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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, March 29, 2009

“If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (II Timothy 2:11-12).

That is a plain statement. Those who suffer with Christ will reign with Him. The Apostle Paul knew about suffering with Christ.

I. First, consider the suffering of Christ Himself.

Christ suffered throughout His life in this world. Herod tried to murder Him when He was only a baby. His family had to take Him to Egypt to save Him from the hands of Herod. There He suffered also, cut off from His people.

When He entered into His earthly ministry, more sufferings immediately followed. He suffered hunger and thirst in the wilderness for forty days, where He was buffeted unmercifully by Satan, whose very name means “adversary” or enemy. Christ came to the edge of breaking down under Satan’s attempt to dominate Him and make Him, too, an enemy of God. When He went to Gadara and cast demons out of a wild man, the people of that town “besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matthew 8:34). Rather than thank Him for saving their town from the oppression and fear of this wild man, Jesus suffered the indignity of being all but driven away from them so they would not have to listen to His preaching. This rejection must have caused Him great inner pain and suffering. When He cast out demons and healed two blind men, He suffered the indignity and shame of the Pharisees, who said that He used demonic power to cast the demons out (Matthew 12:24), implying that He was a sorcerer rather than the only begotten Son of God, who came to earth to free those enslaved by Satan. Then He came to Nazareth, where He was raised as a child, and He went to His boyhood synagogue and preached a sermon. But His friends and relatives, with whom He was raised, when they heard His sermon

“were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the [top] of the hill…that they might cast him down headlong” (Luke 4:28-29).

He suffered greatly when these lifelong friends shamed Him for this sermon and tried to kill Him. When a paralyzed man was let down through a hole in the roof, Jesus healed him and said, “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee” (Luke 5:20). But instead of being thankful that He had healed the man and forgiven him, the Pharisees said, “Who is this which speaketh blasphemies?” (Luke 5:21). Their rebuke of His good work must have caused His heart to suffer greatly. When He healed a man’s withered hand on the Sabbath day, these same religious authorities

“were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus” (Luke 6:11).

This reaction, too, must have caused Jesus great pain and suffering of heart, that His own people should be “filled with madness” against Him, plotting “what they might do to Jesus.”

His own half brothers were against Him. They scolded Him when the “Jews sought to kill him” (John 7:1). They tried to persuade Him to put Himself in mortal danger when they said,

“Shew thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him” (John 7:4-5).

But Jesus bore the suffering of being rejected by His own brothers.

“Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come…The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil” (John 7:6-7).

Oh, the pain and suffering of heart He felt when His younger brothers mocked Him and rejected Him!

“Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come” (John 7:30).

When His friends tried to defend Him, the Pharisees said to them, “Are ye also deceived?” Oh, the mental suffering Jesus went through during those days! His enemies said,

“Thou art a Samaritan [an outcast half-Jew], and hast a devil?” (John 8:48).

“Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple” (John 8:59).

“Many of them said, He hath a devil [a demon], and is mad; why hear ye him?” (John 10:20).

“Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him…saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God” (John 10:31, 33).

Then Jesus came to Bethany, to the home of Mary and Martha. Lazarus, their brother, had died while Jesus was away. Jesus went to the tomb and told them to remove the stone that covered the door. Then Jesus said, “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43).

“And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go” (John 11:44).

Some who saw Jesus raise Lazarus ran and told the Pharisees, trying to stop Him from doing things like this.

“Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death” (John 11:53).

What treachery, pain, and inward suffering Jesus went through for doing good and preaching the Gospel!

At last His Disciple Judas

“…went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him” (Matthew 26:14-16).

Jesus went with His Disciples to an upper room to eat the Passover meal. At the end of the meal, He instituted the Lord’s Supper. Then “Satan entered into” Judas and he “went immediately out: and it was night” (John 13:27, 30). Judas went to bring the chief priests to the place where he knew Jesus would be praying.

Late that night, Jesus took His Disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane.

“And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:40-44).

Here in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ’s suffering grew so intense that He was in an agony “and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:40-44). In the Garden of Gethsemane God placed all the sin of mankind on Jesus, and He became our sin-bearer, from the Garden to the Cross (I Peter 2:24).

Judas led the chief priests and a multitude into the Garden. They arrested Jesus and took Him to the high priest’s house.

“And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? And many other things blasphemously spake they against him”
      (Luke 22:63-65).

Then they took Him to Pilate, the Roman governor – but Pilate said, “I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4). They took Him from Pilate to Herod, and then back to Pilate.

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him” (John 19:1-6).

“And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar” (John 19:12).

“And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst” (John 19:14-18).

“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:28-30).

Thus, His suffering ended.

“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures”
      (I Corinthians 15:3).

And the Apostle Paul said,

“If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (II Timothy 2:11-12).

II. Second, the Apostle Paul suffered with Christ.

At the time of his conversion Christ told Paul that he would suffer greatly,

“For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake” (Acts 9:16).

In II Corinthians, chapter 11, Paul tells us of the suffering he went through for Christ:

“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches”
      (II Corinthians 11:24-28).

He went through so much suffering that it is a wonder he lived!

At the end of his life, Paul was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. Tradition tells us that Paul was beheaded by the Emperor Nero. It was the Apostle Paul who said, shortly before his execution,

“If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (II Timothy 2:11-12).

