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But If Not Faith (4 of 7)
"If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up." Daniel 3:17-18
Fourth (4) in a series of seven (7) sermons from the book of Daniel chapters 1-6.
Polycarp lived during the formative era of the church, at the end of the era of the apostles, when the church was making the transition to the second generation of believers. Tradition has it that he was a disciple of John. A humble but direct man, Polycarp won many to Christ, but he also attracted the attention of the Romans who burned him alive in 156 A.D. Upon interrogation he refused to recant his faith in Christ. As the soldiers grabbed him to nail him to the stake, he spoke these words: "leave me as I am. For he who grants me to endure the fire will enable me also to remain on the pyre unmoved without the security you desire from nails."
Polycarp would not be the last to suffer burning for his faith. John Huss, Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer, William Tyndale, just to name a few. Their stories share a common theme: unyielding allegiance to Jesus Christ and a willingness to even die for their faith. Their stories of faith remind me of another story of faith in the Bible, it's the story of Daniel's three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three young men stood up when everyone else sat down. They spoke up when everyone else shut up. These three young men would not bend, budge, or burn.
Their story is found in Daniel chapter 3. (Read Daniel 3:1, 4-6, 17-18). Their story of faith speaks to us on several levels. First, to believers on the importance of preserving religious freedom, for if we do not, tyranny will reign. And when tyranny reigns persecution of people of faith follows. Even ...
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