Summary: This sermon is intended for teens to challenge them in regards to persecution and suffering and how that affects the call of the Great Commission on their life.
The body of Christ is massive. Stretching over the whole planet and adapting itself to every unique culture and tribe while remaining true to the Gospel of Christ. There are many nations where people are in an ongoing state of suffering and persecution. To some picking up the Cross may literally mean laying down their life. What are the persecutions and trials we face in our country?
-Pause to allow them to actually name things they feel are persecuting them or holding them back
The next few verses are to be used to encourage and break down the fear surrounding persecution and trials.
Matt 5:11 "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
Luke 21:12-17 12 "But before all these things,they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name's sake. 13 "It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. 14 "So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; 15 for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. 16 "But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, 17 and you will be hated by all because of My name.
John 15:20 "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
So we know we are going to be persecuted does that reassure you in any way?
-Pause and allow answers to come out
Why as Christians do we suffer? Is there any purpose to the suffering in our lives?
The following scriptures should then be used to show the purpose of the suffering and trials:
James 1:2-4 2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
1 Peter 1:6-9 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
So if you are being perfected, sanctified, if you faith is being made more whole. Your salvation becoming more assured... What good is it? Is your faith all about you?
(Pause and allow them to answer the question)
(Read through these last two passages to display the purpose of their faith)
John 13:12-17 12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? 13 "You call Me Teacher and Lord ; and you are right, for so I am. 14 "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16 "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
So what does this verse tell us to do?
-Pause and allow answers
Matt 28:11-20 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, 11baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always *, even to the end of the age."
This is not a challenge. It is not a question that needs answering the last words spoken by Christ in the Gospel of Matthew send you out. Speak the Gospel, disciple all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all the He has commanded us to do. Best of all Christ is with us always in this. Go this week and share that faith you have. Shake of the persecution you feel and share the Gospel. Know that when you face trials and hardship it is strengthening you, bringing your salvation to its fullest. And best of all know that you never go into a conversation of Christ alone. Know that Christ is with you always.