Summary: "There are Heavenly blessing for those who die in the Lord for Jesus Christ first it is eternal rest and second their deeds will follow them to Heaven."
Thesis: We need to receive a fresh revelation of Jesus Christ daily because it makes the difference whether you will decide to die for Christ daily.
Thesis for Series: We need to get Rev’d Up for Jesus’ Second Coming as we look at what is happening to our society and world. Many are saying the time is near and Revelation tells us to be ready at a moment’s notice. So, let’s get Rev’d up and be ready to meet Jesus!
Scripture Text: Revelation 12:11: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
Polycarp was born about A.D. 70, and he knew eyewitnesses of Jesus, possibly including the apostle John. Before 110 Polycarp was named bishop of Smyrna, and throughout his life he stood for orthodoxy. At a pagan festival c. 156 (though possibly later), Polycarp was arrested at the demands of an angry mob. This account was written by Christians in Smyrna shortly there after and is the earliest extant account of a Christian martyr outside of the New Testament.
All the crowd, astonished at the noble conduct of the God-beloved and God-fearing race of Christians, cried out, “Away with the atheists; let search be made for Polycarp.” But the most admirable Polycarp, when first he heard of this, was not dismayed but wished to remain in the city. The majority, however, prevailed on him to withdraw. And he withdrew to a small estate not far from the city. There he passed the time with a few companions, wholly occupied night and day in prayer for all men and for the churches throughout the world; as, indeed, was his habit. And while at prayer he fell into a trance three days before his arrest and saw his pillow set on fire. And he turned and said to his companions, “I must needs be burned alive.” [By torturing one of Polycarp’s servants, the authorities discover his whereabouts. So, on the day of the preparation, mounted police … found him in a cottage, lying in an upper room. He could have gone away to another farm, but he would not, saying “The will of God be done.” So, hearing their arrival, he came down and talked with them, while all that were present marveled at his age and constancy, and that there was so much ado about the arrest of such an old man. Then he ordered that something should be served for them to eat and drink, at that late hour, as much as they wanted. And he besought them that they should grant him an hour that he might pray freely. They gave him leave, and he stood and prayed, being so filled with the grace of God that for two hours he could not hold his peace, while they that heard were amazed, and the men repented that they had come after so venerable an old man. Now, as he was entering the stadium, there came to Polycarp a voice from heaven, “Be strong, Polycarp, and play the man.” And no one saw the speaker, but the voice was heard by those of our people who were there. Thereupon he was led forth, and great was the uproar of them that heard that Polycarp had been seized. Accordingly, he was led before the proconsul, who asked him if he were the man himself. And when he confessed, the proconsul tried to persuade him, saying, “Have respect to shine age,” and so forth, according to their customary form: “Swear by the genius of Caesar,” “Repent,” “Say ‘Away with the atheists!’ ” Then Polycarp looked with a severe countenance on the mob of lawless heathen in the stadium, and he waved his hand at them, and looking up to heaven he groaned and said, “Away with the atheists.” But the proconsul urged him and said, “Swear, and I will release thee; curse the Christ.” And Polycarp said, “Eighty and six years have I served him, and he hath done me no wrong; how then can I blaspheme my king who saved me?” Then said the proconsul, “I have wild beasts; if thou repent not, I will throw thee to them.” But he said, “Send for them. For repentance from better to worse is not a change permitted to us; but to change from cruelty to righteousness is a noble thing.” Then said the proconsul again, “If thou cost despise the wild beasts, I will make thee to be consumed by fire, if thou repent not.” And Polycarp answered, “Thou threatenest the fire that burns for an hour and in a little while is quenched; for thou knowest not of the fire of the judgement to come, and the fire of the eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly. But why delayest thou? Bring what thou wilt.” As he spake these words and many more, he was filled with courage and joy; and his countenance was full of grace, so that not only did it fall not in dismay at what was being said to him, but on the contrary the proconsul was astonished and sent his herald to proclaim thrice in the midst of the stadium, “Polycarp hath confessed himself to be a Christian.” When this was proclaimed by the herald the whole multitude of Gentiles and Jews who dwelt in Smyma cried out with ungovernable rage and in a loud voice, “This is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, the destroyer of our gods, that teacheth many not to sacrifice nor worship.” They kept shouting this, asking Philip, the Asiarch, to loose a lion at Polycarp. But he said that it was not lawful for him, since he had finished the sports. Then they decided to shout with one accord that he should be burned alive. For the matter of his vision of the pillow must needs be fulfilled, when he saw it burning while he was at prayer, and turned and said prophetically to his companions, “I must needs be burned alive.”And now things happened with such speed, in less time than it takes to tell; for the mob straightway brought together timber and faggots from the workshops and baths, the Jews giving themselves zealously to the work, as they were like to do.… They were about to nail him to the stake, when he said, “Let me be as I am. He that granted me to endure the fire will grant me also to remain at the pyre unmoved, without being secured with nails.”So at length the lawless ones, seeing that his body could not be consumed by the fire, bade an executioner approach him to drive in a dagger. And when he had done this there came out [a dove and] abundance of blood so that it quenched the fire, and all the multitude marveled at the great difference between the unbelievers and the elect” (Christian History, Issue 27).