Summary: A sermon on the letters of the Ick-Thoos, the Sign of the Fish
Sermon for 4/13/2003
The Sign of the Fish
A. What do you think about fish?
B. Are you taking us out to Libby Hill or Mayflower later?
C. Are you talking about fishing? I love to fish. I hate to fish. The worms are slimy and the fish are slimy and wiggily. I took my boys fishing and they called the worms snakes.
A. I am talking about the sign of the fish. Mention it behind you.
B. The fish symbol is the earliest symbols of the Christian faith.
C. When the Christian faith was still new, many Christians were persecuted and forced to worship secretly. The fish symbol served as a secret form of communication. Often the persecuted Christians would scratch this symbol on the ground to identify themselves to fellow believers.
D. If a Christian scratched the symbol of the fish and there was no response, then he would know that this was not a fellow Christian. If he scratched it and the other party recognized it, then it would a safe place, safe harbor for him.
E. It was a secret symbol. Many clubs in our society have secret symbols and handshakes, etc.
F. In first, second and third centuries there were great persecutions against people who called themselves Christians. The Roman Empire did not allow a new faith. These Christians were tortured and killed.
1. Stephen was stoned to death for being a Christian.
2. James was put to death with the sword.
3. Antipas was put to death in the city of Pergamum.
4. Peter was crucified on a cross upside down.
5. Paul was beheaded.
6. During the second and third centuries AD there were many persecutions. Many times there were so many Christians that they would hold prayer meetings and sing songs in their holding pens before the next day when they were lead out to the areanas to be fed to the lions or to fight with gladiators or to be crucified on crosses for the enjoyment of the population. In the persecutions under Diocletian from 295 to 305 AD, one of the reasons that it stopped was because it was no longer enjoyable for the population. As the crowds saw their friends and neighbors being beaten or tortured, fed to the lions, it was not enjoyable, it sickened the people who came to the areanas to see their friends suffer and die.
7. In 313 AD Christianity was allowed in the Roman Empire. However, this does not mean that the persecutions stopped in other lands. As the years have gone by many have died for their Christian faith. One of my ancestors from the Czech Republic, John Huss, was martyred in the 14th century for preaching about his Christian faith. They burned him at the stake and all the while he was singing a song, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” The crowd was upset and sickened by the sight.
8. In this century, we have not seen it here, but their have been more people die for there faith in Christ than all the mryters in the other centuries.
G. Why? Why did they do that? Are they crazy?
H. We probably believe in company we work for. If we didn’t believe in the products, goals and objectives of the company we work for we would not be working their for long. However, would we die for our job?