THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

PROGRAM AIR DATE – 12-29-13

LESSON TITLE: “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO ARE PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE."

WELCOME

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND WELCOME TO THE LIVING WORD PROGRAM ON THIS WONDROUS LORD'S DAY! THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING TO GIVE THIS TIME TO GOD, AS WE TOGETHER STRIVE TO HONOR HIM ACCORDING TO HIS WILL. AS ALWAYS, THIS MORNING, WE WILL STRIVE TO WORSHIP GOD ACCORDING TO WHAT WE FIND IN HIS WORD - THE BIBLE. MAY WE EACH MAKE OUR OWN SACRIFICE TO HIM - SO THAT WE MAY BE PLEASING IN HIS SIGHT! NOW LET'S BOW OUR HEADS BEFORE HIS THRONE IN PRAYER!

PRAYER: OUR GOD AND FATHER IN HEAVEN, WE THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS DAY AND THE MANY BLESSINGS OF LIFE. WE THANK YOU FOR THE PRIVILEGE THAT WE HAVE TO ENJOY SUCH TIMES IN THE YEAR AS THIS HOLIDAY AND TO ENJOY FAMILY AND FRIENDS. FATHER, HELP US TO ALWAYS REALIZE THAT EVERY PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL BLESSING ONLY COMES FROM YOU AND THAT FATHER YOU GIVE US THE VERY ABILITY TO MOVE AND TO HAVE OUR LIVES AND BEING AND TO DO THOSE THINGS THAT WE DO EACH AND EVERY DAY. THANK YOU FOR THE GIFT OF JESUS. THE SACRIFICE THAT HE MADE ON THE CROSS THAT HAS US STAND JUSTIFIED IN YOUR SIGHT AND THAT WE MIGHT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. IN JESUS NAME WE PRAY, AMEN.

IT'S NOW TIME TO JOIN IN WITH THE BRETHREN AS WE BEGIN OUR SONGS OF PRAISE TO GOD. WE WILL BEGIN THIS MORNING WITH AN ENCOURAGING HYMN THAT REMINDS US OF A GREAT DAY COMING FOR THE FAITHFUL OF GOD! THE QUESTION IS, "ARE WE READY FOR THAT DAY!" SO, WON'T YOU JOIN IN SONG TO GOD, AS WE TOGETHER SING THE HYMN, "WHEN THE ROLE IS CALLED UP YONDER!"

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, WE SEE MANY EXAMPLES FROM THE PROPHETS OF THOSE WHO CONTINUED TO REJECT GOD. OVER AND OVER, WE SEE THESE MEN OF GOD REBUKING HIS PEOPLE, BECAUSE OF THEIR WICKEDNESS AND DESIRE TO BE LIKE OTHER NATIONS. THE GREAT PROPHET JEREMIAH, ALSO SHARED IN THIS BURDENSOME RESPONSIBILITY, AS HE SPEAKS OF THE SPIRITUAL CONDITION OF JUDAH, PRIOR TO THE DAYS OF BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY. IN CHAPTER 8 AND VERSE 3 OF HIS BOOK, WE SEE THAT HE PREDICTS THAT "DEATH WOULD BE CHOSEN RATHER THAN LIFE," BY THOSE OF GOD. IN VERSE 7, HE DECLARES THAT THEY DID NOT "KNOW THE JUDGEMENT OF THE LORD." THEN IN VERSE 9, JEREMIAH INDICTS THEM FOR "REJECTING THE WORD OF THE LORD."

HOW SAD IT IS TO HEAR OF THOSE WHO SHOULD BE THE FIRST AND FOREMOST TO SERVE GOD. YET IN REALITY, THEY HAVE TURNED AWAY AND FORSAKEN HIM. SOUNDS ALL TO FAMILIAR DOESN'T IT?

