Friday, October 23, 2020
I am convinced that I know very little about suffering for the cause of Christ. The church of Jesus Christ in western civilization has created sufficient comfort zones to protect us from the discomfort of persecution. We have compromised our citizenship in the Kingdom of God by becoming acceptable and pleasing to the Kingdom of this world. The day is coming very soon when we will pay a serious price for such choices. We will not be prepared for the suffering that is to come, and many will fall away.
It is time for those who have claimed Christ to begin proclaiming Him. Without shame. Without embarrassment. Without fear.
In some Bible schools in India, graduating students take the Martyr’s Oath publicly during the commencement. At the climax of the ceremony, these graduates rise to their feet, raise their hand, and repeat similar words to these:
TODAY, I stand as a dead man. I declare that in Jesus Christ, I am saved by His blood, and thus I am dead to sin, and no longer dead in my sin. TODAY, I stand and declare that I surrender my will and my life, to His will and His life.
I shall go where He sends me, without asking questions. I shall go to whomever He sends me, without seeking fame. I shall preach to everyone, even if they hate me. I am an Ambassador of the Cross, and must deliver the Message. I shall pour my life out to reach my family, my friends, my neighbors, and my city.
I embrace the shame of the Cross, and I fear nothing but God. I welcome suffering, shame, persecution, beatings, imprisonment and death, but I will not be silenced.
If I am killed, I pray that my blood should be a harvest for souls. This is my city. I dare not do less.
After their oath, each student is given three items, and only three items. As they walk across the stage and receive their diploma, each graduate takes into his possession a new Bible, a new bicycle, and a one-way train ticket to their field of service. They have no “Plan B.”
Earlier this week I spoke with a man who is reading the book The Martyr’s Oath. He read the oath to me. I struggled with the apparent contradiction between my knowledge of the truths presented and their application in my life. I need to study it more, and make a determined, Holy Spirit empowered commitment to adapting every word as my life purpose. Maybe you would be willing to join me.
THE MARTYR’S OATH
I AM A FOLLOWER OF JESUS. I believe he lived and walked among us, was crucified for our sins, and was raised from the dead, according to the Scriptures. I believe he is the King of the earth, who will come back for his church.
As he has given his life for me, so I am willing to give my life for him. I will use every breath I possess to boldly proclaim his gospel. Whether in abundance or need, in safety or peril, in peace or distress, I will not—I cannot—keep quiet. His unfailing love is better than life, and his grace compels me to speak his name even if his names costs me everything, Even in the face of death, I will not deny him. And should shadow and darkness encroach upon me, I will not fear, for I know he is always with me.
Though persecution may come, I know my battle is not against flesh but against the forces of evil. I will not hate those whom God has called me to love. Therefore, I will forgive when ridiculed, show mercy when struck, and love when hated. I will clothe myself with meekness and kindness so those around me may see the face of Jesus reflected in me, especially if they abuse me.
I have taken up my cross; I have laid everything else down. I know my faith could cost me my life, but I will follow and love Jesus until the end, whenever and however that may end may come. Should I die for Jesus, I confess that my death is not to achieve salvation but in gratitude for the grace I’ve already received., I will not die to earn my reward in heaven, but because Jesus has already given me the ultimate reward in forgiveness of my sins and the salvation of my soul.
For me to live is Christ; for me to die is gain.
In Jesus’ name, Amen