It is about 3:30 a.m. here as I write this blog. I can’t sleep. Last night was the end of the Convention. I preached a sermon titled, “To Live is Christ and to Die is Gain.” This verse comes from Philippians 1:21. It is my favorite verse in the Bible. I have preached using this verse before in America, however, it is more real in this context.
The book of Philippians is written by the Apostle Paul. He writes this while he is in imprisoned, and death is looming over his head. The reason he is imprisoned is because he has obeyed the Great Commission, and proclaimed the gospel. It is in this circumstance that he speaks, “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” By this he means that dying and being with Jesus is better than anything this World has to offer. He is saying that if they decide to make him a martyr, they are actually rewarding him, for it gets him to Jesus sooner.
As I preached this message, I couldn’t help but feel the weight of these words differently. In America, the worst thing that will happen if you preach the Gospel is that people will be annoyed or it will be socially awkward. Having said this, many self proclaimed Christians in the United States never share Christ with the lost. In India, sharing the Gospel could literally mean jail or death. I believe as Christianity grows more in India, we will see more and more persecution, for this is the pattern that we see in the book of Acts.
Once again, it was surreal, and at times overwhelming to think that these words from Philippians 1:21 may be preparing some of the people in the crowd for suffering in ways that many of us cannot comprehend.
Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ her in this nation