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The Preacher Who Lost His Head

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SBS:  Special speaker last Sunday and Next Sunday.  You all get a break.

Prayer: Our father help us today to learn about courage from a man who was truly courageous.

INTRO: How do you want to die?  I would rather not have my head chopped off. Rather not drown; Rather die like one person I knew, at peace in his sleep and not like three of his friends kicking and screaming in the car he was driving.  We joke about death to keep it away from us.

Head chopping seems a terrible way to die.  John died because he took a courageous stand for the word of God.

The philosophy final at U.C.L.A had many blank pages for the answer to one question:
“What is courage?”
Most of the students wrote frantically, giving examples, expounding on theories. But one of the classmates turned in his essay with just two words on it to describe what courage was. He wrote: THIS IS, and walked out of the room.  He received an A.

The “Saturday” magazine had a quote once that said: “Courage does not consist in feeling no fear, but in conquering fear. He is the hero who seeing the lions on either side goes straight on, because there his duty lies.”
Plutarch said that: "Courage consists not in hazarding without fear, but being resolutely minded in a just cause."

We read today about a man who stood for the word of God and lost his life for it.  A man who stood alone.  A man who was truly courageous.  John the Baptist.

EVERY PERSON HERE SHOULD ASK THEMSELVES IF THEY HAVE THE COURAGE TO STAND FOR THE WORD OF GOD AND THE NAME OF CHRIST.

Three of the main characters will show us three of the enemy’s tricks to get us to fail to stand for the word.

  1. YOU MUST STAND FOR THE WORD IN SPITE OF IMPULSIVE BEHAVIOUR.- This is Herod Antipas made an impulsive decision.  V. 7  Why did Herod hate John?  Herod had married his brother’s wife. VV. 3-4. His brother was not dead. 2nd Temple comic- You might be a Herodian if your family tree doesn’t fork; if you go to a family reunion to look for dates.  We feel how creepy that is.  It is condemned by Leviticus 20:21.
    1. Some may respect justice and holiness and yet be totally unjust and unholy.
    2. Some may gladly hear the word but fail to listen to it. -

                                                               i.      Herod’s religion was a religion of fear, rather than love.

                                                             ii.      Herod’s religion was a religion of superstition-JB come back from dead.

  1. YOU MUST STAND FOR THE WORD IN SPITE OF CALCULATED BEHAVIOUR.-Salome-We learn her name from Josephus.  This was Herodias’ daughter and not Herod Antipas’s.  She adds “on a platter”; KJV says “on a charger.”
    1. This dance was likely calculated to arise lust.  We don’t know for sure, and Salome was a young girl of about 12-14.
    2. This dance was calculated to cause Herod to act impulsively.
  2. YOU MUST STAND FOR THE WORD IN SPITE OF HATEFUL BEHAVIOUR.-Herodias
    1. You must stand for the word despite those who will hate the messenger because of the message.
    2. You must stand for the word despite the conviction that it brings, even to you.  BE CAREFUL THAT YOU ARE NOT HEROD, SALOME, OR HERODIAS

There will be times in all of our lives when we will be called upon to stand for the word of God.  The consequences for you may be high.  It is worth it.  Have the courage to stand despite what anyone thinks or says.

The assault on Tiananmen square began at 10:30 p.m. on June 3, 1989 as armored personnel carriers (APCs) and armed troops with fixed bayonets approached from various positions. These APCs rolled on up the roads, firing ahead and off to the sides, perhaps killing or wounding their own soldiers in the process. BBC reporter Kate Adie spoke of "indiscriminate fire" within the square. Students who sought refuge in buses were pulled out by groups of soldiers and beaten with heavy sticks.

The suppression of the protest was immortalized in Western media by the famous video footage and photographs of a lone man in a white shirt standing in front of a column of tanks which were attempting to drive out of Tiananmen Square. Taken on June 5 as the column approached an intersection on the Avenue of Eternal Peace, the footage depicted the unarmed man standing in the center of the street, halting the tanks' progress. As the tank driver attempted to go around him, the "tank man" moved into the tank's path.

SOME TIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO STAND IN FRONT OF A TANK.

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