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The Sermon on the Mount #2 - The Joy of Suffering

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The Sermon on the Mount #2:

The Joy of Suffering

Text: Matthew 5:10-12

Thesis: To note that when we live as Jesus, we will be persecuted, but our reward makes any and

             all persecution more than worth it.

Introduction:

(1)   In verses 3-9, Jesus discusses the first 7 “beatitudes” that are essential to Christianity.

(2)   Beginning with verse 10, Jesus discusses the eighth beatitude, which seems to stand out in the list, but, in reality, ties in perfectly with the others.

Discussion:

I.                   First, Jesus stresses that persecution is a fact for a Christian.

A.    Listen to other Scriptures:

1.      John 15:18-20: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”

2.      2 Timothy 3:12: “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

3.      Philippians 1:29: “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”

B.     Think of other examples:

1.      Abel by Cain

2.      David by Saul

3.      Elijah

4.      Jeremiah

5.      Jesus

6.      Paul

C.     Consider:

“The world cannot tolerate such a life [i.e., as described in vv. 3-9]. Why? First, poverty of spirit runs counter to the pride of the unbelieving heart. Those whom the world admires are the self-sufficient who need nothing else, not the poor in spirit. Second, the mourning, repentant heart that sorrows over its own sin and the sins of society is not appreciated by the world. Third, the gentle and meek person, the one who has the strength not to take up a personal offense, is regarded as weak by those who do not know Christ. Conventional wisdom has it that ‘meekness is weakness.’ Fourth, hungering and thirsting for the spiritual – for Christ – is foreign and repugnant to a world that lusts after only what it can touch and taste. Fifth, the truly merciful person who not only feels compassion and forgiveness but who gives it is out of step with the grudge-bearing callousness of our age. This person is an awkward, embarrassing rebuke to the uncaring. Sixth, the pure, single-minded heart focused on God provides a convicting contrast to impure, self-focused culture. Seventh, the peacemaker is discomforting because he will not settle for a cheap or counterfeit peace and has an embarrassing inclination to wage peace. The foundational reason such a person will be persecuted is that he or she is like Christ” (R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount, pp. 71-72).

II.                Second, Jesus encourages Christians to rejoice when they endure various persecutions “for righteousness’ sake.”

A.    Note:

1.      Jesus did not say rejoice when you are persecuted, but rejoice when you are persecuted “for righteousness’ sake” (cf. 1 Pet. 4:15-16).

2.      Also, Jesus did not say that you must like the persecution, but rather that there is a reason to rejoice as you endure the persecution.

B.     Think about:

1.      Peter and John“So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:41-42).

2.      Paul and Silas“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25).

3.      Jesus“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).

III.             Third, Jesus reminds Christians of what awaits those who overcome.

A.    Heaven awaits those who remain true to Christ.

B.     Consider:

1.      2 Cor. 4:17-18: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

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

3.      Truly, “great is [our] reward!”

Conclusion:

(1)   Are you living a life wherein you would be found “guilty” of being a Christian?

(2)   Remember that Heaven will surely be worth it all!

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