Summary: How to recognize spiritual persecution as a blessing.
“The Paradox of Persecution” Matthew 5:10-12 Beatitudes - #8
Intro: It is safe to say that if you follow and are obedient to the progression of the
Beatitudes, you will experience some sort of persecution.
-If you are “Poor in Spirit” people will think you are being “self-righteous.”
-”Mourn and Repent over sin” and they’ll be offended because they’ll feel convicted.
-Be “Meek and Humble” and they’ll try to push you around and run you over.
-”Hunger after Righteousness” and you’ll be labeled a “narrow-minded, religious fanatic.”
-Be “Merciful” and watch them laugh and shake their heads in disbelief.
-Be “Pure in Heart” and feel the tension of a world which seeks to satisfy their fleshly lusts.
-Strive to be a “Peacemaker” and be ready for all kinds of ammunition pointed your direction.
-Read to them Matthew 5:10-12 and watch as they think you’ve lost your mental capabilities.
The world responds in this way and yet Jesus Christ Himself tells us that we will be
“Blessed” and that we will discover a “Supreme Happiness” in our lives if we do these things.
If you properly follow and are obedient to these previous Beatitudes, you will be Persecuted.
In reality, it is only when you rightly obey and live out these previous blessings that you could
possibly face “Persecution” and actually recognize it as a blessing. (Build on each other)
So, we read, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Mt. 5:10-12)
The word “Persecuted” here means to “Endure Suffering for Christ.” It means to be Mocked,
Ridiculed, Criticized, Slandered and maybe even Martyred for the Cause of Christ.
Who are the Persecuted? Any person who boldly lives and speaks for the Righteous Cause
of Christ and is reacted against. It is someone who is shown resistance for this lifestyle.
Here is where we see The Paradox of this Godly Persecution. (A paradox is something
that sort of contradicts itself. It’s somewhat confusing, but is true.) This paradox we see
here reveals and verifies that the true nature of this world is evil. Think about it this way:
The person who strives to live and stand for righteousness is opposed and persecuted.
The one who cares and works for true love, justice and who provides The One Solution for
mankind’s problems, is the one who is fought against. (Doesn’t make sense, but is true.)
Even though this is puzzling, Jesus reminds us that persecution is coming our way and
that we should not only expect it, but to be glad and rejoice because it is a sign that we
are living right for Him and His Cause. (We will suffer persecution for various reasons.....)
PERSECUTION WILL COME BECAUSE WE APPEAR DIFFERENT
John 15:19 states, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
Illus. - (Story about 20 year employee not producing like 1st year employee - suffered grief.)
We will appear different. We will be following a different set of rules. People don’t like this.
We are Strangers and Aliens. We have been “Called Out” of this world. We are in it, but
not of it. Whether at the playground, at school or at the workplace, no one likes the oddball.
If they’re “different,” they’re targeted out, picked on and persecuted. (Secondly.....)
PERSECUTION WILL COME BECAUSE OF IGNORANCE
John 16:3 says, “They will do such things because they have not known my Father or Me.”
Sometimes the persons that make the loudest noise and commotion do so because they
have no idea what they’re really talking about. This is often the case with the ungodly people
of the world who desire no other God besides themselves. They don’t fully understand
what it means to be a Christian and therefore dismiss it with a curse and yell. Out of their own
ignorance, they blindly persecute true believers. Their ignorant because they’re unteachable.
PERSECUTION WILL COME BECAUSE OF A DISTORTED VIEW OF GOD
Many people today have been deceived and believe God to be a sort of “Grandfather
Figure.” They think God protects, provides and gives no matter what the person’s
behavior is like. They think that as long as they try their best to live a good life, that in the
end they’ll go to heaven. Like their Grandfather, he’s light on discipline and heavy on love.