A Life Worth Dying For
Some of you may remember last year (2016) - A Christian woman's fateful and defiant stance in front of a bulldozer.
Unlike the iconic man who brazenly stopped a tank in the 1989 uprising, Ding was pushed into a ditch and buried alive as horrified congregants watched helplessly.
That is one reason why Chinese Christianity has sometimes been described as the faith of the martyrs.
Sadly – that reflects not one instance but thousands of years of suffering and martyrdom.
In 1903 we learned in grade school there was another Chinese movement known as the “Boxer Rebellion.”
The Chinese Emperor had begun to feel threatened that western influence including Christianity was a threat to their nationalism.
Under aggressive martial law and by Imperial Order a period that historians call the “Boxer Rebellion” flourished as Armed bands of soldiers combed the streets,
setting fires to homes and – and with Imperial blessing – killing Chinese Christians.
One shy and retired priest gathered with about seventy faithful believers in his home for consolation when the Boxers surrounded the house.
They were stabbed or burned to death.
One of the martyrs was a mission school teacher. She was slashed by the Boxers and buried, half-dead. In an attempt to save her, a bystander unearthed her, carrying her to his home where the Boxers seized her again, torturing her to death, thereby crowning her with the crown of martyrdom for a second time.
The priests youngest son, John, an eight-year-old child, was brutally tortured as the mob cut off his ears, nose, and toes.
Witnesses later described that John did not seem to feel any pain, and walked steadily/ People stood amazed as this boy watched his friends and family tortured and executed, and suffered his own disfigurement while remaining calm and declaring that it did not hurt to suffer for Christ.
John seemed to know something about Peace that few in America ever learn.
St. Paul writes about this in the Letter to Philippi as “A Peace that surpasses all understanding”
Keeping with the Chinese for a moment. The Chinese have a saying that states. “If you don’t know where you’re going,” “any road will get you there.”
The Gospel takes that a step further to state if you do know where you’re going, there is nothing in the world Nothing can stop you from getting there.
Paul writes that “Whosoever shall call on the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13)
But what are we saved from. Are we saved from pain, are we saved from worry, are we saved from sadness. (Even Jesus cried).
So what are we saved from.
The Bible tells us to “call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins" (Matt 1:21)
And Romans reminds us that the Wage of sin is death. (Eternal Death).
In other words – we are saved from the deadly wrath of a just God for we are all sinners.
If you listen to the way some preachers speak about the gospel, you get the idea that humanity mainly needs to be saved from its lack of fulfillment.
· Maybe your marriage hasn't worked out according to plan;
· or your child isn't turning out the way you hoped;
· or your dream career has turned out to be a dead end.
· Your health or living arrangements don’t seem as great as the brochure promised.
· Or You have bad habits you can’t break.
That is not what Jesus died for. So, don’t pollute your ears or your heart with that garbage.
Sure those things may improve as a result of salvation because the Holy Spirit is now taken up residence in you working on breaking these chains and strengthening your resolve every day BUT….
…. The primary reason that God sent Jesus Christ to save us is from the consequence of our sin, and everybody falls into the category of sinner.
It doesn't matter whether we among the haves or the have-nots, whether we have great expectations or none at all, we are still sinners.
We have broken the law of God and He's angry about it. Unless something happens to change our condition, we on your way to eternal hell.
We all need to be rescued from the consequences of sin.
For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. (Rom 3:23)
Thankfully, God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Praise The Lord.