Saturday, February 23, 2008

Of Whom the World was not Worthy

Hebrews 11:30-40 (NKJV)30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. 32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

155 - Martyrdom of Polycarp, an early Church Father who was a disciple
of the Apostle John. Arrested at age 86, Polycarp was burned
at the stake for refusing to deny the Christian faith.

When I recount the faith of our fathers it brings up a fresh empathy for their sacrifices and a renewed passion to continue in their tradition. The church has been blessed with many faithful people who have made great sacrifices to further the gospel. The martyrdom of Polycarp is another example of those broad shoulders that provide a firm footing for us today.

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. It is not my favorite because it talks about faith, but faith is demonstrated in action. Perhaps the most striking line to me is in verse 38 where it describes those saints who paid the ultimate sacrifice and says “of whom the world was not worthy.”

Praise the Lord that He has founded the church on the solid footing of sacrifice.
" Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord," (Ephesians 2:19-21, NKJV)

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