Summary: The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. That blood is still being shed. In this sermon we name the top ten persecutors and finish with a look at Paul - the persecutor who became the persecuted.
More than 200 million Christians in over 60 nations face persecution each day. We have heard of believers having boiling water poured down their throats. Other gruesome forms of torture are meted out to Christ’s sheep on a daily basis.
The top ten persecutors -
(1) North Korea (2) Saudi Arabia (3) Iran (4) Somalia (5) The Maldives (6) Yemen (7) Bhutan (8) Vietnam (9) Laos (10) Afghanistan.
Galatians 6:17 "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus".
1. PAUL’S BURDEN OF HARDSHIP
“I bear in my body”
Read 2 Corinthians 11:24-27 for a list of how he was persecuted.
2. PAUL’S BADGE OF HONOUR
“the marks of the Lord Jesus”
Scars from persecution. He was ‘proud’ of them.
On Remembrance Sunday war veterans wear their medals with pride, and rightly so. Paul’s injuries were like medals to him.
Paul was not referring to the stigmata - that cursed lie of the Roman Catholic church. By the way, Padre Pio used acid to fake his bleeding hands.
Paul’s reference to his own marks reminds us of Christ’s marks.
"Five bleeding wounds He bears,
Received on Calvary,
They pour effectual prayers,
They strongly plead for me:
’Forgive him, O forgive,’ they cry,
’Nor let that ransomed sinner die!’"
3. PAUL’S BEACON OF HOPE
“the Lord Jesus”
It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus,
"Life’s trials will seem so small,
When we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race, till we see Christ."