All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.

March 9, 2012



WHY

CHRISTIANS

SUFFER

Mini-book

Part 1



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HANDS FOR JESUS

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2012 by Merle E. Koepke

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Introduction



Most Christians have not been taught the reason that Christians suffer in so many areas of their lives. Wherever we go we find Christians suffering from all sorts of conditions. Some Christians live in poverty. Some Christians have infirmities in their body. Some have mental problems. Some Christians suffer from sickness and disease. Why is it that way among Christians?

In Hosea 4:6 it says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge..." In this part of verse six is the answer to why Christians suffer.

For the most part, most Christians do not know what the Word of God says concerning Christians. Some Christians know that they are born again from above and they are not of this world. But they still live like the world.

In John 3:6 it says, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." In John 17:16 Jesus said, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." Therefore, some Christians know these things, but they are still living like those of this world who are not born again. They still suffer the same as those of this world who are not born again.

Many born again Christians do not know the difference between people who are truly born again and people who are not truly born again. When a Christian is truly born again they are born again of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God In 1 Peter 1:23, it says, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." When a Christian is born again of the Word of God, they should continue to grow and mature into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ.

Christians must mature into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. A Seed must reproduce after its own image and likeness. Jesus Christ is God with the Father and the Holy Spirit. God is love (1 John 4:8).

The image of Jesus Christ is love. Therefore, because that God is love, Christians must also walk in love.

The likeness of Jesus Christ is that Jesus lived by faith in God. Therefore, Christians must mature into the likeness of Jesus and live by faith in God.

In John 1:4, speaking of Jesus, it says, "In him was life; and the life was the light of men." Christians are born again "of the Word of God," into the Spirit of Christ Jesus. In Christ Jesus there is eternal life.

In John 5:24, Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." When Christians are born again, they pass from eternal death unto eternal life.

Because that Christians have passed from eternal death unto eternal life, in Romans 8:9 it says, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

When a Christian is born again, their soul is translated from the flesh of Adam into the Spirit of Christ. In Colossians 1:12,13, it says, "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light...Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." In 2 Corinthians 5:17, it says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

This was prophesied in Ezekiel 36:26, saying, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." When a person is born again, they receive "a new heart and a new spirit."

Christians still have a natural body, but they also have a spiritual body in Christ Jesus. Speaking of what body Christians go to be with the LORD in, it says, in 1 Corinthians 15:44, "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." Therefore, in 1 Corinthians 15:21,22, it says, "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead...For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

This does not mean "Once saved, always saved" as some teach. Saved and born again are not the same thing. See Acts 2:47, where it says, "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." These were added to the Church, which is the LORD's body by the new birth. They still needed to be saved.

In 1 Corinthians 15:22, where it says, "...even so in Christ shall all be made alive," it does not mean that everyone who is truly born again will enter heaven when they leave this earth. See Revelation 3:5, 22:18,19. Also see Mark 3:29, Heb. 4:4-6, 10:26-29. Christians must remain "in Christ" to inherit eternal life in heaven when they die here on earth.

Death came into the natural body of man through Adam. Therefore, the natural body will die and return to dust. But, for those who "are still in Christ," when their natural body dies, they will continue to live in their spiritual body in Christ.

Eternal death passed away when they become born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when those who remain in Christ until they leave their natural body of flesh and bones, they will go to be with the LORD in their spiritual body.

All eternal life "lives by the Word of God." The natural body lives by natural foods. The spiritual body lives by the Word of God. It was the Word of God that created all things in the beginning. God lives by His Word. Therefore, Christians must also live by the Word of God.

After Jesus was baptized in the Holy Spirit, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. In the wilderness the Devil came to Jesus to tempt Him. In Matthew 4:2-4, it says, "And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred...And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread...But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." What Jesus said to the Devil is very important for Christians to understand. Jesus was saying, "the natural man does live by bread alone, but those who are born of the Spirit live by the Word of God."