NOW, NOTICE WITH ME HIS WORDS IN VERSE 20 OF THE SAME CHAPTER, AS HE SUMS UP THE SITUATION. THERE HE SAID, "THE HARVEST IS PAST, THE SUMMER IS ENDED, AND WE ARE NOT SAVED!" THIS MAN OF GOD PERCEIVED THAT THE LORD HAD GIVEN UP ON HIS PEOPLE BECAUSE OF THEIR WICKEDNESS AND UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. NOTICE THAT IS WAS NOT GOD'S FAULT THAT THINGS HAD GONE SOUR. RATHER IT WAS THE FAULT OF THE PEOPLE, WHO WERE NOW CHOOSING THE EVILS AND THINGS OF THIS WORLD OVER THEIR CREATOR. TODAY, YOU AND I SEE A SIMILAR SITUATION HAPPENING IN THE SECULAR AND RELIGIOUS WORLDS. MANY CONTINUE TO REJECT GOD WHO ARE OUTSIDE OF HIS FOLD AND WHO WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH HIS PROMISES. ON THE OTHER HAND, MANY IN THE RELIGIOUS WORLD CONTINUE TO REJECT GOD IN THEIR WORDS AND ACTIONS ALSO, BECAUSE THEY CONTINUE TO DO WHAT THEY WANT, RATHER THAN WHAT GOD COMMANDS. IF WE REJECT THE WORD OF THE LORD, AS THEY DID IN JEREMIAH'S DAY, WHAT WILL OUR FATE BE? I CAN TELL YOU, IT WILL BE THE SAME AS THOSE IN THAT DAY - "THE HARVEST WILL PASS, THE SUMMER WILL END, AND WE WILL STILL NOT BE SAVED!" DON'T LET GOD'S HARVEST COME WITHOUT BEING A FAITHFUL CHILD OF GOD. REMEMBERING THAT FAITHFULNESS IN GOD IS SHOWN BY OUR OBEDIENCE - JESUS SAID, "IF YOU LOVE ME, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS" JOHN 14:15!

SO, WHAT TYPE OF CHOICE WILL YOU MAKE IN YOUR LIFE IN CONNECTION TO YOUR SERVICE FOR GOD. WILL YOU PUT HIM FIRST AND DO ALL THAT HE REQUIRES. WILL YOU PUT HIM IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR PRIORITIES, SO THAT YOU CAN STILL HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TO. OR WILL YOU DO AS THOSE IN OUR DISCUSSION THIS MORNING, COMPLETELY TURN AWAY FROM HIM FOR THE PLEASURE OF SIN FOR A SEASON. THE CHOICE IS EACH OF OURS TO MAKE, SO WHAT WILL YOUR DECISION BE.

THIS MORNING WE CONSIDER ANOTHER LESSON IN THE SERIES ENTITLED, "HAPPY ARE THE PEOPLE WHO'S GOD IS THE LORD." THE SPECIFIC TOPIC TODAY IS, "BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO ARE PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE." SO STAY WITH US AND AFTER OUR NEXT SONG TOGETHER, WE WILL BE LEAD IN THESE LESSON THOUGHTS OF THE MORNING. AS FAR AS OUR GUEST SPEAKER OF THE DAY, WE ARE HAPPY TO AGAIN HAVE BROTHER BRENT GREEN WITH US. BROTHER BRENT IS A FULL TIME INSTRUCTOR AT THE BIBLE INSTITUTE OF MISSOURI AND HE PREACHES FOR THE HWY 13 CHURCH OF CHRIST IN BOLIVAR, MISSOURI. WE THANK HIM FOR JOINING US ON THIS LAST SUNDAY OF THE YEAR.

NOW IT'S TIME TO JOIN IN OUR SECOND SONG OF THE MORNING, AS WE GLORIFY GOD OUR CREATOR. THE NAME OF THIS HYMN IS "WILL YOUR ANCHOR HOLD."

