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Christians, Don’t Lose Heart!
As I write this paper, just days after the kidnapping of 33 house church leaders by the EL, emotions are still running high. It is always grievous and deeply painful when a part of the Body of Christ suffers. This whole situation should remind Christians of a few basic facts:
(a) We are truly combatants in a fierce war. Satan is a very real foe, determined to do whatever is necessary to destroy the Church that is purchased by the precious, spotless Blood of Jesus Christ. Unable to injure God, Satan lashes out at God’s children. Many Western believers feel confused when they hear of Christians suffering such vile treatment at the hands of evil men, because of the false theology that pervades many Western churches, that if we live for God, only good things and blessings will result in our lives. Such thinking is contrary to Scripture and inconsistent with the experiences of millions of Christians down through the centuries, who lived wholeheartedly for God yet were “stoned; they were sawn in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated the world was not worthy of them.” (Hebrews 11:37-38)
(b) Christians around the world should immerse ourselves daily in the Word of God, thereby enriching our fellowship with the living God and helping protect us from deceptive doctrines. If anything, the incredibly sly tactics of the Eastern Lightning remind us that “such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light…. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). The Bible warns us to be on guard because “…in latter times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). There is always a Satanic spiritual root behind all twisting and perverting of the Scriptures. There are numerous destructive cults around the world, being used by the devil to destroy lives and confuse minds. If you have read through this whole paper and are thankful you don’t live in China alongside the Eastern Lightning, think again! EL have already opened offices and operate printing presses in New York, Toronto, and San Francisco in North America, have a rapidly growing influence in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other Southeast Asian nations as they implement their worldwide vision.
(c) We need to understand that Jesus has already conquered Satan. His final defeat is completely sealed. Jesus has already “disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:15). Although the end result of our battle is already certain, there are many trials and struggles for each Christian to conquer here and now. God has wants us to fight a good fight, and also to rest in the fact that the Lord was, is, and always will be the victor in the battle against Satan. “Do not be afraid, I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One: I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:17-18)
(d) We should not lose heart. God knows exactly what has gone on, has seen the pain of His children in China, and will not be mocked forever. He is not only a mighty God, but the Almighty God. He is not just a King, but the King of Kings! Call on Him to show His mighty power. Pray as Moses prayed, “Rise up O Lord! May your enemies be scattered; may your foes flee before you.” (Numbers 10:15)
(e) Understand if God’s children are suffering today it is for a reason that one day will be completely clear. I’m reminded of past suffering in China, and the fruit it brought forth in the Chinese Church. In 1900 more than 30,000 Christians in China, including over 200 Western missionaries, were butchered during the Boxer Rebellion. Countless thousands of Christians drew great strength from these martyrs, who set a shining “example of patience in the face of suffering.” (James 5:10) One young Christian man who was inspired by the martyrs of 1900 was Wang Mingdao, who was interestingly born at the very time of the carnage in 1900. One year later, in 1901, the mighty evangelist John Sung was born, and in 1903 Watchman Nee entered this world. All three learned from the example of the 30,000 Christians killed in 1900. In turn, all three great leaders of the Chinese Church suffered much for their faith. Wang Mindao, later to become known as the Father of the House Churches, was subjected to more than 20 years in prison for the Name of Jesus Christ. Watchman Nee was in prison 25 years, having his tongue cut off because he refused to stop praying and testifying. Thousands, and now millions, of Chinese believers have been inspired by these men’s courageous example in the face of extreme suffering. In past 25 years have seen countless thousands of brave Gospel warriors in China. They have been beaten, humiliated, raped, slandered, maimed and killed. The result is an active Church in China now more numerous and fervent than anywhere else in the world. It came at a great price for those believers who spilled their blood on China’s soil so that the light and the integrity of the Gospel would be maintained for the next generation. Now we hear horrific stories of Christians being kidnapped, brainwashed and tortured at the hands of a Satanic cult. The Church has once again been driven to its knees, throwing itself on God and God only for its sustenance. If such conditions continue and the Lord tarries, what will the size of the Church in China be in 20 or 25 years? 300 million? 400 million? Pray that one day the believers from the China Gospel Fellowship who are being brutalized even as you read these words, will say with the Apostle Paul “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
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