The Word of God created all things. Therefore, the Word of God has power over natural things. When Jesus made that statement to the Devil, the Devil changed the subject, for the Devil knows that those who are born of the Word of God and the Spirit, live in the spirit by the Word of God, not by natural food alone.

Christians need to understand that, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Being that Christians are born again of the Word of God, they need to continue to live by the Word of God.

Living by the Word of God



How do Christians live by the Word of God? The way to live by the Word of God is to be continually speaking and hearing the Word of God daily. It is the hearing of the Word of God and speaking the Word of God that brings eternal life, and continues to sustain our eternal life here on earth. We are born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we need the Word of God daily to maintain our daily lives.

God teaches us by His Spirit and His Word. When we understand the importance of the Word of God, we will understand how we must continue to live in the Spirit.

In Joshua 1:8, the LORD said to Joshua, "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."

Where it says in Joshua 1:8, "...shall not depart out of thy mouth..." it means, it should not stop coming out of our mouth. The Word of God should be coming out of our mouth daily, day and night. When it says, "...thou shalt meditate therein day and night..." the word "meditate" in the Hebrew means "murmur,"or "speak softly." That is to say, not to disturb others, but keep speaking the Word day and night.

This is what Christians should be doing day and night. They should be speaking the Word of God out of their mouth daily. When we cannot be speaking the Word, we could be hearing the Word that has been spoken by someone. Therefore, we can be listening to the Word of God by other means.

Today, there are many different means of hearing the Word of God. There are recordings of the whole Bible, and New Testament only, that can be listened to on CD's, MP3's, DVD's, or mini-MP3 players, just to mention a few. These can be listened to with ear phones, or by other means. These can be playing day and night, wherever we are.

Speaking the Word of God from our own mouth is the most effective way. But, hearing the spoken Word also helps when we cannot be speaking it ourselves. Our instructions from the Word of God are that we are to be continually "speaking the Word of God out of our mouth."

As we speak the Word of God out of our own mouth, we will also hear what we are saying with our own ears. It is the "speaking and the hearing" that gets the Word of God down into our heart, where God can cause it to prosper us in whatsoever we do. No matter what the need is, God can supply it by the Word of God coming out of our mouth.

In order for the Word of God to come out of our mouth, we must get the Word of God into our heart and mind. Therefore, by hearing the Word of God daily, day and night it will get into our mind and into our heart. Then, when the Word of God is in our mind and in our heart, we can speak it out of our mouth. When we speak the Word of God while believing in our heart, it will do whatsoever we say.

In Mark 11:22-24, Jesus said, "Have faith in God...For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith...Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."

In Mark 11:23, Jesus mentioned speaking, or saying, three times. It is important that we speak with our mouth those things which we desire. Mark 11:22-24, is only one example of how the Word of God works in the lives of Christians. The more Christians speak the Word of God, believing in their heart, the more they will receive.

Prosperity comes by renewing our mind by speaking the Word of God daily. As our soul prospers, we will be in good health (3 John 1:2).

How the Devil Steals the Word



Jesus explained the parable of "the Seed and the Sower" in Mark 4:14-20, saying, "The sower soweth the word...And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts...And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness...And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended...And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word...And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful...And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred."

The first thing Jesus said was that the sower sows the Seed. The sower could be Jesus, for in Matthew 13:37 Jesus said, "He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man." Yet, the Holy Spirit can also be the sower, for it says in Romans 5:5, "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

In Mark 4:14,15 it indicates that, "the Seed is the Word of God." Once the Word of God is sown in a Christians heart, Jesus said that, "Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts." If Satan can steal the Word of God out of the heart of a Christian, they will not have any power to speak the Word. For the speaking must be done along with believing in their heart, that the Word will deliver them in time of need.

Once the Word is taken out of the heart of a Christian, they are helpless when it comes to living by the Word of God.

If Satan cannot stop Christians in the first try, then Jesus said of some, "...when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness..." Then Jesus said, they "...endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended..."

These are the first two things that Satan will try to do when Christians receive the Word of God in their hearts. Satan does not stop if he fails in the first two attempts to get the Word away from Christians.

