Favorite Sermon Add to Playlist
Photo of Conrad Vine

Surviving the Storm

Conrad Vine
Audio Only

Presenter

Conrad Vine

President of Adventist Frontier Missions

Sponsor

Recorded

  • January 21, 2017
    11:15 AM
Logo of Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 (US)

Copyright ©2017 AudioVerse.

Free sharing permitted under the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 (US) license.

The ideas in this recording are those of its contributors and may not necessarily reflect the views of AudioVerse.

SPONSORED

Video Downloads

Audio Downloads

This transcript may be automatically generated

Sermon this morning is intitled surviving the storm and it's a very Western centric perspective because actually there is already a storm going on around the world it just hasn't arrived in Berrien Springs yet so when I 1st put this together I put surviving the coming storm and realize that that is kind of an insult to those already going through the storm and so I is just entitle surviving the storm and invite you by your heads with me we were invite God to open our hearts this morning their father I think you for the freedoms we enjoy in the United States as of today Guy thank you that we can gather in with freedom of conscience and freedom of association and freedom of speech and father while the sun shines may we not sleep within it may we labor for your kingdom with the utmost of our abilities fathers we gather here this morning I ask that you will speak through me that your spirit will lift me and change me and guide me that each of our lives will be open to you that you will allow your spirit to read our hearts and minds and to whisper in Arias This is the way walk in it and so Father we give these next moments once again to your hands in Jesus' name we humbly ask man. So today I'm really happy to be him Barin Springs last Sabbath's I was there in the heart of the Middle East and I was in a house church there about 15 people there half of them were people of Muslim backgrounds we were studying the teachings of Jesus together and it was a beautiful Sabbath day I'd had a really bad stomach since arriving in that country the day before and I was fasting that day which is a tragedy because the Muslim guests have made some beautiful Dolma various Middle Eastern foods and I regretfully had to pass on everything here in the potluck that followed but as I came into church this morning the thought just struck me that what a blessing we have here to be able to gather like this and to be able to gather and to sing praises to God and to hear an organ playing and lift our voices without fear of the police bursting in and arresting us just for the sheer act of gathering here together and if there is a reality today that even though we talk about surviving the coming storm from a Christian Western perspective we have brothers and sisters around the world who are going through the storm today and it has and it is a brutal storm the fact that does not make c.n.n. or Fox does not mean that it is not happening. As we just want to show you some examples I served with Adventists from to missions and part of my role is means I'm in daily contact with people who are going through precisely that storm and so maybe my perspective is slightly different because my whatsapp or my Facebook or My instant messenger are filled with messages from people who are going through persecution today and I just like to ask the people in the camera can you not show the pictures on the screen just keep the picture on me because I don't want to show anything to anybody who shouldn't be seeing these pictures here's a picture of West Africa and if you look on the screen here this is the country of retaining it's a large country and it's a country that lives under the glare of Sharia Law Sharia law is the lore of Islam mostly taken from the Had a thermometer at a recent trip that I'm a vegetarian that was the meal that I was fed and if you look closely it is. Fish guts and fish and onions so I fished on water during that particular meal. Here is a rooftop view of the capital is low low lying not many high rise buildings the streets are mostly dirt or sand the temperature is very very hot there and here we have with a couple of individuals this gentleman here used to work for Charles Taylor Have you heard of Charles Taylor the war criminal from Liberia he used to work for him breaking into safes he's a safe breaker then he became a 7 Day Adventists now he builds churches in getting. This gentleman here. Just recently was a Muslim and is now a 7th Day Adventist and has lost everything in the transition from Islam to the Body of Christ this lady here. Was a Muslim she found a copy of the Gospels has been reading them and became a Christian and her family does not know when one night she was lying in bed just not so long ago and she woke up to find her mother standing by her bed looking at the picture of Jesus that she keeps in her bedside table and the mother said nothing to her but she looked into her mother's face she realized that her mother knew this lady was now a Christian and this lady does not speak about her faith openly She has 3 children and she does not want to husband to divorce once she knows that she is a Christian because she will lose access to her children she is what you call a secret believer this gentleman here was a very famous reader of the Qur'an and in that country now these days in America we celebrate Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers Well maybe not Aaron Rodgers but at least Tom Brady I hope I quarterbacks there are stars in American society in