The apostle Paul often taught young converts to the Christian faith that ‘we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God’ (Acts 14:22). For first-century Christians suffering for Christ was an inevitable accompaniment to a life of serious discipleship.
In many parts of the world little has changed since those early days. But in the West, Christians have long enjoyed a period of unusual rest from such troubles. However, there are ominous signs that change is on the way. Suffering ‘for righteousness’ sake’ may once again mark the lives of faithful Christians in the West.
In this exposition of Paul’s words, ‘For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus’ (Acts 21:13), John Flavel shows us how vital and excellent a thing it is to prepare ourselves for the onset of sufferings.
‘The cup of sufferings is a very bitter cup, and it is but needful that we provide somewhat to sweeten it…’ — JOHN FLAVEL