Gave it All

Gave His All

Introduction

Going through Acts – last time deacons

Felt everyone wonderfully responded

Were mighty men of God. Going to highlight one today, at least how he died

His name means “Victor’s Crown” First martyr, something to it?

We are told he was a man full of God’s grace and did great wonders

Are you hungering to be that person?

We have been stressing God’s blessings lately, today the ultimate blessing on

earth

To give Him everything!

Stephen

As mentioned, Stephen was a mighty man of God

He was arrested in chapter 7 before Sanhedrin summarizes the whole OT (A

few chapters do this)

Before this in chapter 6, opposition to him, presented false witnesses

Just like Jesus

They lied about him, said he never stopped speaking against the Temple and

the Law

Not just a few, but a whole team of men who hated him

His face glowed like an angel

These men saw Stephen’s great courage, from the Holy Spirit

Chief characteristic of an angel’s countenance not beauty, but brightness

Like Moses and veil before God

Where did Stephen get this courage? In persecution, God gives extra grace,

Stephen has so much, so could see it in his face

He stood up to everything they said, as Jesus had promised

Don’t worry about what you’ll say, it will given to you. (LK 12:11-12

After long speech, he laces into them about idol worshippers!

A mob scene erupts. Had no right to kill him.

They gnashed their teeth at him.

A dog shows his teeth, back off

Show other picture of dog teeth

Description of stoning

I wasn’t there, but from readings, reported from Jewish historians

Dragged out of town, to elevated place

Thrown into a pit, twice a man’s height, where it might break his back

Witness (had to be a witness, dropped on his chest-heart

Other witnesses would finish them off

Other forms person in a pit up to thier chest where they couldn’t use thier

hands

Isn’t that horrible, well, no- Stephen is granted this awesome vision of Jesus

standing in heaven

He said as the Son of Man- Daniel 7

Jesus’s favorite expression of Himself

Hardly every used by someone else

This will anger them more, since it’s a Messianic phrase they knew of

Standing

Much should be made of this

In every other verse the King Sits on His throne

He is standing to plead Stephen’s cause before God.

He welcomes into His glory, maybe with tears in His holy eyes!

Shows there is no in between time. Rock kills, boom instant with Jesus

His last words were a prayer for himself and he begged God to forgiven his

executioners just like jesus at His death

Polycarp

Today I want to highlight two other great martyrs of the church and call to give

your entire life to Jesus

in the year 155 a Bishop of the church named Polycarp, gave his life for Christ

His name means “Much Fruit” many fruits, fruitful

He was a disciple of the apostle John

He was an old man, at least 86, arrested by the proconsul of Smyrna for

Blasphemy

Not against God

But Caesar had declared himself god and demanded people declare this

Polycarp naturally refused

Before we tell the story, he was given a vision of himself in flames

Jesus said to him, “Polycarp, Play the man”

Centuries later, two Reformed followers of Christ were burned alive in Oxford

England, one Latimer and the other Ridley

Latimer turned to Ridley, Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light

such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.

He was arrested and stood in packed stadium

Everyone there will be under judgment -careful what you watch!

Proconsul didn’t want to persecute old man, so Polycarp taunted him for the

privilege of being like Jesus

All he to say was to Greek word, Karios Kurios, (Caesar is Lord)

He would rather choke on his words

Proconsul had wild beasts to tear him piece, had been outlawed

Sometimes Lions would be afraid of the Crowds and the Christians wanting

to die for Him, would taunt the lions, Come on pussy cat!

They knew of Stephen’s crown and wanted it!

Polycarp, “Bring em on!”

He was told he’d been burned at the stake

He said, you threaten me with flames that only last an hour,

But you face the fires of God’s judgment that will never go out!

Once more the Proconsul, tried to made it easier, simply say, “Away with the

atheist!” (gods)

Polycarp, sense of humor, said, to the pagan crowds, “Away with the atheists!

He looked at the proconsul in all his pomp and said the famous words, “For 6

years and 80 I have served Christ and He has never forsaken me, so how Can I

forsake Him?

He was led the stake on the fire pyre

Were going to nail him to stake

He said, No need, same God will help me to endure the flames

They instead tied him

History tells us, a fierce wind came and so the flames didn’t touch him

Executioner became so frustrated he dug his spear into Polycarp’s heart

He died and instantly stood before a Standing Jesus, Welcome, fruitful one

into My joy

Rachel Scott

Those two stories happened centuries ago

I wish I could say it never happens, but more have been killed from their faith

in past years than before

Pastors killed, families separated and people severely damaged

One brave High Schooler named Rachel Joy Scott tasted persecution (13)

April 20, 1999, Columbine Colorado a date that will live infamy , two students

killed 12 students, 1 teacher and wounded 23, before killing themselves

They spent months and month carefully planning this terrible day

Pipebombs

Automatic guns

Rachel was 16 years of age. A Christian who had previously struggled with her

faith

In last days she gave a Christian backbone, though she was laughed at.

She was an artist and a writer, her works are still used in some HS’s

One that day, Eric Harris and Dale Klebod approached Rachel and another

student, whom she was witnessing to.

School was almost out, so they thought it was a prank

They two were shot, but not yet killed

The other student, pretended to die, she was in pain but alive

They came up to her and said, “Well, where is your God now? “

The other shooter mocked, “What would Jesus do?”

Eric asked her, “Do you believe in God now?”

She could have crossed her fingers and lied, asking God for forgiveness

Didn’t Peter deny the Lord?

Never! Matthew 10:33 (14)

What if?

Had she lied and been spared?

She be around 36 today

Probably happily married, with several godly kids

Someday she would die and enter into Jesus’s Presence, with Him sitting on

His glorious throne, “Well done, Rachel, enter into my joy.”

OR- Now you tell me which is better?

Watch Pureflix’s show- won’t see the final shot (15)

But here’s what really happened, she said, “You know I do.” she heard the

blast, in a millisecond she was in His presence, with Jesus Standing, with tears in

His eyes, “WELCOME My Beloved Rachel, come see your high reward!

Outcome

The funeral was seen on TV by millions

Others will be stronger

One last thing

The movie, I am Not Ashamed, though very powerful, left me with something I

didn’t get

As I watched the movie, from time to time the actress who played Rachel,

looked older, 23!

Who cares? World of difference between a 16 year old and 23 year

She stood up for Jesus as a young teen, can’t you?

Conclusion

Do I think you will be killed for Christ?

Maybe, but start by dying to self

By getting a Christian Backbone

6

Seek the Spirit-Filled Life

Fill your with the Word, Daily

Give Him everything, Make Him your no.1 goal, desire and joy!

Eternity

If you don’t know Him

If you have treated Him half-heartily, I urge you throw yourself on this altar

Say, God show me how to live this life for You.

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