The Fellowship of HIS Sufferings

Rejection of ChristI know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would that you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white clothing, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness does not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will eat with him, and he with me. To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches. After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up here, and I will show you things which must be hereafter. (Revelation 3:15 to 4:1 KJ2000)

I have been through many sufferings and rejections through the years at the hands of well meaning but ignorant Christians in the church system. But remember, Jesus came to His own people with salvation and healing and they still rejected Him, yet He prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” As we read the scriptures we find that rejection is part of the package if we are to follow Him as our Savior and Lord. Yes, we can be rejected for being obnoxious and obstinate, but this is not what I am talking about.

Many of us have found ourselves marked for rejection by that apostate system and it often came without us knowing why! Dear saints, it is in our DNA… It is Christ IN us that they reject. We join a “church” and soon the initial welcome wears thin and we find that people start to distance themselves from us. We can never seem to get into that “inner circle” where everybody seems to be best of friends. Why? They know that we are NOT one of THEM! Even without making any waves, we may even eventually be asked to leave. Of course this is accelerated when we dare to point out that “the king (pastor, prophet, apostle, whatever the title) has no clothes” or that he is teaching things contrary to the scriptures. The kind of coldness and shunning that takes place afterwards proves that we were associated with a cult in the first place, not the ecclesia of God.

Jesus and Paul were emphatic about keeping the unity of the faith and maintaining fellowship through thick and thin. The early church leaders were never above being corrected when needed. Yet, in a system that is marked by schism (43,000 different denominations and sects) which is constantly dividing against itself, it easy for people to divide from one another at the first sign of disagreement, especially when the head wolf (“pastor”) is involved.

In all these seemingly negative experiences we go through in Christendom, we are given a chance to go beyond the hurt and bitterness and go through an open door in the heavens and obey His call to “come up here.” Jesus does not stand outside that closed door church system of Laodicea forever, begging to be let into the lives of individuals, but calls us out of it unto Himself. In this NEW relationship with HIM in heavenly places, as the One who truly loves us, we are healed. It is here that He shows us HIS heavenly perspective of what HIS kingdom is about. It is from this tearing and healing process that we are then given an opportunity to be used to comfort others who go through the same things. As Paul so rightly shared from his own experience:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 RSVA)

Remember it is in the sharing of Christ’s suffering, which we are allowed to experience, that we grow in love (Just read Isaiah ch. 53 and compare it to your life as well and you will see what I mean). This is the deepest form of fellowship, “the fellowship of HIS sufferings”(see Phil. 3:10). In the controlled atmosphere of organized religion, “fellowship” is a time when we get together, put on our plastic smiles, and share empty platitudes as we eat snacks in a special room called “the fellowship hall.” How empty compared to sharing in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings and the comfort we receive from Him as we do. Comforting another with the same comfort we have received from Him is REAL fellowship and it just keeps getting richer. No wonder that the church in the first two and a half centuries grew in leaps and bounds as it was so heavily persecuted by the Jews and the Romans. It was all in the plan of God. It was when the Emperor Constantine banished church persecution and made it the official religious body of the Roman government that the church went stagnant and almost died.

So, dear saints, today we don’t have the Romans and the Jews to persecute and reject us, but we have a church system that has gone bad to do the job. I thank the Lord for what it has become so that the REAL members of the body of Christ might shine forth in His love. God bless you all.

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21 comments on “The Fellowship of HIS Sufferings

  1. Devon says:

    Just reading your pieces Michael and reading all the comments brings me into true biblical fellowship. We don’t see each other, we are not in the same room, yet I feel a bonafide spiritual connection with everyone.
    I could not agree more with everyone concerning churchianity and all the lies, rejection, and bondage.
    Even to the place where you may be an instrument in Gods hands for a true revival then the Pentecostal pastor is consumed by jealousy and throws you out of his (note the possessiveness) church.
    Real precious. But today I’m tickled that they threw me out. If they had embraced me, that would have been to my undoing.

    Beware when men (pastors) speak well of you.

    Again, everything I am reading here is as if I wrote it all myself. Quite the connection….and as it should be.

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    • Yes, Devon, just as it should be, connected, as we are members of Christ and of one another IN Him.
      I was ticked for the treatment I got so many times. One time I stayed ticked off for about 12 year, but He kept sending be back until I cold leave with HIS attitude about the rejection, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” They don’t know what spirit they are of. I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT SPIRIT I WAS OF! Boy how I, like the Sons of Thunder, wanted to call fired down and destroy them all. In fact that passage brought me much conviction over the years since then.
      Thanks for sharing your heart with us and thanks to you all for all your open-hearted postings.

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      • Devon says:

        Right on Michael, I get the forgiveness message. Years ago a brother said I needed to forgive every mothers son who ever slam dunked me.

        I contacted everyone I could and asked them to forgive me for holding a grudge. Sad to say none were to excited by what I was saying. God set me free but I wonder about them. Hope they find their way.

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  2. Kathleen says:

    Thank you. This has been our experience also. It helps to read this and know that we are not alone.

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    • Kathleen, believe me we are not alone. We get emails and messages from all over from saints who feel cut-off and rejected because or church abuse or they find themselves in a time of spiritual wilderness and wonder why. God has put it on my heart to comfort all these I can with the same comfort that He has given me in these matters. His love truly abounds for His bride, especially when the bond woman abuses her (See Gal. 4:22-31). Remember the church system of today corresponds to Jerusalem 2000 years ago. It has gone full circle, but we are of the heavenly Jerusalem which comes down from above which is free in Christ.

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  3. Scarlett says:

    I’ve often wondered why some folks just don’t seem to “get it”, and have their eyes opened to the deception of the Nicolaitan church system. Recently it occurred to me that whenever Moses is read, there remains a veil over their eyes, so that they are still walking partially in spiritual blindness.

    ” But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart” .” 2nd 3 Cor: 14-15

    One might ask how that could be possible for evangelical Christians who aren’t messianic, or lawkeepers? But then when we consider that the tithe is of part of the Old Covenant, and it is “read” or practiced in almost every
    ‘church’ in America. might that be the cause of those who sit in pews to have a veil or covering over their eyes, so that they are not seeing clearly?

    And so….it is a bondage in a number of ways.

    “But whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” 2 Cor 3: 16-17.

    Blessings to all. I feel the spiritual connectedness here as well. It’s wonderful 🙂

    Scarlett

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    • Scarlett, I love this passage you quoted from 2 Corinthians. It so fits! Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is LIBERTY! We (corporately) become what we behold, Jesus Christ. I have come to the same conclusion you have. Like I wrote to Kathleen below, we have come full circle in 2000 years. The systematized church of today is just as blind as systematized Judaism was 2000 years ago. The Jews had a veil over their eyes because they did not walk by faith, but rather the law. The principle is the same. The church system of today is just as blind for the same reason. The only difference is that where these men could not make a law to their liking out of the writings of the New Testament, they went into the Old and brought froth those laws to put people in bondage to. It has taken a lot of tweaking, but they managed. I call it “designer Christianity.” We need to know which covenant we are of, the old one that is of Hagar, the old Jerusalem, or of the New Jerusalem which comes down from the Father of Lights… made for a NEW Creation IN Christ.

      Glad that you are on here with us, Scarlett. You are an inspiration in the things you share.
      Michael

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      • Skylla Moon says:

        Scarlett! really you are onto something here lol. Good catch! It is definitely a spiritual blindness, a veil and prohibiting revelation. Very true that. Thank you for pointing that out awesome! Wonderful fellowship here.

        Like

  4. Mark W says:

    This article has been my experience to a “T”.

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    • Mark, good to hear from you again. Yes, wandering about looking for that city whose Builder and Maker is God which has been built on the foundation of Jesus Christ alone, has its ups and downs. Every time we think we had found it, it turned out to be a counterfeit. Well, all those man-made cities are going to be shaken severly before this is over and only HIS Eternal City shall remain. May the Lord find us built upon the ROCK, Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and none other that we may withstand the storms in the days ahead. Give me a call some time, my brother.
      Michael

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  5. Pat Orr says:

    My brother, what a refreshing read. I have suffered far more from the fear of rejection, than from rejection. Actual rejection has had a real comfort with it. I am convinced (from my years of the fear of rejection) that God will not bless that.

    For years I have marveled that Peter and John in Acts 4, when rejected for doing the stuff, rejoiced and prayed for boldness. I want to be of that spirit, and not on the list of those kept out because of being a coward.

    Years ago while praying that God would show me to what church I belonged, He said, “You are in the diaspora”. Immediately I thought, the diaspora happens because of sin. But in my case it is also because of His love and mercy. As the Old testament prophets declare He pours us from vessel to vessel, and He bust the clay and makes it into a new vessel.

    While rejoicing in God’s placement, my heart still longs for placement in that city which Abraham saw by faith, whose builder and maker is God.

