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Faithful Unto Death Faithful Unto Death

Faithful Unto Death

Savithri was a woman in India who became a follower of Jesus. Because her village was primarily Hindu, nobody objected when her husband beat her to death after she refused to renounce her Christian faith.

Savithri’s strong faith did not shield her from death. We should not be surprised by this. Jesus warned His disciples that standing for the gospel can be dangerous. “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matt. 10:21–22).

Smyrna was a wealthy seaport city, containing both a center for emperor worship and a large Jewish population. In this cultural environment the church was a religious minority whose message provoked Jews and Gentiles alike. These Christians suffered economically and sometimes physically for their devotion to Jesus Christ. They were slandered and abused.

In order to encourage the suffering church in Smyrna, Jesus reminded them of three important truths. First, He was aware of their situation: “I know your affliction and your poverty” (v. 9). Second, things were not what they seemed. Although they may have been poor by human standards, these believers were rich in God’s eyes. Third, their suffering was only temporary (v. 10). In the scope of an eternal perspective, it would be a relatively brief period of time.

What does God expect from those in such an environment? In a word, faithfulness, not survival: “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown” (v. 10).

Pray with Us

Ken Heulitt, chief financial officer, thanks the Lord for His faithfulness to Moody and invites you to pray for God’s continued provision and our good stewardship of resources in the next fiscal year.

BY Dr. John Koessler

John Koessler is Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Church Ministries at Moody Bible Institute. John authors the “Practical Theology” column for Today in the Word of which he is also a contributing writer and theological editor. An award-winning author, John’s newest title is When God is Silent: Let the Bible Teach You to Pray (Kirkdale). Prior to joining the Moody faculty, he served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife, Jane, now enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan.

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