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Those of whom the world is not worthy (2)

Manmin News   No. 755
638
December 03, 2023


쒋 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. (Hebrews 11:33-38)


When we have the faith of which the world is not worthy, we are filled with love for God. Such fervent love for God brings spiritual courage that drives away all fear in any persecutions. It is because perfect love expels fear. Those who are united with the Lord by faith can overcome the world because He has already won the world (John 16:33).
We can glorify God when we defeat the enemy devil, the ruler of the world and enlighten the world with the light of the Lord. The devil fundamentally tempts people to commit sins and then to fall into hell.
We are God셲 children and in our spiritual warfare, it is the most important for us to keep true faith until we are put in the arms of the Lord and then reach eternal life.
In the previous issue we looked into a few pioneers of faith who had the faith of which the world was not worthy: Elijah who called down the answer of fire, Elisha who did not look at a reality, Esther who saved her people, Daniel who did not compromise before the threat of death, Shadrach and Meshach and Abed-Nego who steadfastly kept their faith, Gideon who was a warrior of faith, young David who triumphed over Goliath, and King Jehoshaphat who defeated the allied enemies.
Now let us look into other pioneers of faith in New Testament times who were united with the Lord in faith and overcame the world.


1. Such perfect faith that gave up one셲 own life

John 6:53-55 reads, 쏶o Jesus said to them, 쁔ruly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.쇺 What does then 쁔he flesh and blood of the Son of Man symbolize in a spiritual sense?
John 1:1 reads that the Word was God and John 1:14 reads that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. That refers to Jesus, and the flesh of the Son of Man, the Word of God. Therefore, to eat His flesh we have to make our bread of the Word, which spiritually means that we have to get rid of evils from our heart and instead to fill it with truth and goodness, thereby renewing our mind. We can enjoy good health when we eat various food and take proper nutrients. It also applies to our spirit. Our spirit prospers and our faith grows when we make the bread of God셲 words.
When we eat the flesh of the Lord and make our bread of the Word, we should drink His blood at the same time. To drink His blood, we have to obey His words in action that we have learned, through which His blood cleanses us from all sin. When we eat bread, we usually drink water. Water helps us take nutrients properly and excrete wastes.
Similarly, we have to act upon the words of God we have learned. Only then can His words become life and strength within us because untruths leak out from the heart and truths fill it. Hatred departs and love fills, arrogance disappears and humility enters, and hot-temper leaves and meekness dwells.
Only by acting upon His words will His blood cleanse us from all sin (1 John 1:7) and our faith be perfected (James 2:22). The action of obedience to the Word is the proof of true faith in God and by this proof can we be made righteous, not a sinner any longer.
In this sense, those who make the bread of the Word and obey it in action can eat His flesh, true bread and drink His blood, true cup so that they can gain eternal life.
And when they eat His flesh and drink His blood and fill the heart with truths, they come to have clear hope for resurrection. They don셳 have lingering attachments to the world but possess such a perfect faith as enables them to lay down their lives for the Lord.
While they are suffering from temporary afflictions or put to death, they believe and consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with heavenly glory.
They have the knowledge of the Lord셲 love that sacrificed all His, so that they can readily lay down their own lives for Him. They can choose that way because their love for Him drives away the fear of death.


2. Those pioneers of faith who loved God with their lives

1) The Lord셲 disciples were martyred under severe persecutions
All Jesus disciples were persecuted and walked the way of martyrdom. The first martyr was James, brother of John. He was beheaded with a sword in the reign of King Herod.
Peter suffered many afflictions while spreading the gospel: he was seriously threated by the authorities and imprisoned. Finally, he was crucified upside down and put to death. John was thrown into a pot of boiling oil, but survived in the presence of the Lord. He was exiled to the island of Patmos, where he recorded the Book of Revelation according to the will of God. He was put into the Lord셲 arms within his natural lifespan.
Those disciples overcame persecutions and became martyrs because they had such a bold faith that God gave them and had a fervent love for the Lord. They gave Him whatever they had, and didn셳 spare even their own lives for Him at all.