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    • Pat, it is always a joy to hear from you. Yes, fear has torment. Our fears are always far worse than the actual event. When they come we need to constantly be assured that we know in whom we believe and be persuaded that HE is able to keep those things we commit unto Him against the days ahead of us on this earth. Then we just live out our lives resting in Him, who is the I AM, not the I WAS or the I WILL BE. HE is always in our NOW. Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof. His grace is always one day at a time for the now.

      As for rejection, I think I was born with a big red button on my chest that said, “REJECT,” and it invited people to push it. Getting over the fear of rejection and the actual rejection of men, has been a big one in my life. For me it helped to read about Jesus, how He had to go up to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the chief priest and the elder and be REJECTED by them and then suffer and die on the cross. When God opened my eyes to where His rejection came from, it made me feel at home, knowing that I had gone through the same thing… and it was all because of Christ in me. I know you can relate.

      Yes, we are His diaspora because we are being poured out from vessel to vessel. Very good reminder, dear sister! I wrote an article a few years ago on that very thing based on this passage.

      “Moab has been at ease from his youth, and he has settled on his dregs, and has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither has he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed. Therefore, behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will send unto him wine tippers, that shall tip him over, and shall empty his vessels, and break his jars.” (Jeremiah 48:11-12 KJ2000)

      According to historians, Moab was very prosperous because they had not been subject to invasions and hardship like Israel had. They were notoriously proud because of it. I can not read the above passage without thinking about the Church of Laodicea as a model of the church in America, today. She lives in prosperity and boasts herself against Christ, leaving Him outside their closed door system and her taste is within her because she refuses to be poured out from vessel to vessel.
      But not so with those who refuse to settle for so little. We have wandered from one vessel to the next and often have been outcasts in the process, BUT it is such a relief to discover that God was in it all along, cleansing us of our dregs (lees). “Behold, the bride has made herself ready.” “The Bridegroom comes. Go therefore out to meet Him.”

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  6. Vic says:

    Is there any such thing as “The Church”. There are members in particular and each is equal and only a member of that one body. The 43.000 denominations and their pastors can not members of the Church of God with Christ as Prince and High Priest, a “Spiritual “(of the heart and mind) Body.
    Quote “ignorant christians” Are Christians of that body?
    Or are they new Laodiceans?
    Are they deceived as was Eve, looking at physical things, setting up physical buildings and human institutions.
    I can not see how they are part of the “little flock” that Christ spoke of Luke 12:32.

    Each of us is to become a King and Priest of our own salvation even as Christ was of His. Each of us is to work toward our own crown of righteousness even as Christ did and Paul did.
    We can no longer be a part of Christendom.
    The “Churches of to-day teach the same tradition of the elders that the scribes and Pharisees taught. We have to come out of these churches and their false teachings and be separate as were all the apostles and believers from the day of Pentecost.

    Until we completely separate ourselves from the churches and christianity we can not be clean from the pollutions of christianity’s false gospel.
    Vic.

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  7. Pat Orr says:

    Bro. Michael, again thank you for your encouragement. I am challenged to not reject others. I tend to judge myself inadequate to fellowship with someone – which is a way of rejecting that someone. I realize that the problem with carnal judgement is that the fruit of it is rejection. The scriptures say that Jesus practiced righteous judgment. I believe that you practice righteous judgment. The fruit of righteous judgment is good, very good. It says whosoever will may come. And in turn we cry out, “Come Lord Jesus”.

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  8. Mike Messer says:

    Well said Michael! I have learned over the years that it is an honor and privilege to identify with Christ’s sufferings. It took awhile for me to see what the organized “church” really was, after being subjected to condemnation, guilt, and shame time and again. The pressure to “measure up” was overwhelming, and the words of Jesus when He said “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light” didn’t even begin to apply to that religious environment. Praise God that we have the right and freedom to discern all things by His word of Truth. Then stand in that Truth to let the “chips fall where they may” when we are confronted with the legalistic doctrines of the “religious spirit.”

