Standing for the Truth (Qtr 2 - Week 4: 27 April)

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LMcDonald
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Standing for the Truth (Qtr 2 - Week 4: 27 April)

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2024 Qtr 2 Wk 4 Standing for the Truth.jpg
Key Text: “ ‘And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life’ ” (John 3:14, 15, NKJV).

The modern Turkish seacoast city of Izmir was once the biblical city of Smyrna, mentioned in the book of Revelation. This ancient city of approximately 100,000 inhabitants flourished in the late first and second centuries. It was a prosperous city, and it was fiercely loyal to Rome.

Once a year, all the citizens of Smyrna were commanded to burn incense to the Roman gods. Evidently, in the second century, Smyrna had a thriving Christian community, as well, and many were not going to comply. Polycarp, an early church leader, was martyred in Smyrna’s public square, burned at the stake for refusing to betray his Lord by burning incense to the Roman gods. When asked one last time to disavow Christ, the old man replied, “Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He has done me no wrong. How can I speak evil of my King who saved me?”

Throughout the centuries, men and women have been willing to experience martyrdom rather than give up their faith in Christ. Their sacrifice
rekindles our courage. The story of their commitment to Christ renews our own commitment. This week we will look at some biblical principles that motivated the Waldenses and later Reformers, such as Huss and Jerome, to stay faithful to the Lord no matter what—even at the threat of death from the same power that killed Polycarp: Rome, but now in the papal phase.

Thought question: What might it mean to lose everything for Christ? What, in the end, do you really lose? (See Mark 8:36.) What lessons can we learn from the Waldenses and the Reformers that can sustain us in earth’s final conflict?


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