CHRIST’S SERMON ON THE MOUNT (Part 8): THE BLESSEDNESS OF THE PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS’ SAKE.
WEEKLY BIBLE STUDY (21/03/19, 28/03/19)
Watchman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement
Topical Study: CHRIST’S SERMON ON THE MOUNT (Part 8):
THE BLESSEDNESS OF THE PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS’ SAKE.
Text: MATTHEW 5:10-12
INTRODUCTION: Today, we come to the last of the paradoxes of blessing (the Beatitudes), Blessed are They That Are Persecuted For Righteousness’ Sake, which is probably the most hardly accepted and yet most emphasized. We shall look at it from these three perspectives: The Persecuted For Righteousness’ Sake, The Conditions For Blessedness In Persecution And The Blessedness Of The Persecuted For Righteousness’ Sake.
- The Persecuted For Righteousness’ Sake (Matthew 5:10-12). To persecute is to treat someone in a cruel way, especially on account of race, political or religious beliefs. To be persecuted for righteousness’ sake means to be treated badly or cruelly for no other reason than faith in and followership of Christ and His righteousness (cons. Matt. 5:10,11; 1 Pt. 3:14, 16-18; 4:14-16).
Persecution is part and parcel of the Christian faith (cp. Phil. 1:29; 2 Tim. 3:12). This means that any person that is determined to stand for Christ, follow His way and live by His doctrine should also get ready to be misunderstood, hated and mistreated for it (1 Pt. 2:19-20). Persecution can come to a believer from individuals, the family, the village, town unions, etc, (Matt. 10:34-37; 1 Pt. 4:3-4). Insisting on your relationship with Christ and following the truth of His word can make an unbelieving spouse to threaten to break the marriage contract. Some others can resort to torture and other cruel treatments in order to discourage their spouses from continuing. Persecution can come from unbelieving parents threatening and sometimes actually withdrawing their care and provisions from their regenerated children. A believer can face persecution at the hand of his boss for refusing to compromise with him / her. Persecution also can come in the form of ridicule and reviling from those who probably lack ability to do anything to afflict (cp Matt. 5:11; 1 Pt. 4:14).
Persecutions are instigated by the devil with the aim of causing the persecuted to withdraw from the faith. In addition to instigating people to go against the righteous, devils sometimes persecute children of God directly through sufferings, afflictions, hindrances, frustrations, sickness / diseases (cp. Job 1:6; 2:7).
- 2. The Conditions For Blessedness In Persecution (Matt. 5:10-12). For the persecuted to qualify for blessedness:
(i) It must be purely for the sake of Christ/righteousness (Matt. 5:10-12). Most people suffer not necessarily on account of their faith in Christ and pursuit of righteousness but for their errors and misdeeds (cp. 1 Pt. 2:19, 20; 4:14-16). While some suffer for their stubbornness and disobedience, others suffer for their evil speaking - harsh and angry words; some others still suffer for their ignorance and laziness. There are yet those whose sufferings stem from their carelessness and negligence, etc. Examine yourself critically and sincerely to find the actual cause(s) of your persecution / suffering. If it is truly for the sake of Christ and righteousness, then rejoice and be exceeding glad (Matt. 5:10-12). But if it is otherwise, repent in dust and ashes and God will show you mercy.
(ii) It must be received without grudges (Matt. 5:10-12). If one is murmuring and grumbling in the midst of persecution, one makes the case worse (contr. Job 2:9, 10; 1 Pt. 2:19, 20; 4:12-16). When one who is suffering for righteousness’ / Christ’s sake receives it joyfully, grace that will see one through and mercy that delivers one eventually are supplied (cp. Jas. 5:10, 11).
- The Blessedness Of The Persecuted For Righteousness’ Sake (Matt. 5:10-12). It is a great blessing to be counted worthy to suffer reproach for this glorious name (cp. Acts 5:41). Eternal comfort is meant for such people at the end of this life (cp. Lk. 16:25). For God will provide that those who lose for Him, though it be life itself, will not lose by Him if they hold out soundly through to the end (Mk. 10:29-30).
To gain heaven in the end is such a great blessing that cannot be compared to any suffering or loss here upon earth (cp Rm. 8:18). Various levels of reward await all those true children of God who suffer one thing or the other for the sake of Christ / righteousness (cp. Mk. 10:29, 30; 2 Tim. 4:5-8; Rev. 22:12).
Note, you can be reproached and evil spoken of; you can be dismissed as stupid when you are sincerely following the Lord spending and being spent to sponsor His projects. But if you endure all such reproaches and go on happily, you will surely reap it both here and hereafter.
Let us pray.
Fellowship Songs (HSCF 168 & 29).