Summary: People will shout over many different things, but here is a surprising subject of something Jesus told us to shout about.
Something To Shout About
Pastor Ethan J. Muse
My subject this morning is Something To Shout About, and I really hope that by the time you leave, you will see that it really is. As a young man at Andrews University, I hung out with other guys my age. And, if you know much about single men in their early 20s, it probably wouldn’t be too difficult for you to guess what we liked to look at and talk about the most--single young women in their early 20s. I always got a kick of hanging around at times with some of the young black preachers and seeing their reactions when they happened to see a beautiful young woman walk by. They would give similar reactions to that as they would give to a good sermon in church. They would say things like, “God is good!” and “Hallelujah!” and “My, my, my!” One of my favorite reactions was, when she walked by, some of these young men would say, “That’s something to shout about!”
Now, just to ease your minds, that’s not what I’m going to be talking about today. But, in every culture, there are things that people get excited and shout over. In the black culture especially, it is a normal thing for people to get excited about what God has done and for them to shout His praises in church. In some other Christian groups that tend to get overly emotional, they’ll start shouting before they even know what they’re shouting about. I find that many of them don’t really listen anyway, so if you’ve got the right rhythm going along with enough charisma, you could be preaching “Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow”, and you’ll have some of them shouting and clapping and praising when they haven’t really heard a word you’ve said.
I’ve found that every culture and every group has their shouting point. People shout for different things. I have seen people who in church were the most calm and subdued of Adventist Christians, and yet once the ballgame starts, they’re jumping out of their seats, screaming and hollering, throwing food at the television, getting excited over something that means absolutely nothing.
I wish in our traditional white Adventist circles that we could get excited a little more often. I don’t mean overdo it like some groups--don’t shout over nothing. But when you stop and realize the incredible love that God has for us, the blessings He has showered upon us, and the beautiful and awesome message He has given us, that’s something to shout about! The early Adventists knew this well. Their church services on Sabbath mornings began at 6:30 and went all day long. They would get so caught up in thinking about what God had done for them, and the thought that Jesus was coming soon, that sometimes they would start shouting during the secretary’s report.
So, we’ve seen that people shout over God’s love, over His blessings, over His soon coming. We’ve seen that some people shout over football and basketball. We’ve even seen that some people shout over nothing and don’t even know why they’re shouting. But this morning, I want to share with you something else in the Bible that Jesus Himself said was something for us to shout about. Turn with me to Matthew 5:10-12. Jesus is speaking, and He says, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
I want to point out a few things here in introduction before I get to the 3 main points of my sermon. First of all, when Jesus said Blessed, some modern translations word it as Happy. I’ve thought that myself, and it could be true, depending on how you use the word. The problem with that word is that people tend to equate happiness with luck. Jesus is not saying here that we can and should feel the same way about suffering and being persecuted as we would if we won $10 million from Publisher’s Clearinghouse. It does mean, however, that we are to be fully satisfied. It would be the same if you were to wish someone a blessed Sabbath.
Secondly, Jesus said that we were blessed when we suffered trials and tribulations and persecutions because of righteousness for His sake. Much of the suffering that the world experiences is self-induced. They bring trouble on themselves, and oftentimes they blame it on God. A man smokes for 30 years and gets lung cancer or emphysema, and then says, “God, why did you do this to me?” God didn’t do it--he did it to himself.