“What else might we do today that would be more significant than telling others that the God of the universe loves them and desires for them to know him and be saved from their sins forever?”
Yet these men were open to listening because of the way that people like Mark, Kim, and Robert were living their lives. Plainly put, the believers that worked together in this business had earned the right to be heard. They were honest in their work, and they honored the people with whom they worked. They cared for each other and for the people around them in poignant ways. When other employees in the business went through hard times, these brothers and sisters showed God’s love. When coworkers were sick or in need, these brothers and sisters asked if they could pray for them. Most of the time, these coworkers gladly said yes. As Christians prayed for them in Jesus’ name, these Muslim men and women saw a visual illustration of God’s goodness that matched the continual conversations they heard about God’s grace.
As a result, people were coming to faith in Christ. They would secretly pull believers like Mark, Kim, and Robert aside to ask more questions about who Jesus is and how Jesus saves. One by one, God was drawing coworkers, their families, and acquaintances to himself. Be sure that this was not easy for anybody involved. The more people came to Christ, the more at risk they all found themselves.
This is one of the things we often don’t realize about persecution and the spread of the gospel. We often think persecution is horrible, and certainly in many ways it is. But persecution is often a sign that the gospel is progressing. As long as the gospel lies dormant in a country or amid a people, and as long as no one is coming to Christ, then no one cares about Christianity. It’s only when the gospel spreads and people are converted to Christ that opposition begins to rise against Christianity. It makes you wonder, then: Though we don’t seek after persecution, in a sense don’t we want it to come?
Though conversion to Christianity was against the law in this country, the men and women who came to Christ were not primarily concerned about the law or the police; they were primarily concerned about the people in their homes and communities. To leave Islam in order to follow Jesus was to bring shame upon their family and their friends. As a result, new believers could be kicked out of their homes or even killed for the sake of honor.
Nevertheless, men and women who knew they would find resistance for following Jesus were still coming to faith in Christ. Why? Because they were overwhelmed by the portrait of grace, love, goodness, and salvation in Christ that had been painted by Christians like Mark, Kim, and Robert.
Further, Mark, Kim, and Robert would not abandon these new believers once they came to faith in Christ. They knew that making disciples involves baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything Christ has commanded. As a result, Mark, Kim, and Robert made it a point to teach their new brothers and sisters what it means to follow Christ and to help them obey the commands of Christ in the context of where they lived. They joined these new believers together into churches where they baptized each other. Then they began meeting together strategically to worship with one another, and carry out all the other “one anothers” that we’ve seen in Scripture. Moreover, these new believers started sharing and showing God’s grace and love to other Muslims, just as they had seen modeled for them by Mark, Kim, and Robert. Together, they began making disciples and multiplying churches in a place we might least expect and in a way for which only God can receive glory.
As I think about Mark, Kim and Robert, simple followers of Christ living alongside one another and working to make disciples and multiply churches, I can’t help but wonder, Why don’t we all do this? Why does a similar strategy not characterize the life of every single follower of Christ in the world?
Obviously the situation and circumstances are different in each of our lives, but isn’t that a good thing? What if God has placed every one of us in different locations with different jobs and different gifts around different people for the distinct purpose of every single one of us making disciples and multiplying churches? What if any follower of Christ could do this? What if every follower of Christ should do this?