Romans 1:1-15; 1 Samuel 8; Psalm 54
It’s important to remember that the gospel message was spread throughout the known world not only by Paul, but by every believer as they traveled. Aquila and Priscilla met Paul in Corinth after being expelled from Rome in AD 49 when all Jews and Jewish Christians were expelled from Rome. Five years later they were allowed to return to Rome, but Paul saw in Rome a thriving church and a fertile mission field. The Letter to the Romans was the only one written that didn’t focus on a problem. What do you say to people who haven’t caused you problems? “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.” (Romans 1:8) Paul was excited about a church that was growing because of the gospel and the strength of Jesus Christ. Paul probably used the church at Rome to remind people that the gospel was spreading all over the world. Today, I want to thank God for the Church in other parts of the world that are undergoing persecution for their beliefs. There is a thriving church in China that we continue to hear reports of in spite of persecution. I thank my God through Jesus Christ for the church in China. The church that is undergoing severe persecution in the Middle East and we hear of executions and captivity daily of those who follow Jesus Christ. There are people there whose last words glorify Jesus Christ as they are executed. I thank God for the church in the Middle East and the strength and faith they are showing. I could go on, but let me just say that as you hear of Christians being persecuted, executed, exiled or going through other difficult times the natural tendency should be to get angry. Before you get too angry though, take the time to thank God for a church that is so faithful that when they are persecuted the news of their faith is reported all over the world. May their faithfulness inspire us even as we call on God to bring them relief and protection.
Lord God, I thank You for Your people, Your church spread throughout the world. There are those who hate You and hate Your people. I am grateful that they are faithful even unto death, and that their faith is being reported all over the world. Let their faithfulness inspire me and others; some to greater service, others to a relationship with You.