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Imagine for a moment if I told all of you, “Hey, lets start a new religion. It’s all a sham, but if we all keep the secret, maybe it will sweep the world and we’ll become important.” Therefore, we make up some story and it starts to take off. You might think, “Maybe this will work. I’ll play along.” Then we start being thrown in jail. Next, one of our leaders is executed. Then it is open season on all of us. That kind of persecution was what happened to the fledgling church Jesus started. You would say, “Oh well, it was fun while it lasted, but I’m not going to die for it.” However, that is not how the early church responded. They gave their lives. They faced lions in the arena. They were burned alive, refusing to recant. They were tortured and crucified, refusing to deny their story. Why? They had seen the risen Lord.

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