Sunday, June 07, 2009

Inspiration From The Persecuted Church

“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.” Revelation 12: 11. On my post, What is a Man Worth, I received a comment, “God died for me, would I do the same?” Good question. It is clear from the New Testament that we, if necessary, are to do just that, to be loyal to Christ even unto death. Eleven of the twelve disciples were martyred. In their deaths they gave the world one of the great proofs of the resurrection of Jesus. Men will not die for a hoax. They will not die for a lie. They saw the risen Lord and they died horrible, painful deaths in the confidence that they would be with Him.The Apostle Paul and most of his church planting companions were martyred, Barnabas, Silas, Aristarchus, Secundus, Sopater, Titus, Timothy, Gaius, John Mark, Aquila, and Luke. Thousands upon thousands of first and second generation Christians were executed because they would not proclaim Caesar as Lord. The early church father Polycarp while being led to his execution was asked to proclaim Caesar as Lord. He replied, “Eighty-six years I have served Christ, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” And as he waited to be burned alive he prayed, “I give thanks that You have counted me worthy of this day and this hour.”Today in many countries, Christians risk their lives by professing faith in Christ. Anti- conversion laws have been written. Churches are burned, Christians beaten, arrested, taken away, imprisoned and yes some are being killed.And so the question remains, am I; are you, willing to die for Him? Am I; are you, willing to remain loyal to Christ and give up living the comfortable way? If we can’t do the latter I doubt we can do the former. The truth of Revelation 12: 11 is if we remain loyal in our lifestyle and our deaths, if we choose loyalty to Christ and suffer we defeat the “great dragon, that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan who leads the whole world astray.” Revelation 12: 9.Our Father, “deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:13.“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6.

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