Therefore brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.2 Thessalonians 2:15
To stand against the threat of a fiery furnace is something that many Christians today in the US might never have to face. Christians in other countries are attacked and killed in acid attacks, buses full of Christians are torn apart by bullets, and pregnant women going to Church are beaten by state police. The persecution of Christians runs rampant around the world. But this fiery trial, as described by the Apostle Peter, is something to rejoice in, inasmuch as those Christians that experience Christ’s sufferings shall be glad when he is revealed to them in glory, for in their death Christ is glorified. But why did they die? Glorifying God is the end result, but why did they suffer in the first place? The same question could be asked regarding the death of Christ. The word of God said that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. The Bible also says that he tasted death for every man. But Jesus was not murdered against his will, he gave himself freely. So while many would say that Christ was killed because of hate, the hatred men have for God, we know that Christ died for love, for greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Christ’s servant, Lawrence of Rome, lived about two hundred years after the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, to sit at the right hand of the throne of God. This is after the canon of Holy Scripture was closed, sealed by God in his book of Revelation. The Apostles Paul, Peter, James, John, the writers of the Gospels and Acts, they had all lived and died, and taught what the Lord Jesus had given them to teach.
Two hundred years later Lawrence was standing fast to the traditions, not of man but of God. When Emperor Valerian, the Greedy Wolf of Rome, had sent to demand of Lawrence (who was a deacon in the Church), where the alms were in the Church, Lawrence requested he return in three days, at which time the treasure would be revealed. This Merciless Tyrant was rounding up Christians by the hundreds for death, and persecuting them by the thousands through taxation and discrimination. In those days being poor had no respite. There was no welfare for these poor souls, and so the Church at Rome (which had yet to become that wicked apostate Roman Catholic abomination) elected to care for them. Valerian understood that the Church’s treasure must be taken not only to increase his own wealth, but to ensure that the poor could not be helped by the Church. After three days, the prefect sent by Valerian returned and demanded that Lawrence hand over the treasures of the Church. Lawrence, surrounded by the forces of Rome, stretched out his hands over the poor and defied the prefect, saying, “These are the precious treasure of the Church; these are the treasure indeed, in whom Jesus Christ hath His mansion-place. What more precious jewels can Christ have, than those in whom He hath promised to dwell? For so it is written, I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was an stranger, and ye took me in. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. What greater riches can Christ our Master possess, than the poor people in whom He loveth to be seen?” (Actes and Monuments).
Needless to say, the tyrant was not diffused from his evil mission, and in anger and hatred, he lit the flame of torture for Lawrence, and roasted him on a bed of coals. Lawrence is in eternity with the Lord, but in his words we see the truth of life in Christ. As many as are saved have this treasure in earthen vessels. When that vessel is broken, the treasure is more easily seen by the world. Lawrence’s martyrdom has been remembered by Christians for almost two thousand years, and is an example of sacrifice in the service of the Lord that brought forth much fruit. Let us stand fast through the trials of life as Lawrence did, holding fast till death the word of God.
Let us be in prayer for our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering for the cause of the gospel of Christ.
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