We watched a movie, “Tortured for Christ”, by Voice of the Martyrs about Richard Wurmbrand. He was a Lutheran minister when the Soviet Communists invaded and took over Romania. It tells how most church leaders submitted to Communists and denied their faith in Christ. Communism is atheistic and persecutes Believers. Mr. Wurmbrand maintained his stand and spoke out defending the faith, refusing to cease preaching, praying, and living as a follower of Yeshua, (Jesus’ Hebrew name). He was later arrested, put in prison and tortured for 15 years. His wife was also faithful and sent to a work camp. Miraculously they both survived and started the Voice of the Martyrs ministry. It is difficult to watch what they endured, but it was God’s grace and strength which allowed them to overcome.
Paul said, “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.” (1 Cor.15:1) Have you taken your stand on the gospel? Even in America our faith will be tested. It was a small thing, but my friend and I were illegally kicked out of a public building for praying. We went across the street to a church and continued praying for several years. This was not even a hardship, but it illustrates the opposition the world has to the gospel of our Messiah, Yeshua.
Later in the same chapter Paul said, “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (1 Cor.15:9-10) This humility was in the Wurmbrands, who trusted their lives to God and were willing to die or live for Him. They saw many Unbelievers come to faith as they faced death.
All across the world Believers are under the threat of torture and death, most recently, Afghanistan Believers have been targeted by the Taliban. In Communist China the underground church has suffered and survived for many years. The enemy knows his time is short and is seeking to destroy faith and believers, but Yeshua has won the victory. Scripture gives this encouragement, “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” (Hebrews 10:32-35) Have you taken your stand and stood with persecuted Believers in prayer and intercession? Lord, Yeshua, pour your love out in these dark places, that Communists and Unbelievers will hear the gospel and come to faith.