Friday, March 16, 2007

Response #3: Research Them

(The following is part of a series of "responses to the persecuted church" based on a sermon by Eric Schumacher at An Infant in a Cradle. As a preface to his sermon, Schumacher noted: "It is important that we hear these stories. However, hearing them is not enough. We are called to respond. So, I want to ask this question...: How do we respond to the persecuted church?" I'm breaking down his "ten responses to the persecuted church," listing his suggestions and adding my thoughts.)

3. Research them.

It's taking "remember them" and getting a little more personal. It's going beyond, "Oh yeah, I have brothers and sisters in the faith all over the world who are suffering for what they believe" to seeing real people and knowing about their lives, their trials. It's faces instead of statistics.

Schumacher notes:
The early Christians researched the persecuted church: "And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are" (Acts 15:36). [See also: 1 Thessalonians 3:5-7, Ephesians 6:21-22, Philippians 2:19-20.]

If it were your biological brother or sister in being mistreated in prison, you would not only remember them constantly, but you would devote yourself to finding out about their condition. Should we not do as much for our eternal brothers and sisters?It is hard—no, impossible to remember someone if you do not know that they exist. So, we should do all we can to find out about the condition and treatment of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. Genuine concern is the natural overflow of love for the family of Christ.

How can you research them? The Voice of the Martyrs makes it easy with their website, blog, and free monthly newsletter. Operation World also provides up-to-date information about people groups and countries all over the world where the gospel is met with hostility.

Previously in this series:
Response #1: Do Not Be Surprised
Response #2: Remember Them

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