Persecuted? Rejoice And Be Glad!!!
Contributed by Stephen Belokur on Jul 10, 2021 (message contributor)
Summary: Why would a person who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, a person who is merciful and has a pure heart, why would a person who is a peacemaker be persecuted? Because the evil one hates the Righteous One!
Persecuted? Rejoice and Be Glad!
Please stand with me as we go over our current memory Scripture:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
And our memory Scripture “refresher” verse(s) is(are):
“Jesus said, ‘I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.’”
Today we will be reading from Matthew 5:1-12
For the past month or so we have been taking a journey through the Beatitudes. We have been looking at it through the lens of someone coming to Christ and growing in Christian maturity.
As we went through the Beatitudes we noticed that each Beatitude starts with the word “blessed”.
And, we discovered the wonder of the word “blessed”. This word is sometimes translated as “happy” but “blessed” goes much further than happiness which is dependent on what is happening in your life at that moment.
To be truly blessed there must be a giver of the blessing and a recipient of the blessing. God is the Giver and the person on the journey to and through salvation is the recipient of the blessing.
Finally, as the recipient is blessed by the Giver of the blessing, the natural response is to give honor, glory and blessing back to God the Giver.
As the Scripture of the Beatitudes is read once again, let’s think about the wonderful generosity of God the Giver of blessedness.
With that in mind let’s go ahead and read Matthew 5:1-12
(Prayer for help)
Blessed are the poor in spirit - the poor in spirit are receiving the blessing of coming to the understanding that they are in a spiritual state of unrepentant sinfulness apart from God. The Lord blesses their awakening of their need for Him. At this point they may not be able to bless Him back or to glorify Him at all. This is a one-way blessing …
Blessed are those who mourn - those who understand that even though they are in a spiritual state of unrepentant sinfulness there is nothing they can do to remedy the situation; they can do nothing by their own efforts to find salvation. This is once again most likely a one-way blessing … Jesus is calling … that is a blessing …
Blessed are the meek - those who are meek have finally come to the realization that they must abandon their efforts to be saved and trust in Christ alone to deliver them from bondage to sin and to give them eternal life. This is the decision point. The repentant meek person will turn to Jesus for salvation and the blessedness of the relationship with Jesus will begin. Others who are meek may turn away from Jesus out of preference for the sinful things of this world and the blessedness will cease. However, the tragedy of living a sinful life may once again bring them to the realization that they are “poor in spirit” and that they need a Savior.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness - these are the meek ones who have surrendered themselves to Jesus for eternal life and are now desiring more and more of Him. Righteousness is right standing with God and they want more of Him!
Blessed are the pure in heart - those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will continually seek to have their heart purified by the Lord in order to please their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Blessed are the peacemakers - those who are peacemakers out of a pure heart will seek to bring about peace between those inside and outside of the church, the Body of Christ. But, beyond that, they will constantly be seeking to introduce the unsaved to the Prince of Peace. The blessedness that they have known since becoming a disciple of Jesus is something that they want everyone, everywhere to know.
So, are you a person who hungers and thirsts after righteousness? Do you desire to live a life of purity that blesses the Lord?
Is it your desire to bring others to the saving knowledge of a love relationship with Jesus so that they can know the blessedness of peace with God?
If you honestly answered “yes” to these questions, what can you expect? You can expect to be persecuted! What???
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness!”
After all of that we can expect to be persecuted?
Yes, that is what the Scriptures say …
Matthew 5:10-12 says,
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.