Summary: What is the proper response for those who insult you, or even insult the name of the Lord.
A STUDY OVER THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT: PART V
INTRO: MEAN GIRLS: A 2004 movie about a home school girl who goes to High School for the first time, and she runs into Mean Girls. Lyndsay Lohan plays the home school girl who joins a group of girls called The Plastics, and they wear skirts, hang out with the boys, gossip about teachers, and rip on everyone the whole movie. Though I am not here to make value judgments about a movie that seems to be the cliché HS B movie, it does bring up a significant issue…INSULTS. Which is the topic of today’s lesson (for leaders, a good opening might just be to ask someone some details they saw from the movie)
BIBLE VERSE: Matthew 5:11-12
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
1. HOW NON-BELIEVERS INSULT BELIEVERS.
A. INSULT YOU: I was walking through Wal-Mart about 2 years ago, and a person walked up politely and read my T-shirt (it was kind of odd, I just saw the dude staring at me intently and I had totally forgotten I was wearing a Christian shirt, I have so many, I sometimes forget I have them on). And he responded, “I use to believe that message too…when I was stupid.” We had a discussion, you don’t insult my God.
How to handle the insult? Heed advice from Proverbs 12:16 which reads (which I probably should have heeded):
A fool’s annoyance is known at once, but the prudent overlooks an insult.
B. PERSECUTE YOU: We discussed this last week, but here is one more story, John Huss.
From the Foxe’s Book of Martyr’s:
Huss preached his beliefs from the pulpit and at the university as well. John Huss was soon summoned to Rome by the pope and he, along with those who followed his teachings, were eventually excommunicated from the church. Huss appealed the sentence of excommunication, but to no avail. Since he could no longer preach at Bethlehem chapel, he retired to his hometown of Hussenitz and continued to teach his doctrine.
Huss was invited to attend the Council of Constance, but when he arrived about January 1415, he was arrested and held in a room in the palace. When he went before the Council he listened to the forty articles read against him and appealed his case to the higher judge, Jesus Christ. As the conversation continued, he was laughed at and mocked by council members, who were enraged at his words and condemned him to be burned.
They suggested that the crown of his head should be cut off and that was carried out by using a pair of shears. Then they put a paper bishop’s hat on his head that had demons painted on it, as well as the word’s "A Ringleader of Heretic’s" boldly written. They then bound him to a stake with a chain and placed bundles of his books around him up to his neck. He was then asked to recant his teachings, to which he replied, "I never taught any doctrine that was evil, now what I have taught with my lips, I will seal with my blood."
When the flames engulfed him, he began to sing a hymn so loud and cheerful that he could be heard above the crackling of the flames and the noise of the crowd. His remains, as John Wycliffe’s, were gathered and cast into the Rhine River. However, they could not destroy his memory or his teachings from the minds of his supporters. In death, Huss became more of a threat to the papacy then he had been in life.
C. FALSELY SAY ALL KINDS OF EVIL AGAINST YOU: As this age moves forward, there will be those who aggressively mock the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
For example, in an article titled: Flying Spaghetti Monster at Tennessee Courthouse, some people have made up a church to make fun of Christians calling it “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” Because some places erect manger sets at Christmas or have a statue of a Catholic saint, this group demanded the right to have a statue called “His Noodly Appendage” erected outside a local courthouse.
By mocking fun of believers, a statue like this by a bunch of non-believers as cut as giant meatballs might be, is really an offensive attack. It’s evil (leaders, you could go a different and more personal route here if someone has ever undercut you with lies either in the work world or ministry world, be careful not to name any names if you go that route).