Summary: Blessed are thsoe who are doing the Lord work and suffer for righteousness sake.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness”
This sermon came from prayer and ideas from my colleagues at sermoncentral
This morning we are winding down the series from the Sermon on the Mount.
The character building sermons of Jesus Christ . Today looking at the persecuted church.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”
One of the greatest things about Jesus is His honesty. He never let people in any doubt what would happen to them if they choose to follow him.
He made it clear that he came not to make our lives easy, but to make us great, and in His image.
History of the church:
When they came to Christ, every aspect of their life was disrupted. Not just changed, altered, inconvenienced, it was disrupted!
(1) Their work was disrupted. He asked some to change jobs, and to follow him to a new place.
Example- Suppose a man was a stone mason, and his work was making idol temples.
God expected him to change jobs.
If he was a tailor and was making robes for false priest.
He was expected not to take the jobs.
Tertullian, a church historian told of some of the early church people who said “What can I do, I must live” Tertullian said, must you?
If it came to a choice between loyalty and a living, the Christian is expected to choose loyalty to Christ.
(2) Christianity would certainly disrupt their social life
In the Ancient world, feast were held in temples of idol gods.
Few sacrifices burned the whole animal., part of the meat went to corrupt priest and the rest went to the worshippers.
A common god was Serapis.
Invitations went out- “we invite you to dine with me at the table of the lord Serapis”
Could a Christian share in the feast of a pagan god?
Drink wine and celebrate in pagan worship?
Christians had to cut themselves off from the social circles that were not appropriate.
(3) Christianity disrupted their home life.
One came to Christ and it caused division in family.
Husband, wife, children.
Often the door was closed to the family members that came to Christ.
Has coming to Christ (If you have come to Christ) changed all aspects of your life?
Christianity truly meant that you had to love Christ more than anything else because it was met with resentment and hatred.
All the world knew Christians had to suffer.
Flung to the lions (for entertainment)
Burned at the stake (Nero used them as human torches)
Sewed skins around them and let wild animals tear them apart and kill them.
You ask why would the Romans do these terrible things to people who followed Christ?
More, why would anyone let these things happen to them for Jesus sake?
For the Christians
They knew what they were getting into. These men and women were prepared for it. They took their stand for Christ.
To the Romans
Romans accused Christians of being cannibals, because of their words of the last supper. “This is my body, and this cup is the New testament in my blood”
They were falsely accused of eating children and immoral practices.
Because they greeted each other with a kiss, they were accused of lustful things.
Christians are trouble makers. They talked about end times that was not nice.
Accused of destroying family relationships.
Romans attack was political .
Caesar unified the Romans, and Jesus was dividing it.
When Christians did not bow, it was seen as treason against Rome.
The only crime of Christians was they set Christ above Ceasar.
For that loyalty, they were tortured and killed.
To suffer for Christ was an opportunity to show our loyalty to Jesus Christ.
What about today? What does God expect out of you and I? Are we doing it?
Persecution by definition is when someone comes under physical or verbal attack for what they believe and how they live their life.
Jesus never taught a prosperity gospel.
He taught a persecution gospel.
He never taught that it would be easy, or convenient. He always said, you have to deny yourself and follow him.
The focus is not carrying Jesus cross. He carried and completed all work on the cross. It says that we should carry our cross. “Deny yourself and take up the cross” bearing the burden in such a way that others would come to the cross of Christ.
Matthew was killed with a sword.
James was stoned to death.
Peter crucified upside down.