While my husband preached the other day, this passage stood out to me. He spoke of how the guards at Jesus tomb were paid off to lie and say that Jesus did not rise from the dead. And as I thought on this I wondered how many believers could be shut up about their faith by some means or other. Thus the title "What Would It Take To Shut You Up?"

I think of all the martyrs who gave their lives, and others whose mouths would not be shut up, even in the face of persecution. Here is a list of some:
Stephen, stoned
James the son of Zebedee, beheaded
Philip, crucified
Matthew, killed with a halbert
James the Less, At the age of ninety-four he was beaten and stoned; and his brains were bashed out 
Matthias, stoned and beheaded
Andrew, crucified on an X-shaped cross
Mark, dragged to death
Peter, crucified head down because he told his executioners he was unworthy to die as his Lord did
Paul, persecuted many times over and finally beheaded
Jude, commonly called Thaddeus, crucified
Bartholomew, beaten and crucified
Thomas, thrust through with a spear
Luke, hanged
Simon, crucified
John, boiled in oil but survived miraculously, exiled to the Isle of Patmos

There are countless others. For instance, Polycarp, a student under the apostle John, when asked to renounce Christ and say that Caesar is Lord said, "Eighty-six years I have served Christ, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?" He would not recant and thus was burnt alive. Peter and John were commanded to shut up in Acts 4, but they're reply was that they could not help but to speak about the things they had seen and heard. Acts 4William Tyndale, "Brought forth to the place of execution, he was tied to the stake, strangled by the hangman, and afterwards consumed with fire, at the town of Vilvorde, A.D. 1536; crying at the stake with a fervent zeal, and a loud voice, 'Lord! open the king of England's eyes.'" 

In America, persecution is virtually non-existent, but for others it is still a reality in 2012.  Youcef Nadarkhani, is in prison with a death sentence for converting to Christianiy from Islam. Voice of the Martyrs publications are full of accounts of modern day persecutions.

 I ask myself and the reader, what would it take to shut you up? Sadly, many Christians are secret Christians. How many of us really share Christ like we should? So we have already been shut up. We need to share the gospel. We need to decide what we would do with an ultimatum like so many of our brothers and sisters have faced. We better decide now. We better know before the persecution starts. We need to make up our minds, and pray for boldness, that we will stand up and speak up, if and when, our time comes.

Let's pray for those around the world whose very lives are on the line as they speak up for the Lord. And lets not take our freedoms for granted. We need to speak up for the Lord Jesus Christ. There are still those who have never heard.

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1 comment:

Mrs. Mobunny said...

Good message, good post!

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