Summary: When we live a dedicated life of obedience, we can expect persecution for our faith.
Three Aspects of Kingdom Faithfulness
A. Savonarola, Italian preacher
1. Greatest reformers of church period, condemned personal sin and ecclesiastical corruption.
2. Paved the way for the Protestant Reformation.
3. Biographer said of him: His preaching was a voice of thunder, and his denunciation of sin was so terrible that the people who listened to him went about the streets half-dazed, bewildered and speechless. His congregations were so often in tears that the whole building resounded with their sobs and their weeping.
4. Convicted of heresy, hanged and body burned.
B. We have reached the top of the ladder to have happiness.
1. Irony again in this Beatitude. Happiness from persecution.
2. Not an option to be persecuted.
3. When we live godly, we will be persecuted.
C. Apostles left the Sanhedrin where they had been flogged; The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. (Acts 5:41)
I. THE PERSECUTION
A. Jesus said, Blessed are those who are persecuted.
B. Living godly confronts evil head on.
C. Little opposition and persecution today.
1. More so in other countries.
2. Maybe we are not doing enough for the cause of Christ.
3. The one not experiencing persecution doesnt have a cozier view of Christianity. They may simply be tolerating anything.
4. People who make their views known tend to be persecuted in some form.
1. Lived a godly life and was killed by Cain.
2. Moses who wanted to identify with his people but had to escape to the desert.
E. Costly endeavor to follow God.
1. It is an injustice to teach otherwise.
2. It entails great sacrifice but results in great rewards.
F. Forms of persecution differ.
1. You are asked to cut the quality of your work on the job.
2. You are asked to do or say something at your job that conflicts with your faith. You may be asked to lie.
3. You refuse to listen to off-color jokes or resist sexual advances.
4. Might not have as many friends because you refuse to do some things.
G. Persecution is evidence of salvation.
1. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him. (Philippians 1:29)
2. If we are praised and upheld by unbelievers, something is wrong.
H. Persecution is not constant.
1. Jesus was not and we will have times of popularity.
2. Not speaking of a martyr complex or becoming obnoxious.
3. However, we are not to be surprised at persecution or conceal our beliefs.
4. Jesus said, If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:26)
I. Types of persecution.
a. Many do but it has decreased.
b. The service of many breaks down at this point.
2. Verbal insults.
a. Abusive words from friends or family.
b. We are not called to be celebrities.
3. False accusations.
a. Abusive words spoken behind our backs.
b. Sometimes we cannot defend ourselves and our reputation may be ruined.
J. Persecution is not against us but the one we serve.
K. First century, Roman emperor Nero.
1. Christians were covered with pitch and set afire as torches.
2. Accused of cannibalism in the Lords Supper.
3. Accused of sexual orgies with their feasts.
4. Accused of being revolutionaries for claiming Jesus as Lord.
5. Accused of being traitors who set fire to Rome.
L. Thomas Watson; Though they be never so meek, merciful, pure in heart, their piety will not shield them from sufferings. They must hang their harp on the willows and take the cross. The way to heaven is by way of thorns and bloodSet it down as a maxim, if you follow Christ you must see the swords and staves.
II. THE PROMISE
A. Jesus, Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
B. We receive a double blessing-happiness and the kingdom of heaven.
C. Paul, All this is evidence that Gods judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. (II Thessalonians 1:5)
D. Our blessings come now-comfort, strength and joy but later as well.
E. Stan Dale, missionary to Indonesia to the Yali tribe in the Snow Mountains.
1. Strict religion.
2. Stan, his wife and four kids were not tolerated very well.
3. Stan was attacked with five arrows but recovered but still resented.