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  9. Vicky Lindsay says:

    Hello Michael, I erased your most recent post. Can you please send it to me again? I just copy and pasted this paragraph –

    Paul warned the elders of the Ephesian church that men would rise up in the church and teach all manner of lies contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ saying, “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them…

    to show my husband, who is presently enjoying Andy Stanley . He used to like his father Charles who ended up frequently talking about drinking alcohol is not for believers, so he quit him and went to his son who has the biggest church next to Joel osteen. Thanks! Good messages! Grace and peace multiplied- Vicky Lindsay

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  10. rockley says:

    A while ago I was struck by the phrase “in that he himself has suffered being tempted” in Heb 2:18. I had never seen that, for Jesus, temptation was suffering. My eyes were opened to how I have tried to handle temptation. I have tried to get out of it as soon as possible, or to try to pray it away “take this from me Lord, NOW!”, or to just try to ignore it by distraction. I’ve been trying to change my attitude about temptation to something like “help me to suffer through this Lord and learn from it what you have for me.” It put His struggle in the garden into a new light. He suffered to the point of blood the temptation to have “this cup to be taken away” Another part of the fellowship of His suffering is the fellowship of suffering temptation.

    In 1 John 1 we’re told the source of true fellowship – “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” It seems that fellowship is something that he delivers to us when we walk in the light with Him and with one another. That is pretty much the opposite of what usually happens in “fellowship halls” and pews when people “put on their Sunday best”.

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    • Rockley, thanks for sharing your insights. Yes, there is suffering going on in us as we are tempted and dare to resist temptation. It stirs up a conflict in us with the flesh pulling us to cave into the temptation and the spirit bidding us to resist. Then there is suffering that comes after we are obedient to the voice and will of the Lord. THAT one really goes against our ideas of being rewarded for doing what is right. This world system rewards those who go along with its siren song and tends to punish those who don’t. We in our human natures try to avoid suffering at all cost. Jesus said of His relationship with the disciples, “Oh you of such little faith, how long must I suffer with you?” Part of our suffering happens when God puts us in less than ideal situations with the saints of God, too. All these things are designed to purge out of us anything that resists God’s will in our lives as we take up our own crosses and follow the Son.

      Jesus was able to say, “The Prince of this world is come and has found nothing in me.” His constant temptation as the Son of Man was to do as men do… to take the easy way out, to do the thing that would please earthly flesh in Him, yet He denied Himself and only did what He saw His Father doing and only spoke the words He heard His Father saying and it got Him in a lot of trouble with the religious rulers of that day. This is why Satan could find not fertile ground in Him to plant his seeds of insurrection against the Father. He took on the form of a man and was obedient even to the death of the cross that Father had willed for Him. Yes, He suffered that night in the garden. We know that He as the Son of God could have called down legions of angles to save Him from the hands of sinful men, but He chose rather to be obedient unto death, knowing that God had a plan in it all and that it would all work together not only for the forgiveness of our sins, but that His resurrection life would be made ours as well as the sons and daughters of God.

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  11. It seems to take a season, or several seasons for us to realize that everything God allows is ultimately for our good and His glory. From the denial that this could possibly be happening in “our church” to “trying to reform it” to “thinking this is altogether really bad” just isn’t the case now is it?

    No, we are not in denial any longer about what is really happening there or the abuses we all suffered which are very real. But viewing this from the outside first, then ultimately from a higher perspective as we abide above, we come to see how necessary this has all become. It is necessary that God’s people are purified, and that in the end all that remains is God’s words, God’s people and the preeminence of Jesus Christ. I understand perfectly when you thank the Lord for what has become…..so that the REAL (what is real may shine forth). That seems small and insignificant at times, though the darker it gets (in this world and among those places) the more Jesus will shine in and through each of us). Hasn’t that always been our heart cry for Him, His people and those in this world in need of Him? Is not our Father answering the very prayers of those called out in even earlier seasons for this very purpose?

    I read Isaiah 53. In the midst we find this nugget:

    “But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief, IF HE WOULD render Himself a guilt offering”

    Think this through. Sometimes we think that we simply must suffer because Jesus had to suffer and this is partially true. Suffering is the means to gain both a resurrection and eventually a crown. But is there not more, more that our God is after? It’s not as if God enjoys watching us suffer, God forbid, but He is pleased with our willingness to suffer (our willingness to identify with the sufferings of Jesus) IF WE WOULD be willing. Yes, God will relieve our suffering if we humbly ask. But is that what is best, or is our endurance through suffering a greater thing still? Isn’t the true gold found in our willingness to suffer even when, and especially when we don’t deserve this- even at the hands of sinful and even religious men?

    Notice the result of Jesus’ WOULD:

    “And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied…….

    When we see we have a responsibility with that sight. When we obey what we see, we reap the benefit of that obedience as do others around us. Praise God that if WE WOULD, will also shall see the benefit after the fact even as Jesus did.

    Great post Michael. I’m glad you have and do continue to reap the benefit of your own willingness to fellowship with His sufferings.

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