Summary: Explains the costs and rewards of faithfulness as a Christian.
Let’s take a look at society’s honest view of the early church by reviewing this letter from antiquity:
For Christians are not distinguished from the rest of mankind by
country, or by speech, or by dress. For they do not dwell in cities of their own, or use a different language, or practice a peculiar life. This knowledge of theirs has not been proclaimed by the thought and effort of restless men; they are not champions of a human doctrine, as some men are. But while they dwell in Greek or barbarian cities according as each man’s lot has been cast, and follow the customs of the land in clothing and food, and other matters of daily life, yet the condition of citizenship which they exhibit is wonderful and admittedly strange. They live in countries of their own, but simply as sojourners. They share the life of citizens, they endure the lot of foreigners. Every foreign land is to them a fatherland, and every fatherland a foreign land. They marry like the rest of the world. They breed children, but they do not discard their children as some do. They offer a common table but not a common bed. They exist in the flesh, but they live not after the flesh. They spend their existence upon earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws, and in their own lives they surpass the laws. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown, and they are condemned. They are put to death, and they gain new life. They are poor, and make many rich. They lack everything, and in everything they abound. They are dishonored, and their dishonor becomes their glory. They are reviled, and are justified. They are abused, and they bless. They are insulted, and repay insult with honor. They do good, and are punished as evildoers; and in their punishment they rejoice as gaining new life therein. The Jews war against them as aliens, and the Greeks persecute them; and they that hate them can state no ground for their enmity.
In a word, what the soul is in the body, Christians are in the world. The soul is spread through all the members of the body, and Christians through all the cities of the world. The soul dwells in the body, but it is not of the body. Christians dwell in the world, but they are not of the world. (Letter to Diognetus, 5:1-17; 6:1-4)
My friends, that is from an ancient letter written to Diognetus. It describes what Christians are like, the salt and the light of the world. But let me tell you, there is a price to be paid when you live a life that is different than the world.
I. Faithfulness Has A Price
Notice of you will, when the 5th seal was broken, John saw the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of God’s Word and the testimony they had.
My friends, faithfulness has a price. It has always had a price. Think back to the first 2 people born to the first couple, Cain and Abel. Both brothers offered a sacrifice to God but only Abel’s was pleasing to God. In jealousy, Cain killed his brother. Think of Noah and his family’s plight, as they endured 100 years of ridicule. Think of Abraham being called to a foreign land. Think of the pain He endured as God called him to offer up his son.
Who among us can forget David and the trials he faced at the hands of Saul? What of Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednigo? Or, who could forget the prophet Jeremiah? He was rejected, scorned, ridiculed, imprisoned, and dropped into the mud of a cistern because of his faithfulness at proclaiming God’s word to the people. Read through Hebrews chapter 11 and see the Hall of Fame of God’s Old Testament Saints.
Jesus was crucified, and tradition has it that all of Jesus’ disciples were martyred except John, and he died in prison on the isle of Patmos.
My friend, I want you to know that following Jesus, living a life that is different than the rest of the world is going to cost you. If you are salt and light, if you are disciples of Jesus Christ, if you are one of His ambassadors, it’s going to cost you.
Jesus said, if they persecuted Him, then they will persecute you. And again Jesus says, in Matthew 10:38 And whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.
If you are going to succeed in school, there is a price to pay. If you are going to succeed at work, there is a price to pay. If you are going to succeed in your marriage, there is a price to pay. If you are going to succeed as a parent, there is a price to pay. Anything worth accomplishing, anything of worth has a cost. Faithfulness has a price.