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The Bulletin Sunday 11th September, 2016 Insert What does “Persecuted Church” Mean?

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert         Sunday 11th September 2016 Pentecost 17C

What Does ‘Persecuted Church’ Mean?

We tend to think of persecution of followers of Jesus as something that happened only in the early years of the Church. But today it is more widespread than we realise.

Christian persecution is defined as ‘any hostility experienced as a result of one’s identification as a Christian’. This might be from hostile attitudes, verbal harassment to imprisonment, torture and death. We are blessed to live in a nation where religious tolerance is enshrined in law. But many Christians live in parts of the world with severe religious restrictions and pay a heavy price for their faith. It is our duty to support them.

Today we welcome Colin Johnston, Managing Director of Barnabas Fund Australia, an international organisation committed to supporting persecuted Christians through practical means, education and informing the wider world. Colin was our guest speaker at our Parish Breakfast on Saturday 10th September, and will bring a fresh message of hope during our two morning services at St. Andrew’s on Sunday 11th September.

May our worship lead us to consider what it really means to count the cost of being a disciple, and may our choices always reflect the love, generosity and commitment to justice proclaimed by Jesus.

Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.’ [Hebrews 13:3]

For more information on Barnabas Fund and the persecuted Church see:

https://barnabasfund.org/

http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/december/top-10-persecution-stories-of-2015.html

http://charities.findthebest.com.au/l/38853/Barnabas-Fund-Australia-Limited

 

Galatians 6:2-10

2Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. 3For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. 4All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbour’s work, will become a cause for pride.

5For all must carry their own loads. 6 Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher.

7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. 8If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. 10So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

 

2Tim 3:10-17     Paul’s Charge to Timothy

10 Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11my persecutions, and my suffering the things that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13But wicked people and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

 

John 15: 17-25

17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

18 ‘If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. 19If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. 20Remember the word that I said to you, “Servants are not greater than their master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25It was to fulfil the word that is written in their law, “They hated me without a cause.”