Sermons

Summary: A descriptive message on persecution, includes many examples and features the Cassie Bernall story.

FACING THE GIANTS

A STUDY OVER THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT: PART IV

INTRODUCTION: The Hamas is reportedly bringing back crucifixion as a form of punishment (read attached story:

Hamas Reinstates Crucifixions of Christians

Friday, January 9, 2009 5:05 PM

By: Nicole Jansezian Article Font Size

While the world focused on Hamas militants launching rockets from Gaza at southern Israel, the terrorist organization also voted quietly to implement Islamic law in the Gaza Strip, including crucifixion of Christians, according to reports in the Arabic press.

The traditional Muslim criminal code, known as Sharia law, includes penalties such as amputation of limbs for stealing and the death penalty, including crucifixion, for actions Hamas deems detrimental to “Palestinian interests,” including collaborating with Israel…

Christians are a minority in Gaza, numbering fewer than 2,000 residents among 1.6 million in the Strip. After Hamas came to power, the Islamic group began enforcing sharia law more strictly, though not officially. Christians were the first to feel the squeeze. Some Christian men felt compelled to grow beards and women donned head scarves to downplay their identities as non-Muslims.

Whole Article Available in Appendix

BIBLE VERSE: Matthew 5:10

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

EXPLANATION: An explanation over the ladder effect:

8. Persecuted (which is today’s lesson).

7. Peacemakers.

6. Pure in Heart.

5. Merciful

4. Hunger & Thirst for Righteousness.

3. Meek

2. Mourn

1. Poor in Spirit.

TRANSITION: I’ve been working on this lesson, but the break up for this lesson has to go to Pastor Bill Prater, a Baptist minister from Kansas, who put these 4 parts together over 10 years ago—its awesome!

*Note to other leaders, the points are original, but the main 4 categories have been cited.

1. BIBLE VERSE: 1 Peter 4:12-16 THE RECIPIENTS OF PERSECUTION

4:12 Dear friends, do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you. 4:13 But rejoice in the degree that you have shared in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice and be glad. 4:14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory, who is the Spirit of God, rests on you. 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or thief or criminal or as a troublemaker. 4:16 But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but glorify God that you bear such a name.

A. All Christians Undergo Persecution. It is just a fact, when you claim that you belong to Jesus Christ, and you claim that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, you are going to face persecution. It may look like different things, from being stoned to death to being laughed at because you prayed before your lunch at school.

B. “But I Have Never Been Persecuted!” I’ve heard that before. But it came from someone that never went to church, never told anyone he was a Christian, and lived a life that didn’t look very Christian. So if you’re saying this, check yourself.

C. Fire: Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 is still the largest fire in the history of NY. A fire broke out in this linen factory, and the building went up in cinders. It employed 600 workers in the profession of seamstresses, 148 people died, it was a towering inferno. But in that fire, my history teacher in HS Mrs. Wroble taught us the class about men wearing white clothes who appeared to tell people where to jump, and those that listened hit the overhanging parts of the building and lived.

D. Rest: The word “rest” here is a quote from Isaiah 11:2:

The LORD’s spirit will rest on him – a spirit that gives extraordinary wisdom, a spirit that provides the ability to execute plans,a spirit that produces absolute loyalty to the LORD.

So if you are persecuted, the visual is the strong hand of the LORD standing behind you, and you standing strong, proud, giving your king full loyalty as an honorable knight or soldier.

2. BIBLE VERSE: Luke 11:49 THE RANGE OF PERSECUTION

For this reason also the wisdom of God said, “I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill or persecute.”

A. Cassie Bernall: She is the 17 year old girl who was killed in the Columbine HS attack some 10 years ago. When assassin Dylan Klebold walked into the library on his hunt for African-Americans and Christians, he pointed a gun towards her and asked “do you believe in God.” She replied yes and was shot and killed.

It’s a horrible story, this little girl is a martyr. And as far as I know, she is the only American martyr to die on American soil in the 20th Century. But in the early ages, things were much worse.

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