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Napoleon Bonaparte is quoted as having said, “It is the cause, not the death, which makes the martyr.” So, I ask you, what is the difference between the martyrdom in the early church and these would-be martyrs to false causes? First of all, the early Christians were not deliberately seeking their deaths. They merely stood for what was right and expected God to do one of two things to vindicate them—protect them with the power of His Holy Spirit or welcome them into their eternal home. In a moment, I’m going to read a portion of our text, but I don’t want you to misunderstand me. I’m not asking you to seek out unnecessary confrontations. I’m not telling you to test God by putting yourself at tremendous risk to see if He’ll save you. To test God in that fashion would be like Jesus giving in to Satan’s temptation when the devil quoted scripture to suggest that if Jesus threw Himself down from the heights, God wouldn’t let Him fall. Jesus responded that it wasn’t right to test God in that way.

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