The Rock Church began this Memorial Day service with a standing ovation to all those who have and are serving in the military of the United States of America, especially those who have paid the ultimate price with their lives.
Its not my problem, is a quote often said when various crimes are committed. We as a society tend to turn a blind eye to injustices of all sorts, even to our beliefs and our Christian witness. And that is exactly how the devil wants us to be. But how does God want us to be? For what things should we stand firm?
Miles shared a story in which he had the privilege of touring a battleship with a three star admiral. Everyone on board snapped to attention when the admiral was present and did anything he asked or commanded. So Pastor Miles posed this question to each of us: how do we treat Jesus orders to us? The disciples followed Jesus till the end. The commitment they made is the same type of commitment made by a soldier. It is one thing to follow someone around when times are good, but quite another to follow him into battle.
1. The disciples were threatened not to preach, but they preached anyway.
In Acts 4, Peter and John preach the Word and people believe, but this upsets the religious leaders in the area. In verse 14, these men are unable to say anything bad against the disciples, as they recognized the miracle of the healing the disciples had performed. The leaders didnt know what to do with the disciples, so they asked them to leave.
Peter and John replied, Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard (verse 19-20). Basically, Peter and John say that they will not leave, but simply tell the truth.
2. Beaten and jailed, they praised God.
Our soldiers, Peter and John, are captured, but they do not change. They stay true to the cause. In Acts 16, they are in jail for healing a demon-possessed woman. Do they moan, complain, or pout? No!
But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them ~ Acts 16:25.
In life we will suffer, but how we react to it is everything. God can bless us for praising Him. By praising Him, we show others how to have faith. If you were with a soldier in a hostile environment only to see him running away once the shooting started, what would your opinion of that soldier be? If we run away from God when times are hard, then what kind of Christians are we?
3. They were martyred for their faith and they saw God.
In Acts 7, Stephen becomes the first martyr in the Bible. He tells the Pharisees the truths about the Jesus, especially that they have killed the Messiah, they are upset to the point that they stone Stephen.
Why would this matter to us? As we are lucky to live in the United States we will probably not be stoned for preaching the gospel, but at the same time, we do not live in a bubble. Some of us just go to church on Sunday or maybe even tell others about our church, but that doesnt mean we are showing others what Jesus gave up for all of us. Our duty is to reveal to others what God has done for us and how he has changed our lives!
You may or may not know the fate of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence. These were all political soldiers who, having signed that document, were made traitors to the crown of England and had a price on their heads. Some of them went on to be presidents, but many died, lost their fortunes, and lost their families.
Miles pointed out that all the disciples died. Some were stoned, some were dragged by horses, and some beheaded or crucified themselves. They gave their lives just like Jesus did for us, as soldiers committed to serving Christ.