Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pushed to Higher Limits

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city. (Acts 8:1-8)
In many countries today, if one becomes a believer in Jesus Christ he or she gives up a good education and job. In some countries, one who converts risks being put out of their home, their family, and in some cases his or her life is at stake. Yet today as in the past, intense persecution of Christians leads to a spread of Christianity and the church.
However, the transition to other ethnic groups requires some adjustments. Like with the early church when Jewish disciples balked at letting go of their centuries-old traditions and allowing the church to be flooded with non-Jews, today we need to not force cultural ways upon believers. God created culture and enjoys varying ways of worship. We too can embrace cultural differences while enhancing our worship and fellowship in Christ.
But what if we were to face the kinds of persecution the early church faced? What if we were to face the dangers some in the East face today?
If severe persecution were to come to the church in your region today, what would happen to our faith?

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