A Double Gift from the Lord (Philippians Sermon 6 of 24)
October 19, 2003 | Andrew Davis
Suffering, Martyrdom, Boldness & Courage
Granted from the King, Charles II of England:
This morning we’re going to be looking at Philippians 1:27-30. And as you turn there, and as you begin to think about it, a double gift from the Lord, a double grant from the Lord, I did a little research on Carolina history. And the territory that we’re in right now, North Carolina, was once part of an immense land grant offered by King Charles II on March 24th 1663, to eight of his cousins and closest friends and advisers, who had helped him reclaim his throne after the Puritan era in England. I have my own mixed feelings about that, and kind of wish that era had continued. But at any rate, Charles II did get the throne back, and he wanted to say thank you to some friends that had helped him and some family members. And so he gave them Carolina which eventually became North and South Carolina.
What an incredible grant, these eight men received. The grant reads like this, “All that territory or tract of ground situate, lying and being within our dominions of America, extending from the north end of the island called Luck island, which lieth in the southern Virginia seas, and within six and 30 degrees of the northern latitude, and to the west as far as the south seas and so southerly as far as the river St. Matthias which bordereth upon the coast of Florida. And within one and 30 degrees of northern latitude. And so west in a direct line as far as the south seas aforesaid, together with all and singular ports, harbors, bays, rivers, isles, inlets belonging to the country. Also all the soil, lands, fields, woods, mountains, foothills, fields, lakes, rivers, bays, everything within the boundary of these limits aforesaid. With the fishing of all sorts of fish, whales, sturgeons, and all other,” this is my favorite phrase, “royal fishes, in the seas.”
He’s claiming all the sea, all the fish, Charles II is, and he’s giving it to these eight men. “All of the royal fishes in the sea, bays, islets, and rivers within the premises, and the fish therein. And more over all veins, mines, quarries, as well discovered, as not discovered, of gold, silver, gems, precious stones and all other whatsoever. Be it stones, medals, or any other thing whatsoever found or to be found in this territory, it’s all yours.” What a grant, what an incredible grant. Almost 100,000 square miles. Almost 500 miles of Atlantic shoreline and it’s yours. What will you do with it? Think about that.
The first grant
But the emperor of the universe, the King of glory has given to us in the text we’re looking at today, a two-fold grant. “It has been granted to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him.” Now, most of my message is going to be on the second half of that, but let me say a word about the first half. It has been granted to you by the King of the universe, to believe in Jesus Christ.
If you’re a Christian today, you are so because of a grant from the Emperor. The King has granted to you the privilege of believing in Jesus. And how much does this sweep away, like a mist, any sense of boasting or pride we may have in our own faith in Christ, as though that were the one contribution that we were making to our salvation? It has been granted to you by the King to believe in Jesus. And part of that grant is not only initial movements of faith, but a sustaining faith throughout your whole life. Your faith will be nourished, it will be sustained through every trial you will face, until at last, you need it no more, for you will see Him face to face. Oh, what a grant! What a gift from the King! And it’s because of that grant we stand on good ground today as Christians.
The second grant
I could really preach the whole sermon on that, but we’re going to move on to the second half, because actually both of these grants are somewhat surprising to us. The first half is surprising, because we don’t think we need a grant to believe. We think this is something we do. It’s our work. Actually, it’s a grant from God. But the second is surprising in that we don’t think of suffering for his name as a grant, as something that is of his grace, a gift, but it is. It is a great gift from Jesus Christ. It is a great gift to be able to suffer for him. A great gift. Church history is made dazzling by the behavior of its heroes against all odds. Against great persecution, against great difficulties, to take the Gospel from that upper room in Jerusalem to literally at this point, the ends of the earth with great success, but at great cost.
In Colossians 1:24, the apostle Paul, speaking to a people he did not know personally, says, “Now, I rejoice in what was suffered for you. And I fill up in my body what is still lacking concerning the afflictions of Jesus Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.” Now, this is a striking statement. First of all he says, “I’m very glad about what was suffered to get you the Gospel.” And he’s not talking here about Christ’s sufferings in this first part, but those that brought the gospel to the Colossians had to pay a price to do it. And he says, “I rejoice, and I’m also paying a price, because I’m filling up in my body what is lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions.”
