Imagine this: You’re gathered in church with your families and friends, your children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, and so on; worshiping God and having your weekly gathering, listening to the Pastor preach his sermon. When suddenly, the military barge in and shout out “anyone who wants to live must deny their faith and get out now! Anyone who stays and who will not obey our command to denounce your Christian faith, will be brutally executed!” What do you do? They have guns to your children’s heads, threatening if you don’t denounce your faith, that they’ll pull the trigger, executing your children, and that you will be next! Sadly, many would deny Christ and run for their lives.
Let’s look at a somewhat different scenario now. Christian execution comes to our nation, and the military are taking all who profess Biblical Christianity, and brutally murdering them. Now here’s something to think about strongly. In your everyday life, is your faith obvious enough that you’d be one taken to be executed? Do you preach enough solid, Biblical truth, that you’d be considered a “threat” to the nation’s agenda? Or would they not bother with you, because you are one who preaches a “feel good gospel” to people, and avoids preaching Biblical truth, in an attempt to avoid offending anyone? Or because you don’t even look any different from the world, either because of your lifestyle, or simply because you never talk about your faith? These are very good questions every single Christian should dwell on for a while, and strongly consider.
The truth of God’s Word offends. It offends so much, that Jesus was brutally murdered for preaching the truth! Of course, this was all in God’s plan for Christ, for Him to be an atonement for all our sins and pay our price! Even the apostles were murdered in various ways for preaching the truth of God’s Word and the Gospel! Throughout the ages Christians have been stoned, skinned, boiled in hot oil, burned at the stake, hung, dragged to death, beaten or clubbed to death, fed alive to lions, and many other various ways, all for their faith in Christ! Christians have also been thrown in prison, tortured in countless ways, mocked, ridiculed, and much more! All of this, simply for acknowledging and worshipping our God and Creator, and for warning people that without sincere repentance and full trust in Christ, they too (as we once were), are headed straight for Hell! After all, 1 Corinthians 1:18 says: For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Let’s very briefly look at the life of John Huss. Huss was born 1369 and lived until 1415, when he was burned at the stake for his faith. Why was he burned at the stake you ask? Well, John Huss was born into poverty, and to escape it, he trained for the priesthood. He said “I had thought to become a priest quickly in order to secure a good livelihood and dress and to be held in esteem by men.” In 1401 he was ordained and became the preacher at Prague’s Bethlehem Chapel. During these years, Huss was given a change of heart. It was the writings of John Wycliffe that had stirred up Huss’ interest in the Bible. Huss began to trust the Scriptures increasingly, saying: “desiring to hold, believe, and assert whatever is contained in them as long as I have breath in me.”
Huss was being criticized by the pope, and being called a heretic! Huss was continuing to be scandalized and radicalized by the pope. Continuing to lean purely on the Bible, the church authorities of his day (the true heretics), only got more angry with him. The Catholic Church was growing furious as he defied papal authority, by teaching that Christ alone is the head of the church, and not the pope. Huss said: “Let the disciples of Antichrist blush who, living contrary to Christ, speak of themselves as the greatest and the proudest of God’s holy Church. They, polluted by avarice and arrogance of the world, are called publically the heads of the body of the holy Church. According to Christ’s gospel, however, they are called the least.”
In November of 1414, the Council of Constance had assembled and urged Huss to come and give an account of his doctrine. Huss was promised safe conduct, but when he arrived, he was immediately arrested and was imprisoned for months. Instead of a fair hearing, Huss was brought before the authorities in chains, and asked to withdraw his views. Huss, seeing he was not going to receive a fair hearing, said this: “I appeal to Jesus Christ, the only judge who is almighty and completely just. In his hands I plead my cause, not on the basis of false witnesses and erring councils, but on truth and justice.” He remained imprisoned many more months, where many people tried pleading with him to withdraw his views. Finally on July 6th, of 1415, Huss was given one last chance to withdraw his views at the stake, where he prayed this prayer as the flames engulfed him: “Lord Jesus, it is for thee that I patiently endure this cruel death. I pray thee to have mercy on my enemies.”
Huss’ death, as well as many other martyrs over the ages, are a perfect example of Matthew 10:28, which we are told, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Man might be able to kill our body, but once we die, only God has the power to destroy the soul and body in Hell! Fear God, not man. Nothing in this world is worth losing your soul for eternity in Hell. As Luke 9:25 says “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”
In Matthew 16:24 Jesus tells us that, if anyone desires to follow Him, we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him! Jesus here, and in Matthew 10:38, is demanding total commitment to Him alone, even to the death! We are to stay committed to Christ always, even if it means being violently executed for His name’s sake! Even today, there are many nations who practice Christian execution. It’s a very dangerous thing to be a Christian in these nations! People throughout the ages, and to this day, have been getting murdered for the name of Christ, and that’s what it means to be fully committed to Christ alone! These people don’t have their toes dipped in the water, like the church of Laodicea (the lukewarm church) does in Revelation 3:14-22. These people were/are either all in, or not in at all. To be a true Christian is to be all in. You’re either for Christ, or you’re not. You’re either a slave to sin or a slave to Christ. It’s truly that simple. You can’t be of the world and of God, because to be of the world is to be an enemy of God! James 4:4 says “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” And in Matthew 6:24 we’re told, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” There’s no grey, only black and white. There’s no lukewarm, either hot or cold. There’s no middle ground. You’re a slave to Christ, or to sin.
Matthew 7:21-23 gives us a firm warning! It says: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” What a scary thought! To assume you’re saved, then have our God tell us, “Depart from me, I never knew you, you who practice lawlessness!” There are many denominations who assume they’re doing the work of God, when all along, their theology is way off, and they’re preaching a false gospel altogether. Many teachings and teachers, preaching a false gospel, a “health and wealth” gospel, or “prosperity gospel,” which of course, isn’t the gospel at all.
The point is, we must stay true to God’s Word, we must be fully committed to Christ and live by what Scripture tells us, and not budge on the truth of God’s Word, even if it means losing our earthly lives. But that only means to go from this life, into the arms of our God and Savior! Remember, Jesus said in John 14:16 that, ”’I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me.’” And multiple times in Luke chapter 13, we’re told “unless you repent, you will likewise perish!” The only way to be saved, is through repentance and full trust in Christ. Nothing else.
So again, if Christian execution came to our nation, and perhaps one day it will, are you going to be one who gets murdered for the name of Christ? Or one who won’t be bothered with, because you don’t live the life Christ calls true Christians to? It’s not about being a perfect Christian, we won’t have our glorified bodies till we’re with our Creator. But it is about being a TRUE Christian. The scariest and worst thing that can happen to you, is to die and have God tell you depart, I never knew you. Always make sure you are truly in the faith! Test yourself with Scripture. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says: Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” So, my hopes and prayers for myself, as well as anyone reading this, is that, if and when Christian execution comes to our nation one day, that we’ll be able to take a stand on God’s Word, not back down, and if need be, die for the sake of our God and Savior.
I’ll leave you with this last thing to think about. It was George Whitefield who said, “I was honored today with having a few stones, dirt, rotten eggs, and pieces of dead cat thrown at me!” What an honor to be persecuted for the sake of our Savior! Again, if Christ, a perfect man, fully God, without sin and undeserving of death, could take our place and pay our price by dying for us, the least we, wretched, filthy, corrupt sinners, can do is the same for our God and Savior, if need came to be! Don’t be surprised when the world hates you for the name of Christ. Jesus says in John 15:18, “’If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”