LESSON

BY BRENT GREEN

WHAT A GREAT PRIVILEGE IT IS AS ALWAYS TO OPEN THE WORD OF GOD AND STUDY FROM IT. IN THIS SERIES, WE HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT MATTHEW CHAPTER 5, SPECIFICALLY THE BEATITUDES THAT JESUS GIVES THERE. HOW BLESSED GOD'S PEOPLE TRULY ARE. WE ARE LOOKING AT PSALM 144:15 THAT SAYS HAPPY ARE THE PEOPLE WHO'S GOD IS LORD. INDEED, GOD'S PEOPLE ARE HAPPY. THEY HAVE A LOT TO BE HAPPY ABOUT, THEY HAVE A LOT TO BE HAPPY FOR. THEY ARE GOD'S PEOPLE. THEY HAVE THE BLESSINGS OF GOD AND THEY ARE PART OF HIS FAMILY. AS JESUS DEALS WITH BEATITUDES, WE SEE SO MANY BLESSINGS THAT GOD PRONOUNCES UPON HIS PEOPLE AS THEY LIVE FOR HIM. THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS THAT GOD'S PEOPLE HAVE TO DO. THEY HAVE TO TAKE ACTION AS GOD HAS CALLED THEM TO. AS THEY TAKE THAT ACTION, THERE ARE CERTAIN THINGS THAT THEY WILL FACE AS A RESULT BUT THERE ARE GREAT BLESSINGS THAT THEY WILL RECEIVE. THE BEATITUDES IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 5 DEAL WITH THESE TYPES OF THINGS. AS WE LOOK TOGETHER AT MATTHEW CHAPTER 5, WE'LL JUST READ TOGETHER VERSES 10 AND THE FOLLOWING. JESUS SAYS, “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO ARE PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. BLESSED ARE YOU WHEN THEY REVILE AND PERSECUTE YOU AND SAY ALL KINDS OF EVIL AGAINST YOU FALSELY FOR MY SAKE. REJOICE AND BE GLAD, FOR GREAT IS YOUR REWARD IN HEAVEN, FOR IN THE SAME WAY THEY PERSECUTED THE PROPHETS WHO WERE BEFORE YOU.” IN THIS FINAL BEATITUDE HERE THAT BEGINS IN VERSE 10, JESUS SAYS, “BLESSED WHEN YOU ARE PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE.” IT SEEMS KIND OF STRANGE ON THE SURFACE, HOW CAN WE BE BLESSED AND HOW CAN WE BE A PEOPLE THAT ARE HAPPY WHEN WE ARE PERSECUTED?

I WANT YOU TO THINK ABOUT THE DIFFERENT PIECES THAT WE FIND IN IS VERSE. THERE IN VERSE 10, AGAIN THE FACT THAT THIS PERSECUTION OR THIS REPROACH IS A REALITY. THE WORDING THAT WE JUST READ THERE IS THAT GOD'S PEOPLE ARE THOSE THAT WILL BE PERSECUTED, AS IT SAYS IN VERSE 10. THE WORD THERE FOR PERSECUTED INDICATES THAT THEY WILL BE HARASSED, THEY WILL BE TROUBLED, THEY WILL BE MOLESTED, AND THEY WILL BE TREATED IN A BAD WAY ON ACCOUNT OF SOMETHING. THE WORDING THAT IS USED IN VERSE 11 IS THAT THEY WILL BE REVILED. THE WORDING ALSO INDICATES A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT WHAT THIS MEANS FOR CHRISTIANS AND THAT IS THAT THEY WILL BE DEFAMED. THEY WILL BE THOSE WHO ARE TAUNTED AND PUT DOWN IN SOME WAY. GOD'S PEOPLE ARE GOING TO FACE THIS PERSECUTION AND THIS EVIL SPEAK THAT WILL COME AGAINST THEM. IN VERSE 11 IT GOES ON MORE TO SAY AGAIN THAT THEY WILL SPEAK ALL KINDS OR SAY ALL KINDS OF EVIL AGAINST YOU FALSELY. THE IDEA THERE IS THAT THEY ARE GOING TO LIE. THEY'RE GOING TO COME UP WITH THINGS THAT ARE NOT TRUE AND SAY THOSE THINGS ABOUT YOU. THIS WILL BE A FORM OF PERSECUTION. THIS REPROACH IS A REALITY. THIS PERSECUTION THAT GOD'S PEOPLE ARE GOING TO FACE IS SOMETHING THAT IS REAL.

