Blessed Are the Persecuted

TITLE: Blessed Are the Persecuted

SUBJECT: Beatitudes

PROPOSITION: One can be happy when one is persecuted because of 1) the Christian’s Relationship with God, 2) the Reality of Truth, 3) the Recompense of the wicked, 4) the Reward of the Righteous.

OBJECTIVE: The Christian ought to expect some amount of persecution in his or her life. When we are persecuted, we ought to be happy, not due to the physical pain that we suffer, but due to the spiritual blessings that we experience as a result.

INTRODUCTION:

1. Read: Matthew 5:1-12

2. About the Text:

1) Each beatitude has a particular form. There is in each one…

a. A declaration of blessing.

b. A description of attitude.

c. A disposition of blessing.

2) The word for “blessing” in Greek is MARKARIOS – happiness and contentment.

3. About this beatitude.

1) In many ways, this is the most paradoxical of all the beatitudes.

2) But how can one be blessed or happy when one is being persecuted?

3) The two concepts seem against each other.

4) Yet this is exactly what Jesus teaches and a great lesson for us to learn.

4. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.

DISCUSSION: One can be happy when one is persecuted because of . . .

I.   The Christian’s RELATIONSHIP with God.

1. Happiness comes from knowing that God is on our side.

1) Rom.8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us…?”

2) Psalm 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.”

3) Jeremiah 20:11 “But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.”

2. Happiness comes from knowing that God understands what it is like to be persecuted.

1) Isaiah 53:3-5 “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

2) 1 Peter 2:21-24 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

3. Happiness comes from knowing that one IS a child of God regardless.

1) Galatians 4:6-7 “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

2) 1 John 3:1 “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this cause the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

II.  The REALITY of Truth

1. Happiness comes from knowing that truth doesn’t change.

1) If truth changed, we could never know if being persecuted was deserved or not.

2) Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”

3) In Malachi 3:6, God says, “I change not.”

4) Psalm 117:2 says, “The truth of the Lord endures forever.”

2. Happiness comes from knowing that one has obeyed the truth.

1) John 8:31-32 “If ye abide in my word . . . .”

2) 1 Peter 1:22 “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:”

3. Happiness comes from knowing that truth will ultimately prevail

1) Romans 2:2 states, “But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.”

2) Psalm 96:13 says, “…for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.”

3) Consider Revelation 19:11 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”

III. The RECOMPENSE of the wicked.

1. Happiness comes from knowing that for the wicked there is still hope.

4) Our desire as Christians is not that our persecutors be destroyed, but that be saved.

5) While there is time, there is hope. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack . . . .”

6) Consider Paul’s words, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16).

7) If our persecution leads to the penitence of one of our persecutors, then in such we may rejoice.

8) Hebrews 12:2 tells us about Jesus’ attitude: “…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

4. Happiness comes from knowing that personal vengeance isn’t needed.

1) I’m glad I don’t have to personally worry about righting all of the wrongs done to me in this life.

2) There is a certain amount of contentment that comes from that knowledge.

3) Romans 12:19-21 states, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

4) Mathew 5:38-42 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”

5. Happiness comes from knowing that the impenitent wicked won’t get away with wickedness.

1) While this is not what we long for, we can be assured that the wicked will not get away with their wickedness. They will be punished.

2) 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 states, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”

3) Revelation 21:8 says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

IV.  The REWARD of the righteous.

1. Happiness comes from knowing that persecution is merely transitory.

4) 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

5) Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

6) 1 Peter 1:6 “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:”

2. Happiness comes from knowing that the persecuted are commended.

1) Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

2) James 1:2 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;”

3) 1 Peter 4:14 “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.”

3. Happiness comes from knowing that heaven awaits those who are persecuted.

1) 1 Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

2) 2 Corinthians 5:1 “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

3) Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

CONCLUSION:

1. Can the persecuted be happy? Yes! How so? One can be happy when one is persecuted because of

1) The Christian’s Relationship with God,

2) The Reality of Truth,

3) The Recompense of the wicked,

4) The Reward of the Righteous.

2. Invitation