Now, don’t misunderstand, there’s nothing lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions concerning our atonement. Jesus, when He died, said, “It is finished.” It is perfected, it’s complete, there’s nothing that needs to be added. But whereas the atonement is perfect and complete, the application of the atonement is not, and it’s going to take great suffering to apply it to the ends of the earth. It’s going to take people like you and me who are willing to pay a price of suffering to do it.
Every drop brings God glory
And so, Paul says, “I rejoice in that suffering. I rejoice in every drop of martyrs’ blood. I rejoice in every tear that they shed out of grief for the cost of the Gospel. I rejoice in it and I rejoice in all of the sweat of labor that it’s taken to establish the church of Jesus Christ for 20 centuries. I rejoice in it because it glorifies God in a mighty way. ”
When John Hus was being burned at the stake and he said, “I now seal with my blood, what I taught with my lips,” now that’s glory for Christ. It is glory for Christ when Polycarp stands and says, “Eighty-six years I’ve served Him and He’s never done me wrong. How can I deny Him, who has loved me and given His life for me?” And sealed his life for his testimony with his blood as well, it’s glory. It’s glory when Jim Elliot and his fellow missionaries were willing to pay the price of martyrdom to bring the Auca Indians to faith in Christ, and when Graham Staines in 1999, the Australian missionary, who was burned alive with his two young sons by a mob of fanatical Hindus, his faith and his example shone far brighter than the flames that took his life. And Paul would say, “I rejoice in all of it…because it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him.”
Now, what is the context of this statement? Well, in Philippians 1 Paul has been talking about his own chains for Christ, and he’s been letting them know, “I want you to be encouraged, I want you to be strengthened concerning my chains because they have really served to advance the Gospel. The brothers are bolder, more courageous to share, and there’s been good fruit already. We’ve already seen some conversions among the Praetorian guard- members of Caesar’s own household coming to faith in Christ.” He’s doing all of this, this autobiographical rumination in chapter one for their benefit. And why? Because he says in 1:30, “You are going through the same struggle you saw I had and now hear that I still have.” They’re going through it too. They are being persecuted for the faith, and so he wants to sustain them. He’s not ruminating on his own sufferings so that they can have a pity party for him, not at all. He’s trying to sustain and strengthen them. He’s trying to give them what they need to get through their struggle, because it’s been granted to them too. We’re going through the same struggle. And so he’s been ruminating.
And as we saw last week, he’s dealing with the issue of, is it better to live or die? And not in any morbid suicidal sense as we discussed last week, but rather he is very attracted to life and very attracted to death. He’s attracted to death, because it is better by far and it’s glorious to be with Christ. And for me personally, Paul would say, much better to leave and to be with Christ, but he’s very attracted to life. And why? For their benefit. So that through his being with them again, he can help them in some way in their faith and help them to grow in full fruition.
I. Living a Life Worthy of the Gospel
But now in verse 27, he says, “Whatever happens, I want you to conduct your lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel.” I want you also to be for His glory. I want you to live for His glory and I want you to be like me and like others, a drink offering poured out for the glory of Jesus Christ. He wants them to live a life worthy of the Gospel so that Christ would be exalted. In verse 27, the NIV gives us this, “Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel.” And that’s his goal here. And that’s going to be the organizing theme of the message today, to conduct yourself or to live in a manner worthy of the Gospel. And he’s going to explain what that is.
The word is interesting in the Greek, it really means to carry yourself like a citizen, behave like a citizen, like a good citizen. Now, I really think he choose this word on purpose, because the Philippians were very proud of their status as a colony of Rome, so that all of their citizens, the citizens of the city of Philippi, were also by definition, Roman citizens as well, and not every city in the Roman empire had that advantage. This was a special gift from the Roman emperor. And so they were proud and they thought of themselves as Roman citizens. Paul himself was a Roman citizen. And there were certain rights and privileges thereunto appertaining. There were good things that came when you are a Roman citizen and they were proud of it. Paul picks a word that says, “Act like a citizen.” But of what city are you a citizen? He says in Philippians 3:20, “Our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” So carry yourself like a citizen of the city in which you truly belong. You belong to heaven, so carry yourself that way. Live, conduct yourself like a citizen of heaven. That’s what he’s saying.
