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“Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.” — Psalm 119:143 Listen to chapter Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica. Powered by BibleGateway.com.

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Pray for China this Reformation Sunday

Pray for China this Reformation Sunday

Over the past few months, we have continued to receive many reports on the nationwide prosecution on religious practices by the Chinese Communist Party in their effort to wipe out orthodox Christianity and replacing it with a humanism/atheistic false belief.  Many prominent house churches/websites have all been forced to shutdown, as well as arrest and imprisonment of several ministers and elders.  It is a testing time for the Christians in China, it is also the time for us here in Australia to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Come and join Reformation Translation Fellowship in the upcoming Reformation Sunday of 2018 to pray for China.  If you are a minister, please consider adding some prayer points into your church newsletters.  If you are an elder or simply a believer, please let your pastor or congregation know the urgency on praying for China.

  • Pray for the government of China, prayer for their understanding of the true freedom under Christ.

  • Pray for the Christians in China, pray for their patience and faithfulness in Christ in times of trial.

  • Pray for the missionaries in China, pray for their safety and their zeals in spreading the good news.

为星期日的中国改革祈祷

在过去的几个月里,我们继续收到许多关于中国共产党为消灭正统基督教,用人道/无神论的错误信仰取代正统基督教,在全国范围内对宗教行为进行起诉的报告。许多著名的家庭教堂/网站都被迫关闭,以及逮捕和监禁了几位牧师和长老。对中国的基督徒来说,这是一个考验的时刻,也是我们在澳大利亚为在基督里的弟兄姊妹祷告的时刻。

在2018即将到来的改革星期日,来参加改革翻译联谊会,为中国祈祷。如果你是牧师,请考虑在教堂的时事通讯中添加一些祷告点。如果你是一位长者,或者仅仅是一位信徒,请让你的牧师或会众知道祈求中国的迫切性。

为中国政府祈祷,祈祷他们能理解耶稣基督的真正自由。

为中国的基督徒祷告,为他们在审判中的耐心和忠贞祷告。

为中国的传教士祷告,祈求他们的安全和他们的传教士传播好消息。

 Peter 3:13-16 says:

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

彼得后书3:13-16说:

如果你热衷于什么是好事,现在谁在那里伤害你? 但即使你为了正义而受苦,你也会受到祝福。 不要害怕他们,也不要感到困扰,但在你们的心中尊重主耶稣是圣洁的,总是准备好向任何要求你寻求你们希望的理由的人辩护; 但要有温柔和尊重,要有良心,这样,当你被诽谤时,那些在基督里辱骂你良好行为的人可能会感到羞耻。

This passage of Scripture gives us very good guidance for how to face persecution.Firstly, when Christians are persecuted for their faith, the Bible definitely says we are blessed and furthermore tells us not to be afraid. But the Bible definitely does not want us to use this as an excuse to confrontationally deter our persecutors, manifesting a courage that is of flesh and blood. In contrast, the Bible encourages and exhorts us, the more we are persecuted, the more we must live out a beautiful testimony, that witnessing our holy character, our persecutors would feel ashamed when seeing our godly character. For Christians, this is a very challenging lesson.

这段经文为我们如何面对迫害提供了非常好的指导。

首先,当基督徒因信仰而受到迫害时,圣经肯定说我们有福了,并且告诉我们不要害怕。但圣经绝对不希望我们以此为借口来对抗我们的迫害者,表现出一种有血有肉的勇气。相比之下,圣经鼓励和劝勉我们,我们受到越多的迫害,我们越是必须活出美丽的见证,见证我们的圣洁品格,我们的迫害者在看到我们敬虔的品格时会感到羞耻。对于基督徒来说,这是一个非常具有挑战性的教训。

Compared to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone with gentleness and respect,” maybe it is much easier to dance, praise and worship in the square, but have we considered this: to what extent can these actions testify to our faith and spread the gospel; what are the consequences? Would it cause disturbances, would it hinder the order of traffic, and end up actually losing the testimony we should have? To quote one brother’s comment from a WeChat group, “For the government square, it is just having one more Christian-themed square dance.”

与“总是准备以温柔和尊重给每个人的答案”相比,也许在广场上跳舞,赞美和崇拜要容易得多,但我们是否考虑过这些:这些行为在多大程度上可以证明我们的信仰和传播福音;有什么后果?它是否会引起干扰,是否会阻碍交通秩序,最终会失去我们应该拥有的证词?引用一位来自微信群体的一位兄弟的评论,“对于政府广场来说,它只是还有一个基督教主题的广场舞。”

Four years ago, I observed a church that had organized an “Aerobics Praise Dance” in the square. For a time, every night twenty-some ladies from that church would go to a small public square to do their “aerobics praise dance” using praise and worship music. They originally intended to share the gospel, but it later evolved into just another type of public square dance. Sure it was accompanied by Christian music, but it had nothing to do with evangelism. Later, the church cancelled its “Aerobics Praise Dance” activity.

