A Faith Worth Dying For
John Fox was born in England in 1517. He became a Christian and wrote articles that contradicted the Catholic Church. He suffered much persecution and was branded a heretic. One book he wrote was entitled Fox's Book of Martyrs. In this book he traced those who gave their lives for the gospels from the apostles up till the time he wrote the book.
Stephen was stoned to death and about 7,000 more Christians were killed following Stephen. James the Great about ten years after Stephen was beheaded. Philip was crucified. Matthew was killed with a spear. Matthias was stoned and beheaded. Andrew was crucified upside down at his request because he said he was not worthy to be crucified like his Lord. Paul was beheaded. Thomas was thrust through with a spear. Luke was hung on an olive tree. Simon was crucified. John was thrown into a pit of boiling oil and survived. He was exiled and died a natural death.
These men and others down through the ages have found a faith worth dying for. Do you have that kind of faith?
I want us to notice three things about James the Great tonight.
1. THE CHALLENGE
Jesus issued James and John a challenge. The challenge was simple, urgent, and all encompassing. "Follow me!"
1. Their response was immediate. I would imagine that James had heard Jesus teach before. He had been thinking about what he heard for quite some time. He was ready to respond when Jesus came called. He did not procrastinate. He did not try to put Jesus off until some other time. He was ready.
Jesus is still looking for that kind of response today. Wouldn't it be wonderful if people would respond to be saved the first time Jesus issued the invitation? Move their church letter? Rededicate their lives? The H. S. is still convicting people and inviting people. The problem is that people are not responding as they ought to.
2. They left the boat and followed him. They left their occupation. James left his life's work. The boat was special to these fishermen. They spent a great deal of time keeping the boat in prime condition. They spent much of their lives on this vessel. However, they left the boat to follow the challenge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christians must be willing to drop whatever they are doing and follow Jesus. The rich young ruler was requested to drop his riches. However, his riches had him. He was unwilling to pay any price to follow Jesus.
3. They left their father and followed him. I imagine those brothers were in a business with their father. It was Zebedee and Sons, Inc. I wonder what their father thought of this decision. They gave up their future to follow Jesus. However, in giving up their future they found their future. They immediately responded to the challenge of Christ. They allowed nothing to stand in their way.
2. THE CIRCLE
James was in the inner circle of the apostles. Jesus invite ...
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