“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
OK friends, today’s message is NOT for the faint of heart! I mean, yikes! We’re talking DEATH today 😬 and did you realize the early church looked forward to it? Crazy, right?! Our opening Scripture is actually from Paul’s letter to the Philippian church. These were words he penned while in jail, yes, JAIL. You heard me right.
So why is it that many today are so SOFT?? I mean, honestly. Like, what kind of person looks forward to martyrdom? Actually, the leaders of the early church did 🤯 🤯 🤯
Ultimately, Paul and the Apostles were all killed for their faith in Jesus. That’s a fact. Even more intense is the fact that the next batch of believers felt the same way. Check out this famous quote, for example, by Ignatius who was presumably torn apart by wild beasts in the second century …..
“I am the wheat of God, and let me be ground by the teeth of the WILD BEASTS, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ. Rather ENTICE the wild beasts, that they may become my tomb, and may leave nothing of my body; so that when I have fallen asleep, I may be no trouble to anyone. Then shall I truly be a disciple of Christ” (Ignatius to the Romans).
B-O-O-M …. Insane, right!! If you keep reading, he gets even darker. What blows my mind is that this was their NORM. And all of this begs the question, “If they were this LOUD, what in the world are we doing today?”
So, what’s your point Pastor AJ?? Well, I guess if I had one thing to communicate it would be this: In a day and age when the cries are loud for the church to soften its views, the first Christians laid a FIRM foundation for us to follow. Follow them like they followed Christ and, like them, you will turn your world upside-down for Jesus AND if you haven’t already done so watch my recent interview (linked below 👇) where I discuss if I could die for Jesus! 🔥🔥🔥
Have you ever heard the stories of the early Christian martyrs?
Is their example different from what you see today?
How might Jesus be calling you to fearlessly engage your culture for him today?