The Persecuted Church

February 26, 2015

Allen Michael Rea | Pastor
Dunn Memorial Baptist Church, Baxley, GA

Over the years, I have developed a profound sense of awe and aspiration for the persecuted church. This, however, is not some passing fancy, but simple obedience to the Word of God.

In Hebrews 13:7, we read: “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith” (ESV). The way this passage reads, the elusive writer of this Book, implies that some of the pastors of the church had been martyred for the faith. He commands remembrance of them (this ties in to verse three of the same chapter). In other words, “call them to mind”. Do not just remember their conduct or features, but the lessons that they taught from the Word of God. Secondly, he commands that we consider what happen to them due to the life that they lived. They boldly and courageously lived the Christian life, void of compromise or apology. What did they receive for this from the world? Death. The Bible promises persecution for all Christians that truly live the biblical life (2 Timothy 2:12). Lastly, the verse commands that we imitate their faith, and by extension be ready for the same outcome that they received. Are you ready to die for the cause of Christ? It is easy to quote Christians. It is easy to hang their pictures on our walls. It is, however, true Christianity when we “mimic” them (1 Corinthians 11:1).

I am young in age, in Christianity, and in ministry; nevertheless, I am weary. I grow weary from reading reports of all that my brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, and many other places; while the “church” in America is failing even to share the Gospel with the apartment complex or trailer park next to the church. I grow weary seeing 21 Egyptian Christians lose their heads for Christ, while our “churches” refuse to give up their Wednesday evenings to study the Word of God. If you are too busy to attend church to hear the teaching of the Word, then you are TOO busy. I am at a loss for words as to how to even begin to compare their faith with ours. We are, indeed, grasshoppers to them.

What can we do for them? How can we obey Hebrews 13:3 and 7? We can educate ourselves about their cause. (Check out www.opendoorsusa.org and www.persecution.com ) We can pray for them. I mean REALLY pray for them. We can recognize that they are modern members of the “Hall of Faith”. “Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawed in two, and they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” (Hebrews 11:36-38, ESV) Perhaps while on our knees in intercession for the persecuted church, we will come to terms with the drastic need for revival in the churches of this country.

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Montie Matlock

Thanks Brother, I have seen these Brothers and Sisters around the world, we have forsaken them for a nice soft place to worship

And the Lord saith, Forasmuch as this people draw near with their mouth, and honour me with their lips, but their heart is removed far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught of men;

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

    Allen Rea

    Thank you for taking the time to both read and provide your insight.

Max

The Church has always been its best when it was persecuted – persecution spawns genuine faithfulness. Christians in the Middle East, in ISIS territory, are under awful persecution. We, in the West, are challenged to pray for them. “Jesus, help me” were the last words of those 21 Egyptian Christians … “Jesus, forgive me” should be on the lips of American Christians who are not praying as they ought for the persecuted church. We sit comfortably in church coffee lounges waiting for our latte, while some of our Brothers and Sisters await death in a cage. Why? Because they are Christian. Being rejected by a neighbor when inviting him to church is not persecution! We are indeed blessed as American Christians, but blessings can become a curse if we turn a deaf ear from the body of Christ which is crying out in persecution.

    Allen Rea

    I give a hearty “amen” brother to your commentary. Thank you for reading.

Jerry Smith

Our church, there’s not many of us but our members are there at nearly every service. I believe our percentage is higher than any church I’ve ever been a part of. Yet there many out there that miss out on many church services. I suppose some of them are just enjoying the world way to much. Of course these days the way work schedules are with many places that have two to even three work shifts many may have to be at work.

One thing I never understood was at the church that ordained me. They had a deacons meeting one Wednesday every month after services. I remember two deacons that I would meet when leaving Wednesday evening service. These two never attended Wednesday night services and both of them were retired but they would come for the deacons meetings.

Maybe this quote I’ve placed in tomorrows church bulletin fits some people that only come to one service per week and they think that one time prayer that they will have a total crop failure is plenty.

“Most of us spend the first six days of the week sowing wild oats, then we go to church on Sunday and pray for a crop failure.”

    Allen M Rea

    Jerry,

    Thank you for your insight. I love the quote! I may borrow that one.

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