“Dying For What You Believe In”

Is there anything that you feel strongly enough about that you would die for it? A cause, a belief? Few of us today in American really know much of anything about sacrificing to the point of death, but there are stories in history that tell us amazing accounts of those who have suffered and died for a cause or belief. One such story took place in 328 A.D. in a city high in the icy mountains of Armenia.

It was a bitterly cold winter, and in the middle of that winter an order came from the Roman emperor that every man, woman, and child under the rule of his empire must bow down to him as a god.

Now there was a powerful force of Roman soldiers in that Armenian city known as the “Thundering Legion”, and their reputation as a powerful military force was well known throughout all the Roman Empire. But the emperor was not satisfied with just their military service – he wanted each soldier to bow down to him.

But, when the time came for each soldier to bow down, 40 could not. They were faithful soldiers, but they were Christians – they could not obey the emperor’s order to make him their god. They said, “We can only worship the one true God.”

Well, when the word of these 40 soldiers refusing to bow down and worship him was received by the emperor, his command back was simple, “Bow down to me, reject your Christian God, or die”. But the 40 soldiers did not bow down – so the decision was made that they would die.

But how should they die? Should they be fed to the hungry lions? Should they be burned at the stake? These were both terrible ways to die, but an even more cruel death was prescribed –

they were to be frozen to death in the bitter cold winter.

So, they took the 40 soldiers to a frozen lake in the middle of a terrible winter storm. They stripped them of all their clothing and left them to freeze to death.

But the general in charge did not want to lose these 40 good soldiers. He said, “Simply bow down to the emperor and save your life?” But they would not.

The other soldiers taunted and laughed at them saying, “soon you will be back; you will bow down”. But the laughing stopped when these 40 Christians bravely walked barefoot across the icy freezing lake.

Well, through the night the soldiers lit a fire and cooked food to tempt the Christians to give up. But the Christians prayed to God to make them brave, and they began to shout,

“Here die 40 men for Christ”!

The freezing bitter cold night went on until finally, the cold was too much for one of the men. He staggered back to the fire and agreed to denounce his God and to bow down to the emperor. But the remaining 39 Christians would not give in, even though they were literally freezing to death.

Then, amazingly, something happened that they could not believe – one of the Roman soldiers sitting by the fire, having watched the bravery and courage and faith of these dying Christians, he stood before the general and uttered these words,

“I will take that man’s place – I will be a Christian.”

As the general watched in amazement, this Roman soldier removed his clothing and walked onto the icy lake to join the other 39.

Well, the Roman soldiers sat by that fire all night long, and the last thing they said they could remember hearing through the howl of that terrible freezing winter storm was the now 40 Christian men shouting,

“Here die 40 men for Christ”.

In the morning, sadly, there were 40 frozen bodies; men who had sacrificed and died for their faith and belief in Christ.

A full 350 years later, in the chapel in the forum of Rome, there was dedicated to these 40 soldiers a plaque, a simple plaque which still hangs there today. It has these powerful words engraved on it,

“Here Die 40 Men for Christ”.

 

What cause would you be willing to die for?

  • The memory scripture is:

“Therefore, each of us will give an account of himself to God”

Romans 14:12

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Did you know that there was a time when everyone in the world spoke the same language? Yeah, there was no Spanish or French or English – everyone in the world spoke the same – and everyone understood. But in our world today there are over 6,500 languages spoken? How can that be? If originally everyone spoke the same language, why are there so many languages today? This brings us to our story for today – it’s a story in the Bible that focuses on a destructive attitude called PR-I-DE.   

 What just exactly is PR-I-DE? 

  • PR-I-DE is when you think you’re better and more important than anyone else. 
  • And what is right in the middle of this word “PR-I-DE”? The word “I”. And when I think and believe that no one is better or more important than “I” am then something else happens – S –I- N.
  • You see, PR-I-DE is a S –I- N.

 The problem with this is that God hates pride. Why does God hate pride? Because when we think we are better than others – that is when we also start to think we don’t need God and that we can handle things on our own. We think we have everything figured out and that we know it all, then we’re really going our own way and turning away from God.

 Just think about the last time you disobeyed your parents or you weren’t nice to a friend.  You put your thoughts and feelings first and didn’t care about how the other person felt.  That is pride. In this story you’ll see how God handles pride and how badly he wants to stop it from happening. 

 The Tower of Babel

It all started with a King named Nimrod. Everything was going great.  Everyone in the whole world spoke the same language.  Some of the people ended up living in a place called Babylonia. Then King Nimrod decided he wanted to be famous.  He wanted everyone to know him and how great he was.  He convinced the people that lived in Babylonia that, they too could be great if they built a tower that went all the way to heaven. So, the people went to work making bricks for the Tower of Babel.  It was hard work but the people wanted everyone to know that they made the tower that reached heaven, so they just worked that much harder. What kept them going was the idea that they would be known in the entire world for building the biggest and best tower ever. God could see what was happening.  He could tell that the people’s hearts were more focused on themselves and the tower than on him.  He was very disappointed and angry with them. He said,

 Genesis 11: 5-9

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language, they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

So, God did this – and the people could no longer understand each other.  It seemed like they were babbling and making funny noises.   All the people suddenly spoke different languages, some spoke French, some Spanish, others Chinese, plus many other languages.  From there the Lord scattered the people all over the whole earth.

 So, you can see how much God hates PR-I-DE.  The people could’ve done amazing things for God when they all spoke the same language, and they could’ve been unified that way.  Instead, they decided to do something silly and build a big tower just so other people would notice them and call them great.

 So what do we do to keep from being “prideful”?

 The opposite of pride is humility, or to be humble.  The way you can be humble is by realizing that EVERYONE (poor people, people with disabilities, people of different races, etc.) is special.  Each of us might be good at some things, but you can be sure that each person is special at something that you’re not. If you want to be humble, remember to listen to your parents and those in authority, be kind to others instead of putting them down, and read your Bible and pray.  By doing these things you’re not just focusing on “I” yourself.

The Lesson Today –

  • Pride causes trouble.
  • Seek God, ask God to help you be humble

story today is about two friends, a married couple, who ended up doing the wrong thing and got themselves AND ALL OF US into a lot of trouble with God.

And remember

God Is Always Watching!

About Jerry Stewart

I am a story teller. Since 1998, I have been telling the true stories of our nation and those Americans gone before us.  To say the least, these stories have been well received by Americans, both young and old.  So, here’s where the stories have taken me.  In 1998, I was broadcasting my stories on just one radio station in Washington State.  Today, from Texas 15 years later, these programs are now broadcast through a syndicated radio network to over 400 radio stations all across America, with literally millions of listeners.

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