It seems almost cruel to even infer that there is value to persecution. After being in a country where it is a daily occurrence to the point that lives are being snuffed out, it makes us recoil from such a statement. But before we dismiss this idea, allow me to point you back to the Early Church.
From Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit inaugurated the church through chapter 6, there were minor problems, apart from Peter and John being put in prison for a short time. During this period, the church experienced amazing growth. You might conclude that it was the first ‘mega-church’. But, had they forgotten the last words of Jesus in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”” (Acts 1:8). Had their numerical growth eclipsed Jesus instructions to move out into other fields as witnesses?
We will come back to this topic tomorrow, but I leave you with a quote from John Piper in his book, Let the Nations be Glad! (pages 94-95). “The lesson here is not just that God is sovereign and turns setbacks into triumphs. The lesson is also that comfort and ease and affluence and prosperity and safety and freedom often cause a tremendous inertia (lack of movement) in the church. The very things that we think would produce personnel, energy, and creative investment of time and money for the missionary cause instead the exact opposite: weakness, apathy, lethargy, self-centeredness, and preoccupation with security.”
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