Sunday 19th July

Life of Paul – Persecuted

This week we will be continuing in our series, looking at the life of Paul. We will be looking at Paul being persecuted, and thinking about how we are not immune to suffering while doing God’s work. The reading will from Acts 14:8-20

Song: The splendour of the King

Ephesians 6:10-13 says this:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 

Song: Blessed be your name

Reflection

Spend a few moments of a time when maybe you’ve suffered for following God. Perhaps we don’t see the persecution in this country that others do, but maybe think about a time you have suffered. Maybe someone have laughed at you for what you believe, or you might have lost a friend, maybe you feel you’ve been discriminated against. Have a think about a time when maybe you’ve suffered for following God, and how you respond to that – do you stop following God for a while, or do you turn to God?

This next song acknowledges that there are times when we do suffer, and that those are the times when we really need to turn to God.

Song: My troubled soul

Song: When I call on your name

Reading: Acts 14:8-20

Sermon

Prayer

It would be good to spend some time in prayer for persecuted Christians around the world. Here’s some stats (from last year):

  • Every day, 8 Christians are killed worldwide
  • Every week, 182 churches or christian buildings are attacked
  • Every month, 309 Christians are imprisoned unjustly
  • North Korea is the top most dangerous place for Christians to live. Others in the top 10 are Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen, Iran, and India.

We might not understand why we’re going through hard times, or why people round the world are going through hard times, but we serve and worship the God who has a plan, who knows what’s going on, and whom we can trust.

Romans 8:35-39 says this:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

‘For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Song: We shall stand

Discussion

Brother Andrew said ‘Persecution is an enemy the Church has met and mastered many times. Indifference could prove to be a far more dangerous foe

  • How could persecution be good for us?
  • Imagine we lived in North Korea or Iran, how would our personal and corporate faith be different?
  • How could we best prepare for persecution?

Homework

Look up open doors website – they have a section where you can write or email brothers and sisters who are suffering persecution, they give you words and phrases to use that will encourage them

www.opendoorsuk.org/act/letter/

Next Week

We’ll be looking at Paul being a prisoner, and thinking about God’s work is everywhere. The reading will from Acts 16:16-40