Martyr

What kind of commitment does God desire of us? If we will look at Stephen’s story in Acts chapters 6 to 7, the answer is obvious. To commit to the ministry is to commit with all of our life even if it costs us our lives.

44_Ac_07_02_RG“Wait a minute,” some of you might start saying. “While it is true that that kind of commitment is extraordinary, we must keep in mind that that commitment is only for the apostles.”  Well, was Stephen an apostle? No! He was one of the seven men chosen to lead in the administration of food for Greek-speaking Jewish widows (Acts 6:1-7).  Why did we find him arguing with several Jewish leaders who, because of their anger against him, eventually stoned him to death? Was he at the wrong place at the wrong time?

He was not one of the apostles. He could have make an excuse to just keep on distributing foods for the widows and not preach the gospel. Or he could have waited for his audience to be ready to accept his message. But he did not make any excuses. He committed himself to serving even if it costs him his life. He knows what the Lord calls him to do. He was a “martyr” for Jesus.

We now define the word “martyr” as “a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion; a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle” (Merriam-Webster’s). This English word came from the Greek “martus,” which is used thirteen times in the Book of Acts and translated simply as “witness ” (NAS Greek Lexicon). So it would be more precise to say (instead of “Stephen was the first martyr”) “Stephen was the first martyr (witness) to die for his faith.”

That’s commitment. That’s Christ-like commitment. Because of the easy-going approach many Christians today have regarding Christianity, church membership, and ministry involvement, we find this kind of commitment radical. But for the church in Acts, it’s a normal part of being a witness for Jesus.

Part 6

To see how Stephen and Philip respond to their calling as witnesses for Jesus, click the image thumbnail on the left to listen, read, download or share the sermon Leading and Serving, part 6 of the 12-part sermon series The Story of God’s Church.

One thought on “Martyr

Share your thoughts about this post...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s