Sermons of David Chadwell
Click here to listen to this sermon read by Greg McAbee.
A common concept among Christians is this: "It is physically profitable to
live a godly life." Thus, if a person wants a guarantee of 'the good life,' he
or she needs to be a godly person. If a person wants protection against disease,
he or she needs to be a godly person. If a person wishes to be delivered from
accidents, he or she needs to be a godly person. If a person wants the guarantee
of deliverance from an early death, he or she needs to be a godly person.
Then Christians observe godly people live in poverty, lose fortunes, or struggle
in their older years. They witness godly people die of cancer, die in car wrecks
caused by someone high on drugs or alcohol, or die when they are young. If they
expected some form of physical deliverance from undesirable physical happenings,
incidents such as these deeply shake their faith in Jesus Christ. They cry out,
"How could God let that happen to him (or her)?" "Why did that happen to him (or
Two questions. (1) Is it only now that bad physical things happen to godly
people? (2) Is our confidence in good things happening to godly people based on
an American concept or a promise from God?
It may be effective to tell Americans in a prosperous country physically to
expect good things to happen if they are godly. However, never suggest that on
mission fields where the country is poor, positive changes come slowly, and
physical hardship is the common existence for the majority of people. The core
of the gospel when first presented was not, "Belong to God and receive good
This does not suggest that God does not bless us when we seek His ways. His ways
lead us to existence with him. It was the apostle Paul who wrote to suffering
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not
worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18)
Shortly after those words, he wrote:
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who
love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
The blessings he wrote of were about the certainty of salvation in Jesus Christ.
He wrote of the intercession of God's Spirit on our behalf, justification, God's
devotion to us, freedom from condemnation, and the fact that nothing can deprive
us of God's love--not even suffering or death.
Our confident hope is base on God's gifts after death, not on Satan's harassment
in this life.
Jesus endured the opposition of family members, of the Jewish people, and of the
religious leaders to be loyal to God. Do not think you do something special when
your godly behavior results in opposition from people that you least expected
opposition? Jesus already has been there.
- Christian existence from the first was based on physical privation and suffering
caused by belonging to God.
- Have you considered these facts?
- We exist because we place our confidence in a crucified, resurrected Savior.
- Tradition tells us all of the twelve but one (John) were killed for their faith.
- The twelve were jailed and beaten by the order of religious leaders because they
dared endorse Jesus as the Christ (Acts 5:17, 18, 40-42)
- Stephen was killed by religious people who disagreed with him (Acts 7:58-60).
- The apostle James was executed by sword (Acts 12:1) and the same ruler intended
to kill Peter.
- The only reason a mob stopped stoning Paul was due to the fact they thought Paul
was dead (Acts 14:19).
- Paul and Silas were publicly beaten and jailed for healing a possessed girl
- Have you recently read these scriptures?
- Hebrews 11:32-40,
And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak,
Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered
kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of
lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness
were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women
received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not
accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and
others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to
death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being
destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy),
wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all
these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was
promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from
us they would not be made perfect.
- 2 Corinthians 11:22-33,
Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of
Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ?I speak as if insaneI more so;
in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number,
often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine
lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was
shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent
journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my
countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the
wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in
labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often
without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is
the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my
being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? If I have to boast,
I will boast of what pertains to my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord
Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus the
ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order
to seize me, and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so
escaped his hands.
- I do not think most of us have given serious thought to the enormous
difficulties Jesus endured in his ministry.
- Consider some things we do not talk about much regarding Jesus' life during his
- Though he was surrounded by people much of the time, he was a very lonely man.
- Great loneliness is created when the people closest to you do not understand
- Not even his twelve understood him!
- Consider two occasions of the many:
He said to them, Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?
Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.
The men were amazed, and said, What kind of a man is this, that even the winds
and the sea obey Him?
- Of the many things they saw Jesus do, they were astounded that the winds and Sea
of Galilee obeyed his commands.
- They were so surprised they asked, "What kind of man is this?"
John 16:29-33, His disciples said, Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not
using a figure of speech. Now we know that You know all things, and have no need
for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God. Jesus
answered them, Do you now believe? (Emphasis mine.) Behold, an hour is coming,
and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to
leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These
things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you
have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.
- This occurred the last night of Jesus' earthly life as he was with his
- Before his words confused them, but now they understood.
- Sure, they did!
- Jesus knew they just thought they understood.
- What a lonely night that was for him!
- His own relatives thought he was crazy.
Mark 3:21, When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of
Him; for they were saying, He has lost His senses.
- That must have been discouraging!
- They did not take any sense of pleasure in what he did, but they were ashamed of
- His brothers urged him to dangerously expose himself to a crowd that could have
easily become a mob.
John 7:1-5, After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling
to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. Now the feast of the
Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. Therefore His brothers said to Him, Leave
here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You
are doing. For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known
publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world. For not even His
brothers were believing in Him.
- I submit if Jesus knew his life was in danger in Judea, his brothers knew Jesus
would be in danger in Judea.
- If that is true, his brothers were encouraging Jesus to do something they knew
could get him killed.
- To have your own brothers unconcerned about your physical well being had to be
- Publicly he was said to have a demon by the religious leaders.
Matthew 12:22-24, Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought
to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. All the crowds
were amazed, and were saying, This man cannot be the Son of David, can he? But
when the Pharisees heard this, they said, This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.
- The people who easily should have known his actions were God's work publicly
said his actions were the result of evil forces.
- These leaders accused him of being an evil man because he did things on the
Sabbath they did not approve of.
John 9:16, Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, This man is not from
God, because He does not keep the Sabbath. But others were saying, How can a
man who is a sinner perform such signs? And there was a division among them.
- Again, those who should have confirmed the good he did tried to discredit it.
- Because Jesus did not do what they expected in the Messiah, they declared him
- People accused him of eating and drinking too much to be God's spokesman.
Matthew 11:18,19, For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He
has a demon!
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold, a gluttonous man
and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! Yet wisdom is
vindicated by her deeds.
- He was accused publicly of misrepresenting himself.
John 8:52,53, The Jews said to Him, Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham
died, and the prophets also; and You say, If anyone keeps My word, he will
never taste of death. Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who
died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?
- He was accused of associating with the wrong kind of people.
Matthew 9:10-12, Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the
house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus
and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, Why
is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners? But when Jesus
heard this, He said, It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but
those who are sick."
- People in Mark 5 asked Jesus to leave their country when he restored an
uncontrollable man to his right mind at the price of a herd of pigs.
- They saw no potential in his deed.
- They saw only unacceptable cost.
- He found more faith in a non-Israelite than he found in any Jew.
Matthew 8:10, Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were
following, Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in
- The religious leaders of Israel said the Jewish nation would be better off if
Jesus was dead.
John 11:47-50, Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council,
and were saying, What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. If
we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will
come and take away both our place and our nation. But one of them, Caiaphas,
who was high priest that year, said to them, You know nothing at all, nor do
you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the
people, and that the whole nation not perish.
Godly behavior can produce opposition and suffering! Christians are not good
because they expect only good to happen to them!
sermon posted 23 May 2007
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