“If I were pledging men and women to the Gospel of the Son of God.., it would not be to have a nice church and harmonious surroundings… I would invite them to be ready to die. That was the spirit of early Methodism. John Wesley established a heroic call. He demanded every preacher to be “ready to pray, ready to preach, ready to die.” That is always the spirit of Christianity. When any other spirit comes into the Church, it is not the spirit of Christianity. It is a foreign spirit. It is a sissified substitute.” – John G. Lake
I have been reading a book containing the works from John G. Lake this summer and also a book called Radical by David Platt. In both books they talk about the blood of the martyrs and the importance of a Christian movement being marked by a spirit of martyrdom and a willingness to die for the sake of the cross.
John G. Lake went to South Africa with a small team and within a few years raised up over 1250 leaders and 350 churches. They saw multitudes of people healed and saved all over South Africa. This great move of God did not come at a small price. He talks about in the first few year he buried 12 preachers and 16 wives and children. Read that prior sentence one more time…
While reading David Platt’s book he talks about how he left our western culture of great big, fancy churches full of beautifully organized programs and all the comforts and went to China. He talks about meeting with a group of pastors who wept for hours over their church members being persecuted, killed and persuaded into joining cults that were torturing them. He noticed how people gathered in the most dire and uncomfortable situations to read the Word of God and pray together. The story he told of the churches he encountered in China really shocked me. This is something that I read about in the New Testament but am so unfamiliar with in our culture.
I know that most of the time I am unwilling to give up my sleep, my food, my comfort, my money and my precious time for the cause of Christ. What makes me think I would really be willing to die. What if God is asking me, and you, to live a life of great risk and sacrifice? What if Jesus is calling us to a life of total surrender?
I believe that if the Body of Christ in America captured the heart and passion that filled the martyrs mentioned by John G. Lake, the early church, those who joined John Wesley, and those that David Platt encountered in China, that we would witness the greatest cultural renaissance and re-awakening ever seen on earth. I feel like God is calling me to a life that is willing to really surrender everything and not just have a willingness to do it figuratively.
I want to live a life that is no longer fearful of people maybe judging me or hating me for the cause of Christ but that not only am I willing to accept persecution but also death.
What about you?