Spirit-filled Church – Week 10

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‘Faithful despite Persecution’
As the early church grew, so vibrant new leaders emerged who would bring fresh capacity to the ministry of the church. Stephen was one of the seven elders appointed in Acts Ch. 6, but his ministry is cut short by his arrest by the Jewish leadership. His speech to them, and the manner of his death at their hands provides us with an extraordinary example of martyrdom that closely mirrors the death of Jesus Whilst Stephen was the first martyr, the early church endured constant persecution during the first 300 years of its life, and we live in days that are challenging for our Christian brothers and sisters in many parts of the world. Their faithfulness is inspirational, and they need our prayers.
We need to ask some questions of ourselves:
What awareness do we have of people whose lives are under threat because of their faith?
How can we support more effectively those who are persecuted because of their faith?
What can we learn from the ongoing threat and growth of religious persecution?
How can we ensure that we do not resort to religious bigotry and prejudice?
Is our determination durable and our message uncompromised when we face opposition?
How are we to deal with any persecution if it were to be experienced in our own country?