Volume. XIX, No. 36
Sunday, 20 March 2005

From the Pastors Heart: A Letter to the Romans from Ignatius

Ignatius was born in Syria, around the year 50; died at Rome between 98 and 117. He was also called Theophorus (ho Theophoros). He was martyred in the Flavian amphitheatre in Rome. Most Christians have never read early church fathers’ writings at all. This man is one of exemplary Christians, and reading of his letters will edify all of us. I am going to omit the first part of the letter because of limited space in this page. It is from Lightfoot’s translation.

1:1 Forasmuch as in answer to my prayer to God it hath been granted me to see your godly countenances, so that I have obtained even more than I asked; for wearing bonds in Christ Jesus I hope to salute you, if it be the Divine will that I should be counted worthy to reach unto the end; 2for the beginning verily is well ordered, if so be I shall attain unto the goal, that I may receive mine inheritance without hindrance. For I dread your very love, lest it do me an injury; for it is easy for you to do what ye will, but for me it is difficult to attain unto God, unless ye shall spare me. 2:1 For I would not have you to be men-pleasers but to please God, as indeed ye do please Him. For neither shall I myself ever find an opportunity such as this to attain unto God, nor can ye, if ye be silent, win the credit of any nobler work. For, if ye be silent and leave me alone, I am a word of God; but if ye desire my flesh, then shall I be again a mere cry. 2[Nay] grant me nothing more than that I be poured out a libation to God, while there is still an altar ready; that forming yourselves into a chorus in love ye may sing to the Father in Jesus Christ, for that God hath vouchsafed that the bishop from Syria should be found in the West, having summoned him from the East. It is good to set from the world unto God, that I may rise unto Him.

3:1 Ye never grudged any one; ye were the instructors of others. And my desire is that those lessons shall hold good which as teachers ye enjoin. 2Only pray that I may have power within and without, so that I may not only say it but also desire it; that I may not only be called a Christian, but also be found one. For if I shall be found so, then can I also be called one, and be faithful then, when I am no more visible to the world. 3Nothing visible is good. For our God Jesus Christ, being in the Father, is the more plainly visible. The Work is not of persuasiveness, but Christianity is a thing of might, whensoever it is hated by the world. 4:1 I write to all the churches, and I bid all men know, that of my own free will I die for God, unless ye should hinder me. I exhort you, be ye not an unseasonable kindness to me. Let me be given to the wild beasts, for through them I can attain unto God. I am God's wheat, and I am ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found pure bread [of Christ]. 2Rather entice the wild beasts, that they may become my sepulchre and may leave no part of my body behind, so that I may not, when I am fallen asleep, be burdensome to any one. Then shall I be truly a disciple of Jesus Christ, when the world shall not so much as see my body. Supplicate the Lord for me, that through these instruments I may be found a sacrifice to God. 3I do not enjoin you, as Peter and Paul did. They were Apostles, I am a convict; they were free, but I am a slave to this very hour. Yet if I shall suffer, then am I a freed-man of Jesus Christ, and I shall rise free in Him. Now I am learning in my bonds to put away every desire.

5:1 From Syria even unto Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and sea, by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards, even a company of soldiers, who only wax worse when they are kindly treated. Howbeit through their wrong doings I become more completely a disciple; yet am I not hereby justified. 2May I have joy of the beasts that have been prepared for me; and I pray that I may find them prompt; nay I will entice them that they may devour me promptly, not as they have done to some, refusing to touch them through fear. Yea though of themselves they should not be willing while I am ready, I myself will force them to it. 3Bear with me. I know what is expedient for me. Now am I beginning to be a disciple. May nought of things visible and things invisible envy me; that I may attain unto Jesus Christ. Come fire and cross and grapplings with wild beasts, [cuttings and manglings,] wrenching of bones, hacking of limbs, crushings of my whole body, come cruel tortures of the devil to assail me. Only be it mine to attain unto Jesus Christ. 6:1 The farthest bounds of the universe shall profit me nothing, neither the kingdoms of this world. It is good for me to die for Jesus Christ rather than to reign over the farthest bounds of the earth. Him I seek, who died on our behalf; Him I desire, who rose again [for our sake]. The pangs of a new birth are upon me. 2Bear with me, brethren. Do not hinder me from living; do not desire my death. Bestow not on the world one who desireth to be God's, neither allure him with material things. Suffer me to receive the pure light. When I am come thither, then shall I be a man. 3Permit me to be an imitator of the passion of my God. If any man hath Him within himself, let him understand what I desire, and let him have fellow-feeling with me, for he knoweth the things which straiten me.

