Testimonies of Dying for the Gospel

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries, is in South Africa attending the 3rd Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. He sent this note on October 20.

We were majorly challenged in this morning session’s. John Piper spoke on Ephesians 3 emphasizing that prayer and suffering are normative to the spread of the gospel and fulfilling the eternal purposes of God. This was followed by testimonies about people who have lost their lives for the gospel in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan.

The story from Afghanistan was shared by the widow of a man who died along with 11 others just two months ago. To say I was overwhelmed by their faith is an understatement. I’m going to be processing some of this for a long while. I don’t think I’ll read Ephesians 3 the same way I have in the past ever again.

We focus on the last verse — immeasurably more — and think in terms of what God will do for us. In reality it refers to what he wants to do in us to bring us in line with His cosmic purpose of bringing salvation to all who would otherwise be nothing more than objects of wrath. In Paul’s world, and the world of the majority of believers where the church is growing, this will always take place in the context of prayer and persecution, not prosperity.

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