Summary: So many Christians believe if they were given the choice to renounce Jesus or die, that they would choose torture and death, but would they really? If we cannot make small sacrifices now, we cannot hope to make bigger ones later.
In this sermon, I also shared the Text Illustration: The Rich Family in Church by Eddie Ogan
Read story of a martyr – short one. I chose the story of Nichomachus, from Foxes Book of Martyrs.
You’re living your life for Jesus Christ, but are you ready AND willing to die for Him? Could you make the ultimate sacrifice?
Not long ago on the television, there were images from the Middle East. Images of Christians who, after being tortured, were hung on crosses and left to die. Christians crucified by the Islamic terror group, ISIS.
These Christians, Christians throughout the Middle East, are killed for their faith. They are killed for professing their faith in Jesus Christ. Many of these Christians, however, are given a choice: Renounce their faith, deny Jesus, and convert to Islam. Or die.
Renounce your faith or die.
As Christians, it’s an easy choice. Or it should be.
Thinking about those Christians in the Middle East, subjected to brutal torture, and then hung upon a cross to die, but given a choice: Just deny Him. Say with your mouth that you don’t believe. Or die. I cannot help but ask myself: Is my faith that strong? That I could readily and willingly CHOOSE torture, then death, when all I would have to do is say no.
We can easily as Christians say Yes, but is our faith really that strong? Are we really that ready and willing? It isn’t in that moment when faced with the choice of death by which we measure our answer, but in the life we live leading up to that moment.
You see, the easy answer for many people is, well, we just don’t know what we would do at that moment, until we’re actually there. But as I said, that is the easy answer.
The harder question is, what are we doing now? What are we doing in all THE moments leading up to THAT moment.
Okay, I hear you saying, “Of course I would die for Him.” Really? Well, let me ask you something. What did you do the last time He asked you to give up a sin? The last time He spoke to you to give to someone in need? The last time HE asked YOU to sacrifice something?
As Christians, how can we hope to choose to die for Him if we don’t make daily the choices to live for Him?
Now when I say Christian, I don’t mean say Christian. I don’t mean you own a Bible, go to church and listen to gospel on the way to work. I mean Christian. I mean you’ve ALREADY chosen to die for Him. By dying to your own desires and reactions. By allowing HIM to live HIS LIFE through YOU.
Gal. 2:20: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
I live by the faith of the Son of God.
Living by faith in the Son of God, it isn’t just a choice, it’s not One and Done, it’s choosing each and every day, to sacrifice. Living by faith. What is that?
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Faith without works is not faith at all. All too often, I will hear it said, “Sure, I believe in God,” but their actions say otherwise. If they were on trial as Christians, there wouldn’t be enough faith to convict them.
People hear what you say, but they believe what you DO. They REMEMBER what you DO.
Believe means literally to have FIRM FAITH. (If I BELIEVE my house is on fire…)
You can say, Sure I believe. You can shout it out, write it down, or wear it on a tee shirt. You can even tattoo it across your forehead. But if it isn’t written on your heart, and spelled out in your life it’s all for nought.
Speaking of tattoos. My husband has tattoos. He is actually tattooed literally from head to toe. He has not only gotten them, but given them, for a time even working as a professional tattoo artist. For my husband, it wasn’t just a profession, I was his passion. When he gave his life to Jesus Christ,