Somebody once asked, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to indict you?” In other words, are you totally, completely and unashamedly sold out and souled out for Jesus not minding the consequences?
Have you ever been persecuted for your faith? Persecution is harassment or maltreatment because of your faith as a child of God. In Hebrews 11:35–38, the Bible tells us about heroes of faith who were persecuted for their faith in the Lord. It says, “Others were tortured and refused to accept their freedom so they could be raised from the dead to a better life. Some were laughed at and beaten. Others were put in chains and thrown into prison. They were stoned to death, they were cut in half, and they were killed with swords. Some wore the skins of sheep and goats. They were poor, abused, and treated badly. The world was not good enough for them! They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and holes in the earth” (NCV).
There are two promises associated with persecution in the New Testament. In Mark 10:29–30, Jesus, in answer to a question by Simon Peter, promises that whoever has forsaken mother, father, children, spouse, houses, basically anything for him, will receive a hundredfold in this world with persecution. The other is in 2 Timothy 3:12, where the apostle Paul states that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (NLT). In other words, anyone who lives as a child of God in this world will invariably suffer one form of persecution or another.
There are countries in the world today where it is a crime to convert from the State religion to Christianity. So let me ask you again, “if you lived in one of those countries, and you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to indict you, prosecute you and convict you?”
I recently came across this true story which is said to have happened in Kiangsi, China, only about 20 years ago. Two Christian girls, Chiu-Chin Hsui and Ho-Hsiu-Tzu and their pastor were sentenced to death. They were mocked and scorned for being so foolish as to die for an unseen God. Then the guards promised the pastor that if he would shoot the girls, they would release him. Sadly enough, he accepted!
The girls waited patiently in their prison cells for the moment of their execution. They prayed quietly together. Soon the guards came for them and led them out. A fellow prisoner who watched the execution through the barred windows of his prison cell, said that their faces were beautiful beyond belief, infinitely sad but sweet.
They were placed against a wall, and their pastor was brought forward by two guards who placed him close in front of the girls and put a pistol in his hand. The girls whispered to each other, then bowed respectfully to their pastor. And this is what one of them said:
“Before being shot by you, we wish to thank you heartily for what you have meant to us. You baptized us, you taught us the way of eternal life, you gave us Holy Communion with the same hand in which you now have a gun. May God reward you for all that you have done for us. You also taught us that Christians are sometimes weak and commit terrible sins, but they can be forgiven again. When you regret what you are about to do to us, do not despair like Judas, but repent like Peter. God bless you, and remember that our last thought of you was not one of indignation against your failure. Everyone passes through hours of darkness. We die with gratitude.”
They bowed again to their pastor, closed their eyes, and stood silently waiting. The pastor had obviously hardened his heart- he raised the pistol and shot them. No sooner had they fallen to the ground, then the communist guards put him against the wall for immediate execution. As they shot him, no-one heard words of repentance, only the sound of screaming!!!
I cannot but ask you again ~ if you were arrested for being a Christian…