Summary: Week 8 of an 8 week sermon series on the Beatitudes that focuses on our call to stand in persecution.
February 26, 2006
Blessed are the Persecuted
Funny: A Texan billionaire w/ a beautiful daughter loved having parties at his pool which was home to a 20 ft. great-white. Every night he’d issue a challenge to the men: “½ my fortune or my daughter’s hand in marriage to the man who swims across the pool!” He never had a challenger. Then one PM, after the dare was issued, a tall, muscular guy hit the water. W/ arms churning he raced across the pool and just as the shark was about to get him, he reached the other side of the pool safely. The guests cheered. “Bravo!” cried the Texan, “That’s the greatest act of courage I’ve ever seen. Half my fortune is yours!” “No thanks,” replied the guy. “Then, I’d be proud to call you son, you can marry daughter.” “I don’t want her either,” he replied. “What do want?” He replied, “I just want the guy who pushed me in the pool.”
Trans: Some might consider this a kind of persecution, but unless the guy was singled out for his race, religion, nationality, or creed, it was just a horrifying prank.
Note: Persecution is when someone comes under physical and verbal attack for what they believe and for how they live their life.
Story: Adam is a young Christian in India. In his Hindu village, people were opposed to the gospel. One day Adam’s brother and wife became the first believers in the village. Although Adam wasn’t willing to follow, he observed their changed lives. They began to share the gospel w/ other villagers, but no one would listen. Then the beatings began. Every time the Hindus beat Adam’s brother, someone in the crowd believed in Christ. Eventually, Adam believed in Christ too, and began to suffer the same persecution as his brother. One day the villagers surrounded Adam, his brother, and the small group of new Christians. In rage they had prepared a huge pot of boiling water and were preparing to cook the Christians alive. Then one of the Hindus calmed the mob and said, "If we do this even more will become Christians," so they agreed to just beat the believers. As a result, others came to Christ and now their is a church of more than 35 families in the village. IMB
Trans: Can you imagine? You’ve just been beaten for your faith and you see the mob preparing to throw you into a pot of boiling water so as to extinguish your witness. Persecution comes in many forms - but it is very real – even in White House, TN.
Trans: Today we finish our series on the (8) attitudes Jesus said we’re to have as His disciples by looking at the one beatitude no one wants – persecution. Before we begin, let me remind you the intent of the beatitudes. Jesus offered these attitudes to give us an internal barometer for the condition of our lives and to remind us that God isn’t focused on man’s outward performance but rather w/ what is in the heart. He gave us these attitudes to help determine our altitude in life.
Trans: You might have noticed that we’ve started asking (4) questions during baptism.
Do you believe Jesus is your Savior and Lord and that He died on the cross to pay for you sin?