some parts of the world the stars are those who can read the Qur'an in a beautiful way and some people there are 10 ways of reading the Qur'an this guy reads them in multiple ways and was a high profile Muslim in his country before he was baptized as recently as a 7th Day Adventist. This guy here is going through constant I'm Harris meant by the police and by people associates of the government because this is if this is as high a profile move in that country as if Tom Brady were to move to the New York Giants I mean everybody know about it would be on the news this is a very pro high profile conversion if we look at Iraq. In the Middle East and there is a map of Iraq there is the the region up in the north is Kurdistan there is Mosul world of fighting is right now with ISIS. There's no the map of northern Iraq has Kurdistan so many Erbil the hook the 3 major areas of Kurdistan Baghdad is down here the front lines are right around here now and earlier this week I was driving through those front lines as you can see that bombed out houses the fighting has finished a short while ago ISIS have been driven out and you can see the devastation right there on the front lines of Iraq earlier this week driving through those and why we there will because God speaks to people's hearts even this part of the world and we were in a refugee camp filled with Saudi Muslims from Mosul and they're not mixed with the Christians and they're not mixed with the cities there's a good reason for that because even in the camp in which we were they were ISIS fighters and the government recognizes if you mix the ISIS fighters in the camps with the Christians who are just down the road in a separate camp there will be violence the Christians will be attacked and killed by the ISIS fighters who are now hiding out as refugees in those camps and we come back to West Africa and here is this country down here Blue Country been right west of Nigeria this is the home of Boko Haram in northwest Nigeria Boko Haram means that western education is forbidden they are the guys who run around capturing girls forcing them into marriages and Boko Haram they hide the fact specialize in atrocities such as burning whole Christian communities to the ground including hundreds of Christians at a go if you follow the news of West Africa this is this is a reality that is happening on a regular basis it may not make our Western news but it is happening there and there is another map of anine this is where some of our workers have been serving just over the. Border from where Boko Haram are and just recently we handed back to the Binney mission based in Cotonou a large work among the Dendy Muslims many of them would become 7 Adventists we praise God for that but there were threats and the possibility of attacks during the handover from Boko Haram so join the hand-over his Muslim lady who's been converted Here's part of the handover ceremony as there was a military and there was no there was a police presence for very good reason because of the possibility of a high profile attack from Boko her own. This is the world in which we live the reality today is there is persecution all around the world last year alone over 1000 Christians lost their lives for bearing the name of Christ I mean so again over 90000 Christians when you add it all up around the world some of it takes place in countries such as North Korea where people are imprisoned in the concentration camps run by Kim Jong un but much of what happens in the Muslim part of the world today and the Christians are better losing their lives simply for bearing the name of Christ and I'm not talking specifically about Adventists I'm talking about Catholics and Protestants Orthodox Maronites Calgarians Assyrians and various strands of Protestants as well and so this is a reality around the world today and when we talk about persecution we're talking about young Christian girls being raped at will by Jihad is in Iraq well forced into unwelcome Muslim Arabs as seen in Egypt whole Christian communities being burnt alive by Boko Haram in Nigeria exclusion from jobs and so social exclusion in Southeast Asia being beheaded on the beaches of live Libya by ISIS having all access to Christian literature or Christian Fellowship cut off in the countries that live under Mauritania under Sharia law and here in the in the West we also have forms of persecution of Christians as well if you run a Christian bakery and you don't believe that you should make a cake for a homosexual marriage you will be persecuted out of existence and it's been happening in the United States as well so the names may change the the the ideas may change but Christians are still being persecuted so here's the structure of our message say why is there religious persecution today the current reality of persecution of Christians towards a basic theology of Christian preacher persecution How do you respond to those who are being persecuted and how do we prepare for persecution. Well why is there persecution today well there are a number of reasons and the 1st is that there are some or far tearing governments in the world today who do not want to Christians in their midst though they are a thorough tearing governments who seek to control religious thought and expression a classic example is North Korea and why are governments a totalitarian government so afraid of religious liberty because when those religious liberty people have a higher Allegiance then to the states they have a higher legions to God and that higher allegiance to God often conflicts with peoples allegiance to the state. Another reason that there is