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Blessed are the Hated

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Matthew 5:10–12 ESV
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Introduction —
When things take a dark turn.
“A young Cincinnati Bengals and University of Cincinnati Bearcats fan wrote a great letter to Kevin Huber, the punter who broke his jaw on a controversial hit last week.
In adorable fashion, the boy tells Huber that he's his favorite player and he hopes he feels better.
Then things take a dark turn.”
Dear Kevin,
I hope you feel better soon. I am mad at the Steelers because you are my #1 player. I am 7 years old and I love the Bengals and the Bearcats. I know you played for the Bengals and the Bearcats and I love the teams. I hope that Steeler player loses his house and has to live in his car.
Get well soon, Nicholas.”
Trans —
This doesn’t end the way we expected it to. Neither do the beatitudes. This was the new Moses. Things were going well.

1. The Promised Result of a Righteous Life

In sum, I define “righteousness” in Matthew as whole-person behavior that accords with God’s nature, will, and coming kingdom. The “righteous” person, according to Matthew, is the one who follows Jesus in this way of being in the world. The righteous person is the whole/ teleios person (5: 48) who does not only do the will of God externally but, most importantly, from the heart. This is both radically continuous with the ethics of the Jewish Scriptures and radically in conflict with Jesus’s interlocutors, the Pharisees.
(Pennington, Jonathan T.. The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary (p. 91). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.)
It is, no doubt, monstrous and unnatural, that men, who study to live a righteous life, should be attacked and tormented in a way which they do not deserve. And so Peter says, “Who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” (.)
(John Piper)
It is, no doubt, monstrous and unnatural, that men, who study to live a righteous life, should be attacked and tormented in a way which they do not deserve. And so Peter says, “Who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” (.)
Yet, in consequence of the unbridled wickedness of the world, it too frequently happens, that good men, through a zeal of righteousness, arouse against them the resentments of the ungodly. Above all, it is, as we may say, the ordinary lot of Christians to be hated by the majority of men: for the flesh cannot endure the doctrine of the Gospel; none can endure to have their vices reproved.
(John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries (Complete), trans. John King; Accordance electronic ed. (Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1847), paragraph 67805.)
“If you cherish chastity, your life will be an attack on people's love for free sex.If you embrace temperance, your life will be a statement against the love of alcohol.If you pursue self-control, your life will indict excess eating.If you live simply and happily, you will show the folly of luxury.If you walk humbly with your God, you will expose the evil of pride.If you are punctual and thorough in your dealings, you will lay open the inferiority of laziness and negligence.If you speak with compassion, you will throw callousness into sharp relief.If you are earnest, you will make the flippant look flippant instead of clever.And if you are spiritually minded, you will expose the worldly-mindedness of those around you.”
(John Piper)

2. The Promised Reward of a Righteous Life

“Who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” (.)
In response to this promise of persecution Jesus does not say, “hang in there and do the best you can.” He says, “rejoice and be glad.”
We can exhibit bad reactions to persecution, such as...
Grumbling and complaining ().
Seeking personal vengeance ().
Becoming discouraged and giving up ().
Failure to pray for our persecutors ().
Jesus commands a different emotion.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak,knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
( ESV)
Rejoice and Be glad. Jesus is commanding emotion.
It is, no doubt, monstrous and unnatural, that men, who study to live a righteous life, should be attacked and tormented in a way which they do not deserve. And so Peter says, “Who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” (.)
if ye be followers of that which is good?” (.)
We can exhibit bad reactions to persecution, such as...
Grumbling and complaining ().
Yet, in consequence of the unbridled wickedness of the world, it too frequently happens, that good men, through a zeal of righteousness, arouse against them the resentments of the ungodly. Above all, it is, as we may say, the ordinary lot of Christians to be hated by the majority of men: for the flesh cannot endure the doctrine of the Gospel; none can endure to have their vices reproved.
Seeking personal vengeance ().
John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries (Complete), trans. John King; Accordance electronic ed. (Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1847), paragraph 67805.
Becoming discouraged and giving up ().
Failure to pray for our persecutors ().
The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew–Luke § 29. The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1–12 (See Luke 6:17–26))

There are a few examples in the Old Testament of prophets who were reviled and persecuted. We think of Elijah who has pursued by Ahab and Jezebel (1 Kings 19:2–18). The discouraged prophet complains: “the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, torn down Thine altars and killed Thy prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away” (1 Kings 19:10; cf. v. 14). In 2 Chron. 24:20–21 the priest Zechariah son of Jehoida the priest is stoned to death for speaking the word of the Lord. Jeremiah is placed in stocks (Jer. 20:1–2) and cast into a pit (Jer. 38:6). There was a tradition that the prophet Isaiah was placed in a hollow log and sawed in two by order of Manasseh (Mart. Isa. 5:1), a tradition possibly alluded to in Heb. 11:37. We are also told that Elijah reproved Ahaziah, king of Samaria, for slaying the prophets of God (Mart. Isa. 2:14). The Chronicler summarizes Israel’s long history of rejecting God’s prophets and messengers (2 Chron. 36:15–16

Failure to realize that persecution is a crucible ().

Application

Realize the cost of real righteousness
We live in a world that sells us things under the lie that annoying situations steal joy and life. (Ginzu knife commercial)
As John Calvin observes, most people hold to the erroneous belief that the happy person is the one who is “free from annoyance, attains all his wishes, and leads a joyful and easy life”; the mistaken idea is that true happiness is about our present emotional state. However, in these Beatitudes, Calvin continues, Christ exposes this belief as false, lest Christians think that calamities and reproaches are at variance with the happy life. They are not because of the conviction that “we are happy in the midst of miseries for our patience is blessed by the Lord, and will soon be followed by a happy result. . . . The disciples of Christ must learn the philosophy of placing their happiness beyond the world, and above the afflictions of the flesh.” Calvin concludes by arguing that the point of the Beatitudes is to show that “those are not unhappy who are oppressed by the reproaches of the wicked, and subject to various calamities.”
(Pennington, Jonathan T.. The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary (p. 154). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.)
Pennington, Jonathan T.. The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary (p. 154). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
2. Don’t Make yourself a Martyr when you aren’t
We do suffer, but people should see our joy — not our sadness.
3. Practice Joy even when you do not suffer for righteousness.
You can suffer righteously even when you do not suffer for righteousness.
4. Believe Jesus’ Promise
Pennington, Jonathan T.. The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary (p. 154). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Pennington, Jonathan T.. The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary (p. 90). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
In sum, I define “righteousness” in Matthew as whole-person behavior that accords with God’s nature, will, and coming kingdom. The “righteous” person, according to Matthew, is the one who follows Jesus in this way of being in the world. The righteous person is the whole/ teleios person (5: 48) who does not only do the will of God externally but, most importantly, from the heart. This is both radically continuous with the ethics of the Jewish Scriptures and radically in conflict with Jesus’s interlocutors, the Pharisees.
Pennington, Jonathan T.. The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary (p. 91). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Pennington, Jonathan T.. The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary (p. 101). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Grumbling and complaining ().
Seeking personal vengeance ().
Becoming discouraged and giving up ().
Failure to pray for our persecutors ().
Failure to realize that persecution is a crucible ().
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