Summary: The idea for this series came from a series of the same name that is offered free by Life.Church. You can find it at open.church. There you will find videos, transcripts, outlines, and graphics. This message is loosely based on the life.church series.
INTRO: For the last few weeks, we’ve been a series on the family called “Bless This Home.” During this time, we have taken a few of Jesus’ beatitudes from Matthew 5 and have applied them to our families. You’ll remember that we defined BLESSED as having a much richer meaning than the typical “happy” that some give it. We traced the idea of blessing to it’s Hebrew roots and learned that the to be blessed means to have God’s supernatural power working FOR you.
In week one, we looked at “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” and we learned that for our families to be blessed we must CHANGE OUR APPETITE from hungering after what this world has to offer to hungering after Jesus who is the righteous one. During the second week, we took the beatitude, “Blessed are the pure in heart” and saw that the only way we can have purity in our families is through the power of the Holy Spirit. Last week we took “Blessed are the peacemakers” and saw the importance of responding to each other instead of reacting against each other.
One would think that these kind of qualities would make for a model family that the world would run to and want to be like. The truth is, many will. However, there are others who will turn against you, want nothing to do with you, and even oppose you. For this reason, TODAY we are finishing our series with Matthew 5:10.
Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Over the last few years we have experienced a shift in how many in our society view followers of Jesus Christ. A culture that declares tolerance for opposing viewpoints has become less and less tolerant of those who do not share their views and opinions. It wasn’t long ago that most Americans considered the church and people of faith part of the solution for what was wrong in our nation. A recent survey, though, 42% said that “people of faith” were part of the problem in our country. 46% said “religion” was part of the problem. These believe that Christianity should be actively removed from society.
We are finding our faith more-and-more marginalized, as many have labeled Christianity as either irrelevant or extreme.
In their book, “Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme,” authors David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons share the following statistics:
60% of Americans believe that if you try to convert someone to your faith, it’s social extremism.
52% believe that if you pray for a stranger in public, it’s social extremism.
42% believe that if you leave a good job to pursue mission work, it’s social extremism.
25% of adults believe that if you save sex until marriage, that’s social extremism.
We’re not talking about abortion clinic bombers, or doomsday prophets. We’re talking about what amounts to biblical, normal Christianity.
THOUGHT: Christianity isn’t irrelevant AND extreme. By its very nature it is EITHER irrelevant OR extreme. By our very nature, we are called to be extreme. The reason we have become, at least to many, so irrelevant is because we have lost our edge.
Let’s get back to what Jesus said, we are picking up at verse 11:
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Jesus did not say “blessed are you IF others revile you,” BUT “WHEN others revile you.”
What Jesus says next, is important. Immediately after mentioning persecution, he lays out the basic nature of those who would follow him. I see these two lines of thought as being connected. We will be persecuted, why? Notice verse 13:
13“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.”
One of the main uses of salt in Jesus day was as a catalyst for fire. The salt they had was from the Dead Sea. It was not pure salt, sodium chloride, but had other minerals in it that were combustible. What Jesus is saying here is this, “You are here to start my fire on this earth.”
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.