四年前,我观察到一个教堂在广场上组织了一场“健美操赞美之舞”。有一段时间,每天晚上,来自那个教堂的二十几位女士会去一个小型的公共广场,用赞美和崇拜音乐来做他们的“有氧运动赞美之舞”。他们原本打算分享福音,但后来演变成另一种公共广场舞。当然它伴随着基督教音乐,但它与传福音无关。后来,教堂取消了“健美操赞美之舞”活动。

Therefore, on the surface, this Brother Cao’s proposal looks very “strong and courageous,” but it is an unrealistic and blind action. Responding to persecution in this aggressive way might bring worse consequences, losing the testimony that Christians should have. The current situation is indeed very serious. In persecution, we are not to be afraid, but we are also to be shrewd. We cannot respond and “overcome” persecution using methods of flesh and blood, and we certainly must not forget the power of prayer in our quiet closet. “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.” (2 Corinthians 10:3)

因此,从表面上看,曹弟兄的提议看起来非常“强大和勇敢”,但这是一种不切实际的盲目行动。以这种侵略性的方式应对迫害可能会带来更糟糕的后果,失去基督徒应该拥有的证词。目前的情况确实非常严重。在迫害中,我们不要害怕,但我们也要精明。我们不能用有血有肉的方法来回应和“克服”迫害,我们当然不能忘记在我们安静的壁橱里祈祷的力量。 “因为虽然我们行在肉体中,但我们却不按肉体发动战争。”(哥林多后书10:3)

When we face forced demolitions, we are saddened by it, but we must not lose a heart of calmness, patience, and prayer; and we really must not hate those who persecute us. Christians also need to understand the law. They can try their best to fight for themselves in a legal way, to defend themselves, and even to hire a lawyer and go to court. However, using extreme methods to “stand up for their rights” and “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” might backfire. Because the Bible commands us, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27-28)

当我们面临强迫拆迁时,我们对它感到悲伤,但我们绝不能失去平静,耐心和祈祷的心;我们真的不能讨厌那些迫害我们的人。基督徒也需要了解法律。他们可以尽力以合法的方式为自己而战,为自己辩护,甚至雇用律师并上法庭。然而,使用极端的方法来“维护自己的权利”和“以眼还眼,以牙还牙”可能会适得其反。因为圣经命令我们:“爱你的敌人,为那些恨你的人行善,祝福那些诅咒你,为那些虐待你的人祷告。“(路加福音6:27-28)

Taking a step back, even if the crosses are demolished, the church buildings are taken over, the churches completely lose their property rights, does that mean our faith is all over? We have a retreat: as long as we have the cross in our hearts, can we not worship God in our homes? Are we unable to “love our neighbours” starting with those around us?

 

退后一步,即使十字架被拆除,教堂建筑也被拆除,教堂完全失去了产权,这是否意味着我们的信仰已经全部结束了?我们有一个撤退:只要我们心中有十字架,我们就不能在家中敬拜上帝吗?从我们周围的人开始,我们无法“爱我们的邻居”吗?

During the Cultural Revolution, all church buildings were closed down. Was that “game over” for the Chinese Christian church? No, they actually prospered in another form. Jesus showed us another way to move forward when facing intense persecution that you can no longer bear. We have a way out, as Jesus told us, “When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next.” (Matthew 10:23)

在文化大革命期间,所有教堂建筑都被关闭了。这是中国基督教会的“游戏结束”吗?不,他们实际上以另一种形式繁荣。当面对你再也无法忍受的强烈迫害时,耶稣向我们展示了向前迈进的另一种方式。我们有一条出路,正如耶稣告诉我们的那样,“当他们在一个城镇逼迫你时,逃到另一个城镇。”(马太福音10:23)

Jesus did not say here that when you are persecuted, you are to confront the conflict directly and fight back to the end. No, this is not the way! When Jesus was hanging on the cross, he could have appealed to his father to send him more than twelve legions of angels to annihilate his enemies, but he did not do so; he silently endured. Would we say that Jesus was acting cowardly? No, he was victorious in his apparent weakness!

耶稣在这里没有说过,当你受到迫害时,你要直接面对冲突并反击到最后。不,这不是方法!当耶稣挂在十字架上时,他本可以呼吁他的父亲送他超过十二名天使来消灭他的敌人,但他没有这样做;他默默忍受着。我们会说耶稣行事懦弱吗?不,他在明显的弱点中取得了胜利!

In the successive persecutions of the ancient Roman Empire for three hundred years, Christians faced persecution in this way. They did not regard the Roman Empire as an enemy, nor did they think of subverting the Roman Empire, but with gentleness, patience, and reverent hearts, they responded to all scheming and persecution. When their houses were confiscated, or when they were driven out, or when their church properties were taken over, even when they were executed, they steadfastly held to their faith; they did not make the Roman Empire out as the enemy. But, they strived to obey Jesus’ teachings as best they could on this earth, and lived out a lovely testimony (see American author Stark’s book, The Rise of Christianity).

