Yesterday I was talking about men like C.T. Studd … later in the day I was reviewing a book I read on a recent flight overseas. In this book the author recounts a story of Christian leaders in Communist China whom he worshipped with on one of his recent visits to that nation…
Let me simply quote him…
To lead a Chinese church requires a great deal of courage and boldness. I was told that probably half of the participants had served time in prison, just for serving Christ! As I heard them worship and watched them pray, I felt unworthy to be there.
One morning before I was to speak, they lifted their voices in Mandarin, singing praises to God. I watched as they poured out their hearts in song. Then my interpreter translated some of the words for me. The gist of the chorus went something like this:
Since you died for us, We now offer ourselves to die for you. Since you gave yourself on the cross, How can we do less than give ourselves for you? So, come what may, Whether we live or we may die for you, We belong to you.
That’s not the typical praise and worship song we sing in North America every Sunday, is it? Singing those words and meaning them takes great courage. It was sung by Christian leaders who knew the meaning of suffering for Christ. Some of the most courageous believers today are found in Asia and in Muslim countries where suffering for Jesus is a real possibility…How do Christian under such opposition stand so boldly for the Lord Jesus? They stand only through the Holy Spirit, who was given to the Church so that bold witness for Christ could be made no matter what the outcome.
And here we live in relative safety and comfort….and we have the same Holy Spirit given to us so that we too can be empowered to be a witness for Him. Are we willing to tell others about Jesus no matter what others may think of us? Are we will to sacrifice pleasures and comfort so that others can hear? Even deeper still – are we willing to suffer and die for the faith once delivered for the saints? Believers have died so that we could hear the Gospel and be saved. Are we willing to suffer and die? If not – why not?
Good question to ponder on a quiet summer weekend.