In ancient Rome, crowds by the tens of thousands would gather in the Colosseum to watch as Christians were torn apart by wild animals. Paul Rader, commenting on his visit to this famous landmark, said, “I stood uncovered to the heavens above, where He sits for whom they gladly died, and asked myself, Would I, could I, die for Him tonight to get this gospel to the ends of the earth?“ Rader continued, “I prayed most fervently in that Roman arena for the spirit of a martyr, and for the working of the Holy Spirit in my heart, as He worked in Pauls heart when He brought him on his handcuffed way to Rome.” Those early Christians “lied on the threshold of heaven, within a heartbeat of home, no possessions to hold them back.”
Those first believers turned to Christ with the full understanding that they were espousing an unpopular cause that could cost them everything. Shortly after Pentecost some were jailed, many lost all their earthly goods, a few were slain, hundreds were scattered abroad. They could have escaped all this by the simple expedient of denying their faith and turning back to the world. This they steadfastly refused to do.
To make converts, we are tempted to play down the difficulties and play up the peace of mind and worldly success enjoyed by those who accept Christ. We will never be completely honest with our hearers until we tell them the blunt truth that, as members of a race of moral rebels, they are in a serious jam, and one they will not get out of easily. If they refuse to repent and believe on Christ, they will most surely perish. If they do turn to Him, the same enemies that crucified Him will try to crucify them.