Vol.IV No.VI Pg.5
July 1967

Poor Mistreated You!!

Robert F. Turner

Paul wrote fourteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. It is a marvelous tribute to his character that one may read these books and not think of Paul as a sour, disgruntled, self-pitying man; for his life as a Christian was one long string of persecutions and heart-aches.

He was baptized in Damascus; and shortly thereafter, had to be let down the wall in a basket to escape would-be murders. (2 Cor. 11:32) Coming to Jerusalem; disciples feared and refused him. Finally accepted, he preached -- until he had to flee for his life. (Acts 9:22-30) From Tarsus he came to Antioch -- to become soon embroiled in dissension and disputation with false brethren. (Acts 15:1)

Journeying to foreign lands to preach the gospel, he was stoned and dragged from the city as dead; (Acts 14:19) and this was but one incident in a lifetime of persecutions, beatings, imprisonment's, scorn and trial. (2 Cor. 1:8-9 6:4-5) "But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead."

I know brethren today who, being falsely accused of something, or have their work, word or motive questioned; want to fight back carnally or else withdraw into their corner to nurse their supposed great wounds. Paul would never have "gotten to first base" had he followed such a course. He wrote, "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Tim. 3:10-12) When a man decides to preach the pure gospel of Christ, he decides to endure hardship.

Seems to me he ought to know that, if he knows much about the work of the preacher as outlined in the Bible. It seems equally clear that any Christian who goes into the Christian life with eyes wide open, counts a like cost, and accepts it openly. ("all that will live godly." See Lu.14:26-) I CAN'T SEE THAT ANY OF US HAVE ANY LEGITIMATE "KICK A-COMING."

Many assign Paul's troubles to the pagans, and the "wicked world" of his times. But Paul names "perils among false brethren" and "the care of all the churches" among his burdens. It is significant to me that he "brought trouble upon himself" because of his great, unselfish concern for the spiritual welfare of others. (2 Cor.11:23 -f. 7:5-6) Yet he had to say, "The more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved." (2 Cor. 12:15) This too, is a role all workers for Christ must willingly accept.

Brethren falsely accused him, said he was "crazy." (2 Cor.5:12-13 11:16) "His letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible." (2 Cor. 10:10) Brother, can you take it?? Sister, will you endure??

I can name you dozens of brethren who have compromised their convictions, quit preaching, ceased to oppose known errors, or quit the Lord altogether, because of some slight persecution. Someone laughed at them, or made a slighting remark, or failed to pay them proper respect. "If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf." (1 Pet. 4:16)