A Lesson from the Pescuted Church

In the last church I pastored, every Sunday morning, someone stood up at the front and prayed for the things happening in this broken world. Among the prayerful petitions to God were things like the spiritual well-being of the neighbouring church; that we get the divine assistance to be Jesus to our communities; that local politicians work under the guidance of the Holy Spirit willingly (as though for Jesus), and that the persecuted church around the world experiences breakthroughs and freedom to bring the Good News to this spirituality decaying world.

Now, with the political attacks on the Christian Church in North America, we true Jesus followers are tied up in thinking, “how the heck do we get the rights and freedoms we had for the church of yesteryear back?” Because its becoming increasingly more uncomfortable to to be a true Jesus follower in Western Society. I mean we truly took our freedom for granted in times past. We say, “Tsssk, tsssk! That government cracking down on the freedoms of the Christian church!” And then we roll over and go to sleep and do nothing about it. It’s a disgusting apathy that we find ourselves in. And without a doubt, it’s time to take a page from the “liberal wackadoodle” playbook: its time to get loud, about the ramping up persecution in the Western Church.

It’s not reason that stirs politicians to amend laws or interject in social situations. It’s the uncomfortable loudness of citizens that leads to a public questioning of a governments ability to lead. And most of the Western Church is much, much too quiet.

But.

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But no matter how bad we have it here as Christians, others who relish and revere the name of the mighty Jesus Christ, in many other lands, have it much, much worse.

When I was a teen, my grandmother’s dying wish was for me to be a missionary. Ugh! A missionary?! All they do is sit in grass huts on dirt floors and eat bland local food. No TV, doctor is a hundred miles away (on foot of course) and everything is done by goat poop candlelight.

But compared to what is really going on in many other countries, goat poop candles doesn’t seem too bad of an inconvenience.

Quick fact:

“Christianity is the MOST persecuted religion in the world.”

The World! Not just Iran, or Saudi Arabia; the World!

Nope, it’s not the Yazidies in Syria. It’s not the Buddhist’s or Muslims in northern China. It’s not the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witness in South America. It’s not the Fallon Gong sect in Asia. It’s the ‘sold out to Jesus Christ’ followers. And for Christians it’s not just in third world or developing nations that the Church finds itself under the thumb.

Look at the extensiveness of the persecution going on OUT IN THE OPEN. The reason why I capitalized “out in the open” is because there is yet another persecution map, of persecution that goes on subversively. We here in Canada have had Justin Trudeau grant rights to every subgroup or special interest party to declare they are indeed a group. And yet he has picked away at the rights of the Christian Church continuously (with a koi little smile, and a corrective shaking of his index finger). Remind you of someone? Remind your of eight years of ‘Obamacide’ in which again, another good looking, “cool” politician hacked away at every Christin edict and freedom possible?

How about Merkl in Germany, can we say “personality disorder”?

So let’s put this together shall we?

Because of the demonic undercurrent

we have, (and believe you me, this persecution is the work of a scheming demonic kingdom), Christians in developing and third world nations, many times are being killed in public. We have smiley politicians in first world nations subversively removing freedoms from Christians. And yet we find western society defending and championing everyone (and anyone) other than Christians.

So how do we deal with this?

As churches, we have programs, we have funds, we bring in missionaries. We want the pagan to like us, “maybe we can win them with our staying my silent on social and political issues?” The brave pastors actually talk about voting for the most moral political party. (The weak cowardly pastors, believe that God doesn’t really build the church: Psalm 127:1 ; but actually building the church takes ‘arse-kissery’ and not getting too vocal about social or political issues).

But folks, although we do see fruit from these things (and only God knows how and why), it’s really not enough, is it? Our lands are still slipping into darkness. Interestingly, do you know who seems to have figured out the cure for building the church through persecution? (Hang onto your Natchos). It’s those being persecuted the worst. Yes, those whose testimony is like Paul’s found in

2 Corinthians 11:5,

“Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea;”

The viciously persecuted Church, many times, finds itself without rights, allies, laws to protect, Medicare, food, water or rescue. And yet their numbers climb like bean plants on steroids. Their faith is muscular, robust and loud. It’s acted out, not just talked about. Because they have no choice but to dive into Jesus. Jesus is their only hope.

No governmental faction will come to the aid of the Christian being beaten in Northern India or Iran. They can’t claim the rights of the “citizen”. They can’t call the Dr and have medicine sent over to the pharmacy. They must pray and rely on the Holy Spirit to work “unlikely” miracles.

When they pray for food, they really mean it: “please Jesus…provide us with lunch.”

When they get beat by clubs, shot or stabbed, they rely on Jesus to bring healing to them. When their small shanty churches are burned to the ground, they pray to God for another location to worship corporately. They do not give up!

In essence, the persecuted Church has a lesson for us:

dive into Jesus.

It’s not just a bit, it’s not just a side salad Faith; true Christianity is all in or nothing!

This is why it’s so important that we support missions. When you support missions, you are being God’s instrument at ridding a country’s spiritual blindness from the inside out.

I love meeting third world Christians. Third world Christians are all in. They know they might die for their faith. They know that they immediately put their jobs at risk. But, nonetheless, they are all in; they hold nothing back from Jesus. And that’s what we as a church need to do.

It is reported that the underground Chinese church is pst one hundred million members. Do you know why? Because they are all in.

Let me ask you this:

Are you all in?

If you can’t answer this question, chances are that you aren’t, and that you find your pleasure in earthly things more than In Jesus Christ. That’s why the only political decisions that move you are those that affect your carnal pleasures. Hence abortion, homosexual marriage and the legal handcuffing of the Western Church barely catches your attention, less your effort to stop such things.

Stop playing Church; stop pretending that there is something more important than meeting with the “all knowing, all powerful omniscient creator of the universe” daily. Everything else should be a side salad; not God.

So I’d encourage you today:

Dive in to Jesus. Organize your day around Jesus, not Jesus around your day.

When you start to do this; when WE as the living breathing Church of Christ start doing this, just watch God start to be worshipped like he should be in our communities and our countries. Watch the laws change, and the sanctity of the womb be re-established. Get loud about your Christianity!

Don’t be a Christian club member, be a Christ follower!

Dive right into Jesus

 

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

JG Smoothy
JG Smoothy is a musician and the writer of UNDERSTANDING THIS JESUS THING. He has one wonderful wife and three crazy children. JG is a pastor in Southern Alberta Canada and is in the middle of yet another book writing project.

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