The Persecuted Church
“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”
Hebrews 13:3 (NIV)
As Christians in the UK we may be ridiculed for our beliefs. We may be looked upon as if we are a few pence short of a pound, we may have to deal with a politically correct obsession that wants to remove every trace of the name Christ for fear it may upset people, but there are many of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world whose lives are in danger simply because they associate themselves with Jesus Christ.
It often goes unreported on the mainstream news, but there are Christians in this world of ours that are suffering rejection, hostility, discrimination, harassment and violence, for Christ’s sake. Thousands of people have been killed by Boko Haram, the Nigerian terrorist group who sprang to international notoriety after kidnapping 200 schoolgirls in April 2014. They have been attacking Christians and other targets in an attempt to create an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria. It is thought that at least 450 were slaughtered in attacks on Christian areas in May and June 2014 alone.
Believers in some parts of Tanzania are now under threat from extremists. The political turmoil of the ‘Arab Spring’ has caused great suffering for the Christian minority in Egypt. And in Syria’s brutal civil war Islamist opposition fighters deliberately target Christians.
Even though Hindu and Buddhist teachings advocate tolerance, some Christians living as a minority among Hindus and Buddhists are being ruthlessly persecuted. Attacks by Hindu nationalists in India range from violent raids on worship services and the sacking of church buildings, to acts of brutality against individuals.
These heart-rending reports should deeply and profoundly concern us. As the writer of Hebrews says, we should “continue to remember those who are mistreated.” These persecuted Christians need us to stand with them. Can we come alongside them by bringing their plight before the Lord in prayer?
If we ourselves were suffering persecution wouldn’t it be a great source of encouragement to know that we had concerned brothers and sisters who were praying for us? Let’s commit to get to know where our brothers and sisters are suffering and lift up the persecuted church to the Lord. Our prayers make such a difference.
Father, we cry out to you for the Christians who are persecuted in this world because they will not renounce their faith in your Son. We applaud their faith and ask in your mercy that you would deliver them from their hour of trial.
Study by Barry Robinson
About the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder and pastoral worker in the Greater London area, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Worldwide Church of God UK.
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