Summary: No matter how hard the enemy tries to stop God, he will never succeed. God is all-powerful and His word lives on through the lives of His people.
Matthew 24:35--Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words will never pass away.
a. Greek word for “pass away” is parerchomai (par-er-khom-ahee) which means to perish, neglect, avert, pass away without fulfillment, or to be in vain (it is a declaration)
Hebrews 1:11—They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. BUT you remain the same, and your years will never end.
a. Greek word for “remain” is diameno (dia-meno) which means to remain permanently, to endure, to remain constant.
b. At the beginning of Matt. 24, the disciples were admiring the durability and beauty of the temple. But Jesus comes back and says to them that only His words will endure; only the truth of God survives! Empires rise and empires fall, rulers come and rulers go, cultures and ideas seem to shift like the sand, so what remains? God’s word will remain—it cannot be stopped.
II. People of God
A. Examples of faithful Christians who were/are determined to spread God’s word.
1. early Christian martyrs (including disciples)
*Stephen—1st Christian martyr; stoned to death but left an impression on crowd, including Saul of Tarsus
* James the son of Zebedee-- beheaded, but as he was led to his execution he led his accuser to Christ
*Philip—disciple of Jesus who ministered with fervor and diligence in Upper Asia; was crucified
*Andrew—preached the gospel to many Asiatic nations; was crucified on what we call “St. Andrew’s Cross” because the two ends were fixed transversely in the ground.
*Mark—was converted to Christianity by Peter and wrote the gospel of Mark under Peter’s inspection. He was dragged to pieces by the people of Alexandria.
*Peter—the blessed apostle of Christ; was crucified with his head down and his feet upward (by his request) because he said that he was unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as his Lord was.
*Luke—traveled with Paul preaching the Gospel; hung from an olive tree by the evil priests of Greece.
2. Jim Elliott and more contemporary martyrs (from Jesus Freaks book by DC Talk)
*Jim Elliott was killed in 1956 while attempting to make missionary contact with the tribes of Eastern Ecuador. His wife, Elisabeth, returned after her husband’s murder to be a missionary to the same people that killed him. She spent many years as a missionary in South America.
*During China’s Red Guard Era (1966-69) two Christian girls, Chiu-Chin-Hsiu and Ho-Hsiu-Tzu, were shot to death for refusing to change their faith in Christ.
*In 1999, a 15 year old boy named Roy Pontoh was at a Bible camp in Indonesia, when an angry Muslim mob broke up the meeting, stood Roy before the crowd and told him to renounce Christ. He refused and his attackers sliced him open with a sword and threw his body in a ditch.
3. Recent news:
*NAIROBI, Kenya, October 27 (Compass Direct News) – Among at least 24 aid workers killed in Somalia this year was one who was beheaded last month specifically for converting from Islam to Christianity, among other charges, according to an eyewitness.
*The U.S. Department of State released a statement detailing its serious concern about the brutal beating of Pastor “Bike” Zhang’s sons by China’s Public Security Bureau (PSB) on October 23. They also condemned the harassment and recent imprisonment of Pastor Zhang by the PSB.
“We are gravely concerned by the brutal beating of Pastor Zhang “Bike” Mingxuan’s two sons by public bureau officials. We are also deeply concerned by continuing official harassment of Pastor Zhang, a prominent Beijing house church leader, including his arbitrary detention and the forced relocation of his family,” said Robert Wood, The U.S. Department of State, Deputy Spokesman in a press release.
B. Even though all of these faithful Christians have faced severe persecution and death, they never turned their back on God. They were witnessing until the end because God’s word is true and it will live on in the lives of the people that were converted because of the obedience of these martyrs to preach the gospel! It is alive and well now because of the faithfulness of God’s people to preserve and continue proclaiming the Word of God!! Will you continue their cause??
1. Hebrews 4:12…..For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
II. The Presence of God
Psalm 139:7-8 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.