In our believing communities today the body of believers worldwide can be divided in to two main groups, these two groups are commonly known as the Free Church and the Persecuted Church. The Free Church is the body of believers who worship freely in countries of democratic leniency. The persecuted church is the body of believers who worship underground or secretly as they are being persecuted and murdered for their faith in Messiah Yeshua. Today it is sad that believers in the Western world, where religion is mostly a matter of choice, often forget about the persecuted believers worldwide.
Today, I was led to read the book of Philippians and I enjoyed it immensely. The Holy Spirit made so much real to me which I could bask in and share in the presence of Yeshua. Truly His word is a light unto our feet! In Philippians 4:21-22 Paul writes the following, “Greet all the saints in Messiah Yeshua, the brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. All the saints send you their greetings, especially those who belong to Caesars household.”
The letter to the Philippians was written to the congregation in Philippi while Paul was imprisoned in Rome. The letter was sent to encourage the believers and to exhort them to have joy no matter what circumstances they were facing. In thess verses which I have quotes above, we can learn two things, firstly that while Paul was imprisoned he could have become depressed, sad or even discouraged. Instead of growing weart it would appear that he was sharing the gospel to all who were near him, so much so that even members and workers in Caesar’s household became believers! The social divide in Paul’s day was huge, members of upper class families or households never socialised with lower class citizens and slaves. However, the common faith in Messiah joined believers together, the class divide went out of the window, along with the social consciousness of “you are lower than me.” Which brings me to my second point, the congregation in Philippi itself, consisted of many different believers like Lydia the wealthy woman who taught others. The slave girl who became a believer and many others. Even while the members of the congregation in Philippi had never met the believers in Rome, the roman believers sent greetings of love to their brothers and sisters across the sea. There is an important lesson here for us today, the lesson is that when we are truly living in Messiah, in His Grace and in daily faith, we are connected with our spiritual brothers and sisters all over the world. We may never meet in this life but we all are connected in our wonderful Messiah. Sometimes in prayer times Father God will lead me to pray collectively for all the believers around the world, for strength in the face of hardships, for love, for daily bread, and financial need and for a gentle touch from His Hand. Yeshua wants us to pray for another, we don’t need to know each other’s names – He knows! He just wants us to take each other’s hand in the Spirit and recognise that we are one, under one God and one Messiah, Yeshua.
When Yeshua’s disciples told Him – your mother and brothers are outside, Yeshua declared “who are my mother, my brothers and sisters? Those who do the will of my Father in Heaven, these are my mother, brother and sisters.” The same goes for us today, who are our family members? Those who do the will of our Father in Heaven. With as much love as we use to pray for our physical families, let’s pray fervently for one another. For our spiritual families across the seas. It would bless me immensely to know someone is praying for me in China and it blesses me immensely to read the wonderful emails that I receive from organisations working with persecuted believers, because often all those emails say is “thank you for those praying for us here in our countries of persecution.” Prayer is one of the greatest gifts we can give one another. In the Western world I want to urge you do not forget your brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for Messiah. Let us follow the example of the believers in Caesars household and send greetings to our fellow believers throughout the world today and everyday!
Philippians 1:3 - 4 "I thank my God everytime I remember you. I all my prayers for all of you I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day you hear it until now."