October 3, 2019
"There were as many as 5,000 Christians martyred in the Colosseum of Rome under Nero and Marcus Aurelius and Domitian. But there's one story of a mortar named Polycarp, the 86 year old bishop of Smyrna that I'll never forget. Polycarp was so godly and he was influencing so many people to come to Christ, that Marcus Aurelius brought him to the Colosseum to have him killed and to have him silenced as a witness of Christ. "
- As you suffer as you're ridiculed as you are laughed at, What does the trail of martyrs do to encourage you?
00:13 I will never forget my first varsity game coming out of a little bitty small town in Texas and then going to Dallas to play football and my first Varsity game walking into Albridge stadium in southern Alabama and I don't know how many thousands of Auburn fans, crazy, wild Alabama people screaming at us as we walked on the field. Tiger meat, tiger meat, tiger meat, tiger meat! Man, I thought a bunch of tigers were going to come out and eat us. I'd never seen anything like that in my life. Scared me to death. We won that game and silenced the crowd that day. Sorry, Auburn fans, but ridiculed, even though that was really, you know, almost fun, kind of ridiculed, but real ridicule. The kind of ridiculed that Christians are facing around this world. The kind of ridiculed that Christian kids that I know that are facing in their schools and Christian businessmen and women are facing as they represent Christ in everything they do.
01:12 And because the world is so today set out to put down Christians and destroyed the basics of our faith, suffer real ridicule. In fact, there are people all over this world today that are being martyred for the cause of Christ. Having their heads literally cut off in some of the Muslim driven worlds because they're preaching Christ that kind of ridicule isn't fun. That kind of ridicule is awful. There is a history of martyrs in the name of Christ since the first day that they began to proclaim Jesus' name in Rome after the resurrection of Christ. But God is going to avenge the blood of the martyrs. In Revelation six verses nine through 11 talks about that. Talks about the vengeance of God in the fifth seal of the judgments of the future.
02:00 And He says this in Revelation six nine through 11. John is writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and he says, "when the lamb broke the fifth seal I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and because of the testimony which they had maintained. The testimony they had maintained and they cried out with a loud voice. How Long, Oh lord, holy and true will you refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell upon the earth. And there was given to each of them a white robe and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer until the number of their fellow servants were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also."
02:42 Oh to be martyred for Christ. Fox's book of martyrs tells stories of martyrs in the first century of Christianity and some days, Fox's book says there were as many as 5,000 Christians martyred in the Colosseum of Rome under Nero and Marcus Aurelius and Domitian. But there's one story of a mortar named Polycarp, the 86 year old bishop of Smyrna that I'll never forget. Polycarp was so godly and he was influencing so many people to come to Christ, that Marcus Aurelius brought him to the Colosseum to have him killed and to have him silenced as a witness of Christ. And as Polycarp walked in before the proconsul of the Colosseum. The proconsul said recant and give your tribute to Caesar. And Polycarp looked at him with a smile on his face and peace in his heart. And he said, 86 years I've served him and never once he is wrong me. How can I now then blaspheme my king who has saved me? And the proconsul cried out to Polycarp in the coliseum. He said, I'll threaten thee with fire. And Polycarp says, you threatened me with fire that burns for an hour and then is extinguished with the fire of future judgment, the fire of eternal punishment reserved for the ungodly. You know nothing of, why do you wait, do what you please and as the fires of the martyrdom consumed Polycarp and literally burned him alive at the stake. The eye witnesses said that Polycarp had peace on his face and in the flames he said, oh Lord, I bless the for considering me worthy to go down with the martyrs.
04:16 And so before us is this trail, this long, beautiful trail of thousands of saints who have been martyred for the name of Christ. But the day will come. Scripture says when the fifth seal is broken on the scroll that they're punished. That their sacrifice will be redeemed and that God's Will will be the one that will avenge the blood of the martyrs. And so my question for you today is, as you suffer as you're ridiculed as you are laughed at, What does the trail of martyrs do to encourage you? Be encouraged as you walk with Christ in the face of ridicule.