Of those who do endure the first two trials of Satan, Jesus said then, Satan uses "the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful." If Christians are unfruitful in speaking the Word, they will be defeated. They become unfruitful in speaking the Word because of the cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches, and lusts of other things.

If Christians do not continue to speak the Word of God from their heart they will not reap the return of "...some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred." Our reaping the hundredfold depends upon our continuing to speak the Word of God from our heart day and night.

Sometimes, God uses the Holy Spirit to sow the Word of God into our hearts. That is why it talks about being born again of the Spirit and the Word. The Holy Spirit caused Mary to become pregnant so that Jesus could be born in the flesh of man. Now the Holy Spirit causes the Seed, which is the Word of God to bring about a new birth in Christians.

By the Holy Spirit sowing the Word of God in our heart we become born again of the Spirit (John 3:6). The Word of God is the Seed of the New Birth. In 1 Peter it says, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."

Therefore, the Word of God "which is the Seed of the New Birth," is sown in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. When we receive the Word of God, we become born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. That is when Satan comes to steal the Word of God out of our heart (Mark 4:15).

It is very important that Christians have fellowship with other Christians that understand the need to keep the Word of God coming out of their mouth day and night. Those who do not continue to keep the Word of God coming out of their mouth day and night, are easily deceived by Satan when he comes to steal the Word out of their heart.

It is very important that Christians stay in fellowship with other Christians that know the importance of keeping the Word of God coming out of their mouth day and night, so that they can mature and overcome Satan as he continues to come against them "...when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake..."

Christians must overcome Satan when he brings "affliction or persecution" We need to be in fellowship with other Christians, who can help in times of need.

We need to understand that Satan will continue to come against us, using everything he has to stop us from speaking the Word of God day and night. If afflictions and persecutions fail, then Satan will use "the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things." to choke the Word, so that it no longer comes out of our mouth day and night.

Mark 4:14-20 is only one example of how that Satan comes against Christians to defeat them. We must not be ignorant of Satan's devices. Satan works by thoughts that he puts in the minds of Christians. We must overcome the thoughts that Satan puts in our minds, by speaking the Word of God out of our mouth day and night.

As long as we are in this world, Satan will continue to try to steal the Word of God away from us. We should not let the Word of God stop coming out of our mouth to defeat the Devil every time He comes against us.

How to Over Come



Jesus said to the Churches in Revelation, Chapters Two and Three, "To him that overcometh..." It is important that Christians need to do all they can to overcome the works of the Devil. In Matthew 24:11-14, Jesus gave us a warning of things to come, saying, "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many...And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold...But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved...And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."

In Matthew 24:13, Jesus said, "...he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." We are expected to overcome and endure until the end. How are we to overcome and endure to the end?

One of the first things we need to understand is that we cannot overcome by our own power. We cannot overcome by any of the works of the flesh. We need to understand that our overcoming is by the work of God the Holy Spirit in our lives.

For the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, we must do what we are told to do in the New Testament. It all begins with the New Birth into the body of Christ. When we are born again, we receive "a new heart and a new spirit" (Ezek. 11:19, 36:26). We are translated from the flesh of Adam into the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9; Col. 1:13).

In the New birth we also receive the "fruit of the Spirit" mentioned in Galatians 5:22,23. The first of the fruit of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22 is "Love (agape)." This is the Love of God, which is shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5).

Therefore, Jesus gave Christians two new commandments in place of the Old Commandments given to the Children of Israel in the Law of Moses. In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind...This is the first and great commandment...And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself...On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." When Christians understand the importance of these two commandments, they can overcome all the works of the enemy by obeying these two commandments.

Christians need to understand what the Scriptures are talking about when they talk of the love of God. One of the most important things about the love of God is that God forgives and forgets when Christians repent and confess their sins. In 1 John 1:9 it says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." We must first "repent" which means "stop doing what we were doing and turn away from all unrighteousness.

