A new era of pressure and persecution has begun in China. As leader Xi Jinping seeks to eliminate competing influences, Christians face intense opposition. But Chinese believers aren’t despairing.
This message from our partner in China offers a rare glimpse into the heart of the persecuted. Be encouraged and challenged by their faith, and pray for them as they continue standing firm.
What we want you to know
The first thing we Christians in China would like the global Body of Christ to know is that we have not lost heart. Although we are experiencing a severe trial, and some people have given up the faith, we are thankful for the hardship, because God is pruning his church.
It is vital that all believers know that it’s not Satan or any government that prunes God’s church. The Master Gardener is our loving and wise Heavenly Father!
The reason the Lord prunes is to make the vine even more fruitful, for he said: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1–2).
Therefore we do not lose heart, for we know our lives are completely in the hands of our all-powerful Lord and Savior. At the moment, he is getting rid of some unfruitful branches among his people in China, so that his church will be refined and more holy as we march forward in spiritual warfare.
We look forward to the time when we will be more fruitful for the kingdom of God. In the meantime, we will not stop proclaiming the gospel, and we are willing to lay down our lives if necessary so that all of China will hear about Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:3–5).
Millions of believers have no church building, but…
While our lives are firmly in God’s hands, we also recognize that the source of attacks on the Church is the devil. Mankind has been locked in a fierce battle with Satan ever since God declared, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). The word “enmity” means much more than a separation. This was the commencement of a full-on war to death, as the devil seeks to destroy mankind, especially those people who reflect the character and goodness of God (2 Corinthians 4:7–9).
We praise the Lord that he sets limits on what man can do to us. Although millions of believers throughout China are now without a church building to go to, and countless home meetings have also been closed down, our faith is strong. The truth of God’s Word and the indwelling sweet presence of the Holy Spirit can never be taken from us.
We are not afraid, for the Lord Jesus told us, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Hallelujah! Already we are seeing the benefits of this time of purging in China. In many places, instead of being decimated, churches are experiencing growth! The hardship has caused Christians to become more serious about their faith, and the gospel is being boldly proclaimed, resulting in even more people pressing into the kingdom of God (2 Corinthians 4:16–18).
Gratitude and a reminder
Finally, brothers and sisters around the world, we want to thank God for you, for we are all members of the same family. Thank you for praying for the church in China! Although your struggles may be different from ours right now, we know that the Lord is passionate for his people, and he will never abandon us. God’s purpose in suffering is always to humble us, so that we will rely not on our own futile strength, but on the power of his might.
We want to conclude by reminding all Christians of this exhortation: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:6–9).
Thank you for joining us in prayer for our brothers and sisters in China. Right now Bibles for Chinese believers are just $2 each, thanks to a matching gift.