Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Remembering the Great Cloud of Witnesses

November 1st is All Saints' Day, the day set aside to honor "all the saints, known and unknown." We don't have to hold to the Roman Catholic idea of saints as special Christians to remember and respect those who have paved the way for us.

We should remember Abraham, the man of faith, the progenitor of the line of Christ. 

We should honor Moses who followed God into facing down the most powerful king of his day.

We should give thanks for the example of David who showed us that a man after God's own heart can still sin — and be forgiven.

We should honor 
Peter, the leader of the church who was still so very fallible, and Paul, the persecutor of the church who became its greatest apostle, and Stephen, who showed us that we can face death with the same attitude as Christ.

Let us learn from the example of Polycarp who preferred the arena or the flames to blasphemy saying, “86 years have I have served him, and he has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?”

And Justin, the apologist who chose to lose his head rather than his soul, saying, "No one in his right mind gives up piety for impiety."

And Jim Elliot who went into the jungle saying, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose," and never returned.

Let us remember Athanasius standing contra mundum, Luther at Worms, Latimer at the stake who taught us the truth was worth everything.

As we hold our Bibles, let us give thanks for Tyndale and Rogers who gave their lives so we could have it in English.

And for Brother Andrew and all those who have risked and even given their lives to take the scriptures to the world.

Honor Augustine, Aquinas, and Anselm as well as Edwards, Lewis, and Schaeffer who taught us to think about the faith, and Spurgeon, Wesley, and Graham who taught us to share it.

Thank God for the legions of pastors and teachers who never made it into history books but devoted themselves to teaching the next generation about Jesus. 

Thank God for the white haired saints that have gone on to their reward who told you about Jesus, who showed you want it meant to live for him.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith."

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