The opportunity to teach on Wed. night came up again
and below is the result.
Martyrdom God’s Strange Victory Strategy
and the practical application “where I live"
What is the eternal purpose of the church?
Ephesians 3:8-10 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
What kind of a church displays to “the powers” the wisdom of God?
What is the wisdom of God?
How is it displayed?
Romans 11:13But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.
What kind of a church would move the Jew to jealousy and see some of them saved.?
At the cross God’s wisdom is revealed and the world’s wisdom is revealed.
The world’s wisdom = Threat, Power, Intimidation and Violence
God’s wisdom = Patience, Suffering, Forgiveness, Humility even unto death. Out of that came the triumph.
The fear of death could not intimidate Jesus. He suffered the worst they could inflict and
did not respond in kind.
“Crisis reveals and absolute crisis reveals absolutely.” Art Katz
It reveals what we really are, not when we are at our best in the best of circumstances but when we are stretched out to breaking and forsaken by all. Even ‘feeling’ forsaken, forgotten by God.
Example; Lazarus, a sickness unto death, a death with no explanation, no knowledge of his being resurrected.
Martyrdom’s ultimate exhibition when faced with physical death, flows out of a life that has been lived with a “my life is not my own” attitude. It has to flow out of love.
1Cor. 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
1 Cor. 13:3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
I have known a few, very young, very new believers in Jesus, who had to endure the death of a close friend or relative, and my thought is, “Why God? They are so young in You, shouldn’t they have a honeymoon period?” And some new believers do get that honeymoon period, but I have seen in these “chosen” ones a depth and a dedication to God, as they come through this ‘early fire.’ They go on to live a life serving God wherever He chooses. God is not wasteful, yet many saints have died young. Jerry’s truth, “You are eternal until you have fulfilled the purposes of God for your life.” John 19:10,11a So Pilate said to Him, "You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?” Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above;”
Acts Chapter 7:60 “Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" Having said this, he fell asleep."
Stephen died more gloriously than Saul had been able live following all the laws. Something was exhibited in Stephen’s dying that planted a seed deep in Paul, that was harvested on the Damascus Road. People are watching how you go through your deaths. The gospel is being preached by you, the wisdom of God is being demonstrated by you, when you walk through dying with the grace given by the Eternal Spirit. The Centurion at the cross had seen many men crucified, but this man, this man, THIS man, THIS MAN dying with the grace given by the Eternal Spirit.
Hbr 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? This is not heroism, not gritting your teeth and determining to do it. Love comes from God and the eternal Spirit of God needs to be yielded to, in us. “NOT my will, but Yours be done.” This is the martyr’s theme. What is the nature of the Eternal Spirit of God? It is the character of God. It is what He is in Himself. The Spirit of self-sacrifice. To reveal that Spirit in the moment of extremity is to reveal God! What higher call is there? What greater purpose for your life?
How could you ever feel more fulfilled, than in the moment when you realize your life is revealing God’s life to another? These ultimate moments reveal God, not as men think Him to be, but as He in fact really is.
Mar 15:39 When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!"
So the Centurion, cries out from the depth of his being, “Truly this man was the son of God!”
Please don’t think for one second it was a calm, cool observation. Crashing head on against this man’s life, values, and foundations came the revelation of God, and out of that travail came the birth of this radical thought. This man, This Man THIS MAN, that I just killed was the son of God!!
Martyrdom is an attitude inside of our heart. A willingness to allow God to have His way with our life. It starts in a small way, “That can is full, can you take the garbage out, honey?” ...I was just walking into the kitchen to get a drink... the garbage was full before I walked in here, why didn’t you take it out?, legs broke, just like to give orders to the “help,”... Did I look too relaxed to you, like I was starting to have a good day?,
What is happening here? Self is rising up. The proper response when we see self is, “God forgive me.
The willingness to give up ones life for another is the wisdom of God. This is opposite, at cross purposes to the self-evident truths of the world’s wisdom. The “pursuit of happiness” and other stuff like that, that is supposed to be our goal.
Revelation 13:6,7 6And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.
Daniel 7:21 I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them
Daniel 7:25a He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One
We overcome by the willingness to suffer. Moment by moment we become willing to lay down our life and do the will of the Father.
Let God gather your 5 smooth stones. Smooth stones don’t have our expectations of the outcome, attached to them. Smooth stones don’t appeal to our flesh, they are not decorative, they are effective. Smooth stones bring down the giant of SELF.
Hbr 2:16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.
Gal 6:8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Eph 4:1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, Eph 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, Eph 4:3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Eph 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Hbr 2:14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, Hbr 2:15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
Hbr 2:17Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Hbr 2:18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.