Who would persecute anyone for doing the right thing?
02/28/2021

Who would persecute anyone for doing the right thing?

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Passage: Matthew 5:10
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“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, 

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 Matthew 5:10

This progression starts and ends with the same promise. 

Remember the progressive nature of these. 

They are signs in the life of  Christian.

As these signs become more evident in a person’s life, the less that person will share values and act according to the economy of the world. 

And who would anyone want to persecute a righteous person?

The righteousness of Christ:

1) brings the release from fear.

Fear of man, of the consequences of sin, of trying to lead a double life, etc.

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.”

Psalms 118:8

What we FEAR guides and drives our lives.

When we fear God over man, we don’t do what they want and this creates problems for them and that leads to persecution.

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for FEAR that their deeds will be exposed.” 

John 3:19-20

Example: Someone who is fasting might bring conviction that I never fast. Someone who is trying to watch their language convicts me when I swear. 

Righteousness of Christ takes away the fear of what people think about us.

The righteousness of Christ:

2) forces a decision.

“…they hate the light because it robs them of the good opinion they had of themselves, by showing them their sinfulness and misery. Their case is sad, and, because they are resolved that they will not mend it, they are resolved that they will not see it.” 

- Matthew Henry

Jesus tells us about this division… 

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household.

Matthew 10:34-36

What happened to Blessed are the Peacemakers?

Jesus was in perfect peace even as he was lead to the death.

Steven looked up to heaven as he was being stoned to death.

Righteousness is NOT to be compromised to make peace.

Persecution - hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race, political, or religious beliefs

“Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,

    for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.” 

Luke 6:26

The same statement is reiterated again…

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

Being mistreated because of righteousness:

1) often comes verbally

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward and declared, 'This fellow said, "I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days."' Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, 'Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?' But Jesus remained silent. 

Matthew 26:59-63a (NIVUK)

They needed 2 witnesses according to the law of the OT.

Jesus demonstrated no fear of people. 

Do you justify yourself when people misunderstand your intentions?

“Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

2) is reason to rejoice

“They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” 

Acts 5:40-41

What’s a modern day example of suffering disgrace for Jesus?

And why rejoice?

because great is your reward in heaven,

3) is heavenly treasure

We don’t know what it looks like exactly, but it is promised.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

Matthew 6:19-21

In heaven’s economy, suffering disgrace for Jesus means treasure in heaven.


What economy am I working for?
Earthly or heavenly?

Being mistreated because of righteousness:

4) is only temporary 

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; 

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” 

Psalm 84:10

Do I have that perspective about life?

Summary Slide

What if I’m not mistreated because of righteousness?

Maybe I’m not righteous? 

Remember, this is the last one and maybe the result of going through the rest.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Romans 8:18

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Hebrews 11:13-16

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