Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matthew 5:11, 12.
John lived to be very old. He witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and the ruin of the stately temple. The last survivor of the disciples who had been intimately connected with the Saviour, his message had great influence in setting forth the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, the Redeemer of the world....
The rulers of the Jews were filled with bitter hatred against John for his unwavering fidelity to the cause of Christ. They declared that their efforts against the Christians would avail nothing so long as John’s testimony kept ringing in the ears of the people. In order that the miracles and teachings of Jesus might be forgotten, the voice of the bold witness must be silenced.
John was accordingly summoned to Rome to be tried for his faith. Here before the authorities the apostle’s doctrines were misstated. False witnesses accused him of teaching seditious heresies.... John answered for himself in a clear and convincing manner.... But the more convincing his testimony, the deeper was the hatred of his opposers. The emperor Domitian was filled with rage. He could neither dispute the reasoning of Christ’s faithful advocate, nor match the power that attended his utterance of truth; yet he determined that he would silence his voice.
John was cast into a caldron of boiling oil; but the Lord preserved the life of His faithful servant, even as He preserved the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace. As the words were spoken, Thus perish all who believe in that deceiver, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, John declared, My Master patiently submitted to all that Satan and his angels could devise to humiliate and torture Him. He gave His life to save the world. I am honored in being permitted to suffer for His sake. I am a weak, sinful man. Christ was holy, harmless, undefiled. He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. These words had their influence, and John was removed from the caldron by the very men who had cast him in.37
Up until now you may have considered yourself a fairly humble person. However, this short “Healthy Heart Challenge” is sure to challenge you in new ways, as you seek to go deeper in your walk with Christ. Remember, true revival can’t begin until we recognize how desperately we need Christ to change our hearts. Then as we fall broken at the foot of the Cross, surrendering our pride and self-sufficiency to Him, it is His joy to encircle us in the arms of His love, and make us new creatures that will display His glory!
In a stirring message, Sebastien Braxton challenges young people to step up to the plate and be the generation that will stand for the Lord. It's easy to get lost in the distractions of life, in the spiritual confusion that is taking over the world, but God has called us to rise up and be counted. This is a must-hear message for anyone who loves God's church.
How welcoming is your church? Is it a safe and inviting place for visitors to come? How can you make it even more welcoming for strangers that might walk through the door? In this practical and relevant article from Ministry Magazine, Alan Parker breaks down five keys to help church members be more effective in their welcome and witness.