The topic today is martyrdom. In John 16:2 Jesus said that the very people that would come to kill the Apostles would do so while thinking that they, the murderers, were serving God.
Today in our comfortable and affluent North American life, martyrdom is the furthest thing from the Christian's mind. He is so caught up with accumulating things, enjoying leisure, family, work, and even church that living a life of sacrifice is not even on his radar screen.
Jesus told us in Matthew 16:24-25, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
We are called to be martyrs. It is easy for us to think of dying for Christ because it is only a remote possibility at this time. It is much harder to determine each day that we are going to be a living sacrifice. (Rom 12:1)
The concept of the living martyr is found in:
Colossians 3:1-3 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Notice the bold, and underlined words "for ye are dead." The one time choice to die for Christ is comparatively easy when placed in contrast to deciding every day to wholeheartedly live for Him.
Today God is calling us to live the life of a martyr...dead to self, alive unto God.