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NEW STUDY GUIDE ON THE PERSECUTED CHURCH

Release International’s All for Jesus available now

Have you ever wondered how you would cope under persecution? Or how best to support our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world?

Release International has brought out a new study guide to help us get to grips with Christian discipleship in a world that is hostile to Jesus. 

All for Jesus reminds us that persecution is right at the centre of our Christian faith. It’s the normal Christian life.

The booklet, which runs to 50 pages, gives a clear biblical perspective on persecution and discipleship to help us apply these lessons to our lives. 

It sets out five studies, looking at what it means to be a Christian: from the Sermon on the Mount; covering the Christian Church from the book of Romans; the Christian gospel from Philippians; the Christian hope from 1 Peter; and Christian endurance from the book of Hebrews.

Impact

Each chapter concludes with questions on how persecution can impact our lives. From the section on the Beatitudes alone, these include:

  • How relevant to you is the issue of persecution? 
  • When might you find it most difficult to be merciful?
  • And how should Christians respond when we face ridicule or persecution for our faith? 

All for Jesus is ideal for use in a home or Bible study group, or as the basis for a teaching series in your church.

So why do we need this? 

In the words of Richard Wurmbrand, the Romanian pastor whose ministry inspired Release: 

Customer or disciple?

Richard Wurmbrand

‘A man who visits a barber to be shaved, or who orders a suit from a tailor, is not a disciple, but a customer.

‘So one who comes to the Saviour only to be saved is the Saviour’s customer, not his disciple.

‘A disciple is one who says to Christ, “How I long to do work like yours! To go from place to place taking away fear; bringing instead joy, truth, comfort and life eternal!”’

In his preface to All for Jesus, Release International CEO Paul Robinson writes: ‘When we visit persecuted Christians overseas, we often find those who have suffered greatly – but who have continued, not as the Saviour’s customers, but as his disciples.

‘In other words, they demonstrate what it means to live fully for Jesus Christ, no matter what it may cost. Observing their lives, we find those who are living out the reality of the words of Apostle Paul: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’”

Normal Christian life

For Christians around the world persecution is the normal Christian life. And that means a comfortable Christian life must therefore be abnormal. 

It also means that many of us enjoy a freedom we must never take for granted – nor feel guilty about! But along with the privilege of freedom comes the responsibility to use that freedom to the full. 

Writes Paul Robinson: ‘Persecuted discipleship is a phrase we have come to use at Release International to refer simply to ordinary, but genuine, Christian discipleship – discipleship that is robust enough and biblical enough to understand the reality of persecution in a world that hates Christ and the gospel.’

All for Jesus is ideal for small groups within the life of the local church. The booklet comes complete with helpful notes for leaders on the questions it raises.

Jars of Clay is also available from the Release International website

Why not us?

The writer is Kenneth Harrod, of Release, whose previous work, Jars of Clay, gives a clear biblical perspective on persecution. 

He says: ‘At Release we hope that many churches will take up and use this material in their small groups. Our prayer is that Christians will be challenged and encouraged in their own discipleship, as God’s Word – and the reality of persecution – makes its impact upon them.’

Adds Paul Robinson: ‘If we see our brothers and sisters living fully for Jesus by the grace of God, in places of intense persecution, then why not see that here in the UK? 

‘Why not you and me?

‘In our own world of secularism and materialism, where the church is being marginalised, can we learn lessons of Christian discipleship with our persecuted brothers and sisters that will enable us to live more fully for Jesus Christ?’ 

Without giving too much away, the answer is emphatically ‘Yes!’ So get hold of your copy and be prepared for a challenge!

All for Jesus costs £4, and is available here

Jars of Clay is also available for £8, including postage and packaging, from here