Sermons

Summary: An encouraging message that we are to "put ourselves in their place" when we remember all our fellow Christians who are suffering and imprisoned for their faith in Christ.

AN ELDERLY WOMAN WAS GIVEN A STACK OF PAPERS TO FILL OUT WHEN SHE ENTERED THE ADMITTING OFFICE OF A HOSPITAL. SHE PATIENTLY WAITED HER TURN FOR A HOSPITAL OFFICIAL TO SEE HER.

WHEN ASKED, SHE HANDED THE OFFICIAL HER INSURANCE CARD AND ALL OF THE ADMITTING PAPER WORK. WHEN SHE WAS ASKED TO GIVE THE REASON FOR COMING TO THE HOSPITAL SHE SAID, "JUST TO VISIT A FRIEND, BUT THIS HAS TAKEN SO LONG, I’M NOT SURE I HAVE TIME NOW."

A BUSY WORLD PROVIDES FOR US MORE THAN ENOUGH DISTRACTIONS TO KEEP US IN A STATE OF HASTE. BUT AS YOU’VE PROBABLY HEARD BEFORE THAT "HASTE MAKES WASTE." HOW MANY OF US HAVE CAUGHT OURSELVES USING UP OUR TIME IN NEEDLESS, PETTY PROJECTS?

WE CANNOT LET THE WORLD DISTRACT US TO THE POINT THAT WE, LIKE THE WOMAN WAITING TO VISIT HER FRIEND AT THE HOSPITAL, FIND THAT WE ARE NOT SURE THAT WE WILL HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO COMPLETE OUR MINISTERIAL TASKS FOR THE DAY.

I WONDER IF THE WRITER OF HEBREWS WAS WONDERING IF THOSE IN PRISON HAD THOUGHT EVERYONE HAD GOTTEN TOO BUSY TO VISIT THEM?

MAYBE HE THOUGHT HIS FELLOW CHRISTIANS WHO WERE BEING PERSECUTED FOR THEIR FAITH WERE THINKING THAT THEY BEEN FORGOTTEN ALTOGETHER.

THE CALL GOES OUT TO "REMEMBER THE PRISONERS…!" THE ACT OF "REMEMBERING" THE "PRISONERS" WAS TO BE OUR CHRISTIAN DUTY. IT WAS TO BE AN EFFORT THAT HONORS GOD AND DEMONSTRATES HIS LOVE.

A DUTY AND EFFORT THAT WAS NOT TO BE "JUST" AN ACT OF RECALLING TO MIND THOSE IN PRISON, BUT TO LITERALLY CARE FOR THEM THROUGH VISITATION.

PRISONS WERE NOT LIKE THEY ARE TODAY WHERE THE INCARCERATED HAVE AIR CONDITIONED CELLS, THREE MEALS A DAY AND ARE GIVEN JOB TRAINING.

IN BIBLICAL TIMES THE PRISONER WAS CHAINED UP AND NEARLY FORGOTTEN IN A WASTE-INFECTED CELL. SO, THE BEST WAY TO SURVIVE A PRISON SENTENCE WAS FOR THE PRISONER TO HAVE FRIENDS OUTSIDE THE JAIL WHO WOULD COME TO THEIR AID BY BRINGING THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE SUCH AS FOOD, BLANKETS, AND CONVERSATION.

NOTHING WOULD MEAN MORE TO THE INCARCERATED THAN TO HAVE THEIR FELLOW CHRISTIAN FRIENDS VISIT THEM AS A SIGN OF SOLIDARITY AND TRUE CHARITY AS THEY SHARED IN SUFFERING UNJUSTLY FOR THEIR FAITH.

THIS SHARED SUFFERING IS WHAT THE HEBREW WRITER MEANT WHEN HE WROTE "AS THOUGH YOU WERE IN PRISON WITH THEM." IN OTHER WORDS, CHRISTIANS WERE INSPIRED TO KEEP THEIR IMPRISONED FRIENDS CONSTANTLY IN MIND AS IF THEY WERE RIGHT THERE LOOKING AT THEM EVERY DAY.

IT IS A MATTER OF DEVELOPING COMPASSION AS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF OUR CHRISTIAN LIVING. WE SHOULD FEEL SO MUCH FOR OUR IMPRISONED FRIENDS THAT WE BECOME ONE WITH THEM IN SPIRIT.

WE WORK ON DEVELOPING OUR COMPASSION TODAY AS WE REMEMBER THOSE IMPRISONED AROUND THE WORLD FOR THEIR CHRISTIAN FAITH.

ALARMING REPORTS CONTINUE TO POUR IN FROM ALL OVER TODAY’S WORLD. EVEN IN THIS MODERN-DAY, CIVILIZED 21ST CENTURY, BELIEVERS IN MANY COUNTRIES ARE BEING TORTURED AND EVEN KILLED BECAUSE OF THEIR STAND FOR JESUS.

THERE WERE ALMOST 100 MILLION KILLED FOR THEIR FAITH JUST IN THE 20TH CENTURY. THIS STAGGERING NUMBER IS MORE THAN IN ALL PREVIOUS 19 CENTURIES COMBINED! IT IS ALSO MORE THAN ALL THE SOLDIERS WHO WERE KILLED IN ALL 20TH CENTURY WARS COMBINED.

MANY STILL AWAIT TO BECOME PART OF THESE GRIM STATISTICS OF MARTYRDOM. ALL AROUND THE GLOBE, RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IS ON THE RISE, ENDANGERING THE CHURCH AS NEVER BEFORE.

THE LITANY OF HORRORS THAT BELIEVERS WITHSTAND FOR THEIR FAITH IS CHILLING. ONLY ONE POWER CAN REDEEM THE COURSE OF EVENTS, AND THAT IS THE POWER OF GOD’S PEOPLE BEING INVOLVED AS HIS INSTRUMENTS.

MANY SUFFER IN SILENCE. WILL YOU BE ONE WHO BREAKS THAT SILENCE?

1 CORINTHIANS 12:26, "IF ONE PART SUFFERS, EVERY PART SUFFERS WITH IT…." THAT MEANS THAT AN ATTACK UPON ANY PART OF THE BODY OF CHRIST IS AN ATTACK UPON EVERY SINGLE BELIEVER BECAUSE IT IS AN ATTACK UPON CHRIST WITH WHOM WE ALL IDENTIFY.

START LIVING YOUR LIFE IN FULLER AWARENESS OF THOSE WHO ARE SUFFERING AND FACING DEATH BECAUSE OF THEIR FAITH.

START LIVING TODAY "AS IF YOU WERE” THE ONE WHO WAS IMPRISONED WISHING SOMEONE WOULD CARE ENOUGH TO SET YOU FREE!

THE WORDS OF MARTYRED MISSIONARY JIM ELLIOTT WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. HE SAID, "HE IS NO FOOL WHO GIVES UP WHAT HE CANNOT KEEP TO GAIN THAT WHICH HE CANNOT LOSE."

WILL YOU SHARE IN THEIR SUFFERING? WILL YOU SHATTER THEIR SILENCE WITH THE SOUND OF YOUR COMPASSION? WILL YOU REMEMBER? WILL YOU PRAY?

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