persecution today it may not come from the governments but there is social pressure on Christians in particular to comply with the demands of the majority within any given society there is hostility towards traditional or nontraditional minority religious groups and you see this in many parts of the world and it's not just Christians who suffer for instance Ahmadiyya Muslims vigorously persecuted all across the Muslim world they are a small branch within Islam it's not just Christians who are being persecuted but say we are primarily talking about Christians and other 3rd reason why there is a persecution today is that around the world there is a basic refusal to recognize the human rights as outlined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and Jack Straw as you ski who introduced our offering appeal he read there from offical 18 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights which states that everyone has the rights of freedom of thought conscience and religion and this right includes the freedom to change his or her religion or belief now these rights are enshrined within international law but in reality this is not reflected or on a Dem any parts of the world one simple reason is that the sharia law says that. If somebody leaves Islam you ought to be killed not just the personal pasta sizes but the person who leads you out of Islam and when there is a conflict between the laws of man and the laws of God as in the Sharia the Sharia must always take precedence and so for many parts of the world today the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights which guarantees freedom of religion does is not really worth the paper that it is written on. And the reality of persecution for Christians today. Some Chris some Christians experience persecution a form of verbal harassment others experience it in the form of social attitudes and actions against them other Christians pay a heavy price for their faith many Christians today are facing beatings physical torture confinement isolation right severe punishment imprisonment indefinite imprisonment in some cases slavery discrimination in employment and education and even death and this is happening on a daily basis even as we sit here in Berrien Springs the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ though is that just before Jesus comes again we find in the Book of Revelation in the 5th seal of Revelation we find there that there is a limit beyond which even persecution cannot pass though there is persecution and though there is evil God has established a limit beyond which evil will not pass and that His Kingdom will triumph his Kingdom of Grace which is not it which is not a kingdom built on force his kingdom ultimately will triumph and if you want to find out more about the persecuted church these are 2 very rival organizations you can read more about it and the open doors USA and voice of the martyrs established by past the rich and who suffered in Eastern Europe for many years in prison under the communists and when he came to the United States he established a voice of the martyrs and they are a very powerful ministry raising the voice of those who have no voice themselves. So let's turn to how we may understand persecution from a biblical perspective as Satan attacks Satan attacks the church in many ways Satan attacks the body of Christ through civic rulers ponchos part it was a good example Satan also attacks the church through modern day civic rulers such as Ceausescu of Romania the Politburo of the u.s.s.r. States and also attacks God's people through religious leaders and the time of Jesus it was the saddest season the Pharisees and scribes and the lawyers and these days it might mean the ayatollahs and those who preach hate in the mosque every Friday afternoon and the time of the Apostles the Satan the persecutor the church through business leaders just this last choose they farm which Wednesday I was an effort in western Turkey and I stood in the amphitheater where they dragged some of the servants of God in the yelled great is Diana of the efficiency for 2 hours remember that story I stood there with some couple of colleagues and I read out that chapter from Acts Chapter 16 and you can hear the words of the wall way to the back in the reverberate all way to the bottom again the acoustics are quite brilliant but one of the reasons why the Apostles were being persecuted was they were harming the business interests of the silversmith's and these days modern corporations are also attacking Christians particularly the l g b t Q. The corporations that favor l g b t Q matters such as Apple and pay Paul and the n.b.a. all seek to persecute Christians and exclude them socially for standing up for their faith in the old test and New Testament times say can also attack the church through mobs It happened all the way through the life of the Apostle Paul and these days we have mobs that do it at that christians. Many years ago I was on a committee that was asked to draft an Adventist response to Islam like a g.c. statement and if you look at the g. Adventist or website we have statements on the same same sex marriage and and climate change and poverty and all kinds of issues we have a statement on room with Allah says but there is no statement on the g.c. website about Islam and there is a very good reason for that is because in what we say or do not say there may well be a mob in a place like Pakistan or Bangladesh killing the local Adventists because of what a local committee in America has decided to say about Islam there the reality of mob violence has not changed since the