by Tony Nester

This content is part of a series.

The First Martyr
Title: Rediscovering Church, Part 7 of 10
Text: Acts 6:8-15; Acts 7:54-60; Acts 8:1
Tony R. Nester

We're in a series of messages here at Trinity on the nature
and purpose of the church. What's the church really all
about? Is our church in line with the New Testament Church?
Our answers are being found in the first 10 chapters of the
Book of Acts. This is where the Bible tells the story of
how the church began in Jerusalem and then spread out to
share the message of Jesus with the world.

Today we rediscover a part of the church that is very
difficult for me to talk about: martyrdom. Martyrdom is
about suffering for the cause of Christ. It's hard for me
to talk about because we suffer so little, if at all, in
comparison to Christians from other times and compared to
our brothers and sisters in Christ living now in other
parts of the world.

According to an Internet site called Our Brother's Keeper
( between
September 1999 and November of 1999 here's what happened to
some Christian believers in places hostile to Christianity:

A prominent national leader in the unregistered Protestant
house church movement in China was executed October 14 by
firing squad, the second leader of this movement to be
executed in the past two months.

Chechen militants have kidnapped a young Baptist deacon and
are demanding that his church sell its building and use the
money to pay the ransom. The deacons' predecessors have
been kidnapped and beheaded.

In India, a 26-year-old Catholic nun was raped and mocked
for her faith.

The senior Roman Catholic bishop in China, who has spent 15
years in prison and has been repeatedly tortured, has
disappeared, last seen with Chinese government security

The Myanmar military government attacked 22 villages of a
tribe who are mostly Christians. Witnesses said the
military beat and stabbed to death many ...

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