginning.  

Remember, there's an end to every trial and it should be when you overcome it. Because once you overcome it, you don't need it, right? but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. So there's this reversal process here you see. You're losing the old man, the outer man and you're gaining the new man. The new man's coming to maturity, and the old man's passing away. And ultimately, the end of the process is there's nobody left but the new man, Who is ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ and the old man has passed away. You must cooperate with God in this process. It's a suffering of a death to self. 

17 For our light affliction(We think it's pretty terrible, but he calls it our light affliction, which is for the moment. In other words, it's not going to last very long. Don't worry God's not going to leave you in the oven. You know you're in there to burn up the wood, hay and the stubble.) which is for the moment, worketh for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; (Who is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the glory. He is the shining forth from us.) 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, (In other words, get your eyes past the problem, and on the salvation that God provided.) but at the things which are not seen (Christ in you): for the things which are seen are temporal (The flesh is temporary); but the things which are not seen (Jesus in you) are eternal. 

Let’s go back to the apostle Paul again and look at some of the things he suffered, because there are many who say we cannot expect God to always deliver or heal us because of the example of Paul’s thorn in the flesh. 2Co 12:7 And by reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger (Greek: angelosof Satan to buffet me, that I should not be exalted overmuch(To humble) 8 Concerning this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it (the angel) might depart from me. 9 And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for [my] power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  

10 Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses (KJV: Falsely translated “infirmities”), in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. Notice the four places I have underlined. In both the Received Text and in the ancient manuscripts, these are the same Greek word. The KJV translated only the third word “infirmities,” leading people to believe falsely that Paul had a sickness that God would not heal.  

The same Greek word is used in the following verse: 2Co 13:4 For he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth through the power of God. The KJV correctly translated this “weakness” because, of course, Jesus was not crucified through infirmities. We can also find the same Greek word here: 1Co 1:25 … The weakness of God is stronger than men. Since no one can say God is sick, we know this translation is correct.  

We do not have to guess what these buffetings are because they are listed in the previous chapter and we can read them. 2Co 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I more; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty [stripes] save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep;  

26 [in] journeyings often, [in] perils of rivers, [in] perils of robbers, [in] perils from [my] countrymen, [in] perils from the Gentiles, [in] perils in the city, [in] perils in the wilderness, [in] perils in the sea, [in] perils among false brethren; 27 [in] labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Besides those things that are without, there is that which presseth upon me daily, anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is caused to stumble, and I burn not? 30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things that concern my weakness (KJV: “infirmities”).  

You will notice that not once in his list of weaknesses did he list a sickness! Although the words “weak” or “weakness” are all the same Greek word in all the manuscripts, the KJV translates only the last word “infirmities.” Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was an angel of Satan that “buffeted” him, meaning “to hit with many blows,” not just one blow, such as a sickness that would not depart. Four times in the Old Testament there are references to thorns in the flesh (Numbers 33:55; Joshua 23:13; Judges 2:3; Ezekiel 28:24) and not one of them refers to a sickness.  

Was God saying that He would not deliver Paul from these places of weakness? No! 2Co 12:8 Concerning this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. “It” here was the demon that brought the buffetings. Paul said God delivered him out of all these places of weakness where he could not help himself. God’s power was made perfect in Paul’s weakness and He will be in ours! 2Ti 4:17 But the Lord stood by me, and strengthened me; that through me the message might be fully proclaimed, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18 The Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will save me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] the glory forever and ever. Amen.  

As soon as God delivered Paul out of one trial, the demon brought another. Let’s let God be found true, but every man a liar (Rom 3:4). Psa 34:4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me, And delivered me from all my fears. 6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles. 17 [The righteous] cried, and the Lord heard, And delivered them out of all their troubles. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous; But the Lord delivereth him out of them all.  

The Lord may not keep you from tribulation but He certainly will save, heal and deliver you from it, if you walk by faith. In fact, this is His method for maturing our faith. Am I saying God cannot use sickness to chasten and bring trials? Absolutely not, but God already guarantees your healing if you believe 1Pe 2:24  who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed..  If your sins were taken away and Ye were healed then you are healed. Let God be true and every man a liar. The Father sent the curse to motivate us to repentance and He sent the Savior to bring deliverance from the curse, but only to those who believe. Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth … 

Here is a good example of what is happening in these days to bring people to repentance. An angel appeared to Dumitru Duduman (“Three Scrolls” – 7/01/94) and “took out a scroll which he began to unroll very quickly. It was so long that I could not see its end. On this first scroll of paper were written all kinds of names. Beside each name was listed their punishment – a type of disease (all kinds were listed), trial or torment. He said, ‘Those named will have to go through what is listed by their name in order to be cleansed and be able to stand.’”  

In the second century, before much of the gifts of the Spirit gave way to ceremony and traditions of men, there lived a prophet named Hermas. His writings were famous among early Church fathers who still believed in prophecy. Many considered his writings a part of the Scriptures. Though I do not hold them on that level of inspiration, I do consider them the finest of the gift. Consider Hermas’ revelation on chastening.  

Excerpts from The Shepherd of Hermas.  

