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OceanSide church of Christ

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Ten Qualities of Martyrs

Victor M. Eskew




A.    It is difficult to imagine being a martyr for Jesus Christ.

1.      Can you imagine being sentenced to death because you are a Christian?

2.      Can you imagine waiting for the day of execution in a horrible Roman prison?

3.      Can you imagine finding out the type of death your will die?

4.      Can you imagine watching others die before you?

5.      Can you imagine when it is time for your execution?

6.      Can you image the pain and the long hours of suffering before death?


B.      To be a martyr, one would have to manifest some special qualities. 

1.      NOTE:  These are qualities that all of us as God’s children are supposed to possess.

2.      Martyrs, however, manifested these qualities to the fullest.  They showed their persecutors exactly what they were made of.


C.     In this lesson, we want to look at the subject:  “Martrydom:  Ten Qualities of Martyrs.”


I.                   THEY LOVED GOD


A.    They did not just love God; they loved God much.


B.      We are all familiar with Mark 12:30


And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:  this is the first commandment.


C.     We think we love God.  We say we love God.  But love demonstrated in death is the true test of love (John 15:13).


Greater love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for his friends.


II.                THEY WERE LOYAL


A.    Definition of loyal:

1.      Faithful to one’s sovereign

2.      Faithful to one’s oath and commitments

3.      Faithful to one’s leader


B.      Again, another familiar passage comes to mind (Rev. 2:10).


…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.


C.     The meaning of faithfulness floats in the air until it is summons to the forefront for one to lose his life for Christ.

1.      Jesus came to the martyrs, and said:  “Die for me.”

2.      The martyr clearly and proudly exclaimed:  “Yes, I will.”




III.             THEY WERE BRAVE


A.    Definition:  that confident fortitude or daring that faces and endures anything threatening


B.      Have you ever had to face something scary and moved forward in face of fear?  (Ex., recital, quitting a job, confronting someone)


C.     Can you imagine having to face death itself?


D.    Martyrs were brave, courageous, and bold (Prov. 28:1).


The wicked flee when no man pursueth:  but the righteous are as bold as a lion.




A.    Christianity makes claims that many despise.


B.      To acknowledge the claims of the Christian religion shows that one is not ashamed of the doctrine of Christ.


C.     Two verses:

1.      Paul said:  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ…” (Rom. 1:16).

2.      He exhorted Timothy:  “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner:  but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God” (II Tim. 1:8).


D.    The martyrs did not remain silent.  They did not stutter.  They did not hesitate.  “Yes, I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.”  No shame!


V.                THEY WERE SELFLESS


A.    Self was not the martyr’s greatest concern.

Self took a backseat to the profession of Jesus Christ.

Self disappeared, and Jesus Christ was magnified.


B.      Life is all we have.  If we sacrifice it, we have nothing.

1.      We cease to exist.

2.      We cease to interact with others.

3.      We cease all of our purposes.

4.      We cease our hopes and dreams.


C.     Philippians 1:21


For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.




A.    That which was not important.

1.      Their bodies

2.      Their status in the world

3.      Living life to its complete end

4.      Pleasing others


B.      They perceived, grasped, comprehended, and were thoroughly familiar with things higher than those mentioned.

1.      Fearing God, and keeping His commandments (Eccl. 12:13)

2.      A relationship with Jesus Christ (John 14:23)

3.      A life of faithfulness, not compromise (Heb. 3:14)

4.      A hope which lies beyond this world (I Pet. 1:3-4)




A.    The word persevere means “to be able to continue.”

1.      Continuing when things are peaceful and tranquil is easy.

2.      Continuing in the face of persecution, torture, and death is not easy.


B.      Romans 12:12


Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.


1.      Can you imagine seeing the death of family member after family member?

2.      Can you imagine the many hours of suffering before death?

3.      Can you imagine waiting for your prayers to be answered?

4.      Can you imagine waiting for deliverance from your persecutors?




A.    Jesus taught His followers to rejoice in suffering (Matt. 5:11-12)


Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:  for great is your reward in heaven:  for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.


B.      Examples:

1.      The apostles rejoiced “that they were counted worthy to suffer for his name” (Acts 5:41).

2.      Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God after being beaten and put in stocks in prison (Acts 16:25).

3.      Peter told his readers:  “But and if ye suffer for righteousness sake, happy are ye” (I Pet. 3:14).




A.    When we think of being like Jesus, all of the positive traits stand out:  obedience, prayer, a teacher, a man of compassion, and an example of true love.


B.      We do not see ourselves as a bruised and bloody mess hanging upon a cross.


C.     John 15:20


Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord.  If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.


D.    The martyrs understood this (Phil. 3:20).


That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.


X.                 THE REVERED THE REWARD


A.    This earth did not hold a lot of meaning to the martyrs.  They were intent upon the reward to come.


B.      II Corinthians 4:17-5:1


For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:  for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.  For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not make with hands, eternal in the heavens.




A.    Christian traits are desperately needed at all times.


B.      But, they shine brightest in the hour of trial.


C.     If faced with death, would your Christian character be genuine?


D.    Question:  Is your Christian character genuine enough to live for Christ?