III. Third, the early Christians suffered with Christ.

The Apostles were beaten

“…and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:40-42).

Stephen was martyred because he preached,

“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him” (Acts 7:51-58) to death. 

The first Christians were scattered by persecution.

“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling [dragging off] men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:1-4).

All of the Apostles, except John, died as martyrs. Philip was crucified. Matthew was beheaded in African Ethiopia. James was stoned to death in India. Matthias was stoned to death in Jerusalem. Andrew was crucified on an “X” shaped cross. It took three days for him to die. Mark was dragged to death through the streets of Alexandria. Peter was crucified upside down at Nero’s Circus. Ileana and I have stood on the spot where he was crucified. Thaddaeus was shot through with arrows in Armenia. Bartholomew was crucified. Thomas was speared to death by Hindu priests in India. Luke was hanged by the neck on an olive tree in Greece. Simon the Zealot was sawed in half in Persia. John was dipped in boiling oil, but miraculously escaped. He died in exile on the Isle of Patmos.

Great persecutions occurred under the Emperor Nero, beginning in A.D. 64; under the Emperor Decius in 249-251; under Valerius in 257; and under Diocletian beginning in 303. Between these general persecutions, there were always lesser ones. Polycarp of Smyrna was burned at the stake in 155. Justin Martyr was scourged and beheaded in 165. Before he was beheaded he wrote, “You can kill us, but cannot do us any real harm.”

Throughout the Middle Ages those who believed that Christ alone could save, apart from the church, were tortured and killed by the thousands during the Inquisition.

It is now clear that more Christians died, simply for being Christians, in the 20th century, than in all previous centuries combined. All of them literally believed the words of Paul,

“If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (II Timothy 2:11-12).

Thousands of godly Christians have been put in prison in China for not bowing down and submitting to the official Communist-run state church.  How we thank God for these brave souls who refused to submit to the tyranny of the Communist domination of their churches, and went to underground churches rather than deny their faith in Christ. They are willing to suffer for Christ because they not only know our text, but actually live it out in their lives!  

“If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (II Timothy 2:11-12).

IV. Fourth, you can only come to Christ through suffering.

It is necessary for everyone who wishes to be a real Christian to suffer with Christ. That’s why Paul said, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” Paul taught the Christians at Antioch,

We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

A real Christian experiences suffering throughout his life. Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). He said, “I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:19). The American “prosperity” preachers have twisted the words of Scripture. Christ promises suffering, not the false prosperity teaching they proclaim. In the Third World these American preachers have confused many. 

Christ said, “He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:38). This is what stops people from becoming Christians. They do not want to suffer with Christ. But, by avoiding the suffering, they lose their souls. Jesus said, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39). Those who reject any amount of suffering can only be nominal Christians, Christians in name only. I am sorry to say that America is full of them. It is a horribly sad situation here! But real Christians have always known what it is to suffer.

The initial suffering begins in the experience of conversion itself. Pastor Wurmbrand spoke of “this time of inner turmoil,” just before he was converted (Tortured for Christ, Living Sacrifice Books, 1998 edition, p. 12).

When the Spirit of God comes to you, He will convict you of sin (John 16:8). This is an unpleasant experience, a “time of inner turmoil.” But, if you do not go through the turmoil of conviction, you will not see how sinful your very nature is. You will not cry out with the Apostle,

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24).

Only when you have a taste of the suffering of conviction will you see the need for Jesus Christ, who shed His Blood on the Cross so you could be “washed…from [your] sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5). Then you may turn loose of the world and come to Jesus. It will cause you suffering if you do this, but it will be worth it when you see Christ at the end of life. Dr. John R. Rice said it well:

Why should I murmur, hold back from sorrow,
   Dread to lose money or friends in His name?
Oh, I should welcome prison or scourging
   If I might thus have some part in His shame!
All my heart’s love, all my fond dreams –
   Make them, Lord Jesus, only for Thee.
All that I am, all I could be –
   Take me, Lord Jesus, Thine e’er to be.
(“All My Heart’s Love” by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

Oh, that some young people in our church would become soldiers of Christ, willing to go through great suffering with the Saviour.  Oh, that you would become soldiers of Christ, not concerned for the suffering it will cost you! 

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: II Corinthians 11:24-28.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“All My Heart’s Love” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (II Timothy 2:11-12).

I.   First, consider the suffering of Christ Himself,
Matthew 8:34; 12:24; Luke 4:28-29; 5:20, 21; 6:11;
John 7:1, 4-5, 6-7; 7:30; 8:48, 59; 10:20, 31, 33;
John 11:43, 44, 53; Matthew 26:14-16; John 13:27, 30;
Luke 22:40-44; I Peter 2:24; Luke 22:63-65; 23:4;
John 19:1-6, 12, 14-18, 28-30; I Corinthians 15:3.

II.  Second, the Apostle Paul suffered with Christ, Acts 9:16;
II Corinthians 11:24-28.

III. Third, the early Christians suffered with Christ,
Acts 5:40-42; 7:51-58; 8:1-4.

IV. Fourth, you can only come to Christ through suffering,
Acts 14:22; John 16:33; 15:19; Matthew 10:38, 39;
John 16:8; Romans 7:24; Revelation 1:5.