“For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard,” Acts 4:20.
Often persecution is the main difference between those who witness for Christ and those who do not. In Acts 5:40-42, the apostles were beaten for disobeying the laws of the council to stop preaching the gospel in Jesus name. “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name” (Acts 5:41).
Here we see people joyful to suffer for Christ, strange behavior. They put their feet down and obeyed God instead of people. That felt good inside, even though outside it hurt something awful.
In Revelation 6:9, souls under the altar are martyred for two things, the Word of God and for the testimony which they held. Millions of Gentile Christians die in the last half of the Tribulation Period for two things—the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God (Rev. 7:9, 14; 20:4). In Acts 8:4, after the great persecution against the church, “they . . . went every where preaching the word.”
It appears that, when a Christian has nothing of the world left to attract his attention, his heart turns to Jesus and he does what he was saved to do (Heb. 2:4; 12:1, 2). Jesus was crucified for the joy that was set before Him because He was bringing many sons to glory. Watching Jesus suffer on the cross was enough for the apostle John to quit worrying about his position in the kingdom and become a soul-winner.
All of the apostles were martyred in heinous ways for two things, their witness and for the Word of God. Are we compelled? Jesus said to the apathetic Laodicean church, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten” (Rev. 3:19).
JUST A THOUGHT – It seems the things of earth must grow strangely dim before we can see the souls of mankind running pell-mell down the broadway to hell.
Robert A. Brock