Similitude Sixth  

Of the Two Classes of Voluptuous Men, and of Their Death, Falling Away, and the Duration of Their Punishment.  

Chapter I  

Sitting in my house, and glorifying the Lord for all that I had seen, and reflecting on the commandments, that they are excellent, and powerful, and glorious, and able to save a man’s soul, I said within myself, “I shall be blessed if I walk in these commandments, and every one who walks in them will be blessed.” While I was saying these words to myself, I suddenly see him sitting beside me, and hear him thus speak: “Why are you in doubt about the commandments which I gave you? They are excellent: have no doubt about them at all, but put on faith in the Lord, and you will walk in them, for I will strengthen you in them. These commandments are beneficial to those who intend to repent: for if they do not walk in them, their repentance is in vain. You, therefore, who repent, cast away the wickedness of this world which wears you out; and by putting on all the virtues of a holy life, you will be able to keep these commandments, and will no longer add to the number of your sins.  

Walk, therefore, in these commandments of mine, and you will live unto God. All these things have been spoken to you by me.” And after he had uttered these words, he said to me, “Let us go into the fields, and I will show you the shepherds of the flocks.” “Let us go, sir,” I replied. And we came to a certain plain, and he showed me a young man, a shepherd, clothed in a suit of garments of a yellow colour: and he was herding very many sheep, and these sheep were feeding luxuriously (Editor’s note: that which we cannot afford to do because of the high cost to our soul), as it were, and riotously, and merrily skipping hither and thither. The shepherd himself was merry, because of his flock; and the appearance of the shepherd was joyous, and he was running about amongst his flock. [And other sheep I saw rioting and luxuriating in one place, but not, however, leaping about.]  

Chapter II  

And he said to me, “Do you see this shepherd?” “I see him, sir,” I said. “This,” he answered, “is the angel of luxury and deceit: he wears out the souls of the servants of God, and perverts them from the truth, deceiving them with wicked desires, through which they will perish; for they forget the commandments of the living God, and walk in deceits and empty luxuries; and they are ruined by the angel, some being brought to death, others to corruption.” I said to him, “Sir, I do not know the meaning of these words, ‘to death,’ and ‘to corruption.’” “Listen,” he said. “The sheep which you saw merry and leaping about, are those which have torn themselves away from God forever, and have delivered themselves over to luxuries and deceits [of this world.  

Among them there is no return to life through repentance, because they have added to their other sins, and blasphemed the name of the Lord. Such men therefore, are appointed unto death. And the sheep which you saw not leaping, but feeding in one place, are they who have delivered themselves over to luxury and deceit], but have committed no blasphemy against the Lord. These have been perverted from the truth: among them there is the hope of repentance, by which it is possible to live. Corruption, then, has a hope of a kind of renewal, but death has everlasting ruin.” Again I went forward a little way, and he showed me a tall shepherd, somewhat savage in his appearance, clothed in a white goatskin, and having a wallet on his shoulders, and a very hard staff with branches, and a large whip.  

And he had a very sour look, so that I was afraid of him, so forbidding was his aspect. This shepherd, accordingly, was receiving the sheep from the young shepherd, those, viz., that were rioting and luxuriating, but not leaping; and he cast them into a precipitous place, full of thistles and thorns, so that it was impossible to extricate the sheep from the thorns and thistles; but they were completely entangled amongst them. These, accordingly, thus entangled, pastured amongst the thorns and thistles, and were exceedingly miserable, being beaten by him; and he drove them hither and thither, and gave them no rest; and, altogether, these sheep were in a wretched plight.  

Chapter III  

Seeing them, therefore, so beaten and so badly used, I was grieved for them, because they were so tormented, and had no rest at all. And I said to the Shepherd who talked with me, “Sir, who is this shepherd, who is so pitiless and severe, and so completely devoid of compassion for these sheep?” “This,” he replied, “is the angel of punishment; and he belongs to the just angels, and is appointed to punish. He accordingly takes those who wander away from God, and who have walked in the desires and deceits of this world, and chastises them as they deserve with terrible and diverse punishments.” “I would know, sir,” I said, “Of what nature are these diverse tortures and punishments?” “Hear,” he said, “the various tortures and punishments. The tortures are such as occur during life.  

For some are punished with losses, others with want, others with sicknesses of various kinds, and others with all kinds of disorder and confusion; others are insulted by unworthy persons, and exposed to suffering in many other ways: for many, becoming unstable in their plans, try many things, and none of them at all succeed, and they say they are not prosperous in their undertakings; and it does not occur to their minds that they have done evil deeds, but they blame the Lord. When, therefore, they have been afflicted with all kinds of affliction, then are they delivered unto me for good training, and they are made strong in the faith of the Lord; and for the rest of the days of their life they are subject to the Lord with pure hearts, and are successful in all their undertakings, obtaining from the Lord everything they ask; and then they glorify the Lord, that they were delivered to me, and no longer suffer any evil.”  