THROUGHOUT THE SCRIPTURE WE SEE THAT POINT CLARIFIED IN MANY PLACES. PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST FAMILIAR IS 2TIMOTHY CHAPTER 3:12, “ALL WHO DESIRE TO LIVE GODLY IN CHRIST JESUS WILL SUFFER PERSECUTION.” IT IS A PROMISE THERE THAT GOD'S PEOPLE, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE BLESSED AND ARE HAPPY, WILL INDEED FACE PERSECUTION. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE TO FACE IN THIS LIFE. IN 2TIMOTHY CHAPTER 3:12, THE SAME WORD THAT IS EMPLOYED IS ALSO USED IN THE BEATITUDE, THIS PERSECUTION THAT THESE CHRISTIANS ARE GONNA HAVE TO FACE. ANOTHER PASSAGE COMES TO MIND AS WE THINK ABOUT THIS PERSECUTION. IT'S IN FIRST PETER CHAPTER 4:12-16. THERE AS HE TALKS ABOUT WHAT CHRISTIANS WILL FACE, HE REFERS TO IT AS A FIERY TRIAL. THE PERSECUTION, THE HARASSMENT, THE TAUNTING, AND THE LIES THAT ARE SPOKEN ABOUT CHRISTIANS ARE PART OF A FIERY TRIAL THAT WILL COME UPON THEM. CHRISTIANS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO PARTAKE IN THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST, PETER SAYS IN CHAPTER 4:13, “BUT AS THEY ARE REPROACHED FOR CHRIST'S SAKE AS THEY ARE REVILED,” THE SAME WORD THAT IS USED IN MATTHEW 5, THAT IS GOING TO BE SOMETHING THAT THEY HAVE TO ENDURE.

WELL INDEED, THIS REPROACH AND PERSECUTION IS A REALITY. THAT IS ONE THING WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND AS JESUS GIVES US THE BEATITUDE. WE SHOULDN'T SUFFER AS EVIL DOERS AS WE SUFFER, WE ARE GOING TO SUFFER AS CHRISTIANS FOR OUR FAITH. LOOK AT THE WORDING IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 5. NOT ONLY IS THIS REPROACH A REALITY BUT ALSO LOOK AT WHAT HE SAYS IN VERSE 12, “FOR SO THEY PERSECUTED THE PROPHETS THAT WERE BEFORE YOU.” YOU SEE, AS WE THINK ABOUT WHAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO FACE AND WHAT CHRISTIANS HAVE FACED IN THE PAST, WE SEE THAT THIS IS BEEN GOING ON FOR A LONG TIME. THIS PERSECUTION, THIS HARASSMENT, AND THE EVIL SPEAKING AND LYING ABOUT SOMEBODY IN A FALSE WAY....WHAT DID THEY DO TO THE PROPHETS OF OLD? IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, YOU SEE SO OFTEN ALL OF THE PROPHETS OF GOD WERE PERSECUTED IN SOME WAY. SOME VERY HARSHLY WITH WORDS BUT MANY TIMES IT WAS EVEN TO THE POINT OF DEATH. JEZEBEL, IN FIRST KINGS CHAPTER 18:13, WAS ONE WHO KILLED THE PROPHETS OF GOD. OBADIAH, WHO WAS ONE OF THE OTHER PROPHETS FROM THAT TIME, HID 100 OF GOD'S PROPHETS IN CAVES SO THAT JEZEBEL COULDN'T KILL THEM. EVEN ELIJAH'S, AS HE CONFRONTS AHAB AND JEZEBEL, JEZEBEL SAID I'M GOING TO KILL YOU ELIJAH. HE WAS A PROPHET OF GOD AND HE HAD TO FLEE FOR HIS LIFE. WE ALSO THINK ABOUT ZACHARIAH, SON OF JEHOIADA, WHO IN 2CHRONICLES 24:21 WAS STONED BY THE KING BECAUSE THE KING DIDN'T LIKE HIS WORDS. OTHERS, LIKE ISAIAH EVEN BY TRADITION IS THOUGHT TO HAVE BEEN KILLED BY MANASSEH, WHO WAS A WICKED KING. JEREMIAH WAS SCOURGED IN JEREMIAH 20:2. THE LIST COULD GO ON AND ON OF COURSE, BUT THOSE EXAMPLES FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT SHOW US WHAT JESUS IS TALKING ABOUT HERE. THE PROPHETS OF OLD WERE PERSECUTED. THEY WERE SPOKEN EVIL AGAINST, THEY WERE BEATEN, THEY WERE SCOURGED, AND THEY WERE KILLED. WHY? BECAUSE THEY PREACHED THE WORD OF GOD AND THEY DIDN'T GO BACK ON THEIR FAITH. THEY DID WHAT GOD CALLED THEM TO DO. REMEMBER THE PROPHETS. JESUS SAID IN HIS OWN WORDS.