在古罗马帝国连续三百年的迫害中,基督徒以这种方式面临迫害。他们并不认为罗马帝国是敌人,他们也没有想到颠覆罗马帝国,但他们以温柔,耐心和虔诚的心情回应了所有诡计和迫害。当他们的房屋被没收,或被赶出去,或他们的教堂财产被接管时,即使他们被处决,他们也坚定不移地坚持信仰;他们并没有把罗马帝国当作敌人。但是,他们努力在地球上尽可能地服从耶稣的教导,并且做出了一个可爱的见证(参见美国作家斯塔克的着作“基督教的崛起”)。

Therefore, in the face of today’s difficult situation, Christians must remain calm and prayerful.

因此,面对今天的困境,基督徒必须保持冷静

In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience.

Finally, I want to conclude with a paragraph from another brother:

When you face persecution, you must be patient and calm. Don’t act out of your flesh, don’t be stirred up by others, and definitely don’t be ignorant and confused. Be shrewd, pray for those who persecute you, answer others with a gentle and respectful heart, rely on the great power of the Holy Spirit to say what should be said, be patient. Make sure you do not slander, curse, resist with force.

I think, this should be how a true Christian acts in the face of persecution.

 [S]trengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22

在你们心中尊重主耶稣是圣洁的,总是准备好向任何要求你寻求你们希望的理由的人辩护; 但要有温柔和尊重,有良心。

最后,我想以另一位兄弟的段落结束:

当你面临迫害时,你必须要有耐心和冷静。 不要出于你的肉体,不要被别人激动,绝对不要无知和困惑。 要精明,为那些逼迫你的人祈祷,用温柔和尊重的心回答别人,依靠圣灵的大能来说出应该说的话,要有耐心。 确保你不要诽谤,诅咒,用力抵抗。

我想,这应该是真正的基督徒在迫害面前的行为方式。

  • 加强门徒的灵魂,鼓励他们继续信仰,并说通过许多苦难我们必须进入上帝的国度。 使徒行传14:22

  • RTF 2018 Project Update
    Due to some unforeseen legal requirement, we are still waiting for the Christian Education Committee of Presbyterian Church of Australia to give us the go-ahead on translating the “Truth Matters” booklet, the RTFA committee has decided to put the money raised for the translation into a short-term deposit for the meantime.  Please pray for this special project as it will help Chinese ministers and lay teachers in teaching the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.
    The long-awaited Stone Lectures Abraham Kuyper is in its final editing stage, aiming for publishing at the end of the year.
    We are currently raising 8,000 AUD to support the first two translations of P&R’s “The Gospel According to the Old Testament”, a series of study into the Scripture through major Old Testament figures with Christ-focused theology at an accessible level.
    Living in the Grip of Relentless Grace: The Gospel in the Lives of Isaac and Jacob by Iain M. Duguid (Soon to be published)
    Living in the Gap between Promise and Reality: The Gospel According to Abraham by Iain M. Duguid (Already published)
    We think this will bring a good balance with Banner of Truth’s “Let’s Study” series already published by RTF Press.
    If you would like to make a contribution to the translation of this series, you can find our donation detail at the end of the newsletter, or on our website at www.rtfa.org.au.
  • RTF 2018项目更新
     
    由于一些不可预见的法律要求,我们仍在等待澳大利亚长老会教会基督教教育委员会批准翻译“真相事项”小册子,RTFA委员会决定将筹集的资金用于翻译在此期间成为短期存款。请为这个特别的项目祷告,因为它将帮助中国的传道人和老师教导基督教信仰的基本教义。
     
    期待已久的石头讲座Abraham Kuyper正处于最后的编辑阶段,目标是在今年年底出版。
    我们目前筹集8,000澳元以支持P&R的“旧约福音书”的前两个翻译,这是通过主要的旧约圣经以及以基督为中心的神学在可访问的层面上对圣经进行的一系列研究。
     
    生活在无情恩典的把握中:伊萨克和雅各的生活中的福音,由Iain M. Duguid撰写(即将出版)
    生活在承诺与现实之间的差距:亚伯拉罕的福音Iain M. Duguid(已经出版)
    我们认为这将与RTF出版社已经出版的真理之邦的“让我的研究”系列产生良好的平衡。
     
    如果您想为本系列的翻译做出贡献,您可以在时事通讯的最后或我们的网站www.rtfa.org.au上找到我们的捐赠详情。
  • Reformation Translation Fellowship Australia

    Chairman:Mr Steven Yu0401 043 641  Maroubra, NSW      Secretary:Rev. Andrew Stewart03 5229 4697  Geelong, VIC      Treasurer:Mr. David Barkley0417 310 197  Geelong, VIC       Rev. Stuart Bonnington08 9398 13040400 012 865 Fremantle, WA       Rev. Julian Bull0435 245 919  Perth, WA       Rev. Stefan Slucki07 4123 47840428 960 801 Maryborough, QLD      Website:   www.rtfa.org.auEmail:enquiries@rtfa.org.au        Contact:Rev. Andrew Stewart, 12 Fenwick Street, Geelong, VIC 3220    Donation:By Cheque:RTF Australia
    12 Fenwick Street, Geelong, VIC 3220    By Electronics Banking:RTF Australia
    BSB: 633 000      A/C No.: 120 848 627    By Online Donation:www.rtfa.org.au/donations

 
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