I have used this story before, but this time, I use it from a different angle.
In the early 1990’s, Larry Burkett told a story on his radio program, “Money Matters,” that still sends shivers down my spine. Burkett told about the time he attended a local church and heard a Chinese man tell his testimony.
It seems the man was a lieutenant of Mao Zedong when Mao’s communist army defeated Chiang Kai-Shek and took control of China. Mao then set out to cleanse China of all imperialist influences, especially American connections. Missionaries were sent home or killed. Chinese pastors were imprisoned or killed. Christians were killed. Political leaders, people who had visited America or attended schools there were killed. Historians estimate 40,000,000 Chinese were executed by Mao during his various purges.
The man, who told this testimony, was chosen by Mao as one of the leaders in the rural purges. He dispatched his tasks with cruel efficiency. But some Christians focused their prayers on him and he was miraculously saved. So convinced was the man that Christ was the answer for China he decided to return to Peking (Beijing) and tell Mao the good news of Jesus.
Mao was not impressed with his lieutenant’s message and commanded him to renounce his new found faith. The man refused and said, “I cannot deny the experience I’ve had with Jesus.”
Mao brought his wife and children before the man. Soldiers stood behind his family with guns aimed at their heads. Once again, Mao asked the man to renounce his faith. The man fell to his knees and said, “Please do not kill my family, but I cannot deny Jesus.”
His family was executed before his eyes.
Next, his parents, brothers, sisters and their families were brought before the man with soldiers standing behind them with guns at their heads. Mao insisted the man renounce Jesus. The man refused. His entire family was executed before his eyes.
All of his friends and their families were placed in front of him, but still he would not renounce Christ. They were executed.
Then, Mao decided death was too good for this reprobate of a man. He was stripped naked and placed in a cold cell. Once a day, guards were ordered to beat him.
His imprisonment and beatings continued for fifteen years. During that time, the man led 90% of the guards to Christ and the guards even risked their own freedoms by bringing Bibles to him.
When he finally emerged from prison, he walked down a road, heading toward his hometown. As he walked, people in the fields next to the road, fell to their knees and cried out to be saved by Jesus. Yet, the man said nothing because the presence of God was so heavy upon him that he just continued to walk.
Larry Burkett said that when the Chinese man finished his testimony he was asked, “What do you think of our American churches?”
The man gazed at the audience with tears in his eyes. “You American Christians do not know the Jesus I know,” he said.
But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:33)
If we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us (2 Timothy 2:12)
This man’s testimony shines a light on a worst-case scenario for all of us believers. We obviously all hope to never face such terrible circumstances, but what if we do? Could we still hold onto Jesus and not deny Him?
I don’t believe any of us can pass a test like this without having the following revelations:
- Our Father is a good God. We can trust Him with our lives and the lives of our family and friends.
- Our Father is omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (all-present everywhere at once) and omniscient (all-knowing). In His omniscience, He saw the circumstances before they happened and He still allowed us to go through them. He expects us to be faithful until the end, trusting Him till our last breath.
- God honors His word. God exalts His word about His authority and abides by His own rules.
If any of us do not have these revelations of our heavenly Father, we need to seek and ask Him for them. He desires to reveal Himself to us.
Remember: The number one reason for being a part of the Great Falling Away – now or in the future – will be denying Jesus and His character attributes.
(Continued in Part 4…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)