Summary: Are you ready to be a Stephen or a Demas?
Hebrews 11:35b ... others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
There two hallways in the Hall of Faith. Everyone wants to be part of the one side described in verses one to thirty-five a. No one really wants to consider being in the other hallway described here.
There are many brethren entering this hallway around the world. We have had our time of being in the first hallway. We have seen many rise to greatness in the Church as well as some current wannabes that are more flash than substance that would be rebuked by the great pastors and evangelists of the past.
We are most likely on the brink of seeing the doorway to the first hall being closed. We are asleep in our "prosperity" like the Laodiceans. We see the current resurgence of economy and a glimmer of interest in church, but this may only be a respite before the door opens to the hallway of faith in the above passages.
We have the opportunity to win more souls and get the saints edified to be able to stand in the coming days when this season is ended. Yet, we are not using it. We are still doing church as usual not seeing the signs like those who ignored the preaching of Noah.
When the persecution comes will you enter into this hallway rejoicing that you can sufferer for Jesus or will you abandon the Gospel ship for the lifeboats of this world? Will you be a Stephen or a Demas? Prepare now and ask God to give you a heart ready to be sacrificed for the truth and that blessed hope we acknowledge theologically but do not serve it in faith. Maranatha!