Summary: What would happen to Christians and the need in this world if we could get to the place where we really could believe God at His Word?
Sunday August 13, 2006 at River of Life Ministries
Series: Move It Part 4
Sermon: Know What To Know by Pastor Michael West
Scripture: Matthew 11:1-12
After Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead, there was a distinct change in the disciples. They went from the average everyday man, to bold, outspoken, people of God. Why? There is but one answer, they knew that Jesus rose from the dead beyond a shadows of any doubt.
If Jesus had just died, the prophecy of Him being raised from the dead, proving He was the Son of God, would amount to less than a handful of peanuts. What good was a dead Messiah to anyone? Besides, sooner or later the corpse of Christ would have been located and that would make the disciples and any other follower look like a fool.
But on the contrary, they did see Jesus taken away, beaten, put to death on the cross and witness His resurrection. They knew that no one would ever find a corpse and so, their confidence was bolstered and set on fire by Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Their lives would never be the same.
As persecution increased, it became apparent to any serious Christian that they could be next in line for death, but instead of backing of, the disciples turned Apostles grew more aggressive in their evangelism. They preached without fear. They preached out of love. They preached because they knew Jesus and knew He was God and yet, one by one they were taken out by angry mobs.
Our Christian heritage and tradition tells us how:
Peter was crucified upside down in Nero’s circus
James son of Zebedee lost his head at the hands of King Agrippa (Acts 12:2)
Andrew was flayed alive and crucified on an X-shaped cross
Thomas lost his life to the lance of Hindus on MountAntenodur
Matthew lost his head while being pinned to the ground
Philip was crucified, not through his feet, but through his thighs and was finished off by being stoned
Bartholomew (Nathaniel) was crucified at Albana, known as Derbend a place in Russia
Thaddeus was the target of archers at Mount Ararat
James son of Alpheus was stoned by the Jews while preaching the Gospel
Simon the Zealot met his fate as his body was cut in two at the blade of a saw
John, one of the original disciples, although many attempts were made upon his life, he died a natural death
Each one knew Jesus. Each one would have known if His resurrection was real or not. Yet, one by one they met the martyr’s death. Each knowing full well that if they continued to preach the Lord’s gospel, their time would eventually come. At any time, they could have quit, given up, walked away and avoided such horrible deaths. All they had to do was to be quiet, simply stop. They did not. Why?
When you take a look at all other martyr’s who have died for some philosophy, idea, or other religion, these who did not renounce their faith in Jesus, stand apart from them. Why? Because they died for a historical fact!
It wasn’t fluff and stuff or the promise of a mansion, they died because Jesus and His resurrection were and still are, a fact—one they knew—the fact that Jesus rose, proves that Jesus is God and those who believe will meet and live with Him as He has promised!