Open the Prison Doors
This weekend we will be hosting a Romanian pastor, his precious wife and 5 of the children that are in the children’s home in Romania. These are precious, precious people that we love. We thank God that as of this moment they can live free and proclaim Jesus and his good news.
There are 25 children in the children’s home. They receive food, clothing and an education that otherwise they would not get. They will be at Fairhaven Baptist Church, Demopolis,AL., Sunday August 6, 2017 at 10:30 or You can watch live on Sunday morning at 10:30 at http://fairhavenchurch.net/welcome . I invite you to come hear about their ministry. You will be blessed.
You can learn more about how to support the House of Hope ministry at www.thefabricofhope.com or by emailing email@example.com .
As I have thought of these precious brothers and sisters, I am reminded that not all believers in other nations are free to worship. Pastor Micula and Dana were both brought up as children under communism. They knew the cost of becoming a “repenter” or believer. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ today are experiencing persecution and imprisonment for their faith in Jesus.
For the last few weeks, we have been studying the various “doors” mentioned in God’s Word. Today’s door is a difficult one. It is the door that leads to suffering and persecution.
I believe we all have some sort of prison we live in. Everyone has secret prisons, usually from our past, that haunt us and keep us from being totally free but those are not the kinds of prison doors I would like us to look at today.
The first prison door we will look at is in found in Acts 12 New International Version (NIV)
Peter’s Miraculous Escape From Prison
“Acts 12:1 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. 4 After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”
The next prison door is in Acts 16:25-40
Paul and Silas imprisoned. Acts 16:25-28 NIV
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
These are only two of the stories of how the first century Christians suffered through persecution and death. In these two stories, there were miracle interventions. God miraculously delivered them. While in prison, their fellow believers were continually in prayer for their brothers’ and sisters’ protection and release. For the furtherance of the gospel, they endured much. But from suffering came a testimony of fire that drew people to Jesus and is our heritage even today.
But at times there was no deliverance. As in the story of Stephen, the ending was death. He influenced many who watched and even participated in the stoning. Saul who later became Paul consented to his death. Because of Stephen’s death, believers were dispersed to other places spreading the gospel to other cities and regions. God was glorified in death as much as He was in Stephen’s life perhaps even more. Acts 7:1-60 “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.”( v1) His dynamic sermon pierced the hearts of the religious leaders and Stephen becomes the first martyr.
Today in our country we have the freedom to speak God’s truth but I believe we lack the power in our lives to really make it heard. The first Christians were sold out to God. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship and to the breaking of bread to prayer.(Acts 4:32-35) And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
I hope that your church, wherever you attend, finds these things to be true. I am afraid that we as a “Christian nation” fall way short of God’s design plan for reaching the world for Jesus. We are so self focused that we neglect the very thing we were created to do. Live for Him. Glorify God with our whole heart.
We have no prison door to fear, but we may soon, if we continue to neglect so great a salvation.
Hebrews 2: 3, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which was spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. “
We are the body of Christ, if we have trusted in Him as Savior and Lord. We have fellow believers who are behind prison doors at this moment. I ask you to take time today to earnestly pray for God to protect and deliver those who are in prison for their faith, those who live in countries where they are terrorized daily and those who are boldly going forth even in the face of persecution to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 13:3 NIV
“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”
The Voice of the Martyrs website has a list of believers that are in prison right now.
You can see those 17 Christians around the globe that have been kidnapped, imprisoned and often tortured for their faith.
Prisoner Alert https://www.prisoneralert.com/vompw_prisoners.html
“In more than 40 nations around the world today Christians are being persecuted for their faith. In some of these nations it is illegal to own a Bible, to share your faith Christ, change your faith or teach your children about Jesus. Those who boldly follow Christ—in spite of government edict or radical opposition—can face harassment, arrest, torture and even death. Yet Christians continue to meet for worship and to witness for Christ, and the church in restricted nations is growing.” This is a link which lists the countries where the gospel of Jesus is not supposed to be spoken. https://www.prisoneralert.com/vompw_persecution.htm
The following link is a testimony of a Romanian who was tortured for his faith. It is a powerful testimony and the website says you can order book free.
Guilty by Newsboys