You’re not dependent on me
Now, at the beginning of our section here in verse 27 it says, “Whatever happens,” that’s the NIV translation there, “Whatever happens, either way, whether I live or whether I die. Whether I live and I’m able to come see you again and keep helping you or not, it could be that my last sermon to you face to face has been preached. My last time of council with you is finished face to face. It may be that you will never see me again. It may be that it’s the last time that I’ll ever be able to give you a hug or put an arm around you or to weep with those who weep. It may be done, it may be finished, I don’t know. It’s up to the providence of God, but whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel.”
I want to speak specifically to those of you that feel a sense of loss. Perhaps you’re bereaved and you wonder, “How will I go on without this individual?” Or perhaps there’s somebody in your family that has a grave illness, or perhaps you just live in anxiety that one of your children or your mom or your dad may be taken from you. A Christian should never say, “I can’t live without this person, so and so.” Never. We can live without any of the people in our lives and God may actually choose that we do so. And that is great suffering and in no way am I minimizing it. But your life, if you’re a Christian, your life is hidden with Christ in God. “When Christ, who is your life, appears, you also will appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:4. And so there is no person on whom you are totally dependent for your earthly life, no one. You are dependent on God and on Christ.
Now that doesn’t mean we don’t love and it sure doesn’t mean we don’t mourn and grieve, we do. But I was talking to my kids about this recently, I think specifically Nathaniel, I was talking about my death and I don’t know the day of my death. And I said, “I want you to understand that God has chosen for a time to give you many good things of His grace through me as though I were a pipe or a conduit, but he has the freedom any time he wants to close that pipe down. And if he decides to, he will be every bit as loving to you and you will get what you need for life and godliness some other way than me.” And so Paul says, “You’re not dependent on me, you’re not. You’re dependent on Christ. Now, it would be good if I could come back and minister with you again, but whatever happens, you conduct your lives or yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. ”
Now, what does that mean? Well, he gives us four aspects of a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ:
- Standing firm in the struggle;
- United in one spirit;
- Contending for the faith of the Gospel;
- Courageously facing persecution.
II. Standing Firm
Let’s look at each one, first one. First aspect of a life worthy of the Gospel is standing firm. The image is that we are in a great and immense struggle in which Christians must take the battlefield and stand firm. In verse 27 he says, “I will know that you stand firm in one spirit.” We are called to stand in the day of testing. We’re called to take a stand on the battlefield like those heroes in the Old Testament that are listed, this man or that, that took their stand in a field and struck down all these Philistines until his hand froze to the sword, this kind of thing. You’re called to stand firm in the day of testing, in the day of battle. He’s going to say it again in Philippians 4:1, “Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord dear friends.” I really believe from this point until the end of chapter three, he’s telling us how we should stand firm, what approach should we take.
The Gospel advance, is not a peaceful Sunday drive on a beautiful fall afternoon to look at the foliage. I love to do that and I would like to just talk about that. I just love the low humidity, the crystal clear blue skies, you know those fair weather clouds, the breeze, the vivid colors, shall I keep going? It is just beautiful. I love this time of the year, but the advance of the Gospel is not a Sunday afternoon drive on fall day. It’s much more like World War I, No Man’s Land battlefield, and we’ve got to stand or else the Huns are going to run over France.
It is a rigorous grim struggle to stand firm in the midst of all the beauty that I just mentioned. It is a battle, and we have to take our stand in the struggle, we’ve got to stand firm. We’ve got to stand firm in personal faith, it says in Colossians 1, that we should be established and firm, not moved from the hope of the Gospel. Colossians 1:21 and following, We have to stand firm, in Hebrews 10 in a great struggle, it says there, “Remember those earlier days after you received the light when you stood your ground in a great struggle in the face of suffering.” You lost your property. You stood side by side with men who were arrested. You stood your ground in a great struggle. And then more than anything, every day we need to stand our ground spiritually, don’t we? Because we have spiritual opposition in the heavenly realms.
