In his book, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, pastor and author Chuck Swindoll shares this dramatic true story.
A house church in a city in the Soviet Union received one copy of the Gospel of Luke, the only Scripture most of these Christians had ever seen. They tore it into small sections and distributed the pieces among the body of believers. Their plan was to memorize the portion they had been given and then, on the next Lord’s Day, they would meet and redistribute the scripture sections.
On Sunday the believers arrived inconspicuously in small groups throughout the day so not to arouse the suspicion of KGB informers. By dusk they were all safely inside, windows closed and doors locked. They began by singing a hymn quietly but with deep emotion.
Suddenly, the door was pushed open and in walked two soldiers with loaded automatic weapons at the ready. One shouted, “Everybody line up against the wall. If you wish to renounce your commitment to Jesus Christ, leave now!"
Two or three quickly left, then another. After a few more seconds, two more.
“This is your last chance. Either turn against your faith in Christ,” he ordered, “or stay and suffer the consequences!”
Another left. Finally, two more in embarrassed silence with their faces covered slipped out into the night. No one else moved. Parents with small children trembling beside them looked down reassuringly. They fully expected to be gunned down or, at best, to be imprisoned.
After a few moments of complete silence, the other soldier closed the door, looked back at those who stood against the wall and said, “Keep your hands up – but this time in praise to our Lord Jesus Christ, brothers and sisters. We, too, are Christians. We were sent to another house church several weeks ago to arrest a group of believers...”
The other soldier interrupted, “But, instead, we were converted! We have learned by experience, however, that unless people are willing to die for their faith, they cannot be fully trusted.”
We do not live behind the Iron Curtain today, of course, but our world is filled with confusion and hopelessness and does not need any more half-hearted, half-believing “Christians” who have the title but not the lifestyle. There are too many of them already. Instead, Jesus is calling us to Absolute Surrender! It is the only way we can make a difference in this world. We can’t blend into the culture. We must stand out from it! Are we committed to Christ and His Kingdom? Or are we just along for the ride?
It reminds me of the cute story of the hen and the pig who wanted to do something nice for the farmer. He had been faithful to take care of them and they wanted to do something special for him in return, so the pig and the hen discussed what they could do. The hen said, “I’ve got it! We’ll provide bacon and eggs for him for breakfast.” The pig thought about the suggestion and replied, “There’s only one thing wrong with your bacon and eggs idea. For you, it only requires a contribution but, for me, it will mean total commitment!” Are you ready to give Jesus your Total Commitment?
This Sunday, August 29, we will conclude our “Choices” series with the challenge to become “A Dead Man on Furlough!” Jesus challenges us (Luke 9:23): “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Take up your cross & follow Jesus!
Hopefully you can join us in-person in the building at 10:35am for worship. If not, please join us online for the Live broadcast on both Facebook (Search: Honolulu AG) and our YouTube channel (Search: Honolulu Assembly of God). A link will be posted later to our website (honoluluag.org).
Note: The 9:30am Adult Bible Class will begin a new teaching series this Sunday entitled, “Parables: the Greatest Stories Ever Told.” Come and study the wonderful stories of Jesus. There are also classes for children and youth.
Aloha and Aloha ke Akua!