2) Apostle Paul was beheaded after preaching the gospel to the gentiles
Paul was born with the Roman citizenship and well-educated under Gamaliel, one of the best scholars in his time. It was after he met Jesus Christ that he gave up all he had and began filling up in his flesh afflictions for Him. He was pressed daily due to his concern for all the churches, the body of Christ and rejoiced in suffering afflictions for Him (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).
When people tore off his clothes and beat him with rods and then threw him into prison, he sang hymns of praise to God therein (Acts 16:22-25). Some Jews stoned him and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead (Acts 14:19).
He walked the road of faith until the end because of the love of God (Romans 8:35-37). He used to persecute the churches and take the lead in arresting the believers in Jesus Christ. Now he was so much thankful for the grace of God who came to him and anointed him as the Lord셲 apostle though he had committed such grave evils. He always felt so much indebted to His love that he sacrificed all he had for the churches, the body of the Lord. He had faithfully preached the gospel as an apostle for the gentiles for the rest of his whole life until he was beheaded and put into the bosom of the Lord.

3) The believers in the early church overcame horrible persecutions at Colosseum
In 60 AD a great fire occurred in Rome. A rumor followed that Emperor Nero made the fire to build a new city of Rome, and Emperor Nero craftily attributed it to Christians to suppress people셲 chaotic apprehension.
As that result, many Christians were arrested without reason and Emperor Nero took advantage of them for the Romans entertainment. He let them torn to pieces and death by wild beasts at Colosseum for the Romans attractions.
By the way, the Christians accepted death without any fear while they died a martyred death During the martyrdom, some committed their souls to the Lord in a loud voice, some others sang praises toward heaven had in hand, and still others gave thanks to the Lord. They were devoured by the beasts and drew their last in glory.

4) Leaders in the early church didn셳 surrender to persecutions
In the second century of AD persecutions for Christianity were enhanced. Christians were prohibited from entering the public places and often stoned on the streets by violent mobs. They had to lead a religious life in danger.
Severer persecutions were inflicted upon church leaders. Ignatius, Patriarch of Antioch was devoured by a lion at Colosseum. Shortly before his death, he made a touch confession, saying, 쏧 am ground into a grain of God between a lion셲 jaws and turning into a holy bread for the Lord.
Polycarp was a disciple of Apostle John and ordained as a lead pastor of Smyrna church. He was forced to confess the Caesar of Rome was his Lord, but he never compromised with any threats at all. A Roman consul told him he would be released just with one bowing. But Polycarp said, 쏣ighty and six years I have served Him, and He has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King and Savior? At last, he was bound and burned at a stake and then stabbed to death because the fire failed to consume his body.

5) A great many believers in the catacomb
Christians had to suffer continual persecutions and many of them sought a hiding place. They came to dwell in the underground cemetery named catacombs.
They were always afraid that they might be killed anytime and had to live therein for decades, fettered with horrific apprehension. It looked like they were at death. But they could overcome such a miserable life thanks to their love for the Lord.
They brought the Lord셲 love into their remembrance daily through prayers and hymnal songs, and enjoyed talking about the hope for celestial life and everlasting joy.
Such persecutions for Christianity were even more cruel shortly before it was recognized as an official religion in Rome. Christians were deprived of their citizenship, many churches were burned to ashes, and many pastors and church leaders were arrested. The arrested Christian leaders were compelled to worship Roman gods and those who refused to were terribly tormented and martyred.
They could have survived only if they had denied their faith in Christ, but in reality, they died a martyred death even in severe persecutions. In their martyrdom they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to give their lives for the Lord.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
May you possess the faith of which the world is not worthy as an imitator of pioneers of faith and please God with such faith so that you can receive and enjoy all the blessings prepared for those children of God who are in His favor, in the name of the Lord I pray!


 

 

 
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