Sunday, 30th August 6.00 pm Order of Service

WELCOME

HYMN And can it be (Townend)

1 And can it be that I should gain

An interest in the Saviour’s blood?

Died he for me, who caused his pain?

For me, who him to death pursued?

Amazing love! How can it be

That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

2 He left his Father’s throne above –

So free, so infinite his grace –

Emptied himself of all but love,

And bled for Adam’s helpless race.

‘Tis mercy all, immense and free;

For, O my God, it found out me!

3 Long my imprisoned spirit lay

Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;

Thine eye diffused a quickening ray –

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light,

My chains fell off, my heart was free,

I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

4 No condemnation now I dread;

Jesus, and all in him, is mine!

Alive in him, my living head,

And clothed in righteousness divine,

Bold I approach the eternal throne,

And claim the crown, through Christ, my own.

PRAYER

READING MATTHEW 10:16-31

16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!

26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

SERMON – Suffering for Christ

Are you seriously persecuted for your Christian faith? Do you really know what it is to be handed over to local councils and be flogged? or arrested? or to have to flee to another place? For that is to be the fate of Christians according to Jesus. This is not some imaginary persecution – this is REAL – and the history of the Christian Church right down to the present day proves the truth of it. Indeed it has been calculated that more people were put to death for their CHRISTIAN beliefs in this 20th Century than in all the first 19 centuries put together! 21st century is no better.

BUT WHY should Christians be open to such hostility? Well Jesus gives us TWO ANSWERS – and then He gives us a word of COMFORT.

The first reason for Christian persecution is simply ON ACCOUNT OF JESUS (Vs. 18). Indeed, Jesus goes further in vs.22 and says all men will hate you because of me.

Is it not true that Christians are despised by the people of the world – our lifestyles show up theirs? Christ shining in US, shows up the Devil working in THEM – and they HATE THAT?

And why? BECAUSE OF JESUS. Men and women HATE HIM – it stands to reason that they will hate us. Indeed, Jesus makes that very plain.

The second reason for our being treated shamefully is that they treated HIM that way first.

Vv 24, 25 Jesus tells us that we are not above HIM – if they called HIM the devil, then they are going to call us similar names – and treat us in the same way they treated Him. It stands to reason that if the world put Jesus on a Cross to kill Him – then they are not going to love us who follow the Man of the Cross!

HOWEVER – there is a word of comfort and help from Jesus – it comes in various places – but Jesus simply says to His faithful servants: DON’T WORRY!

Vs.19 When they arrest you DON’T WORRY about what to say – you will be given what to say. Vs.26 Do not be afraid of them {their deeds will one day be exposed}; Vs. 28 Do not be AFRAID of those who can kill your body {rather, fear God – in whose Hands is your eternal soul}. Vs. 3O DON’T BE AFRAID – your father looks after the very sparrows – He’ll take care of you.

Do you really believe that? Are you prepared to step out in faith with Jesus, for Jesus – NO MATTER what the cost? Will you risk your job – your friends – your reputation – your house – your Church? What is the pattern of Jesus? 1 Peter 2:23 When they hurled insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats, instead, He entrusted Himself to Him Who judges justly.

Will YOU give your life entirely over to the one who judges justly – the Living God?

Well, how much is your eternal soul worth? To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. (I Pet. 2:21)

(I Pet. 4:16) If you suffer as a Christian do not be ashamed BUT PRAISE GOD THAT YOU BEAR THAT NAME.

PRAYER

Psalm 119: 153-160 Consider mine affliction

153

Consider my affliction and deliver me,

For I do not forget Your law.

154

Plead my cause and redeem me;

Revive me according to Your word.

155

Salvation is far from the wicked,

For they do not seek Your statutes.

156

Great are Your tender mercies, O Lord;

Revive me according to Your judgments.

157

Many are my persecutors and my enemies,

Yet I do not turn from Your testimonies.

158

I see the treacherous, and am disgusted,

Because they do not keep Your word.

159

Consider how I love Your precepts;

Revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness.

160

The entirety of Your word is truth,

And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.

Benediction

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