Monday, July 27, 2009

A Legitimate Christian and Sacrifice

What does it mean to be a legitimate Christian?

I don't remember where I got this quote from. I believe my pastor said it. He said "To be a legitimate Christian -- requires sacrifice -- REAL SACRIFICE!

This comes to what I wanted to really talk about which is the word sacrifice and what that means and what it should look like?

Teenagers and kids these days can be very self centered. I know because I work with teenagers who are courtesy clerks at the grocery store and seen kids as I check out parents groceries.. All about me!! Gimme, Gimme, Gimme. They don't know what it means to sacrifice. They think that they are sacrificing when mom or dad takes their, ipod, cell phone, or computer away for a day because they were being punished for doing something wrong. But those selfish kids have no idea what it really means to sacrifice. Sacrifice in the Merriam Webster Dictionary is described as "The offering of something to deity. Something offered in sacrifice. To offer up or kill as a sacrifice."

These are all good definitions but I think the best one I found was this one: "To accept the loss or destruction of, for an end, cause, or ideal."

We have NO real idea what it means to sacrifice for we have never had to do it ourselves. We must be willing to die for Christ. Dieing for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and for the sake of the gospel is the ultimate and real sacrifice.

We have never had to make that sacrifice. Nothing else can come close to that to being sacrifice.

William Tyndale knew what it meant to sacrifice. I found this information on a reliable website. "Tyndale was born in 1490 possibly in one of the villages in Gloucestershire. Tyndale became chaplain in the house of Sir John Walsh at Little Sodbury in about 1521, and tutor to his children. His opinions involved him in controversy with his fellow clergymen, and around 1522, he was summoned before the Chancellor of the Diocese of Worcester on a charge of heresy.

Soon afterwards, he determined to translate the Bible into English and was convinced that the way to God was through His word and that scripture should be available even to common people. Foxe describes an argument with a "learned" but "blasphemous" clergyman, who had asserted to Tyndale that, "We had better be without God's laws than the Pope's." In a swelling of emotion, Tyndale made his response: "I defy the Pope, and all his laws; and if God spares my life, I will cause the boy that drives the plow in England to know more of the Scriptures than the Pope himself!"

Tyndale left for London in 1523 to seek permission to translate the Bible into English and to request other help from the Church. In particular, he hoped for support from Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall, a well-known classicist whom Erasmus had praised after working with him on a Greek New Testament. However, the bishop did not regard Tyndale's scholarly credentials highly, was suspicious of his theology and, like many highly-placed churchmen, was uncomfortable with the idea of the Bible in the vernacular. The Church at this time did not deem that a new English translation of Scripture would be helpful. Tunstall told Tyndale he had no room for him in his household. Tyndale preached and studied "at his book" in London for some time, relying on the help of a cloth merchant, Humphrey Monmouth. He then left England under a pseudonym and landed at Hamburg in 1524 with the work he had done so far on his translation of the New Testament. He completed his translation in 1525, with assistance from Observant friar William Roy.

In 1525, publication of his work by Peter Quentell in Cologne was interrupted by anti-Lutheran influence, and it was not until 1526 that a full edition of the New Testament was produced by the printer Peter Schoeffer in Worms, an imperial free city then in the process of adopting Lutheranism. More copies were soon being printed in Antwerp. The book was smuggled into England and Scotland, and was condemned in October 1526 by Tunstall, who issued warnings to booksellers and had copies burned in public.

Following the publication of Tyndale's New Testament, Cardinal Wolsey condemned Tyndale as a heretic and demanded his arrest.

Tyndale went into hiding, possibly for a time in Hamburg, and carried on working. He revised his New Testament and began translating the Old Testament and writing various treatises. In 1530, he wrote The Practyse of Prelates, opposing Henry VIII's divorce on the grounds that it was unscriptural and was a plot by Cardinal Wolsey to get Henry entangled in the papal courts. This resulted in the king's wrath being directed at him: he asked the emperor Charles V to have Tyndale apprehended and returned to England.

Eventually, Tyndale was betrayed to the authorities. He was seized in Antwerp in 1535, betrayed by Henry Phillips, and held in the castle of Vilvoorde near Brussels.

He was tried on a charge of heresy in 1536 and condemned to death, despite Thomas Cromwell's intercession on his behalf. He "was strangled to death while tied at the stake, and then his dead body was burned".

Tyndale's final words, spoken "at the stake with a fervent zeal, and a loud voice", were reported as "Lord! Open the King of England's eyes." In a strange, but well received, rehearsal, the King of England ordered Tyndale's translation of the Bible to be printed in England and made available in every English church, as well as to the public. Thus, Tyndale's Bible translation became a basis for the unification of the English language, and his sacrifice had not been in vain."

That is what I call REAL SACRIFICE!

So fellow believers in Christ who are out here in the U.S.A. when we go out and share the gospel with others let us remember that the worse it can get for us is people being offended and maybe a little embarrassment. We won't be martyred for our faith like William Tyndale and like Christians all over the world who are martyred for their faith everyday. At least not yet. There will come a day when Christians in America will be martyred for their faith. When that day comes if you are the one asked "Will you deny your faith?" What will you say? Are you truly saved? Would you be willing to say "I'll die for Christ." I hope we are all truly willing to say "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21)

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