REVELATION 6:9 - Berean Lamp Memory Verse - (Nov 28-Dec 5)
The Berean Lamp Memory Verse for this week is:
“When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained” (Revelation 6:9).
Martyrdom - Christians have an unparalleled record of risking their lives to share their beliefs with dangerous people, often knowing the probability that it will lead to their death. From nearly all 12 Apostles to Patrick to Nate Saint, this is a unique phenomenon in the world - unique to the Church. Why is that? Why do people risk their lives to share the message of Salvation? Well, for one thing, it is a command. Jesus gave us the Great Commission, which tells us to share the Gospel with every single person in the world. We obey Christ's instructions to us by spreading the message of salvation and making disciples of all men. But it is more than this. We are told to emulate Jesus. He perfectly lived out a devotion to the 1st and 2nd Commandments to love God with everything you are and then love your neighbor as yourself. These commands are not equal or capable of being reorganized - the 1st Commandment is above all and it flows into the 2nd commandment - meaning that love focused on God overflows with a selfless love for others. But what does this look like? Is this love for the lovable or the unlovable also? That was the question that the Lawyer asked Jesus in Luke 10 - who deserves our love? Jesus answered that it included, or even especially referred to, people despised.
Truly, if we are emulating Jesus, we must recognize that He loved us before we loved Him. So, we are to have love for people before they have given us any reason to love them. But is this the extent of what Jesus showed us? No. He not only loved despised people, but He even loved people who were God's enemies! And He laid down His life to share the truth with them. Emulating Jesus, and His Apostles (who emulated Him), then, is ultimately why Christians in every generation have risked their lives to share the Gospel with people who are God's enemies. Because we all were once God's enemies also, and Jesus laid down His life as an act of selfless love while giving us the Gospel, even while being the Gospel (good news of God) Himself. And we have this confidence when threatened with violence or martyrdom - that just as Jesus raised Himself up from death at the hands of sinners, He also will raise us to be with Him forever, regardless of the things that happen to us in this life - no one can separate us from Jesus. Believers risk their lives because they are not apathetic to people in the desperate situation of living a trajectory leading to eternal death. They understand the value and urgency of the Good News of reconciliation through Jesus to people who have not heard it.
May we be compassionate and loving towards the lost, unlovable, enemies of God. May we not be apathetic towards them, recognizing that we were once just like them, but through the love of Christ and the love of Believers who were not apathetic to us - spending their time and energy to share the Gospel with us, we came to the knowledge of the truth and were reconciled back to God through His Son. Even so, Amen.
Other verses to consider:
Great Commission: “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20).
“And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ And He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?’ And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’ And He said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.’ But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” (Luke 10:25-29).
“We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also” (1 John 4:19-21).
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:6-11).
“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls” (1 Peter 2:21-25).
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:31-39).