time of the Apostles and in the time of Jesus sometimes the Apostles take an attack the church through families even the family of Jesus questioned him and sought to undermine his ministry and today as we will discover this afternoon Satan attacks converts to the Christian faith through the threats of their families it is very real and it's happened today in 2017 here in the United States safe and also attacks Christians through pride he tempts us to false pride Satan attacks Christians through full skillz and its axis through true guilt true guilt is where Satan reminds us of our failures and he says how could god love a person such as you you have no assurance of eternal life it's a lie Satan also taxes through full skilled false guilt happens when things go bad who say why did this happen and then Satan brings to mind alleged failures and says This is why it happened because you're not a good enough Christian because your walk with God is not strong enough etc etc Satan attacks Christians through fear fear is a powerful motivating force that comes from Satan that prevents Christians from speaking up or letting their light be seen in their community and here in the West maybe the most insidious way that Satan attacks the western church is through materialism. There is a remaining church leader he said this he said in my experience 95 percent of the believers who face the test of external persecution will pass it while 95 of those who face the test of prosperity will fail that prosperity is a 2 edged sword and Satan often attacks churches through the gift of material wealth we may think things are a gift from God Maybe they are but oftentimes those gifts from God become outright for so our trap for our eternal salvation and so towards the theology of Christian persecution Jesus discussed persecution in the climax of the Sermon on the Mount he said Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake for those is the kingdom of heaven blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and not to all kinds of evil against you falsely I notice this on my account the key part of this beatitude is that persecution comes of the followers of Jesus on his account the world hates Jesus the world does not accept the claims of Jesus Christ and therefore the world hates us. Not because we are intrinsically nasty you or wicked people but because we prove carry the name of Jesus Christ and it is the name of Jesus Christ that is the great offense of the world in which we live if the world hates you said Jesus be aware that it hated me before it hated you if you belonged to the world the world would love you as its own because you do not belong to the world but I've chosen you out of the world therefore the world hates you in the world you face persecution but take courage I have conquered the world can you say amen Jesus has conquered the world in the sins of this world the light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it there from the prologue of John one verse 5 is a beautiful verse here the light Jesus is the lights of the world and he calls us to be light of the world shines the verse does not say the light shone in the darkness Jesus says the light shines in the darkness as a present active which means the lights of the world that is Jesus is shining in the world even today it's a present active the light of Jesus shines in barren Springs through each one of us today the light of the world shines today because we are here and the darkness did not overcome it this tells us there is a struggle between light and dark the darkness seeks to overwhelm the light but the good news of the gospel is that darkness will never ultimately overwhelm the light that the lights of the world as the presence of Jesus shining through his disciples will not be overcome no matter how much darkness there is in the world today choose a simple example imagine Metrodome from the n.f.l. and imagine it's midnight and the lights are all off and there is pitch darkness within that Metrodome and somebody lights a candle in the middle of the pitch of the playing area and you sit on the highest bleacher up in the Metrodome when you look down can you see that light. Yes no matter how much darkness there is the smallest light will always be seen and the greater the darkness the brighter that light shines and that that candle does absolutely nothing to shine brighter but the greater the darkness around the brighter the witness of the followers of Jesus Christ and so we are called to be faithful to Jesus Christ because the darkness will try to overwhelm us or to overcome us but this light is shining and continues to shine and will shine in the midst of earthly Darkness character we know is not formed in times of crisis our character is revealed for what it is in times of crisis every decision we make today every decision in our walk with God every time a temptation comes to our mind we play with it we choose to accept or reject it is preparing us for the times when we have major decisions to make when we are called to testify to our faith we have this concept in modern times that a martyr is one who dies for their faith and that is true but that is not the New Testament definition of a martyr a martyr is one who testifies to their faith while alive on to the point of death the word Martha comes in word mark to us it means a witness in a court of law the verb as Jesus says you will be my witnesses to the end of the world we are to testify to the goodness of God while alive and as Revelation Chapter 2 talks about faithful my faith and to pass my faithful witness who is faithful unto death we are