Monday, April 11, 2016

Good Guys Breaking the Law



Yep, you read it right. Breaking the law. Disobeying the order by which a particular region (country, community, or otherwise) regulates the actions of its members.

Sometimes people do bad things, and have to own up to the consequences of their bad actions, spending large portions of their lives behind bars, or sometimes even paying with their lives. We all know about this. But fewer and fewer modern-day Christians really consider when they might be thrown in prison for breaking the law, and why that would be God's will for their life, in certain cases. Because, in history (and let's remember that history repeats itself), people have spent time in prisons, and given their lives, for breaking the law, because it was more important to them to follow God's Word.


If God and His Word reign in your life, it is your duty, from Him, to obey the Law of the Land, and respect your authorities (Romans 13 sheds light on this subject). But only to the point that their law makes you break God's.

Daniel

Yep. We all know 'Daniel' should be followed with 'in the lion's den', but what happened to get him into the lion's den?

He refused to stop praying. He knew his God wanted him to pray. The authorities said no. He got thrown into the lion's den to die, but God spared his life, and killed his persecutors instead. Read it for yourself in Daniel 6!

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Known as Daniel's three friends, you may remember the story of them not dying when thrown into the furnace to die. But why were they in the furnace in the first place?

They refused to bow down and worship a man. Their reverence was reserved for the MOST HIGH GOD. You can read the entire account in Daniel 3:1-26.

Stephen

One of my favorite Bible characters, Stephen was but a young man when he was stoned to death, making him one of the first Christian martyrs after Christ. Why, you ask?

He was preaching the Gospel. What he had to say offended (*cough*America*cough*) his listeners. The mob cast him out of the city and stoned him to death. Even in his death, he forgave his murderers, and asked God to not 'lay this sin to their charge'. Could you sincerely do this while being stoned to death? Read the story for yourself in Acts 6-7.

Polycarp

Polycarp was probably a disciple of the Apostle John who wrote the books of the Gospel of John, the three Epistles of John and the book of Revelation. Polycarp may have been one of the chief people responsible for compiling the New Testament of the Bible that we have today.

Because of his refusal to burn incense to the Roman Emperor he was sentenced to burn at the stake. Tradition says that the flames did not kill him so he was stabbed to death. This probably took place between AD 155 and 167.¹

Of course this is not a Bible story, thus I cannot be dogmatic upon its truth, but I do think it very possible, and believe that this was just one of many, many early Christians who refused unbiblical laws, and died for their Faith.

Last year (2015), my family and I enjoyed a viewing of Polycarp, the movie at Christian Worldview Film Festival in San Antonio, TX. I would recommend it to Christian families looking for quality and purposeful entertainment, as well as to families studying early Christians and/or martyrdoms.


Jim Elliot

Jim Elliot, along with four of his missionary colleagues, was killed on January 8, 1956 while trying to establish contact with the Auca Indians in Ecuador (now known as the Waodani people). Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Pete Flemming and Roger Youderian had been working to make friendly contact with the Auca tribe which they had seen from the air. Though they had only met one tribesman face to face, they had participated in trades with the Auca from a plane to ground system. When Elliot and his friends landed on a river beach on that fateful January day they were slaughtered by the waiting men.

Their deaths were not in vain, though. The widows continued to try and make peaceful contact and eventually won the hearts of the tribe. God has used this recent missionary martyr story to inspire new generations of missionaries willing to give their lives for what they believe.¹

And, you'll notice, Mr. Elliot and his colleagues were following the Bible in the Great Commission when they died. Even though it was 1956, and being missionaries wasn't against the law of their land, the Auca tribe obviously had different laws, and these subject the missionaries to an early death.

Although I have yet to read any myself, you may be interested in Jim Elliot's biographies or the book recording some of his journal entries, which you can buy online, should be able to find in some book stores, and borrow from most library systems.

And that's not all...

The day of the martyred for Faith and persecuted for the cause of Christ won't be passed entirely until we reach Heaven.

  • Many people are being persecuted, tortured, or killed for their Faith all around the world every single day. Don't forget about that as you snuggle up in your air-conditioned house, microwave some popcorn, and slide in a DVD for an All-American, family-style movie night.
"Sympathy is no substitute for action."
-David Livingstone


  • This might be you. Let's not completely overlook the possibility that somebody could take your life tomorrow. Maybe you remember the Columbine martyr Rachel Scott, who died in the 1999 High School massacre for her Faith in Jesus Christ? That is just one story of many modern-day, local people hurting and/or dying for Jesus. Who's to say you aren't next?

Ignorance really is dangerous. For all involved. Check out Voice of the Martyrs, and pop your ignorance bubble. All it costs is prayer.


Go! Be a light for Jesus! And don't be afraid to break some Laws, if you must!


¹ Some information on post-Bible-time martyrs borrowed, with permission, from whatchristianswanttoknow.com

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