Year 2 Day 29
Read - Acts 14v19-28
Message - Scott Woodburn
Those of you of an Edengrove persuasion will know all about Robert Irvine. He was our minister for a short time in the 1800s before making his way to 1st Presbyterian, Augusta, Georgia. If you visit that church you will find a statue of Irvine outside. There's no statue of him in Ballynahinch but once upon a time, some locals did seek to burn an effigy of Irvine before blowing up the remains with gun powder just outside the Market House. I suspect when its all said and done we would much rather have a statue than to have a mob who seeks to do us harm. Unfortunately, that choice is not ours.
Paul and Barnabas continued to exercise faithful Gospel ministry. Sinners were saved (v21), Christians were encouraged (v22) and the church was established (v23) and yet as chapter 14 closes, we also discover that in Lystra, Paul had been stoned and dragged outside the city and left for dead (v19).
A modern TV preacher might skip that verse. Everyone knows that if we have enough faith then nothing bad will ever happen to us. Right? Wrong. We reject any message that says the Christian life is all about health, wealth and prosperity. Brothers and sisters, as you well know, sometimes the Christian life is incredibly hard.
Christians are washed clean in the blood of the Lamb, but that blood doesn't stop them from getting Covid as some have believed over the past year. Christians hear every single day about a cancer diagnosis. They hear that their job is under threat. They stand in graveyards and weep like everyone else. We have been redeemed but Jesus is clear that in this world we will have trouble.
I don't want a hall named after me, nor do I want a statue. Equally though, I don't want my effigy to be burnt outside the Market House in Ballynahinch. If I tell the truth of my sinful heart, I want a quiet and peaceful life. I'd prefer no boats to be rocked. I want to celebrate my 100th birthday. I want to be fit and well and playing golf in my 80s like those auld lads on TV. I want to keep my teeth and my hair and hopefully I'll die in my own warm bed after retiring from a 40 year ministry in 1st Presbyterian, Augusta, Georgia.
Brothers and sisters, please don't mock me nor pity my foolishness. I'm willing to state that I suspect you would rather have the easy path. Am I right? Perhaps this last wee bit is just for me or perhaps it will speak to many, regardless, hear what a beaten, stoned, left for dead Apostle reminded the church - "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." (v22)
The one who has received Christ by faith will not be lost. We will not slip through the Lord's fingers. He will certainly not leave us nor forsake us. We will cross the finish line and we will see glory. Yet also certain is that the road ahead will be beset on all sides with tribulation and heartache.
Hurting and wounded child of God may you know the Lord's help and strength today. I know that this day may not be easy but much more importantly - God knows. The One who has begun the work in you, will certainly bring it to completion at the day of Christ. Hear the Word of your Saviour. "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world." (John 16v33)
Q41 Where is the moral law summarily comprehended? The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments.