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Summary: In observance of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, we must understand that persecution is a battle that is real.

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The Noise of Battle

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

Intro: Video from Open Doors

In the 20th century more believers were martyred for their faith than all the previous centuries combined.

An estimated 200 million Christians currently live in areas where their faith in Christ means daily discrimination and persecution.

Eritrea: In Eritrea over 400 believers have been imprisoned in “punishment cells.” These metal containers have no windows and only a small door, subjecting the prisoners to near suffocation and intense physical discomfort. As the sun scorches the African soil, the temperatures rise to an almost unbearable level. Some of these Christians are singled out for a specific punishment. They are hung on a tree to imitate Jesus hanging on the cross. Insults are hurled at them as they are beaten. Their tormentors demand that they recant their Christian faith. Sometimes, security police allow families to post bail for their jailed relatives, issuing a stern warning to them to never again meet for worship or evangelize anyone, anywhere.

** For more info go to www.opendoorsUSA.org.

We are called to stand united with those who are persecuted for the glory of Christ.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.”

Colossians 4:2-3(NIV)

It is us who live in freedom who can encourage those in chains.

I. The Battle Is Real

Sometimes we think that because we can’t see or don’t experience something, it is not real. Persecution is real. The results are lives being tortured or ended because of standing with Christ.

Jesus told us that Christians would experience persecution.

“You have heard that the law of Moses say, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44(New Living Translation)

Peter told Christians not to be ashamed for suffering.

“However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”

1 Peter 4:16(NIV)

Jeff Young with stories of persecution.

**Sudanese Boys- {page 17}

The four young Sudanese boys cried and screamed out for their mothers but they refused to repeat the words that would mean saving their lives yet renouncing their Christianity. Their red blood began to flow across their black skin, but they would not give up their faith in Christ.

The older teenage boys looked in horror. They had seen their Southern Sudanese families murdered by sword-wielding Islamic fighters. Now they watched as their four young friends and relatives – the youngest only five years old—were beaten to death.

Already the soldiers had forced each older boy to lie over hot coals and ordered them to repeat the Muslim creed and join the Islamic faith.

There were fourteen boys and thirteen girls abducted in the raid that day. The girls have never been located and were likely sold as slaves or concubines in Northern Sudan. All of the boys were tortured, but none relented.

The next night the older boys escaped, still bearing the scars of the previous nights. Not one renounced his faith.

**Philippine Girl-{page 33}

The Christians surrounding the girl’s bed were sad. Because of her extensive internal injuries doctors could do nothing for her. Weeks ago, the believers had bought her a white dress to celebrate her new life and pure heart in Christ Jesus.

Her father had not been pleased with his daughter’s decision to follow Christ. One night, in a drunken rage, he attacked his daughter, beating and kicking her. He left her lying in the muddy street to die.

When she did not show up for church, her Christian friends went looking for her. They found the girl unconscious, lying in a heap, her formerly snow white dress now covered in blood and mud. She was brought to a doctor, but her injuries were severe.

Now she was asking for her dress.

“The dress is ruined,” her friends told her. They tried to talk her out of it, thinking that seeing the ruined dress would break down the girl’s spirit.

With the simple faith of a ten-year-old, she whispered, “Please, I want to show the dress to Jesus. He was willing to bleed for me. I just want Jesus to know that I was willing to bleed for him.”

Shortly afterwards, the young girl died.

**Taken from “Extreme Devotion”- The Voice of the Martyrs

Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not real.

II. The Battle is Spiritual

The battle of good and evil is not some comic book hero story. It is a very real spiritual battle in the unseen world.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.” Ephesians 6:10-12 (NIV)

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