called to be living martyrs to testify to our faith in Jesus Christ up to and if necessary including to the point of death but we are not martyrs when we die we are martyrs why we live today in bearing springs and you may ask ourselves what does our life tell people about a loving God and assume returning savior do people see so they hear of a loving God and he soon returning savior within our lives. So how do you respond to those who are experiencing persecution. This is a this is. Something that maybe we're in this position today I don't think any of us are being fair are facing incredible persecution as we sit here in barren Springs but there are a few lessons we find from scripture The 1st is this don't simply ignore those who are suffering for Jesus Christ don't go home today thing that was a nice sermon and get on with life as usual don't ignore those who are suffering for Christ Hebrews 133 remember those who are in prison as though you were in prison with them those who are being tortured as though you yourselves are being tortured if you are being tortured yourself the issue of persecution will become very real and very personal and in the media to issue for you I want to encourage you today not to go home and say Well that was a nice program let's get on with life as usual because this world is not going through a time of usual events and sooner or later that persecution will come to bury and springs and so how we respond to those who are facing placing persecution today is an indicator of how ready we are to face persecution ourselves to don't simply ignore those who are suffering for Christ Secondly slow down and recognize somebody else's suffering. When I was $22.00 I was in the country of Tajikistan there was a civil war and I was I set up an ad for office there I was given $1500.00 they said go in open abjure office and I was young and naive and think Ok I can do it $1500.00 will we did it but it was hard work and when I arrived there I I kept hearing this thunder and I kept saying I hear the thunder but there's no rain in a few weeks to figure out it was artillery I was listening to him. And the city was in a civil war Duchamp a between communists and jihadi is from Afghanistan and when I came back from that after year the last 3 months I'd been living in members homes I couldn't go to my office because they would you had these who were hunting for me there about 50 Westerners in the country that time and there was a tart there was a target over all over our bodies that you had these wanted to kill us and so I spent my time living in members' homes with the curtains drawn communicating with our office with a radio and when I came out from there after one year I came back to my church in England and somebody said So what's it like out there you know expecting to maybe get some beaches or something I said well let me tell you and after about 5 seconds they said Well that sounds great but are you going to the social tonight well I can tell you this when people go through immense suffering they really appreciate it if someone slows down and says Tell me your story when you are allowed to tell your story it's actually therapeutic when someone gives you the time of day and says Let me listen to what you've gone through and I'm not going to judge you I'm not going to doubt you I'm not going to criticize you I'm going to recognise that there but for the grace of God go I can when you give people a time and space to tell their story it is a therapeutic thing in and of itself and it recognizes that evil is evil and evil cannot simply be ignored this passage here I never understood this passage until 2 years ago in Iraq this is talking about Joe and his 3 friends who came to visit him and when they saw him from a distance they did not recognise him and they raise their voices and wept aloud they tore their robes and threw dust upon their heads they sat with him on the ground 7 days and 7 nights and no one spoke a word to him for they saw that his suffering was very great and I never understood this passage why when they visited Joe did they say nothing for 7 days that's a long time to keep silence Yes. Maybe it was a husband who didn't like to interrupt I don't know but that's a joke by the way they sat for 7 days and 7 nights they didn't say a word I only understood that text when I sat down with an Iraqi Christian lady who fled ISIS and she sat in a corridor in a in a factory and I said will tell me your story and she told me her story and she took she spoke how ISIS came in Mosul this was 2 years ago and said convert leave or die so she left with her family and on the way out of Mosul they took her her wedding ring they took her shoes they took her husband's belt they took their money and they took their daughters and which point she stopped speaking which point I stopped speaking there are times in life when we come across a magnitude of evil that surpasses human words and the only thing we can do is be silent in the face of evil one day God will speak but in in when we when we are faced with evil of the magnitude of this in the world today sometimes the best thing to do is to sit in silence and not to ignore that person but to sit in solidarity because evil goes beyond words we slow down to recognize their suffering the 3rd thing we find in scripture is we have to speak up on behalf of the voiceless the Psalms the proverbs say a lot about this I gave a couple text they give justice to the weak and they often maintain the rights of the lowly in the destitute rescue the weak in the needy deliver them from the hand of the wicked speak out for those who cannot