THE LAST CONFESSION – part 2

Hebrews 11:36-37 “and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, they were tempted, were slain of the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

Hebrews 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

It’s possible that there are multitudes of professing saints, have never considered the implication of these passages. They portray a life of continuous tribulation and uncertainty in the physical realm. A life lived largely in the outskirts and greatly misunderstood by the status-quo loving contemoraries. To some, these overcomers little more than a curiosity. Others will choose to mock them; “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.” On the other hand, to those who are fully given to wickedness, it’s not a joke. They understand the threat that these saints pose to their dark agenda, and will relentlessly seek to silence them. For those who walk close to Jesus and have abandoned the former conversations, trouble awaits around every corner. For them, survival isn’t secured by the arm of flesh or a carefully plotted out course of action. They may spend many of their days in anguish and uncertainty; not knowing where they will at days end or who will become the next person to rise in opposition to the truth. Yet they streadfastly maintain their testimony as they look for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Acts 20:24 “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

It’s a familiar passage, and yet  many struggle to understand it full meaning. Psalm 116:15 reads “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” It reveals that God, whose ways are not ours, does not view departing this world the way that we tend to view it. While we know that he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23, Ezekiel 18:32, II Peter 3:9) the passing of the righteous is “precious.” In fact, there is profound benefit; both in persecution and in martyrdom. There are several positives to persecution and/or ultimate martyrdom that carry over into eternity. The following is a partial listing (I’m sure that there are more) of the positives that accompany the trial of our faith.

1 – It validates our profession. A person will not lay down their life for an uncertainty. Choosing death over compromise states to the curious and serves warning to the implementers that everyone has a moment of departure from this place. Richard Wurmbrand once told about a house gathering in romania during the days of the Ceseacau regime. Soldiers broke down the door and announced that everyine was to be executed at that moment; unless they renounced their faith in Jesus. Most remained, but some elected to leave. After the compromised ones were cleared out, one of the soldiers told those who remained, words to the effect of “We wanted to know if your Jesus is real and would like to learn more of your faith.” Their method of approach had cleared the air of half-hearted ones and diminished the potential for betrayal. Sadly, those of us who have never looked down the barrel of a gun are unable to say how we will react. We want to believe that we will stand firm. We MUST stand for Jesus regardless of circumstances, however, when the prospect of a tomorrow is removed, ones true character instantly becomes manifest.

This is why we must continuouslty examine ourselves and ensure that our hearts are on things above. All who have died for Jesus, did so after relinquishing their hold on all that was temporary. 

Mark 8:35-36 “For whosoever shall will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the goslep’s, the same shall save it,
For what shall if profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

2 – The name of Jesus is glorified. When a saint chooses physical demise over abandoning their profession, it relays a myriad of truths to the observers. It testifies that the person loves Jesus more than all of the worlds offerings of comfort and prestige. (Philippians 3:7-8) It reveals a power that’s greater than all of the worlds methods of persuasion. (John 16:33) It says to the wicked, you have lost. I did not turn and today I am delivered from your hand.” (Daniel 3:16-18) But most importantly, the name of Jesus is lifted up and warning of a moment when each person must stand before him.

John 21_18-19 “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkest whither thou wouldest: but when tho shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. and when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

3 –  An exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Suffering for the sake of the gospel is grievous to the flesh, but the reward for enduring such will remain. Long after the present creation; with all of its monuments, and treasures, has been dissolved, those of us who know Jesus will be in his presence forever. Oue works in his name will remain forever and our affliction will turn to everlasting reward. In the myriad of passages that reveal this truth, the following is a favorite:

II Corinthians 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

“The words “for us” show who benefits from this and how how long the benefit will remain. Jesus told us ” For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” When we from our heart, begin to live continually in heavenly places; being in the world but not of it, the threatenings of this world lose their power over us. The apostle Paul openly confessed “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” In his letter to the Philipians, he expressed this desire to be absent from here and present with the Lord. His only attachment to this world was the overwhelming needs of the early churches.  

4 – Blessed of the Father. “Precious in the site of the LORD is the death of the saints.” When a person forfeits the lure of sin for a season and lays down their life for the cause of Christ, it does not go unnoticed in heaven. This is actually an expansion of the previous point. While we are called to love not our lives in this world, there is a special blessing to those who actually fulfil this. Laying down our lives for Jesus is a testimony of our relationship with the Father and exposes those who may profess to know him but do not.

John 16:2-3 “They shall pit you out of the synagogues: yea the time cometh, when whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
And these things will they do unto you, because they have not kown the Father, nor me.”

I Peter 4:19 “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”

That final verse in I Peter chapter 4 touches on the final aspect that I’m wanting to touch on. However, it will require a third installment in this series of posts in order to proprly address it. There are also some highlights from a message that I heard on Nov 6 which are in need of visiting as they touch on the topic of enduring until the end. I did not expect this subject to become so drawn out. As for now, I’ll post this and begin work on what (I think) will be the final installment.

Revelation 14:13 “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”

Blessings always in Jesus name.

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