Persecution of believers around the world is still alive and well. I was painfully reminded of this when I read the story of three missionaries in Turkey who were recently ambushed, tortured and killed for their faith. The details of their torture are too gruesome to share here. They fell into the hands of Muslim extremists who believed it was their duty to commit such an unspeakable act, and they all died as martyrs for the sake of Jesus Christ.
I share this with you for three reasons. First, I want you to know that even though it is relatively easy for us to be open about our Christian faith here in America, that is not the case in others parts of the world. Second, I want you to catch a glimpse of what it means to deny yourself completely for Jesus Christ. That concept doesn’t really hit us until we find out about real life stories like this. The question I immediately asked myself was, “Would I be willing to die such a death for Him?” Would you? Third, I want you to take seriously the call to live out your faith in the world. These men died because they were unashamed of their faith even in a hostile environment. You and I are not facing torture and death for our faith, and yet we are often too embarrassed to openly share our faith with others. Perhaps we just have it way too easy here.
If you are a Christian, what is it costing you to follow Christ? As your pastor, I don’t want to see any of you hurt in any way. Yet, at the same time, I hope to hear about the suffering you experience because you are living your faith out in the open.
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