Paul says in Ephesians 6:13, “Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground. And after you have done everything to stand, stand then,” he says it three times. It’s so clear that we are called to put on our armor and to take a stand, stand firm in spiritual warfare. Recently we saw the movie of the life of Martin Luther, and it was just very stirring to me, that climactic moment when they asked him, “Will you or will you not renounce your works?” His life was hanging in the balance just as John Hus had a hundred years before that. And he said, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God, I cannot and I will not recant a thing, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe, here I stand. I cannot do otherwise, God help me. Amen.” Now, the historians tell us it’s not clear whether he actually said, “Here I stand,” He said it. He said, “Here I stand.” The devil takes all the good things away, alright? The historians that were writing and sympathetic to the Protestant Reformation said he said it. That’s good enough for me.
But he said, “Here I stand.” And so the first aspect of living a life worthy of the Gospel is to take a stand on the battlefield. Here I stand. To take a stand.
III. United in Spirit
The second aspect of living a life worthy of the Gospel is being united in spirit. Now I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this because it really is the theme of the epistle from this point until the end of verse 18 of chapter two. From 1:27-2:18 it’s all about what unity means. The whole section about Jesus coming down from heaven- he being in very nature God, yet not considering equality with God something to be grasped. That whole section is to get them to be united and serve one another like Jesus did. And so, this whole section is about being united in the faith. Therefore I think in general, the big picture of what’s going on here, is that he is trying to help the Philippians who are in the time of persecution, to realize that they’ve got to have a certain disposition to those outside the church who are attacking them, and a certain disposition to those within the church who are their brothers and sisters, who are causing them distress.
To those that are outside the churches, we’re going to say in a moment, they need to be bold and courageous and not afraid in any way, standing firm for the Lord. But within the church, they need to be united one in the spirit, not pursuing their own selfish gain, no selfish ambition, in love serving one another. That’s the disposition to those within. And so, the second aspect of a life worthy of the Gospel is united in spirit. There must be unity in the local church. As we were just talking at the men’s retreat, we had a great time on a Friday evening and then Saturday, a wonderful time. But what I said to them applies to the church as well. If it doesn’t work at home, why export it abroad? And why would the world want a Gospel from a church that doesn’t know how to get along? We preach a Lord of love and of reconciliation, and we don’t seem to get along? I think we ought to have the boldness to invite non-Christians to our church conferences. What do you think? See how we love one another. Could we do it? Why should those evenings be any different than any other time? Praise God, they’re much better than they used to be. And I think that the unity is an essential element to the advance of the Gospel through a local church, it is essential.
Now, the Philippian church had divisions and factions. And I’m not going to talk much about them today because we’ll have other opportunities. But they had problems, they had divisions. There was not unity. And so, Paul calls them to total unity. Look in verse 27 and following, it says, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, then whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit.” You see that? He wants to know that they are standing as one man for the faith of the Gospel. There’s a complete concentration of will.
Pulling for one goal
When I was a college student, we had a sports day. And I was in a fraternity and we loved to take part in this sports day. And there was that competitive side that’s part of being a man, I guess. And we just enjoyed competing against the others and doing our best, and I was involved in a tug of war. Now, I had never really taken part in a tug of war before. A little bit with my sisters but this was a different thing entirely. Different thing entirely. We were gripping this big thick rope and when the whistle blew, we pulled on that rope with every fiber and sinew of our physical and non-physical being. And we pulled and it didn’t move. You know what I’m saying? And our legs were straining, our lower back, the thighs, everything, pulling. And then at last we felt the slight little give, maybe just an inch. And that encouraged us to re-double our efforts. And everyone of us pulling for one goal, to accomplish one purpose, and that’s to see that team in the mud. That’s what we wanted. It was one goal, and we’re totally focused to see the other team in the mud. And we accomplished that goal. But after we got done, there was a two minute limit and I thought, we must have been way over it. It must have been 10 minutes. Why didn’t they blow the whistle? It was 46 seconds. Longest physical 46 seconds of my life. But that is a picture of the kind of concentration, all of my efforts focused on gripping that rope and pulling it in one direction. And I think that is what he is talking about here. Total unity for the glory of Christ in the advance of His kingdom. Nothing else matters. And so, there’s a concentration there.
