The following article was published in First Baptist’s Reminder newsletter September 28, 2011…
Chuck Swindoll tells the story of a house church in the former Soviet Union. They had to meet in secret to avoid reprisals from the communist government. One Sunday these believers arrived inconspicuously in small groups throughout the day so as not to arouse the suspicion of the KGB informers. By dusk they were all safely inside, windows closed, and doors locked. They began by singing a hymn quietly but with deep emotion. Suddenly, the door was pushed open and in walked two soldiers with loaded automatic weapons at the ready. One shouted, “All right – everybody line up against the wall. If you wish to renounce your commitment to Jesus Christ, leave now!”
Two or three quickly left, then another. After a few more seconds, two more. “This is your last chance. Either turn against your faith in Christ,” he ordered, “or stay and suffer the consequences.” Another left. Finally, two more in embarrassed silence with their faces covered slipped out into the night. No one else moved. Parents with small children trembling beside them looked down reassuringly. They fully expected to be gunned down or, at best, be imprisoned.
After a few moments of complete silence, the other soldier closed the door, looked back at those who stood against the wall and said, “Keep your hands up – but this time in praise to our Lord Jesus Christ, brothers and sisters. We, too, are Christians. We were sent to another house church several weeks ago to arrest a group of believers…”
The other soldier interrupted, “But, instead, we were converted! We have learned by experience, however, that unless people are willing to die for their faith, they cannot be fully trusted.”
A thought for you and me: Has your faith changed you so much that nothing and no one can keep you from living a life of commitment? This Sunday we are beginning a new sermon series (It’s Time for a Deep Faith) that can help us develop such a faith. It’s time!