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Persecution

Text: Matthew 5:10-12


Why the Sermon on the Mount? Jesus was sharing with the crowds a

revolutionary conception of reality.

He taught that the experiences of humanity,

including persecution, are not events to be feared or avoided, but rather accepted with peace of mind and a joyful spirit as a Kingdom citizen.


Persecution may come in various forms,

such as being…

Reproached Harassed Ridiculed

Insulted Disparaged Reviled

Mocked Impugned Pursued

Slandered Beaten Tormented

Tortured Killed Imprisoned


Footnotes:

In the Kingdom, those who are poor are rich,

Those who mourn are comforted,

Those who are meek are blessed,

Those who seek righteousness are satisfied

Those who show mercy also receive it

Those who are pure in heart see how God

really is

Those who are diligent to make peace earn

respect and honor


In Matthew 5:10 Jesus said, “Blessed are those

who have been persecuted for the sake of

righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of

heaven.”


This is a word of encouragement to those

who have suffered BECAUSE OF THEIR FAITH.


This is NOT an encouragement to seek the

Kingdom by trying to be persecuted!


In verse 11 we read, “Blessed are you when

people insult you and persecute you, and

falsely say all kinds of evil against you

because of Me.”


This is a word of encouragement to those

who are experiencing negative repercussions

BECAUSE OF FOLLOWING CHRIST.


This is NOT an encouragement to be so

obnoxious about Jesus that people do not

like you!


Then verse 12 says, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets

who were before you.”


Jesus is encouraging the people to

consider that the eternal reward is

far greater than our worldly suffering

Persecution places you in good company.

Persecution is a historical reality for God’s faithful servants.


Why this message to these people?

Racial persecution was a common reality

in their daily lives under Roman occupation.

Jesus was considered a revolutionary and

His followers paid the price of religious

persecution from the Jews and the Romans.

Jesus was teaching that the reality of

Kingdom life was not to live in fear of

persecution, but to live with a sense of

abandonment to the things of this world.


Why this message to us?

Jesus taught that the Kingdom life does

not operate under fear, but rather it boldly

acknowledges an eternal reality in which

the matters of this world are largely.

Inconsequential.


Remember, in the Kingdom--

Those who are poor are rich,

Those who mourn are comforted,

Those who are meek are blessed,

Those who seek righteousness are satisfied

Those who show mercy also receive it

Those who are pure in heart “really get”

what God is all about

Those who work to make peace earn

respect and honor

Those who are persecuted because they

are Kingdom citizens rejoice and are glad.