200 Million Christians Persecuted Worldwide: How Should We Respond?
I recently read an article that cites a couple of think tanks who found that approximately 10% of Christians in the world (about 200 million) are persecuted for their faith. You can read the article here.
More Christians are imprisoned for their faith in China than in any other country in the world. Christians are murdered at a steady rate in the Middle East, and governments in free worlds don’t criticize for fear of being labeled “racist.” In fact, as the title of that article suggests, Christianity is all but wiped out in the Middle East.
Does it surprise you that among all the religions in the world, Christianity is the most persecuted? There are a few emotions that arise from this.
Fear. Anger. Sadness. Hopelessness.
But God’s Word has something incredible to say, as always.
The Apostle Paul was imprisoned in a Rome as he stated in Philippians 1:
12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. (NIV, Biblegateway.com)
History tells us that the gospel was spread most during persecution. I’m not asking for it here in America, but we have it too easy. Perhaps this explains the statistic that 95% of American Christians haven’t had the joy of leading another person to Christ.
But this passage inspires me!
The Philippian Christians were afraid that the spreading of the gospel had ceased because of Paul’s imprisonment. But he stated just the opposite!
The whole palace guard was about 9,000 soldiers and guards. Paul said that all of them knew why he was in their jail. It was because of his faith in and preaching of Jesus Christ. Paul had a guard chained to him 24 hours each day. Probably in 8-hour shifts. Guess what he talked to each of them about?
The part of this passage that really gets me is centered on the word most. Most of the brothers and sisters overcame their fear due to Paul’s arrest, and they shared the gospel more boldly and fervently.
That means some brothers and sisters became overcome by fear and backed off from spreading the Good News.
Now, I can’t imagine what that must have been like. But I must ask, what would we have done?
Here we are today. Let us be bold! Overcome what fears we may have about evangelism and bring the gospel to our…
…neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, etc.
Even Paul prayed for more boldness. (Eph. 6:19) Even he battled fear.
This year, make it a goal to share the gospel. (Don’t know how? Check this out!)
Here are a list of possible goals:
- 1 person each week
- 2 people each month
- your parents
- your in-laws
- your children
- your neighbors
- 3 people each week
This list of goals aren’t supposed to be sacred. They’re supposed to get you moving.
May 2013 be the year of our Lord! May it be the year the whole world hears about Jesus!
Would you do your part?
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