Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, May 11, 2014
WITHOUT WOMEN THERE WOULD BE NO CHURCH
Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs.Matthew 27:55
The New Testament records the fact that many women were among the larger body of disciples that followed and served Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, we only know the names and stories of a few. They were more loyal to Jesus at the time of his crucifixion than his male disciples.
Despite the patriarchal society of that day, four women—two of them Gentile foreigners—were named in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel chapter one. It is significant that Jesus included women in his teaching putting them on equality with men. The same ethical and moral standards were demanded from both genders and the same way of salvation was offered for both.
Throughout the Bible, women filled significant roles—from leadership like Deborah to unique motherhood like Mary. The same has been true of those in the persecuted church.
A pastor in Cuba once told me, “Lenin said that without women there would be no revolution. I say that without women there would be no church!”
In China, the group of Christians who have had a major role in the revival and church growth are referred to locally as “Bible Women.” Chairman Mao once said, “Women hold up half the sky.” But it is estimated that about seventy per cent of the active Christian workers and church leaders in China today are women.
For example, Chinese Bible Woman, Ding Xianggao, has an incredible testimony. She is a young itinerant evangelist in China. Very much aware of the cost, she says, “In my country there are many brothers and sisters who suffer for Christ. Some of my co-workers have spent thirty years in prison for the sake of the gospel.”
Two of her associates were actually martyred. Because she is a hunted woman, she often sleeps in caves and fields to avoid capture.
Her commitment is expressed this way: “Jesus died for me. The least I should do is die for Him. To suffer and go to prison for Him is my honour, and I look forward to it.” She ended up in a large prison with over eight hundred inmates involved in prostitution, murder and kidnapping. But Ding believed God had placed her there for a reason. After three years she was released from prison. But not before seventy-eight people had made a personal commitment to Christ.
Sister Chan was sent to prison for six months for public preaching in central China, a prison with six thousand other women. During her time there, she led eight hundred women to faith in Jesus.
God uses everyone who is available in establishing His kingdom on earth.
RESPONSE: Today I will not assume that I am not useable by God. I will make myself available to Him.
PRAYER: Pray for the ministry of Christian women around the world—especially those who serve our Lord in difficult assignments or places.