Thursday, August 20, 2015

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The Bravest Man In History

          Obviously, the bravest man in history would be Jesus. However, He was not just a man, but was also God. He knew what he was in for, but came anyway. It's hard to even imagine that level of bravery.

          When Jesus was on the cross, He told the repentant thief that he would be with Him in Paradise - that day. The repentant thief knew he was going to die, whatever choice he made.

          Many people come to God at the last minute. My father was raised in what I assume to be a Christian home, because his grandfather was a minister. At 68 years old, in a hospital bed, he gave his life to the Lord. An Italian Catholic Christian barber friend of mine went to the hospital with me to visit my dad.  He cut his hair, shaved him, put on the aftershave and went to the foot of the bed.  He pointed to my dad and said: "you need Jesus". After realizing my dad was receptive he led him to the Lord. I got to pray with my dad one time before he died. He died a day and a half later.

          The man I am referring to, in this paper, is the one that was executed recently by ISIS.  He was on the beach, in an orange jump suit with 19 other men. They were on their knees in front of the ISIS murderers. The ISIS murderers went down the line offering to spare their life, if people would convert from Christianity to Islam. After the 19 Christians were all beheaded, because they wouldn't convert, they came to this man. He may or may not have been a Christian, but when he was questioned he said: "their God is my God" and consequently, they cut his head off. Is there anyone who would question where this man is living today? I don't know if the other prisoners had talked to him before this event, but he, at the last moment declared his God.

          Are there any of us who are strong enough, or brave enough, to hang next to Jesus and repent?  Are there any of us who would claim to be a Christian, knowing it would immediately cost us our head? I am not denigrating Jesus by calling this man the "Bravest Man In History", because he was just a man. He was not all man, and all God, like Jesus.

What makes the difference -

Matthew 16:24-26 "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his tree of sacrifice, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

Luke 12:16-21 "And he spoke a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

Some other brave men in history -

Daniel 3:19-25 "Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spoke, and commanded that they should heat the furnace sone seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spoke, and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God."

Daniel 6:16-23  Daniel was also given the chance to recant his God and escape execution. "Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spoke and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom you serve continually, he will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spoke and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom you serve continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocence was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God."

          Why were these men so brave?  It was because they knew God well enough to trust Him. All Bible believing, Born Again, Spirit filled Christians should have this same trust. A Christian should never be afraid of death. "To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord."[1]

Philippians 1:20-21  "According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

2 Corinthians 6:2
  "For Jesus said, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

          The first step, to salvation, this is the Born Again experience.[2] This involves the humbling of your spirit in order to repent of your sins. Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior is the second step[3]. Confessing before people is the third step[4]. Now it's time to grow in the Word[5], by the guidance of the Holy Spirit that has come to live in the Christian and a life of never ending love and education in what you have been  given, so freely by God.  Welcome to the family.

[1] 2 Corinthians 5:8
[2] John 3:3
[3] John 3:16-18
[4] Romans 10:9-10
[5] 2 Timothy 3:16


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