(written on October 3, 2015)
Since the recent killing of ten Christians in Oregon, I’ve heard many believers question whether they would be courageous enough to confess Jesus if it meant certain death. I think there’s genuine fear in their question. In light of that, I would like to build up our faith in this area. Will every true Christian be brave enough to confess Jesus in the face of death, the answer is a RESOUNDING YES!
I have it on very good authority that you and I will indeed be able to pass this test of faith. I don’t say that lightly or with arrogance. Every Christian who has ever been martyred was not brave by their own strength of character. The truth is, it’s not human strength that allowed them to give their lives, it was the Holy Spirit who indwelt them Who gave them that miraculous power to die for their faith. This is as a result of the promise that Jesus made to His disciples in Acts, chapter one before He ascended up to heaven. But before I get to that, we need to lay a faith foundation. Every promise in the Word of God has to be joined with faith in order for it to benefit us. While the promise will always remain true and ours for the taking, without faith in it we will not enjoy the incredible peace that goes along with the promise. So, please listen to the following with a heart to believe.
This is Jesus speaking in Acts 1:8, “… but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” What will we receive when the Holy Spirit has come upon us? Power, which in the Greek means, dunamis, from which we get our English word, dynamite. That power is also “miraculous power.” What is the only reason mentioned by Jesus for giving us such miraculous, dynamite power? It’s the power is to be His witnesses. Does that mean we will be bold and not afraid to preach the Gospel? Yes, and so much more. The word, “witnesses” in the Greek language is, martus. Guess what that means? It’s where we get our word, “martyrs.” Ok, wow, let’s recap. Jesus, Himself has empowered us through God, the Holy Spirit, to “be His martyrs.“ May I also remind you that this is the same Holy Spirit Who raised Jesus from the dead and Who dwells in each and every true believer. Jesus is saying that the Holy Spirit will, with miraculous, dynamite power, give us the ability not only to live for Jesus but also to DIE FOR HIM!
I hope that builds your faith as much as it does mine! Here’s the thing: every promise is accessed by faith. Still, if we don’t take hold of the promises of God by faith, they will not for that reason cease to be in effect. Like I said earlier, we just won’t be able to access the peace or walk in the fullness of the benefits of said promises.
Not all of us will be called to die for our faith. Most of us will probably be called to live for our faith in a world that’s intent on killing it. But, whether we live or die, we have the power to do both. I think the really good news about walking with Jesus is that we don’t have to do it in our own strength (Phil. 2:13). It’s not about us trying harder. It’s about getting out of the way (by believing God’s Word) and letting God’s power work in and through us. Think of it: we have GOD’S miraculous power in order to live as His witnesses or to die as His martyrs. Either way, we win in the end.
So then, the question isn’t “Would I die for Jesus tomorrow?” The real question is, “Will I live for Jesus today?” Because if we’re living for Him today, we are already filled with the power to die for Him tomorrow.
Shalom, Big D