speak for the rights of all the destitute sometimes those who are going through persecution cannot speak up for themselves they may be in a prison cell they may have their tongues taken out quite literally they may be afraid to speak out for the consequences for their families and those circumstances it is our responsibility as Christians in the free world to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves it means writing to your senator or writing to your member of Congress. It means joining the not North American religious liberty association it means maybe sending local justices maybe send the Liberty magazine to a local judge or making an offering today the Liberty magazine is funded to that that goes to all the justices in the state of Michigan it means I get it actively involved for those who cannot speak for the rights of the destitute and then the final thing we can do to those who risk experiencing persecution is to offer practical support and comfort we're going to hear this afternoon of a young individual who lost everything for the sake of Christ just around Thanksgiving and how the body of Christ has rallied around and has set this person on that person's feet once again it is our privilege to do so it is our responsibility as the Body of Christ to look after those who lost everything for the sake of Christ the parable of the Good Samaritan is a good teaching by Jesus on this topic. In practice there is much we can do and as you read through that list you see that there is something that appears repeatedly you can become engaged in the religious liberty ministry now you can pray for those who are being persecuted for prisoners of conscience in their families educate yourself about religious liberty issues and trends and once again pray for those who are being persecuted for prisoners of conscience and their families you can join the North American religiously with scenes to association to do it's a night out to Sabbath online and you can pray for those who oppose Q Tud for prisoners of conscience and their families. You can pray once again a prayer is an important part of this kind of ministry you can provide financial emotional and practical support for the families of prisoners of conscience when when when maybe the husband is put in prison and the family left alone how are they going to live is a Christian stepping up and saying we will support those who have lost their breadwinner as a prisoner of conscience you can become more active in our divisions refugee and immigrant ministry refugee Ministries dot com is the Web site you can go to to learn more about that and you can educate yourself read the reports of the u.s. Commission on International Religious Freedom u.s. see i.r.f. dot g.-o. v. they produce an annual report that details religious liberty and persecution trends around the world today. Those are some things we can do to prepare ourselves to understand this but how do we prepare ourselves for persecution if the Adventists eschatology tends to focus on timelines and events I gave some of the things that we tend to focus on the closing of probation. The ceiling of the saints Jacob's time of trouble the time of the end if you had all those expressions before and we tend to plot out the end time events as a series of events and we never really ask how people going to make it through those events. We like the timelines we like the time scales when does the little time of trouble happen is it before the greater or lesser time of trouble and so forth and so forth but during this last week I was with a colleague of mine and we were discussing great bar hotel great bar hotels prison this colleague is anticipating one day he may be in prison and the child the question we had is how do you prepare the local believers the converts to survive without their pastor you see in the Adventists world our eschatology theory or theology when time events tells us that the end of time God's people will not be a glorious triumphant well received global movement but we will be a Church Militant under severe economic sanction ensuring public and legal opprobrium shorn of our institutions losing our tax free exemptions losing our grants of land refused access to banking legal visa or financial instruments and ultimately facing the death penalty for refusing the mark of the beast that is what our eschatology tells us but the way we do church is completely inconsistent with that the way we organize ourselves as church globally we assume 100 percent access to the world's banking and financial systems just to survive as a world church we assume we can get ready access to visas and airplane tickets and land grants and tax exempt status as we operate our churches if we issue everything is going to continue the way it always has been and yet the Bible tells us the end of time none of that's going to be in place the way we do church today as shoes the church the world loves us and we have access to everything we need to function as a global corporation. Eschatology the Word of God says that village Adventist Church we need to know that all the things we depend upon today will be gone one day but the body of Christ will still exist we don't we're not defined by our finances or by our institutions and so a 7th Day Adventists we need to start thinking seriously about how do we prepare for any time persecution here in the West and we cannot to shew not means that our institutional Andrews will remain open or under Adventist control we cannot issue we'll have tax free status and get our tax deductible receipts the end of the year from the church treasurer here one