Is suffering for the sake of Christ worth it?
By: The John Ankerberg Show
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|How will Christ examine the good and bad deeds of our life? What are the works that God prepared in advance for us to do? Will some Christians be honored more than others?
Copyright: 2000, Number of Programs: 4, Cat. No. LEM
Keywords: Eternal Security, Eternity, Eternal rewards, Suffering, John 1:12,
- Ankerberg: But it’s not just pastors who suffer on behalf of Christ. Lay people can also experience suffering. I remember the first time we did a series of programs on the beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I asked four ex-JW’s to come on television and talk about the evidence God used to bring them out of the Kingdom Hall. Well, as you know, in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and other cities there are high-rise buildings and condominiums. Each has a guard at the door as you enter. If you want to get in and talk to people about Christ, you can’t get by the guard. But through the magic of television, our program can go right into those apartments and condominiums. One night a man and his wife were getting ready for bed. She was listening to our program and said to her husband, “Hey, Harry, come on in here. John Ankerberg is going to have the Jehovah’s Witnesses on tonight.”
- Why was that important to them? It was because they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. Now, if you’re a JW, you know you should never get caught reading Christian books or literature. If you are caught, or you’re seen attending a Christian Bible study or a Christian church, you risk being excommunicated from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, what they call being “disfellowshipped.”
- To be disfellowshipped is first, to be cut off from the people in your Kingdom Hall. But in addition, if your Kingdom Hall brings you up on heresy charges and you’re found guilty, then the leaders in the Kingdom Hall could instruct your partner, your husband or your wife, to divorce you. You can be cut off from your mate and your children. That has happened to many Jehovah’s Witnesses who have come to the Lord through the years. In fact, almost every ex-Jehovah’s Witness we have had on our television program as a guest has experienced disfellowshipping and been cut off from family or relatives.
- I remember when we had Joan Cetnar on our program. Joan was a Jehovah’s Witness who worked at the Watchtower Headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. When she became a Christian, she was cut off from her inheritance which could have made her a millionaire. She now lives in the same town where her mom and dad reside. When she goes into a store and sees them, she will wave and say hello. But they will never wave or say hello back. They have cut her off because she believed in Jesus. Joan shares in the sufferings of Christ. Jesus Himself said, “A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”
- Believing on Christ and following Him can be costly, but again, God promises to reward many times over those who have made such a sacrifice. Jesus said, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Still, while we live here on earth, we suffer. We share in Christ’s sufferings. Jesus knows what we are feeling. “He came unto his own and his own received him not.” [John 1:12] In the last few weeks I have heard testimonies from Muslim young people who have invited Christ to come into their lives. When they went home and shared that news with their parents, they were asked to leave and disowned. Some of their friends heard of their conversion and tried to kill them.
- Is such suffering worth it? At the judgment seat of Christ, our Lord promises such people will be rewarded a hundred times more than anything they have given up and their rewards and honors will last for all eternity.