Summary: Finishing the series on The Beatitudes , we study the blessing that no one wants- persecution
The Blessing NO One Wants
CCCAG October 29th, 2017
Scripture- Turn to- Matthew 5:10-12
Most of you know that I was an associate pastor at a medium sized church in Kenosha called Prayer House before moving up here into God’s Country to serve this family of believers here in Whitehall. One of Prayer House’s ministry outreaches was a weekly program shown on Local Cable TV that showed our various ministries and included the sermon from the last week. Once a month, our senior pastor would go and preach at other church’s about prayer so one of us associate pastors got to preach and be on TV.
Depending on who it was and how hard of a message they preached, we would get some very interesting hate mail via the church informational email that as the webmaster I got to read, and even occasionally postal mail. Some of it was pretty vile and profane. Occasionally, they would even be threatening- blow up our houses, beat up our kids, do unmentionable things to our wives.
We even had a person give us a gift- they smeared dog feces all over the back door of the church.
Guess who got to clean that up? “Oh, you’re a paramedic, you don’t get grossed out”
Honestly, this was fairly mild considering what many Christians throughout the world have to face for being a disciple of Jesus the Christ.
It reminds me of a story-There was once a pastor who was trying his hardest to grow his church and win people to Jesus, but at every turn he was criticized, mocked, ridiculed and even spat on in the community he was trying to serve.
He felt so overwhelmed he left his family at home and walked to the church to pray. He wept at the altar and cried out to God, complaining about all of the hardship he had to face, and that it was yielding no fruit and no matter what he did, or how hard he tried it just kept getting worse and worse.
HE presented his case before God expecting God to agree with him and give him permission to move on.
When he finally finished pouring his heart out to God, he heard the still small voice of the Father say this-
“Congratulations, you are blessed.”
Normally, the 5th Sunday of the month is devoted to a prayer service (Solemn Assembly), but given that we are accepted new members into our fellowship today, I felt the Lord leading me to not only accept them into the family of Coulee Community Church, but give them and all of us a charge and a mandate to live by.
So today we are going to finish our series on the beautiful attitudes of Jesus by talking about the Blessing NO One Wants.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
I. Dissect this beatitude a little to get us thinking about it’s significance by looking at several points
1. It’s the last beatitude (podcast for previous)
The first several beatitudes dealt with the order of salvation- humbling oneself before Jesus, accepting we are powerless to save ourselves and coming to Him for His free gift of salvation.
They then deal with the redeemed nature that Christ gives us when we are born again. We then move into the actions of the redeemed person- to be pure in heart and be peacemakers- bringing people and God together so that all can come into the saving knowledge of Jesus.
All of this culminates into this reality- persecution
2. It’s the longest beatitude- that in itself merits our attention this morning as I don’t believe that the Holy Spirit wasted a single word in the bible, and therefore when it goes into depth about a subject, it’s worth our time and effort to learn and study it.
3. It’s the only beatitude with a command- rejoice
It seems the exact opposite of how we should treat persecution or anything that causes us pain or discomfort. Why did Jesus tell us to rejoice?
Why rejoice? Because God is worthy of our worship
Why rejoice? Because a servant is not greater than his/her master, and they persecuted Jesus so we should expect the same
Why rejoice? Because God counts us worthy to endure for HIS great name.
More about this later
4. It’s the only beatitude with an explanation
Jesus understands that persecution will cause us to immediately want to withdraw from seeking Him. Psychology teaches us that most of the reasons we do what we do is the avoidance of pain whether it is physical, mental, or spiritual.