Summary: My agenda is that at the end of this sermon you are able to state three phrases and mean them with all of your heart: #1 I honestly have no idea what this passage really means. #2 I am so blessed. #3 May I do the same as them.
What is my agenda?
My agenda is that at the end of this sermon you are able to state three phrases and mean them with all of your heart:
#1 I honestly have no idea what this passage really means.
#2 I am so blessed.
#3 May I do the same as them.
READ MATTHEW 5:10-12 (ESV)
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
VIDEO ILLUSTRATION 1
VERSE 10: PERSECUTION
READ MATTHEW 5:10 (ESV)
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The word persecute means to pursue and press and choke.
The word persecute means to follow and cause distress.
Jesus begins this particular set of verses in verse 10 by saying that a person is blessed if they are persecuted. That seems odd on the surface because persecution is not a nice word. We would put that word in the not-nice word category. And yet, Jesus Christ states clearly that when persecution comes, blessings happen. A state of blessedness occurs.
Persecution is mistreatment.
Persecution is not someone calling you a “Bible thumper” and giving you a dirty look.
Persecution is bending laws or ignoring laws in order to oppress someone.
Persecution is not a restaurant automatically charging your large church group tip Sundays after church at lunch.
Persecution usually involves pain or death.
Persecution is not a community refusing to rezone a quiet neighborhood area so a church can move in and put in a busy school.
Persecution often involves fines or prison time.
Persecution is not no one sharing your “You will be blessed if you repost this” posts on Facebook.
Persecution is painful and suffering.
In my opinion, the term persecution should be reserved for our brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world whose lives and families and well-being are constantly placed on the line for the sake of their allegiance to Christ.
VIDEO ILLUSTRATION 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhTi-fZ3vtA&list=PLxuI7LxZ7IQ d5uuFvmBympcyEPkL 4cdR5&index=3&t=0s (4:36)
VERSE 11: FOR HIS RIGHTEOUS SAKE
READ MATTHEW 5:11 (ESV)
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account.
Verse 11 highlights something very important that also happens to be mentioned in verse 10. Verse 10 says “persecuted for righeousness’ sake.” Verse 11 says persecution comes on “My account” and it is Jesus who is speaking. Jesus is talking about being hated and mistreated solely because you are filled with His righteousness and pursue His teachings. Jesus is talking about being pressed down or oppressed because you identify with Jesus. Jesus knows that being a believer can rub people the wrong way or be against the law… not because of anything we have done, but because as John 1:10 (ESV) says, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him.”
The persecution that Jesus is talking about means that active hate comes your way, evil actions are allowed to happen to you, laws are passed against you, and people lie about you in court all because you are a believer in Jesus Christ.
The reason is that you are a righteous person in an unrighteous world.
The reason is you have self-identified as a believer in Jesus Christ.
The reason is that Christ is often rejected as are His followers.
I actually think that Christians can be persecuted for other reasons… other than what Jesus states here. I don’t know if you agree with that or not. We Christians can be persecuted because we become more known for what we oppose and dislike rather than what we support or love. We Christians can be persecuted because we are obnoxious and unnecessarily offensive and people don’t want to be around us. We Christians can be persecuted if we get away from keeping Jesus Christ at the center of our lives and live in a different way… hypocrisy can bring mistreatment.
READ 1 PETER 4:14-16 (ESV)
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that Name.