Martyrs and Terror

Revelation 6.9-17

The Lamb breaks the fifth and sixth seals. The martyrs in heaven cry out, “How long?” And the answer is not very before the catastrophic destruction of the created order begins.

The lines have been drawn. It’s becoming more and more difficult to ride the fence. The decision to give up or give in is an ever present temptation. Many will choose that route and shipwreck their faith. They may not lose their salvation, but they will lose the life that Jesus saved them for. For those who overcome, for those who hold fast their testimony, for those who don’t give up or give in, not only does the kingdom await, now they experience the fullness of joy and abundance of life that Jesus saved us for.

Like I said earlier…we aren’t in the Shire anymore. We’re on the hunt for a dragon. We are in dangerous territory, and it may well cost us our lives. But if so, our voices will be joined with the heroic tribe of martyrs who have gone before. “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose” – Jim Elliot

Make no mistake…God will deal with sin. Though we may not be called to give up our life, if we are following Jesus, we will in some way suffer for our faith. Maybe it’s being overlooked or left out. Or maybe it’s something worse. And sometimes it’s the suffering that living in a broken world brings that we experience even as we try to walk in obedience (loss, loneliness, sickness, death, betrayal, etc.). We too can think, “How long?” And if we are being honest, we are sometimes tempted to think that somehow God doesn’t know or doesn’t care or maybe can’t help us in our suffering. But the martyrs remind us that God does know and care about our suffering, that He is working out a bigger plan, and in His wisdom and timing He will deal with sin and make all things right. 

If you have not yet trusted in Jesus, maybe you’ve written God off, thinking how can a good God allow such evil? Make no mistake…God will deal with sin. He does not take it lightly…in fact, He takes it so seriously that He says someone will die for it. And so He sent Jesus to die on a cross…to take on the wrath of God against the sin of the world. We are mistaken if we think God doesn’t care about the suffering in this world (or that we care about it more than He does). So we have a choice…we can allow Jesus to take on God’s wrath for our sin, or we will have to take it on ourselves. Choose wisely.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the app store or google play.

A Fierce Faith

1 Samuel 17

God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. The story of David and Goliath is the story of a fierce faith that conquers not only fear, but also an enemy of such gigantic proportions that he seems impossible to defeat. So let me ask you again, what is the goliath in your life? Do you believe that God is bigger?

Two men have the same problem. A giant of a man, an overpowered killing machine, a fierce warrior named Goliath. Saul, seeing only the man, looking only at his circumstances, considering only the outward appearance of things is dismayed and greatly afraid. He relied on his armor and his abilities, his natural strength and charisma to face his problems. But when the problem was bigger and stronger and fiercer and scarier than him, he was paralyzed with fear. It’s easy to be like Saul. Just look at your circumstances, see life from a pedestrian vantage point, live life in your own strength and eventually your goliath will come and stop you in your tracks.

David reminds us what it means to be a “man after God’s own heart”…a man who is brave and bold…a man of faith and conviction…a man willing to step onto the battlefield and face down his enemies, who knows that the battle belongs to the LORD, and who is trusting in Him to fight for him and with him. A man who looks not at the outward appearance of things…whatever the circumstances…but who sees the world from God’s perspective. A man of fierce faith.

So Dad’s, what does it look like to have a fierce faith? Let me give you a few thoughts. First, it involves spending time in the Word, time in prayer, time with other men…remembering who God is. David was able to be such a man because he knew the LORD. Not just as a passing acquaintance. But he had been to battle with Him before. David had spent time with Him and tested Him. Unlike Saul, David hadn’t forgotten who God is. Second, it’s shepherding your family well, providing for them, protecting and serving them. Leading them and guiding them. Nurturing them. Fighting for them. You see a fierce faith isn’t just for you…but according to Deuteronomy 6, it’s for you to pass on to your sons. To do that, you have to teach it to them and model it for them. But you can you can only do that if you have a fierce faith yourself. Finally, it’s acknowledging that sometimes life is hard, and also acknowledging that God is greater. And Dad’s for those of you who are here today let me just tell you that I’m proud of you. For many men it’s not easy going to church. But by being here today you’re showing your family what it looks like to follow Jesus in the day to day. Sometimes in our walk with God we just need to show up. 

As we end today I want to ask you one last question. Do you know the LORD? Years later One of David’s descendants, Jesus, will face down an even greater enemy, Satan, and having secured victory through His own death on a cross and His resurrection from the dead, Jesus gives the spoils of His triumph to those of us who believe…forgiveness of sins, life eternal, a kingdom. Do you know the LORD?

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Father’s Day sermon. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @ccclancaster

Easter Devotional – March 7

Matthew 10:16-25

A Hard Road before Them

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; 18 and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20 For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.

23 “But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.

The Meaning of Discipleship

24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!

Jesus has His disciples in a huddle and is giving them instructions for their mission. Have you ever felt ill-equipped for a task? What if I invite someone to church and they have questions about this head-crushing seed of the woman? What if I don’t know what to say? Jesus tells His disciples (and us) not to worry, that the Spirit of the Father will speak through you.

Our lives are filled with opportunities, assignments and risks. For what or whom are you willing to take risks? Are you prepared to follow Him even if people reject, threaten, or accuse you?

Prayer: Father, give me the courage to follow You whatever the circumstance.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (