It was a sobering article in ‘The Australian newspaper
“RESEARCH showing Christianity is now the most widely persecuted religious group in the world…. Indeed, Christianity could, after 2000 years, be facing the threat of extinction in its birthplace in the Middle East…. The inventory of attacks is interminable. The German International Society of Human Rights has concluded 80 per cent of all acts of religious discrimination and vilification across the world are directed at Christians… is now quite literally under the gun across a large part of the world.”.Thursday, Dec. 26th – 2014
This of course is not new – Just think of it!
- Turning up for worship and in the middle of the service it appears as though Hell has broken loose!
- Outsiders rush into the service and begin indiscriminately killing those all around you
- By the time the mayhem is over 60 are dead and 200 wounded.
- BUT is doesn’t end there – the killing goes on and in the next three days another 100 dead
- Within ten years, 10,000 dead.
Persecution in Vassy (France) time of writing catechism, a church attacked during service QA1 What is your only comfort in life and death?
- THE LORD’S SERVANT’S IN NEED OF COMFORT
- MY ONLY COMFORT IN LIFE AND DEATH
- THE EMPOWERING NATURE OF COMFORT
Readings reproduced on this page:
The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1996, 1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan
Philippians 1 (NIV84)
1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3I thank my God every time I remember you.
4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.
8God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,
10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,
11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
12Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.
13As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.
14Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.
16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.
17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.
18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,
19for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
20I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!
23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;
24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,
26so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.
27Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel
28without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.
29For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,
30since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
2 Timothy 1:1–2:3 (NIV84)
1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
2To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.
4Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.
5I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
6For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
7For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
8So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,
9who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
11And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.
12That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
13What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.
14Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
15You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.
16May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.
17On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me.
18May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.
1You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.
3Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
Lord’s Day 1 QA1
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own,1 but belong__ body and soul, in life and in death__2 to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.3 He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood,4 and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.5
He also watches over me in such a way6 that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven:7 in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.8
Because I belong to Him, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life9 and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him.10
1. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
2. Romans 14:7-9
3. 1 Corinthians 3:23; Titus 2:14
4. 1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:2
5. John 8:34-36; Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 John 3:1-11
6. John 6:39-40; 10:27-30; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Peter 1:5
7. Matthew 10:29-31; Luke 21:16-18
8. Romans 8:28
9. Romans 8:15-16; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14
10. Romans 8:1-17