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JOY IN PERSECUTION

Then it says in Luke 6:22:

"Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

Christians do not receive their reward down here. We have to go right against the current of the world. We may be unpopular, and we may go right against many of our personal friends if we live godly in Christ Jesus; and at the same time, if we are persecuted for the Master’s sake, we will have we will have this joy bubbling up; it just comes right up in our hearts all the while - a joy that is unceasing - that flows right on. The world can not choke that fountain. If we have Christ in the heart, by and by the reward will come. The longer I live the more I am convinced that godly men and women are not appreciated in our day. But their work will live after them, and there will be a greater work done after they are gone, by the influence of their lives, than when they were living. Daniel is doing a thousand times more than when was living in Babylon. Abraham is doing more today than he did on the plain with his tent and altar. All these centuries he has been living, and so we read, "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, from henceforth; yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them." Let us set the streams running that shall flow on after we have gone. If we have today persecution and opposition, let us press forward, and our reward will be great by and by. Oh! think of this; the Lord Jesus, the Maker of heaven and earth, who created the world, says, "Great shall be thy reward" He calls it great. If some friend should say it is great, it might be very small; but when the Lord, the great and mighty God, says it is great, what must it be? Oh! the reward that is in store for those who serve Him! We have this joy, if we serve Him. A man or woman is not fit to work for God who is cast down, because they go about their work with a tell-tale face. "The joy of the Lord is your strength." What we need today is a joyful church. A joyful church will make inroads upon the works of Satan, and we will see the Gospel going down into dark lanes and dark alleys, and into dark garrets and cellars, and we will see the drunkards reached and the gamblers and the harlots come pressing into the Kingdom of God. It is this carrying a sad countenance, with so many wrinkles on our brows, that retards Christianity. Oh may there come great joy upon believers everywhere, that we may shout for joy and rejoice in God day and night. A joyful church - let us pray for that, that the Lord may make us joyful, and when we have joy, then we will have success; and if we don’t have the reward we think we should have here, let us constantly remember the rewarding time will come hereafter.

Some one has said, if you had asked men in Abraham’s day who their great man was, they would have Enoch, and Abraham. If you had asked in Moses’ day who their great man was, they would not have said it was Moses; he was nothing, but it would have been Abraham. If you had asked in the days of Elijah or Daniel, it wouldn’t have been Daniel of Elijah, they were nothing; but it would have been Moses. And the days of Jesus Christ - if you had asked in the days of Jesus Christ about John the Baptist or the apostles, you would hear they were mean and contemptible in the sight of the world, and were looked upon with scorn and reproach; but see how mighty they have become. And so we will not be appreciated in our day, but we are to toil on and work on, possessing this joy all the while. And if we lack it, let us cry:

"Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with Thy free Spirit; then will I teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto Thee."

Again, the 15th chapter of John, and 11th verse reads:

"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and {that} your joy might be full."

And in the 16th chapter and 22d verse:

"And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

I am so thankful that I have a joy that the world can not rob me of; I have a treasure that the world can not take from me; I have something that is not in the power of man or devil to deprive me of, and that is the joy of the Lord. "No man taketh it from you." In the second century, they brought a martyr before a king, and the king wanted him to recant and give up Christ and Christianity, but the man spurned the proposition, But the king said; "If you don’t do it, I will banish you." The man smiled and answered: "You can’t banish me from Christ, for He says He will never leave me nor forsake me." The king got angry, and said: "well, I will confiscate your property and take it all from you." and the man replied: "My treasures are laid up on high; you can not get them." The king became still more angry, and said: "I will kill you." "Why," the man answered, "I have been dead forty years; I have been dead with Christ, dead to the world, and my life is hid with Christ in God, and you can not touch it." And so we can rejoice, because we are on resurrection ground, having risen with Christ. Let persecution and opposition come, we can rejoice continually, and remember that our reward is great, reserved for us unto the day when He who is our Life shall appear, and we shall appear with Him in glory.

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