Encouragement at Christmastime

Editor’s note: This year, China Partnership has prayed for the church in China to hold fast. In the fall of 2022, we spoke with Chinese house church leaders and asked them how the global church can pray for and support them in 2023. They specifically asked that we pray that they would hold fast to Christ and to his promises in the midst of pressure, persecution, and uncertainty. We invite you to join us as we labor in love and prayer for the church in China.


My brothers and sisters in China —

As you endure hardship for the sake of the gospel, I want you to know that the global church is watching you, we are learning from you, and we are telling the gospel story because of you.

The Global Church is Watching

Are you aware that the global church is watching how you are enduring persecution for the sake of Christ? Your fame for the gospel is spreading around the world.

You might say, why is our fame spreading globally? There are not many churches  in the world who are suffering more for the gospel than you are. There are not many churches who are choosing to walk the way of the cross as they suffer. There are not many churches who are loving their enemies and praying for those who persecute them like Jesus did as they endure affliction.

Looking with only eyes of flesh, it seems that the promise of salvation through wisdom, power and wealth rings true. Because of the allure of worldly power, many Christians, especially in the West, are tempted to give up on the way of the cross. We are tempted to blend our devotion to Christ with our love for the world.

The global church is watching you because we are impressed by how low you are being taken for the sake of Christ, and yet how high you remain in your joy in Jesus. We are watching you because though you are weak, we marvel that, in Christ, you are strong.

We are watching you because, as attempts to scatter you from one another have come, your commitment to Christ and to one another has not wavered.

The Global Church is Learning

As the global church is watching you, we are also learning from you. What are we learning? We are seeing in living reality the kind of gospel obedience Paul describes:

“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” 

Looking with only eyes of flesh, it seems that the promise of salvation through wisdom, power and wealth rings true. Because of the allure of worldly power, many Christians, especially in the West, are tempted to give up on the way of the cross. We are tempted to blend our devotion to Christ with our love for the world.


Would You Pray With Us Today?

Sign up to receive our weekly prayer emails with requests for the house church in China

However, in our lukewarmness, the Western church is confronted by you! We are confronted by churches all over China who are living out the words of Martin Luther in ‘A Mighty Fortress is our God’ – Christians who have “let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also, the body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still, his Kingdom is forever.”

Sometimes persecuted believers can be so focused on standing firm for Jesus that they forget to love each other like Jesus loved them…to become arrogant rather than humble in affliction is a common but dangerous path for the suffering church.

You confront us with your wisdom – you are so wise to let go of what is temporary to hold onto what is eternal. You confront us with your power – in your suffering you have let go of your own power and have decided instead to hold onto the power of Christ – who is the very power and the wisdom of God. You confront us with your strength –  in the midst of your weakness, you are holding onto the Lord Jesus, who is stronger than man’s strength.

We are learning from you what it means to walk by faith in the face of affliction. On behalf of the global church, I want to thank you for teaching us this lesson of incomparable value.

But since the global church is watching and learning from you, I also want to exhort you to continue to persevere not just in faith, but also in love. Throughout church history, when churches have faced persecution for the name of Christ, we find a common pattern of sin. Sometimes persecuted believers can be so focused on standing firm for Jesus that they forget to love each other like Jesus loved them.

Perhaps it is a surprise for you to hear that this sin of pride is often found among persecuted churches. But it is true – to become arrogant rather than humble in affliction is a common but dangerous path for the suffering church.

Jesus, did not say that the world would know that we are Christians by how we stand up for the gospel in persecution. He said, “all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” It is your love for one another in your churches and your love for other Christians in your cities that will show the world the reality of Jesus Christ.

So the global church is learning how to suffer with faith from you. And we thank you for that lesson. But, I ask you: if the global church needed to learn love from you – could we also learn that?

Continue to stand firm in your faith, but also in your love for one another.

The Global Church is Telling

Finally the global church is telling. As we watch you and learn from you we are also telling the story of your faith to the world.

We find ourselves in a situation that is something like what Luke experienced with Paul in the final 10 chapters of the book of Acts. Throughout that final section from Acts 19-28, Paul is bearing the marks of persecution. But Luke is there with him in the background, telling the story of the gospel that God was writing to the world through Paul’s ministry.

My Chinese brothers and sisters, the global church is with you as you suffer. Perhaps you cannot see us, but can we see you.

As Paul suffers in chains, Luke watches, learns, and then tells what is happening with Paul to the world. In the end, the gospel goes forth – as one man, Paul, is persecuted, and the other man, Luke, tells the story.

Conclusion

My Chinese brothers and sisters, the global church is with you as you suffer. Perhaps you cannot see us, but can we see you. Because of you, we are growing in our devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Remain steadfast in your devotion to Jesus – with faith and joy – because the world is watching you, is learning from you, and is telling the gospel story because of you.


Corey Jackson is the senior pastor of Trinity Park Church in Cary, North Carolina.

Pray Chinese believers will remain steadfast in love for one another this Christmas.

Share This Story

Further Reading

hangjia-xu-3ZdSvOSlm4c-unsplash
The External Cross: A Pastoral Letter
Read More
billow926-ND4-6joi3t8-unsplash
Qingdao: How to Pray
Read More
cajeo-zhang--Qkr9oCfcZo-unsplash
Qingdao: Locals and Outsiders
Read More

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

Videos

ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

Videos

Stories from Shenyang

About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

Videos

Stories from Qingdao

About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

Videos

Stories from Xiamen

About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Videos

Stories from Chongqing

About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

Videos

Stories from Nanjing

About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

Videos

Stories from Changchun

About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

Videos

Stories from Guangzhou

About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

Videos

Stories from Kunming

About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

Videos

Stories from Shenzhen

About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

Videos

Stories from Chengdu

About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

Videos

Stories from Beijing

About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

Videos

Stories from Shanghai

give

A short message about partnering with us.