IV. Contending for the Gospel
The third aspect is contending for the Gospel. Contending for the Gospel. The Greek word here is “sunathleó”, from which we get the word “athletic or athlete”. So these athletic images are coming really right up off the text. There’s a contest going on here and we are going to contend for the Gospel. So we picture the intense struggle of a Greek Olympic wrestler. Again, struggling with every fiber of his body against a skilled and strong foe. And so also we, struggling against Satan, struggling against our own fleshly lust and desires, struggling against a world that hates the Gospel, we are struggling, we are contending for the Gospel. Now, part of that contest, that contending, is the effort it takes to advance the Gospel as I said at the beginning. To overcome rivers and streams and the wild beasts of Ephesus namely, fanatical opposition to the Gospel. To be willing to advance the Gospel is a great contest of faith. So there’s a positive advance side to it.
But there’s also a defensive side to the Gospel as well. We must defend the Gospel against attacks. Look at verse seven of chapter one here, Philippians 1:7 says, “It is right for me to feel this way about all of you since I have you in my heart. For whether I’m in chains or,” and look what he says, “defending and confirming the Gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.” What it means is that part of Paul’s job as an apostle was to defend the Gospel against the attacks that were coming at it. And they were arguments, is what they were. There was reasoning, it was a battle of the mind. There were concepts, there were false doctrines, there were false religions and ideologies. There were idolatries and other things coming at the gospel minister. And he had to stand firm and defend the message of the Gospel, to retain its purity and its truth. Jude 3 says, “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you listen, contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” The faith. There is a body of doctrines that we call Christianity, and it must be defended in every generation. The devil will try to attack the doctrinal base of Christianity. Why? Because that’s the Gospel we preach. It is doctrine, and so we must ‘agonize’, is the word in Jude 3, agonize over the defense of the Gospel.
J. Gresham Machen
We must stand firm. Just as J. Gresham Machen did in the Presbyterian denomination, the beginning of the early 20th century when liberalism was taking over Princeton Seminary. And he stood firm and said, “This is evil. It is wrong.” He wrote a classic called Christianity and Liberalism. They are two different things. And he stood in the gap and defended courageously, wrote article after article, received slanderous accusations against him, just as it had happened so many, many centuries before with Athanasius on the incarnation of our Lord, standing firm and defending the doctrine of Christianity. So there was a positive side. The aggressive and courageous advance of the Gospel, there’s a defensive side protecting it against all of these attacks. We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. We wage war with weapons not of the world but of spiritual weapons, and we demolish arguments. We blow them up! I said to the men yesterday, “It’s like we’re going out on a World War II mission at night with black stocking caps on our face and we’re blowing up false doctrine. We’re blowing it up! We’re blowing up false ideas because they destroy families. They destroy churches.” So there’s a sense of contending for the Gospel.
V. Courage in the Face of Persecution
And fourth, there is courage in the face of persecution, the fourth aspect of living a life worthy of the Gospel, courage in the face of persecution. It says in verse 28 and 29, “Without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you,” this, namely your courage, your supernatural courage, will be “a sign to them that they will be destroyed and that you will be saved and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him, since you are going to the same struggle, you saw I had, now hear that I still have.” Courage, I would say, supernatural courage in the face of persecution, is a great sign of the Gospel, and that’s what he’s calling them to. Now, some suffering is granted to every Christian. It’s just the way it is. If you don’t suffer with Christ, you will not reign with him. And so there is some suffering that’s granted to all of us. The internal suffering of putting sin to death through the lust of the flesh, putting it to death, it is suffering, Hebrews 2:18. It is suffering to say no to your flesh. And if you don’t suffer that battle, you’re not a Christian, Romans 8 says so.
