There are eleven (11) flags displayed at the back of the worship hall. Six (6) are in the top 50 countries in the OPEN DOORS World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most severe persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ- #15 Uzbekistan, #17 India, #23 Myanmar, #30 Malaysia, #33 China, #43 Indonesia
At least 100,000 Christians are killed every year because of their faith. Many others are tortured, imprisoned, displaced from homes, threatened, excluded from jobs, ostracised and marginalised. In some countries, churches are coerced to take down their crosses. In others, church buildings are burnt down, Elsewhere, they kill priests and pastors, old and young Christians. Others force Christians to deny their faith under threats of violence.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was Himself persecuted for declaring the truth of God’s Word. He was accused, beaten, betrayed, cursed, despised, flogged, hated, insulted, misunderstood, maligned, rejected, spat upon, and finally put to death on a wooden cross.
He endured and suffered for the sake of all who would eventually believe in Him. He also set an example for all who have believed in Him.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
that whoever believes in him may have eternal life (John 3:14-15).
And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32)
Many are being saved by faith in Jesus Christ despite persecutions around the world.
He says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mat 5:44-48 ESV).
Here is the challenge: Make most of your opportunities to share your testimonies of God’s mercy, grace and gift of salvation. This is the time to be grateful and thankful to God. This is the time to love your immediate neighbours and to do good to them. Pray for them to be prepared by God to hear and believe in Jesus Christ. Pray for the foreigners in Singapore. Pray that they may hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ is coming soon!
What should be your response to persecution? 1) Be prepared by studying and doing His will accordingly, 2) Identify with the persecuted by being updated and by praying for them. 3) Love Jesus more by abiding in Him and pray for those who hate Him and His followers.
Elder Yoong Yuen Soo