I have to warn you about this God of ours. I’ll let you in on a little secret about Him. He cares a lot about the people out there. So much so, that he’d sacrifice His own son to reach them…and he’d sacrifice you.
Let me say that again. He’d sacrifice your life to rescue theirs.
God knows that in order to win a war, you have to sacrifice soldiers.
If you don’t believe me, flip through the pages of Foxes Book of Martyrs to find your proof. Within the covers of that book is a roster of fearless soldiers whom God has sacrificed to take captives from the other side of no man’s land. Until you realize that about Him, you won’t really understand what it is we’re doing here. This God of the prophets sent them out with very unpopular messages until they were stoned, sawn in two, lived in caves like wild animals, and made the ultimate sacrifice. You need to know that. Like Warcraft ii, Tides of Darkness, God just keeps sending us wave after wave, over the top, past the barbed wire, even if it means that you’ll be riddled with bullets.
Do you know why?
That’s what it took for him to save you.
This God is a God of infiltration. It’s what he does. It’s what he’s been doing since Genesis 3 when he killed the first living being on this planet. He was sacrificing to reach others. As His image bearers we are called to be continually infiltrating…and that will mean sacrifice. That’s what soldiers do to purchase freedom for others. It’s a risk I took daily to rescue others as a firefighter. God didn’t send Gotham the hero it deserves, but the hero it needed when he sent Jesus. And right now, he’s sending you.
Disembarking from the chariot in the desert, Philip the Evangelist was sent to a city called Hieropolis. Hieropolis was really a Necropolis; a city of the dead. If that word conjures up images of a zombie infested hovel, you’ve been playing all the right video games, but you’ve got the wrong idea. Besides, they didn’t have shotguns back then, so the world would have been doomed. Hieropolis was a city of tombs that developed next door to the rejuvenating springs of Pamakule. How that happened is itself a fascinating tale. Pamakule’s springs were rumored to possess mystical medicinal healing properties, so the disease afflicted rich Macedonian socialites traveled to reach the magical waters. The tourist trade was booming and there was money to be made in the name of medical malpractice. In the end however, the waters failed, the sick died, and their servants built them tombs with the money the rich left behind. Because it was a bad idea to transport fresh corpses hundreds of miles in the sweltering Mediterranean heat during the first century, the road to Pamakule stretched on for miles with elaborate tombs representing people who attempted one last shot at evading death.
It was to this corner of the world that God sent Philip the Evangelist. Imagine the impact of somebody who turned up in the midst of the medical reliquery booths claiming that Jesus would instantaneously heal their affliction? It’d shut down your business, create quite a stir, and probably get somebody killed. And it did. Namely Philip.
But Philip’s martyrdom left a church in his wake.
Make no mistake, if you’re not getting persecuted, then you’re probably not hitting the culture where it hurts. Sad to say, most Christians today probably don’t give much of a rip about the culture around them. We tell them they can go to hell (we don’t care) with our apathy, and lack of action. A quick survey of the best-selling books for the last 20 years, Your Best Life and Heaven is for Real. If I summarized those two books in one sentence, the Christian mindset of the past decade has been “Get as much crap as you can, and then get the hell out of here as fast as you can.” Think I’m being harsh? Perusing the best-seller list a few years before that reveals that the best-sellers were, The Prayer of Jabez and Left Behind. Again, the mentality of the church has been, “bless me a bunch, God, but take me outta here before you lay the smack down on the cursed”. The whole rapture thing may appeal to somebody who doesn’t give a rip about the lost around them, but if a church planter wrote a book it’d be called “Please Leave Me Behind: I’ve still Got Work to Do Here”. I agree with Dr. D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, that the measure of maturity in a Christian has always been a desire for lost souls.
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.