Cost Of Following Christ Part Two

 
Not Experiencing Martyrdom & Hardship Because of The Country We Live In

Canada the country I dwell in is as known as the land of the free, and we’re able worship God, and we’re able do this openly without any threats from the authority. Because of this, I know very little nor experience the hardship, being threaten with your life when you choose to serve Christ.
Like countries in Africa or Russia or China; where they serve the Lord in secret because of the ongoing threats on their lives.

When I read these account I am moved by tears, and pray fervently for the martyred saints throughout the world that stood firm and are committed to Jesus; however, I wonder if I would be able to stand firm. If I were persecuted like them would I crumble like a deck of cards like apostle Peter did when denied Christ three times?

Like I said when I read these account, and I am moved by tears, and they living under constant threat of death because they’re serving Christ. Yet reading about persecuted saints living in constant threat is totality difference than reading about it. The late Robin Williams who played Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting said these words to Will Hunting a gifted hard nose young man, “So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid. And I’d ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, “once more unto the breach dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you… I don’t see an intelligent, confident man… I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you’re a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my fucking life apart. You’re an orphan right? You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally… I don’t give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can’t learn anything from you, I can’t read in some fuckin’ book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t want to do that do you sport? You’re terrified of what you might say. Forgive the course language !! His point is that Will read these account not experience it.

The thought living in oppress society and under terrible persecution can be overwhelming, and not sure if I would unable to withstand the pressure the oppressor. Martin Luther said bests when asks to recants his writing; however, he did ask for twenty fours to think about it, while in his cell he prayed this prayer. “O God,. Almighty God everlasting! how dreadful is the world! behold how its mouth opens to swallow me up, and how small is my faith in Thee! . . . Oh! the weakness of the flesh, and the power of Satan! If I am to depend upon any strength of this world – all is over . . . The knell is struck . . . Sentence is gone forth . . . O God! O God! O thou, my God! help me against the wisdom of this world. Do this, I beseech thee; thou shouldst do this . . . by thy own mighty power . . . The work is not mine, but Thine. I have no business here . . . I have nothing to contend for with these great men of the world! I would gladly pass my days in happiness and peace. But the cause is Thine . . . And it is righteous and everlasting! O Lord! help me! O faithful and unchangeable God! I lean not upon man. It were vain! Whatever is of man is tottering, whatever proceeds from him must fail. My God! my God! dost thou not hear? My God! art thou no longer living? Nay, thou canst not die. Thou dost but hide Thyself. Thou hast chosen me for this work. I know it! . . . Therefore, O God, accomplish thine own will! Forsake me not, for the sake of thy well-beloved Son, Jesus Christ, my defence, my buckler, and my stronghold.
Lord – where art thou? . . . My God, where art thou? . . . Come! I pray thee, I am ready . . . Behold me prepared to lay down my life for thy truth . . . suffering like a lamb. For the cause is holy. It is thine own! . . . I will not let thee go! no, nor yet for all eternity! And though the world should be thronged with devils – and this body, which is the work of thine hands, should be cast forth, trodden under foot, cut in pieces, . . . consumed to ashes, my soul is thine. Yes, I have thine own word to assure me of it. My soul belongs to thee, and will abide with thee forever! Amen! O God send help! . . . Amen!”

He declares these words to Johann Eck, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me? Amen.”

Withstanding the pressure from the persecutor takes the aid of the Holy Spirit to endure the hardship. When I read The Fox Book Of Martyred several years ago. While a saint was being tortured they felt a great pain yet within seconds they saw the cross, and the pain they were feeling vanished, and they felt comfort of Jesus Christ while being tortured, and they were able endure the pain for sake of Jesus Christ.
Many of the saints would lift their hands, and begin to worship God prior to the flames burning their flesh. Yet in other account In the Fox Book Martyrs recorded this event, “The whole of these seven martyrs undressed themselves with alacrity, and, being prepared, knelt down, and prayed with an earnestness and Christian spirit that even the enemies of the cross were affected. After invocation made together, they were secured to the stake, and, being encompassed with the unsparing flame they yielded their souls into the hands of the living Lord.”

John Stott penned these words,“ Polycarb the 86-year-old ma a bishop of Smyrna having refused to escape death ether by fleeing or denying Christ was burnt at the stake. Just before the fire was lit, he prayed,” O Father, I bless thee that thou hast counted me worthy to receive my portion among the martyrs.” He recorded yet another incident about Sadhu Sundar Singh. Where they were flogged by their tormentors who than rub salt in their wounds, their faces shone with peace and joy, and they uttered these words,” Thanking God for the privilege of suffering for him.”

‘I would persecuted by my enemies may the Holy Spirit gives me a forgiving spirit like Jesus Christ and Stephen towards the persecutor, and may You the Holy Spirit grant me the strength to endure the pain while being afflicted.

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