Summary: God wants us to be godly even within an ungodly culture, as defined by Isaiah and generalized into principles by Jesus.
1. An interesting story broke from UPI this week: “PORT ST. LUCIE , Fla., May 16 (UPI) --Florida police officers who were attempting to catch a suspected car thief got a little help when an alligator decided to cross the road.
Port St. Lucie police were on the lookout for a man they suspected had taken at least five cars from parking lots at Walmart, Sam's Club and Publix. Officers eventually spotted Calvin Rodriguez in a Honda Civic and tried to stop him.
Unfortunately, the car "began driving at a high rate of speed and was lost sight of."
That's when the alligator stepped in.
Police were able to catch up with Rodriguez when he hit the alligator and was stopped.
2. Some of us are like that criminal, so busy doing whatever it is we do that we do not take time to listen to God. But God has a way of bringing us to a standstill and jarring us to pay attention to him.
3. God would do this with the nation of Judah; he would exile them for 70 years to Babylon, & then they would pay attention to God, finally. As he predicts his discipline & their return to him, he shares truths I believe Jesus developed into some of the beatitudes. See if you agree with me as we go on.
Main Idea: God wants us to be godly even within an ungodly culture, as defined by Isaiah and generalized into principles by Jesus.
I. The Persecuted Righteous Are Rewarded ETERNALLY (1-2)
Before discipline via Babylon, the people obliviously continued their same course. But some godly.
A. Sometimes PERSECUTED and misunderstood (1)
1. Picture: righteous men and women put to death, become fewer
2. People who are not necessarily persecutors are oblivious
3. Sometimes it is not persecution, but depletion
4. Western Europe turned away from Lord, will end up oppressed by Muslims
The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands.
Matthew 5:6 (quickview) , “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied...” They are examples of fulfillment, but not one notices, no one learns from them…
Instead of learning from functional people, we are too eager to learn from dysfunctional people who maybe have coped but are still out of balance… We need to notice the stable…whlie they are around
B. REWARDED in eternity (2)
For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace; they rest in their beds
who walk in their uprightness.
Matthew 5:10-12 (quickview) , “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
C. Application: Persecution is part of the PACKAGE
• This is why it is important to train our youth to take a stand…
• The pressure to conform that we feel during teen years continues through life