(This message may be used as an individual sermon or as part of the series.)
Matthew 5:10-12 – COUNT ON IT
#9 – SERMON ON THE MOUNT
We can count on the Beatitudes, those blessed attitudes, which we have been studying, as true. If we are going to live righteous lives to the glory of God, we need to count the beatitudes as true. I say this, as we approach the last Beatitude, because this last Beatitude is very challenging, and, humanly speaking, not pleasant!
Matthew 5:10 – Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
This last Beatitude is unique because Jesus gives with it some clarifying remarks.
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.
I see two important challenges in these verses:
WE WILL BE REJECTED
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake:
Those who live by the Beatitudes, will become righteous people.
They will live righteously!
Let’s review! – At this point in the message I reviewed the first 7 Beatitudes, showing how they cause us to live righteously when we obey them.
As you live by these Beatitudes, which are righteous ways of living, those who are not righteous will reject you.
Unrighteous people don’t like righteous people. Psalm 34:19, 2 Timothy 3:12, Galatians 4:29
And notice please, what Jesus says in verse 11.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
When we live righteously, we are doing it for Jesus’ sake.
The world hates Jesus.
The world will hate you as well.
The world persecuted the Lord Jesus.
It will persecute you as well. John 15:18-20
- Usually when we think of persecution, we think of people imprisoned for Christ’s sake.
- We think of people tortured for Christ’s sake.
- We think of people killed for Christ’s sake.
And indeed that kind of persecution of Christians is taking place throughout the world today.
There is also persecution that is a lot subtler.
Ø A man is continually passed over for a promotion, because he will not party with his bosses.
Ø A woman is talked about behind her back because she insists on living a Godly life.
Ø A teenage boy or girl is shunned by his or her friends when he or she becomes a Christian and no longer engages in the questionable activities that once ran his or her life.
Ø A man gets in trouble with his aunt and uncle and parents because he chose to witness for Christ to his teenage mentally challenged cousin. I was the one who witnessed.
Ø Christians are ridiculed and mocked and falsely accused because they chose to live righteously and because they chose to share Christ.
Now friend, if you have never been verbally ridiculed for Christ’s sake, I’d be concerned.
If you have never been mistreated for Christ’s sake, I’d examine my life.
I’m not saying that persecution is continual, but when you are truly saved and living for him, you will draw persecution in some way, shape or form.
WE ARE TO REJOICE
Why should we rejoice when we suffer for righteousness sake?
- First of all, it is an indication that we are Christians.
If we are persecuted because we are acting rightly and righteously that shows that we have been born again. Ours is the Kingdom of Heaven. Christian’s lives have been changed and the world doesn’t like it. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
- Secondly, we can rejoice because we look forward to future reward.
Jesus says that our reward in Heaven is great!
In the Book of Revelation Jesus gives personal messages to seven churches. One of these churches is the persecuted church of Smyrna. Revelation 2:8-10
- Thirdly we can rejoice because our suffering will lead others to faith in Christ.
When we suffer for righteousness sake, many unrighteous will notice and be convicted. When they start to ask about the hope we show during persecution, we need to be ready to share the Gospel with them. 1 Peter 2:15, 1 Peter 3:14-15
- We can rejoice because we suffer for the Lord’s sake.
One of the greatest persecutors of the church was a man named Saul of Tarsus. One day, on the road to Damascus, Jesus saved Him, and he eventually became known as the Apostle Paul.
Jesus said of Him in Acts 9:16 – For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
And please notice Paul’s attitude towards persecution. Acts 20:22-24
- We can rejoice because we follow in the tradition of the prophets.
When you and I are persecuted for righteousness sake, we join another group of honored people, the Old Testament Prophets.
These were men who stood for God, but suffered tremendous persecution. They stood for righteousness and were persecuted for it. What an honor to be counted with that great group of men.