7:1 The prince of this world would fain tear me in pieces and corrupt my mind to Godward. Let not any of you therefore who are near abet him. Rather stand ye on my side, that is on God's side. Speak not of Jesus Christ and withal desire the world. 2Let not envy have a home in you. Even though I myself, when I am with you, should beseech you, obey me not; but rather give credence to these things which I write to you. [For] I write to you in the midst of life, yet lusting after death. My lust hath been crucified, and there is no fire of material longing in me, but only water living +and speaking+ in me, saying within me, Come to the Father. 3I have no delight in the food of corruption or in the delights of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Christ who was of the seed of David; and for a draught I desire His blood, which is love incorruptible. 8:1 I desire no longer to live after the manner of men; and this shall be, if ye desire it. Desire ye, that ye yourselves also may be desired. 2In a brief letter I beseech you; believe me. And Jesus Christ shall make manifest unto you these things, that I speak the truth -- Jesus Christ, the unerring mouth in whom the Father hath spoken [truly]. 3Entreat ye for me, that I may attain [through the Holy Spirit]. I write not unto you after the flesh, but after the mind of God. If I shall suffer, it was your desire; if I shall be rejected, it was your hatred.

9:1 Remember in your prayers the church which is in Syria, which hath God for its shepherd in my stead. Jesus Christ alone shall be its bishop -- He and your love. 2But for myself I am ashamed to be called one of them; for neither am I worthy, being the very last of them and an untimely birth: but I have found mercy that I should be some one, if so be I shall attain unto God. 3My spirit saluteth you, and the love of the churches which received me in the name of Jesus Christ, not as a mere wayfarer: for even those churches which did not lie on my route after the flesh went before me from city to city. 10:1 Now I write these things to you from Smyrna by the hand of the Ephesians who are worthy of all felicitation. And Crocus also, a name very dear to me, is with me, with many others besides. 2As touching those who went before me from Syria to Rome unto the glory of God, I believe that ye have received instructions; whom also apprise that I am near; for they all are worthy of God and of you, and it becometh you to refresh them in all things. 3These things I write to you on the 9th before the Kalends of September. Fare ye well unto the end in the patient waiting for Jesus Christ.

Loving, Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question 94: What is baptism? Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s.

Please pray for healing for Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, & Sisters Myung Ki, Michiko Law, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Varadi & Melissa Wong “… Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9).

Please pray for - Journey Mercies for Rev. & Mrs. Douglas Threlfall, Brothers Lincoln Law, John Wong and Simon Yeo (Adl), Rev & Mrs Robert Anderson (USA), & all those going for the Family Bible Camp this week; Cambodia Missions - Rev & Mrs Stephen Choi, Glory B P Church and their ministry in Phnom Penh and Kandal Province; Bro & Mrs Phannith & family and Paillin B P Church and School in Paillin; Preacher Chang & Mr Lee and their Mandarin ministry in Sihanoukville; Bro Surish - for wisdom, health and God’s guidance in Laos; Family Bible Camp Speaker: Rev Douglas Threlfall; Camp organisers; Provision of permanent job for Bro Simon Yeo.

Praise and thank God for - Journey mercies granted to Rev & Mrs Robert Anderson (Perth), Sisters Jasmin Chua, Serene Wong & Josephine Lee (Adl); Working Bee workers yesterday.

Family Bible Camp at Easter Weekend: 25-28 March 2005 at Mylor Recreation Centre, Mylor. All are encouraged to attend.

Church Roster for April-June 2005 is available for collection on the literature table.

RPGs for next quarter are available, donation $1 per copy.

Bible Witness for Nov-Dec 2004 are available, please help yourself.



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041