day those will be gone the i.r.s. code is very clear tax exempt status is only given to those institutions that support the common good and when the Sabbath is no longer the common good we will lose our tax exempt status it is a privilege we enjoy today but it is not an absolute right and so Jesus comes and Adventist administrators face ix dream pressure to keep the colleges and schools open precious though they are but maybe the responsibility of shepherds is not to look back and keep the institutions of yesterday open but to look forward and to prepare the pluck the flock for the persecution that is coming down the pipeline. And there is a. You might say that intellectually we know that persecution is coming spiritually I am ready for prison and practically I have prepared my people for that time when I'm gone and during this last week I was so having a long conversation with a colleague of mine about this very reality that when this colleague he knows that if there's a strong chance he may be in prison for what he's doing in that particular part of the Middle East the question is is the flock ready for when you're gone that was our conversation as we walked around the city of emphasis this last Tuesday how do we prepare the new believers for when their spiritual Shepherds are gone. And that is our responsibility as spiritual leaders is not just to glory in the past but to prepare our flock for what is coming down the pipeline fast towards us so here are some lessons from the persecuted church the 2 most commonly heard statements about persecution are right there persecution will never happen here and then after that we never thought persecution would happen here for those are probably the 2 most commonly heard statements about persecution it will never happen here and we never thought that it would happen here and now scripture reading this morning the Apostle Paul tells us then 2nd Clinton's chapter one verse is 3 through 4 that the Free Church has important lessons we can learn from the persecuted church the apostle Paul says blessedly the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation who consoles us in all our affliction so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God Paul is speaking on behalf of the persecuted church and he is talking about those who have yet to undergo persecution that the persecuted church can give lessons about God to those who have yet to go through persecution while we think that we can minister to the persecuted church we who are living in the Free Church of today we need to be humble enough to recognize that that God has given lessons to those who are facing persecution and we need to be open to learning those lessons for ourselves because one day we will be grateful for those lessons so here are some lessons from the persecuted church of China. Sometimes you need to build yourself a cell you may be put into a physical cell one day yes but we need to build ourselves a spiritual cell we are to be still and know that I am God What I'm one of my saying here is that our faith needs to be strong enough that we can walk with God and we are not dependent on the presence of a large church around us that we are not Adventists by convenience but we are Adventists by conviction that I walk with God is strong enough that even if I am alone somewhere my walk with God will still survive and whether I go into a prison cell or go to a village Adventist church that my walk with God isn't intrinsically going to change overnight we need to build ourselves a spiritual cell that quiet time with God on a daily basis he learning to recognize the voice of God in the midst of all the clutter of this life it's our privilege why we live in the free world to it we can invest the time and energy in this coming year 2017 to build each one of ourselves a spiritual Sal a closet into is none may enter of God through His Holy Spirit now the 1st lesson we learned there from the Chinese church the next lesson we learn from the Chinese church is that God keeps secrets God keeps secrets. I have never seen a letter from God that says that under the persecutions of Mao Tse tung such and such a Christian while facing persecution broke God knows what happens in persecution he knows what people go through and he does not humiliate those who break rather when someone like Peta Jesus restored him to ministry once again did he not. God keep secrets from my thoughts are not your thoughts nor are you always my ways saith the Lord for the heavens are higher than the Earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts there have been countless stories of persecuted Christians who died without seeing the fruits of their labor but God knows all it has been and all it is to come now labors on his behalf are not in vain they are in his hands weakness the 3rd lesson from the Chinese the Chinese persecuted church is a direct path to power when we sense that we are weak and there is nothing we can do that is the time when God is most strong in our lives as the Apostle Paul said therefore I am content with weaknesses insults hardships persecutions and calamities for the sake of Christ for whenever I am weak then I am strong Fourthly. Overcoming is greater than deliverance. We tend to assume that people who go through persecution but their primary focus is that God would remove them from that persecution and that is not actually the case it appears that those who go through persecution their primary prayers not God remove me from the situation but God help me to enjoy this persecution God help me to make it through while this is happening to me Father give me the