Therefore, once we repent and confess our sins, God forgives and forgets that sin. We must walk in the image and likeness of God and do the same for others. Jesus said, Mark 11:25, "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses...But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."

Speaking of the love of God, in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 it says "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up...does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil...does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth...bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things...Love never fails" (NKJV).

Therefore, "Love suffers long and is kind..." not only to those who love us. But, to everyone, even to our enemies. Jesus said in Matthew 5:44, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Then in Matthew 5:46, Jesus said, "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?"

"Love does not envy." In James 3:16, it says, "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." Whenever there is confusion, there is a work of the Devil. We must come against all works of the Devil in our lives.

"Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up." Love does not think itself as better than another. Love does not raise oneself up above others.

"Love does not behave rudely." Love does not act rude to others, but respects and appreciates others.

"Love does not seek its own." Love prefers others before itself. Love is more interested in helping others than seeking its own desires.

"Love is not provoked." No matter what others have, love rejoices with others. Love does not let what others have provoke itself to desire what others have.

"Love thinks no evil." All evil is from the Devil. The Love of God does not even think like the Devil thinks. Love has no thoughts of evil.

"Love does not rejoice in iniquity." Iniquities are works of the Devil. Love never rejoices in what the Devil does.

"Love rejoices in the truth." The Truth is from God. Love rejoices in the things that are of God.

Love bears all things." No matter what happens, Love continues under all things. Nothing is greater than the Love of God, therefore, Love bears all things.

"Love believes all things." Whatsoever is of God, Love believes. Faith operates by love, therefore Love believes all things that are of God.

"Love hopes all things." Where there is the love of God there is always hope. Hope believes. Believing brings faith.

"Love endures all things." Love is of God, and God endures all things. Even when Christians go astray, God endures with them to bring them back.

"Love never fails." Love cannot fail, for God is Love and God cannot fail.

In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, is a partial list to give us an idea of what the love of God is. This is the same love that is given to Christians as a fruit of the Spirit. When we walk in love, we can follow the guidelines of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. These will help us to understand God and the Love of God which is "shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost..." (Rom. 5:5).

There are two things of importance in the lives of Christians. The first thing is that we walk in love. The second things is that we walk after the Spirit. When we walk in love, we will not disobey any of the commandments given to us. When we walk in the Spirit, we have power over sin and death.

Why is it that way? We are told in Romans 1:17, Gal. 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38 that "the just shall live by faith." Then in Galatians 5:6 it tells us that "faith works by love." In 1 John 5:4, it says, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." Being that faith works by love, and we overcome the world by our faith, then walking in love will overcome the world.

The second thing is walking after the Spirit. In Romans 8:1-4 it says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit...For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death...For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh...That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

The Law of Moses could not justify anyone. It says in Acts 13:38,39, "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins...And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."

Therefore, if we walk in love and walk after the Spirit, "...the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2). Our victory to overcome sin and death is in walking in love, and walking after the Spirit.

Therefore, if we walk in love and are led by the Holy Spirit while speaking the Word of God day and night, we will have victory and we will overcome the world. When we understand the importance of speaking the Word of God day and night we will know how to overcome the enemy in every situation we face in life.

When Jesus spoke the Word of God to the Devil in Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13 the Devil left Jesus. When we continually speak the Word of God day and night, the Devil will leave us also.

The Devil is defeated by the spoken Word of God. The Word of God has power over all the works of the Devil. Satan has no power over the Word of God.

Christians have all power over the Devil when they speak the Word of God from their heart, believing beyond all doubt that what God said cannot be changed. The Word of God will stand forever (1 Peter 1:25).

In Matthew 12:37, Jesus said, "For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." When we speak the Word of God, we will be justified and not condemned.

We will not be condemned for speaking the Word of God. For it is God's plan for those who are in Christ. God will not condemn anyone for doing what He told us in His Word.

When we speak the Word of God only, we will have the greatest faith that man can have (Matt. 8:8-10). Speaking the Word of God in love, will cause the anointing of the Holy Spirit to manifest in our lives.

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