Missionaries are brave when they go to other lands to preach the gospel. They know of the dangers but it doesn’t stop them. Just like it didn’t stop Jesus and the Apostles in the beginning of Christianity. Through the ages there were some who weren’t afraid to die for Jesus.
Paul, of all people, knew what it was to suffer for Christ and he never once thought of quitting. Acts 11:24-27 “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 water, in perils by my 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 brothers; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”
Are you tired reading all of that? Could we hold up under all that pressure and persecution or would we end in a mental hospital? He didn’t die in his sleep like we expect to. He was beheaded for his unfailing faith.
John the Baptist was the first to be beheaded in the New Testament for his faith. Stephen was stoned to death because he told the Jews truths they didn’t want to hear. Read his sermon in Acts 7:1-53. In chapter 6:8-15, he was accused of blasphemy against the “holy place and the law”.
False witnesses were set up against him and he was arrested. In spite of all of this, Stephen was free. He wasn’t concerned about his physical discomfort. He knew, without a doubt, that he was free in the Lord and would soon be with the Lord.
Romans 5:22 “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” In this life you are always a servant to someone or something, whether it be to Satan or to God.
Satan can only guarantee you death and torment for ever. God offers you a joyful life forever in His Kingdom where persecutions can never happen again. Do you consider this promise worth dying for. Many did in the past and many will now and in the future.
I liked this statement about Stephen: Acts:6:15 “And all that sat in council, looked steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” His sermon Acts 7:1-53 really made them angry because they knew they were guilty of what he accused them of.
He died a martyr’s death for the cause of Jesus Christ. Acts 7:55 & 56 “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly 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.”
As they stoned him, he was “calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, recive my spirit.” And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
Another man, Jesus also had compassion on those who crucified him. Luke 23:34 “Then, said Jesus, Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
John 8:36 “If the son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” Are you ready to pay the price? God bless you.
Read more articles by Joan Morrone or search for articles on the same topic or others.