Summary: God blesses those who are treated badly for doing right.
Today is our final sermon in the series entitled "The Be-Attitudes." We will be addressing the issue of persecution. Our background passage today comes from Matthew 5:10-12.
Matthew 5:10-12 (CEV)
God blesses those people who are treated badly for doing right. They belong to the kingdom of heaven.
God will bless you when people insult you, mistreat you, and tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me. Be happy and excited! You will have a great reward in heaven. People did these same things to the prophets who lived long ago.
Taking a stand often brings opposition. When we take stands it exposes the shortcomings of others and pricks the conscience. Doing what is right does not mean doing what is easy. It generally takes more strength to stand your ground than to give in and go with the flow. When you take a stand you are set apart from the crowd. God is looking for those who will take a stand.
Standing for Jesus means that you are willing to put your faith on display. By doing so you become a target. It is assuring to know that Christ is bigger than any opposition you will face. Look at the words of John 16:33
John 16:33 (CEV)
I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts because of me. While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer up! I have defeated the world.
Ultimately those who mock Christ will someday bow and confess His Lordship. Look at Philippians 2:10-11
Philippians 2:10-11 (CEV)
So at the name of Jesus everyone will bow down, those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And to the glory of God the Father everyone will openly agree, “Jesus Christ is Lord!”
Opposition will come. It’s not a matter of "if" but "when". So what can you expect?
Insults – weak, narrowminded, old-fashioned
Mistreatment – cruel words, mocking, distancing of others
Lies – gossip, rumors, complete fabrications
Remember, Satan the enemy seeks to destroy – 1 Peter 5:8
1 Peter 5:8 (CEV)
Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack.
Opposition will come from many places – Matthew 7:15
Watch out for false prophets! They dress up like sheep, but inside they are wolves who have come to attack you.
I Must Be Doing Something Right! Satan opposes those who are a threat. A threatening light to the world.
A threatening voice in the wilderness. A threatening warrior in prayer. If you weren’t a threat, Satan wouldn’t care!!!
The Reward of God’s Presence. We will be rewarded with God Himself. When we are in His presence, there will be no more pain, no more sorrow, no more opposition.
The stands you take today effect tomorrow. Your stand may change someone’s life. God is with you at all times, in all circumstances – Matthew 28:20b
Matthew 28:20b (CEV)
I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.