Some suffering is granted to all the faithful
But there’s also the suffering of persecution externally as the Gospel advances. And so 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” So, there is some suffering granted to every true Christian. But there is a unique amount of suffering granted to some special Christians. Not all of us in this room are called to martyrdom, as far as I know. But some Christians are called to martyrdom. Not every Christian is called to be physically beaten for the faith, but some are called to that. And I think that Paul is speaking this way. Philippians, it’s been granted to you in a special way to enter into my public, potentially humiliating, suffering for the Gospel. It seems like you’re going through the same thing.
And the apostles, after they had been beaten for preaching the Gospel in Acts 5, they left the Sanhedrin rejoicing, Acts 5:41, “rejoicing that they have been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the name.” Isn’t that something? That God had chosen them to go through that. They rejoiced, because not everybody gets that privilege. And in effect, Jesus said “No one lights a lamp and hides it under a bowl. Instead he puts it up on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” Those kind of witnesses, they are beacons of light to the glory of Christ. But they are only so, if they carry themselves in the middle of that suffering with great courage. If by the power of the spirit, they say things like Polycarp, “Eighty-six years, I’ve served Him and He’s never done me wrong.” What a great line! Only the Holy Spirit can give you that at that moment. That’s why Jesus said, “Don’t write your own material ahead of time, the Father will give it to you at that point.” That’s my own rendition of Matthew 10. But you can’t write a line like that, that’s something the Holy Spirit gives you with great boldness at that moment.
And so, he says, “I want you to be eerily confident when you die, supernaturally confident, so that they begin to reflect as you are going up in flames you’re being ripped to shreds by lions in the Colosseum, what is different about these people? Could it be that we really are the ones under the wrath of God?” Polycarp said right before he died. He said, “You threaten a fire that burns for a little while and then goes out. But there’s another fire you seem to know nothing about that burns forever and ever. But why hesitate to go ahead?” And that’s Polycarp. And what Paul is saying here is that that kind of supernatural confidence and courage is a great sign that God is with us and God is not with the persecutor. And it will cause the persecutor to become reflective, perhaps even fearful and perhaps even come to faith in Christ. Courage in the face of suffering. So, we’ve seen four aspects of living a life worthy of the Gospel. First, standing firm, second, united in one spirit of which we’ll say more God willing in the next few opportunities, third, contending for the faith and fourth, courageously facing suffering.
VI. Application: Have You No Scar?
Now, my application is to ask you to reflect on your own life. No advance of the Gospel, either in the internal journey of holiness, or the external journey of worldwide evangelization and mission work, no advance in the Gospel is possible without suffering, it’s impossible. Satan doesn’t give up any territory without a fight. And so, there is no advance possible without some suffering. The question is, have you suffered for Christ? Are you suffering for Him?
One of my favorite parts of Pilgrim’s Progress which I shared with the men yesterday is from the second half and Christiana is making her way also to the Celestial City, and we meet a man named Mr. Valiant-for-Truth, and Bunyan in his genius, you know where everybody stands by what name he gives them. Alright. And this is Valiant-for-Truth. He is a warrior for Christ. And he has fought many battles for the Lord, and the time has come for him to die. And this is how Bunyan writes about his death: “After this, it was noised about that Mr. Valiant-for-Truth was taken with a summons, and he had this for a token that the summons was true, ‘That his pitcher was broken at the fountain,’ Ecclesiastes 12:6. When he understood it, he called for his friends and told them of it, and then said he, ‘I am going to my Father’s; and though with great difficulty I have got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I’ve had to arrive at where I am. My sword, I give to him who shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him who can get it.’ But ‘my marks and my scars I carry with me to be a witness for me that I have fought His battles, who will now be my Rewarder.’” That moves me. I want to be valiant for truth. I want my children to be valiant for truth. I want you, Christian brother or sister, to be valiant for truth, to stand firm.
Amy Carmichael, a missionary in India, wrote a poem and I’ve got it in your bulletin there:
Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot or side or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land.
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar? Hast thou no wound?
Yet, I was wounded by the archers, spent,
leaned me against a tree to die, and rent
by ravening beasts that compassed me, I swooned.
Hast thou no wound? No wound? No scar?
Yet as the Master, shall the servant be,
and pierced are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole.
Can he have followed far who has no wound or scar?
-Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)