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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Discipleship Requirements II

In 1934, John and Betty Stam were new missionaries to China, with their 3-month-old daughter, Helen, working in the small eastern town of Tsingteh (today called Jingde) in Anhui Province. The town's magistrate came to the Stams and warned them that the Communists were coming for them. After John confirmed this, the Stams prepared to leave. However, the Communists caught up to the Stams. A Chinese shopkeeper stepped out of the crowd and talked to the Communists, trying to persuade them not to kill the Stams. The soldiers ordered the man back into the crowd, but he wouldn't step back. The soldiers then invaded his house where they found a Chinese copy of the Holy Bible and a hymnal. He was led alongside the Stams to be executed for being a Christian. On their tombstones read:

John Cornelius Stam, January 18, 1907, "That Christ may be glorified whether by life or by death." Philippians 1:20
Elisabeth Scott Stam, February 22, 1906, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21
December 8, 1934, Miaosheo, Anhui, "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life." Revelation 2:10
The story of their martyrdom was much publicized and inspired many to become missionaries. Why am I telling you this? The cost of following Jesus is something that needs to be considered ahead of time.  The Stam's new what they were getting involved in as missionaries. The shopkeeper as well, knew the cost of standing up to the soldiers, especially once he refused to retreat.  Some believers make a commitment to discipleship only to fall away when the demands get difficult.  Then there are believers who understand the call of discipleship but are not obedient.  Not counting the cost will cause humiliation, defeat, and disgrace. Following Christ is no easy decision.  Lastly, let's evaulate our walk because the faithful follower experiences the peace of God even in the midst of adversity.  It is time for us to move to new levels of commitment and obedience to our Elder Brother Christ.