Chapter IV  

I said to him, “Sir, explain this also to me.” “What is it you ask?” he said. “Whether, sir,” I continued, “they who indulge in luxury, and who are deceived, are tortured for the same period of time that they have indulged in luxury and deceit?” He said to me, “They are tortured for the same time” (Editor’s note: compare Revelation 18:7). [“They are tormented much less, sir,” I replied;] “for those who are so luxurious and who forget God ought to be tortured seven-fold.” He said to me, “You are foolish, and do not understand the power of torment.” “Why, sir,” I said, “if I had understood it, I would not have asked you to show me.” “Hear,” he said, “the power of both. The time of luxury and deceit is one hour; but the hour of torment is equivalent to thirty days. If, accordingly, a man indulge in luxury for one day, and be deceived and be tortured for one day, the day of his torture is equivalent to a whole year. For all the days of luxury, therefore, there are as many years of torture to be undergone. You see, then,” he continued, “that the time of luxury and deceit is very short, but that of punishment and torture long.”  

Chapter V  

“Still,” I said, “I do not quite understand about the time of deceit, and luxury, and torture; explain it to me more clearly.” He answered, and said to me, “Your folly is persistent; and you do not wish to purify your heart, and serve God. Have a care,” he added, “lest the time be fulfilled, and you be found foolish. Hear now,” he added, “as you desire, that you may understand these things. He who indulges in luxury, and is deceived for one day, and who does what he wishes, is clothed with much foolishness, and does not understand the act which he does until the morrow; for he forgets what he did the day before.  

For luxury and deceit have no memories, on account of the folly with which they are clothed; but when punishment and torture cleave to a man for one day, he is punished and tortured for a year; for punishment and torture have powerful memories. While tortured and punished, therefore, for a whole year, he remembers at last his luxury and deceit, and knows that on their account he suffers evil. Every man, therefore, who is luxurious and deceived is thus tormented, because, although having life, they have given themselves over to death.” “What kinds of luxury, sir,” I asked, “are hurtful?”  

“Every act of a man which he performs with pleasure,” he replied, “is an act of luxury; for the sharp-tempered man, when gratifying his tendency, indulges in luxury; and the adulterer, and the drunkard, and the back-biter, and the liar, and the covetous man, and the thief, and he who does things like these, gratifies his peculiar propensity, and in so doing indulges in luxury. All these acts of luxury are hurtful to the servants of God. On account of these deceits, therefore, do they suffer, who are punished and tortured. And there are also acts of luxury which save men; for many who do good indulge in luxury, being carried away by their own pleasure: this luxury, however, is beneficial to the servants of God, and gains life for such a man; but the injurious acts of luxury before enumerated bring tortures and punishment upon them; and if they continue in them and do not repent, they bring death upon themselves.” 

Similitude Seventh  

They Who Repent Must Bring Forth Fruits Worthy of Repentance.  

After a few days I saw him in the same plain where I had also seen the shepherds; and he said to me, “What do you wish with me?” I said to him, “Sir, that you would order the shepherd who punishes to depart out of my house, because he afflicts me exceedingly.” “It is necessary,” he replied, “that you be afflicted; for thus,” he continued, “did the glorious angel command concerning you, as he wishes you to be tried.” “What have I done which is so bad, sir,” I replied, “that I should be delivered over to this angel?” “Listen,” he said: “Your sins are many, but not so great as to require that you be delivered over to this angel; but your household has committed great iniquities and sins, and the glorious angel has been incensed at them on account of their deeds; and for this reason he commanded you to be afflicted for a certain time, that they also might repent, and purify themselves from every desire of this world.  

When, therefore, they repent and are purified, then the angel of punishment will depart.” I said to him, “Sir, if they have done such things as to incense the glorious angel against them, yet what have I done?” He replied, “They cannot be afflicted at all, unless you, the head of the house, be afflicted: for when you are afflicted, of necessity they also suffer affliction; but if you are in comfort, they can feel no affliction.” “Well, sir,” I said, “they have repented with their whole heart.” “I know, too,” he answered, “that they have repented with their whole heart: do you think, however, that the sins of those who repent are immediately forgiven? Not altogether, but he who repents must torture his own soul (Editor’s note: compare 1 Corinthians 9:27), and be exceedingly humble in all his conduct, and be afflicted with many kinds of affliction; and if he endure the afflictions that come upon him,  

He who created all things, and endued them with power, will assuredly have compassion, and will heal him; and this will He do when He sees the heart of every penitent pure from every evil thing: and it is profitable for you and for your house to suffer affliction now. But why should I say much to you? You must be afflicted, as that angel of the Lord commanded who delivered you to me. And for this give thanks to the Lord, because He has deemed you worthy of showing you beforehand this affliction, that, knowing it before it comes, you may be able to bear it with courage.” I said to him, “Sir, be thou with me, and I will be able to bear all affliction.” “I will be with you,” he said, “and I will ask the angel of punishment to afflict you more lightly; nevertheless, you will be afflicted for a little time, and again you will be re-established in your house. Only continue humble, and serve the Lord in all purity of heart, you and your children, and your house, and walk in my commands which I enjoin upon you, and your repentance will be deep and pure; and if you observe these things with your household, every affliction will depart from you. And affliction,” he added, “will depart from all who walk in these my commandments.” 

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