In 1984, President Ronald Reagan recounted the incredible story of a monk by the name of Tememachus, who lived around 400 AD. The monk followed a crowd into the Colosseum; he saw the gladiators come forth, stand before the Emperor, and say, ‘We who are about to die salute you.’ He quickly realized they were going to fight to the death for the entertainment of the crowds. He cried out, ‘In the Name of Christ, stop!’ But the voice was lost in the tumult there in the great Colosseum.
As the games began, the crowds saw this scrawny little figure making his way out to the gladiators saying, over and over again, ‘In the Name of Christ, stop!’ But they thought it was part of the entertainment, so at first they were amused. But then, when they realized it wasn’t, they grew belligerent and angry.
As the monk was pleading with the gladiators, ‘In the Name of Christ, stop!’ one of them plunged his sword into his body. As he fell to the sand of the arena in death, his last words were, ‘In the Name of Christ, stop!’ Suddenly, a strange thing happened. The gladiators stood looking at this tiny form lying in the sand. A silence fell over the Colosseum. And then, someplace up in the upper tiers, an individual made his way to an exit and left, and the others began to follow. And in the dead silence, everyone left the Colosseum. That was the last battle to the death between gladiators in the Roman Colosseum. Never again did anyone kill or did men kill each other for the entertainment of the crowd.
One tiny voice that could hardly be heard above the tumult. ‘In the Name of Christ, stop!’ It’s something we could be saying to each other throughout the world today. As Christ-followers, we should understand that lukewarm Christianity is finished. God is looking for those with a heart, like the monk, who will stand up and be counted – those brave souls who see themselves as part of the global church that is instrumental in getting families in our communities saved, delivered, and set free. Those who are part of the solution – not part of the problem.
There’s an old hymn – Stand up, Stand Up for Jesus, written in 1858 – that is incredibly applicable to the very times we are living in today. Here is part of the first verse: “Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross; Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss. From victory unto victory His army shall He lead…”
The interesting thing most people pass over in this song is that in order to go “from victory to victory,” we must first go from “battle to battle.” It’s like that old saying: “No testimony without a test.” Same premise. The main battle, of course, is for souls. No one gets out of this world alive, so Christ-followers have a duty to always view life with an eye on eternity.
As a believer, I grieve the almost daily tragedies of senseless deaths in our communities. Can we all back up from racial themes long enough to share Christ with those who are walking in darkness – those whose lives can be launched into a Christ-less eternity in a matter of seconds, often without warning?!
Can we stand up for prayer that moves the heart of God? Can we stand up for worship that opens the heavens? Can we stand up against the works of darkness and move the hand of God? Can we stand up for justice and truth that rebuilds our nation? Can we stand up for the destiny of our great nation and see it passed on to the generations?
As Martin Luther King Jr so rightly stated: “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”
By the way, the last verse of that great “Stand Up” hymn is just as true as the first: “Stand up, stand up for Jesus! The strife will not be long: This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song; To him that overcometh a crown of life shall be; he, with the King of glory, shall reign eternally.” As the saying goes – Jesus didn’t tell His disciples it would be easy; He said it would be worth it.
Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet, CA. For more information, you can visit them at DPCityChurch.org
Susan Beckett • Dwelling Place City Church
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