” But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” [Matt. 24:13]
Once when preparing for a Sunday sermon I ran across the following thoughts. I am writing here my modified version.
A leader in the house church movement in China was asked by a missionary from America, ” How should Christians in America pray for the church in China?” The leader from the church in China answered-” Stop praying for persecution in China to end. It is through persecution that the church has grown.” Then he added ” we in China , in fact are praying that the American church might taste the same persecution so that revival would come to the American church like we have seen it in China.”
It is amazing to me that in America we pray and ask God to bless us with many “things” – prosperity, success, etc.. while other Christians around the world suffer so very much and wonder when we are going to act like the blessings we were made to be.
This Christian leader in China constantly faces arrest for preaching the Gospel and worshipping the Lord. History does seem to bear out that the times of greatest church growth have been times of persecution. During the reformation, the Gospel spread like wild fire while those who preached it were burned at the stake.
We do not pray for persecution and we do not want nor desire it to come to these shores, but if it should, how would we act and would we endure unto the end?
Persecution does not always create growth in numbers, but it does eliminate nominal believers who only go to church for all the wrong reasons. The Christians who remain-that are willing to endure suffering for the faith, demonstrate a powerful and faithful witness to unbelievers.
Often we glibly speak about ” witnessing to our neighbors” by which we mean telling them about Jesus. The Greek word for witness is “Martyr”. This does not mean that we should promote persecution or cultivate it. But we must be thankful to God for the relative peace and safety that we have known. And we must get on fire for God. We should always resist persecution.
However, suffering that we do not want, enduring trials and tribulation out of our control, can be a refining fire, forcing us to depend ever more on Christ. Despite the clear teachings of the bible, many of us actually think God has abandoned us when we go through difficulties, failures, and sorrows. We seem to think that none of these things should be allowed to come into our lives. We must always believe for victory but sometimes the sweetest victories come through the most bitter of pains.
We American Christians have become so prosperous, so successful, and so blessed that perhaps we have also become spiritually soft and thus, ineffective. So, when you find yourself struggling with hardship and opposition or, even more so when you are rejoicing in your success and popularity, remember–someone in China is praying for you