I want to talk to you today about “Dying for Christ”. We all want to live for Christ but how many of us are ready to die for him. And when I say die I mean to be physically killed because of your faith. That is to say to become a martyr.
I know we all need to die for Christ daily. We need to die to our sinful natures and desires and live for God. And that itself is sometimes hard to do. But sometimes, in some places of the world, people are called to die for Jesus.
Stephen died for Christ
There was a man named Stephen who loved Jesus and was a follower of Jesus. Everyone knew that Stephen was a follower of Jesus. But the religious leaders in Jerusalem did not like Jesus and they did not want anyone follow Jesus. So they decided to kill Stephen. They stoned him to death.
This is what Stephen said in the Bible as he was dying: “As Stephen was being stoned to death, he called out, “Lord Jesus, please welcome me!” He knelt down and shouted, “Lord, don’t blame them for what they have done.” Then he died.”
Stephen laid down his life for the Gospel. He was willing to die for Jesus.
As Stephen was being stoned to death, he called out, “Lord Jesus, please welcome me!” 60 He knelt down and shouted, “Lord, don’t blame them for what they have done.” Then he died.
11 of the 12 disciples were martyred
We also know from the Bible that 11 of the 12 disciples of Jesus were killed for their faith. That’s 11 widows, 11 families who lost their dad, lots of children who no longer had a father. But these 11 men were ready and willing to lay down their lives for Jesus Christ. They knew that they had a better place waiting for them.
It says in the Book of Hebrews: “If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”
So if you are a Somali, you would be wise to stop thinking so much about the country where you came from and start thinking more about the country you are going to. We are all going to heaven if we believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, and that He is our Saviour. Heaven is our country. We are citizens of heaven and children of the Most High God.
So instead of thinking about Somali, and going back to visit there, you would be wise to think more about how you can get other Somalis to come into the kingdom of heaven.
Afraid to preach because of a Passport
Some Somalis are afraid to come out the closet and say that they are Christians because they do not want to ruin their chances of being able to go back to Somalia. They want to go back to Somalia to visit, or to live, and they know that if everyone knows they are a Christian they might get killed if they go back. So they hide their faith.
God doesn’t want us to hide our faith because of our desire to visit a certain country on earth. God wants us to be at peace with Him, and to trust Him with our lives. He wants us to live for the heavenly country that is our home.
What is holding you back?
When we die as Christians we are going to go to be with Jesus in heaven. Our home is secure. We are going to be taken to heaven by the power of God. Our salvation is secure. So what is holding you back from living for God now, here on earth?
Maybe it is the love of money. Like the rich young ruler who loved his money so much that he did not want to give it up and follow Jesus. Jesus said that it is very hard for a person who loves money to follow God and go to heaven.
Maybe it is the love of land. Maybe you have some land in Somalia and if you tell people you are Christian then you will not get the inheritance or the land. So you keep your faith to yourself and you don’t go to church, even though you live in the West.
Maybe your addicted to sex outside of marriage, and you are like one of those people the Bible talks about, their eyes are full of adultery. Maybe you are a person who cannot stop thinking about having sex outside of marriage, so you stay away from church and Christians.
Maybe your simply afraid, a person who is afraid is what the Bible calls a coward. A coward is someone who is afraid to be known as a Christian because they are afraid what will happen to them, what they will eat, or what they will wear. Some Somali Christians are afraid to live for God and go to church because they don’t want other people to make fun of them, or insult them, or stop calling them. But the Bible says that cowards, those who are afraid to live for Christ, will not go to heaven.
It doesn’t matter that you believe in your heart the Jesus is the Lord, even the devil believes that, but the devil is not going to heaven because he is not living for Christ. As a Christian you must believe that Jesus is Lord, but you also have to live like He is your Lord.