“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered…upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (see Matt. 16:16-18).

 

Jesus calls us to follow him. Following him means allowing him to make us into fishers of men. Fishing for men means going where there are fish to be caught. That may take us to dangerous places. Some have followed Christ to “the gates of hell.” They are staring lions in the face. They are in nations whose laws forbid belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. Some are being killed because they confess Jesus.

Just after World War II, the Chinese government embraced communism and expelled all foreign missionaries. They instituted major initiatives against Christian churches and Christian belief. Many Christians lost their lives. But the communists did not account for one thing. Chinese Christians continued to confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Many did it quietly, in homes and small groups. Their confession had an impact. Jesus did what he promised. He built his church. Multiplied millions of Chinese became believers in Jesus. The house church movement spread like fire through the nation.

Following Jesus for most of those believers was not merely attending a large church on a Sunday morning. It was daily living for Christ in small communities and homes. It was confessing who Jesus was in a hostile environment. And the gates of hell did not prevail against them. The church became probably the largest, fastest growing church in the history of Christendom.

Dalbert Walker