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The Holy Spirit has been working in and through his people for over 2000 years.  Join us as walk through the history of Christ's church.
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Providence Church
Sunday Worship: 10:30 am
The Mifflin Community Center
55 Maine St.  Mifflin, OH
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This Lord's Day
Guest Preacher:
Andrew Rappaport
Founder of Striving for Eternity Ministries
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Upcoming Events

Wednesday May 28

  • Midweek Prayer, 7-8
Sunday June 1
  • Worship: 10:30, guest preacher - Andrew Rappaport
  • Carry in lunch
June 6-8:
  • Camping!
  • Sunday Morning Worship @ campsite
  • No evening study
More Calendar Events

Visual Bible LandsTour

June 22-July 6 our Sunday Evening study will be taking a trip to Israel...by means of pictures.  Join us for a visual tour of Bible lands.

Scripture Reading

Join us every 2nd and 4th Sunday as we read through the Scriptures.
 

 

"No early pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way.  I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth.

He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire.

The time for my birth is close at hand. Forgive me, my brothers. Do not stand in the way of my birth to real life; do not wish me stillborn.

My desire is to belong to God. Do not, then, hand me back to the world. Do not try to tempt me with material things. Let me attain pure light. Only on my arrival there can I be fully a human being. Give me the privilege of imitating the passion of my God."

Ignatius of Antioch

Mighty Martyr of Christ

circa 35-107 AD
 
"Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."
Matthew 10:28
 
"I am the wheat of God, and let me be ground by the teeth of wild beasts, that I may be found [to be] the pure bread of Christ."

These amazingly bold and brave words were penned by the early church saint Ignatius as he was carted off to Rome for his execution.  

Ignatius is certainly not unique in being a martyr for the faith. Many other apostolic fathers, the name given to the men who came right after the apostles, died in martyrdom as well.  

Ignatius may be said to be the boldest of the condemned saints though.  Indeed, some scholars even opine that Ignatius wanted martyrdom and thought it the truest expression of a real disciple of Christ.

Interestingly enough, Ignatius was believed to have grown up in a pagan home and had initially joined in the persecution of the sect known as the Christians.  However, he was converted and is said to have had contact with many of the New Testament apostles.  

He quickly excelled in his knowledge of the Scriptures and ability to lead.  As a result, he became the bishop of Antioch, the third largest city in the Empire (and perhaps the central hub of Christianity at that time).

When Trajan, the Roman Emperor, passed through Antioch he summonsed Ignatius before him.  When face to face Trajan threatened Ignatius with death if he did not repudiate Christ.

When Ignatius stood strong Trajan condemned on the grounds of atheism (the charge bestowed upon those who failed to acknowledge the panoply of Roman gods).  Trajan then sentenced Ignatius to be bound and sent to Rome to be thrown to the lions.

It is this trip to Rome that we know most about Ignatius, for during this time he wrote letters to churches in a number of cities throughout the empire.

In these letters it becomes apparent that Ignatius was intent on dying for Christ.  Even one letter expresses how he did not wish to have his Christian brethren interfere and give aid for his release.  He was content to imitate the Lord in his death and come unto Christ at last:

"Suffer me to become food for the wild beasts, through whose instrumentality it will be granted to me to attain to God."

Did Ignatius have a death wish?  Should he have tried to escape his execution?

We must remember Ignatius's status within the church.  If he sought freedom from his martyrdom, it might have set a bad example for the body of Christ.  Many might have been tempted to deny Christ in the midst of their persecutions.

It is likely that Ignatius wanted his life (and his death) to be a witness to the fact that Christians can face death with holy boldness.  His courageous decision was an empire wide testimony that life shall not end for the believing.

One can also detect Ignatius' longing for Christ's presence.  He'd rather face the trials and tortures because he knew that it is better to be with Christ.


"Come fire, cross, battling with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs, crushing of my whole body, cruel tortures of the devil--only let me get to Jesus Christ!"  

For us the Mighty Martyr's life expresses our hope of eternal life.  We may draw courage to face the persecutions of our own day (and of those to come) knowing that death is simply a portal through which we must pass in order to meet a life that is filled with much more glory & splendor.   


 
"Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith."
Hebrews 13:7
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All Scripture references are from the ESV unless otherise indicated.