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Preparation for Persecution

July 14, 2016

Dr. Stanford E. Murrell
USA

Dear respected Sir in the Lord,

I heard in Russia President Putin has signed a new law which greatly restricts Church work in Russia. Effective July 20 all Missionary and outreach work is forbidden. No foreigner is allowed to speak in a Church. Christian radio stations have lost their licenses. Churches are not allowed to invite people to follow God. If they do they face huge fines and closure. Believers are not allowed to pray or read the Bible in their homes if an unbeliever present. We saw very serious situation in Russia but our trust is in the Lord!

In Nepal and in India is also strict about Christianity. In Nepal just a few weeks ago eight 8 people arrested and kept in prison up-to one week. Still their case is alive and not settled yet and yesterday the High court called them and debated against Christianity. Still not allowed Bible College and other Christian activities!

However, God has given us good opportunity to seek His face for His glory and we are serving God quite actively in Nepal.

I look forward to hearing from you please!

Yours sincerely in Christ,
Ganesh and family
Nepal

All over the world there is great tribulation for the people of God. Satan continues to roam as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. From Nepal to India, and from the Middle East to Russia, the cries of the saints can be heard. People are being arrested, fined, threatened, and mocked for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

This situation should not be surprising. Jesus tells His people, “in the world ye shall have tribulation: be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus has told the church it will experience tribulation, but He also told the church what their mental and emotional response should be when tribulation comes. The Christian is to “be of good cheer” and for a good reason. Jesus said, “I have overcome the world.”

Jesus has overcome the world by His death. “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John 12:31). The victory belongs to Christ and to His church.

Jesus has vanquished the great foe of man, and won the victory over all that would work our ruin. “He brought down aid and strength from above by his death; and by procuring for us the friendship of God and the influence of the Spirit; by his own instructions and example; by revealing to us the glories of heaven, and opening our eyes to see the excellence of heavenly things, he has furnished us with the means of overcoming all our enemies, and of triumphing in all our temptations” (Albert Barnes).

Commenting on John 16:33, Martin Luther said of this verse that it was worthy “to be carried from Rome to Jerusalem upon one’s knees.”

The world is a vanquished enemy; Satan is a humbled foe; and all that believers have to do is to put their trust in the Captain of their salvation, putting on the whole armor of God, assured that the victory is theirs, and that the church shall yet shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners” (Barnes’ Notes).

Though Christ has overcome the world, the final victory has yet to be manifested. That victory will take place at the Second Advent. Therefore, local pastors have a grave responsibility to prepare their people for persecution.

This preparation does not come in the form of the false hope of escaping tribulation. The Bible is clear. “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

Preparation for persecution comes by believing the teaching of Jesus, by hiding God’s Word in the heart, and by embracing the Christian faith in the dark days of persecution.

I plead with pastors, and other church leaders, to rid themselves of false hope and bad theology. Prepare your people for suffering and persecution, or you will find many turning away.

Do not let the church be surprised at the fiery trial which comes to God’s people. Teach the people to be of good cheer. Give them a reason to have hope. Christ has overcome the world. The future is as glorious as the night of suffering is dark. “Be of good cheer.”

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