grace to be faithful to you as such a time as you choose to bring it to an end that is in your hands but while I'm going through it today I simply ask that I be faithful I overcome the trials that come my way and so the apostle Paul says Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. Extreme hurt requires extreme forgiveness. An Iranian lady who lost her Christian husband who was executed by the Iranian government just recently says this I only had hatred in my heart for my enemies who had murdered my husband but one day a miracle happened God taught me how I could love my enemies I've been praying through this even on the deepest level I didn't want it to happen gradually through a process of ups and downs God answered my prayer and I could love my enemies extreme hot requires extreme forgiveness for healing the possible Jesus said Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing and prayer is the ultimate fellowship and many Christians around the world they yearn to know that somebody is praying for them and I would encourage you if you're not doing this already voice of the martyrs have a letter writing campaign and they will send you postcards and you can write letters of encouragement to Christians and they will mail them to the post queue to church around the world on your behalf and when Christians receive a note that says Dear Brother I'm living in America I don't know who you are away while but God does and I'm praying that you will get through today the response is incredible we can pray for those who are going through persecution today so. Our time is almost up here is North lot of things we could say about persecution still today but I want to remind you today that the church at the end of time will not be a Church Triumphant it will not be a church glorious It will not be a church that is flush with cash God's people at the end of time will be a Church Militant a church persecuted and a church that is pure and Jesus gives some beautiful promises to his people in the book of revelation here these promises of Jesus Christ to those who stand faithful to the end from Revelation to in verse 7 to him who overcomes I will give to eat from the Tree of Life which is in the midst of the paradise of God Can you say amen. To him who overcomes will he were overcome shall not be hurt by the 2nd death to him who overcomes I'll give some of the hidden manna to eat and I'll give him a white stone and on the stone will be a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it and He who overcomes and keeps my work until the end to him I'll give power over the nations he shall rule with a rod of iron they shall be dashed to pieces like the Potter's vessels as I have also have received from my father and I will give him the morning star He who overcomes shabby clothes and white garments and I will not block his name out from the book of life but I will confess his name before my father and before his angels He who overcomes I'll make him a pillar in the temple of my God and He shall go out no more and I shall write on him the name of my God and the name of my city of my God the New Jerusalem which comes down from heaven from my God now right on him a new name and finally to him who overcomes I will grant to sit with me on my throne as also I overcame and sat down with my father on his throne beautiful promises from Jesus Christ to those who are faithful to him no matter what comes their way in so in conclusion write to us 3 simple questions you can take these with you what areas of our lives are we consciously building on the words of Jesus and what areas of our lives are we not consciously building on the words of Jesus Jesus Word is the foundation of our life well life is built on the foundation of the teachings of Jesus we will stand when the storms of life come our way secondly how do we respond to the reality of persecution for the 10s of thousands we might say millions of Christians today what are my personal responsibilities to the persecuted church today do I show any care for them I have any compassion for them do I give them my thoughts for my price Am I willing to support a persecuted family. And finally how may I prepare for persecution should God allow me to go through the fiery furnace for his sake this is a question each one of us has to answer. I have whenever I go to a place like northern Iraq and I'm very close to the front lines I've mentally made that decision that if I'm Colter if I die that's in God's hands it's a decision we'll have to make the once you've made that decision it's incredibly liberating because you no longer have a sense of fear you have a life of the world says Jesus Matthew 514 is not a description of us today or is it a hope for us tomorrow. The lights of the world is not a description of village church today or is not a hope for a community tomorrow is my prayer that is an actual truth it is a description of us today and that the lights of village church is shining in the darkness and it will shine in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome this church nor the members of the brothers and sisters who worship within this congregation may God bless us as we serve as the lights of the world in a world that is fostering a valid for the darkness of evil when Jesus comes again is my prayer that each one of us we are ready we will have enjoyed to the end on each one of us receive the crown which of life on. This media was brought to you by audio 1st a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more service leave a visit w w w audio verse or.

Share

Embed Code

Short URL

https://audiover.se/2ZhAD1r