IF YOU WILL LOOK WITH ME OVER TO THE CHAPTER 11 AS YOU THINK ABOUT THOSE FEW EXAMPLES THAT I GAVE THERE FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT, JESUS SAYS HE OFTEN HAD TO REBUKE THOSE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT FOR THINGS THAT THEY WEREN'T DOING RIGHT OR THINGS THAT THEY WERE PROFESSING BUT NOT PRACTICING. HE CALLS SOME OUT IN CHAPTER 11:47 OF LUKE. IT SAYS, “WOE TO YOU WHO BUILD THE TOMBS OF THE PROPHETS FOR YOUR FATHERS KILLED THEM. IN FACT, YOU BEAR WITNESS AND YOU APPROVE THE DEEDS OF YOUR FATHERS, FOR THEY INDEED KILLED THEM AND YOU BUILD THEIR TOMBS. THEREFORE, THE WISDOM OF GOD ALSO SAYS ‘I WILL SEND THEM PROPHETS AND APOSTLES AND SOME OF THEM WILL KILL AND PERSECUTE.’ THAT THE BLOOD OF ALL THE PROPHETS, WHICH WAS SHED FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, MAY BE REQUIRED OF THIS GENERATION FROM THE BLOOD OF ABEL TO THE BLOOD OF ZACHARIAS, WHO PERISHED BETWEEN THE ALT AND THE TEMPLE. YES, I SAY TO YOU IT SHALL BE REQUIRED OF THIS GENERATION.” JESUS POINTS OUT EXACTLY WHAT WE HAVE ALREADY SAID AND THAT IS THAT THE PROPHETS OF OLD WERE PERSECUTED. WHY SHOULD WE REMEMBER THAT? AS WE THINK ABOUT THIS BEATITUDE THAT SAYS BLESSED ARE THOSE THAT ARE PERSECUTED, WE ARE NOT THE FIRST TO HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE PERSECUTION. MEN OF THE OLD TESTAMENT, PROPHETS OF GOD, FACED THAT HORRENDOUS PERSECUTION. STEPHEN WOULD BRING THIS UP IN HIS SPEECH IN ACTS CHAPTER 7. EVEN THE BOOK OF HEBREWS CHAPTER 11 MENTIONS THE PROPHETS AND ALL THEY WENT THROUGH. YOU KNOW WHAT? THE HEBREW WRITER SAYS THEY WILL BE MADE PERFECT, NOT APART FROM US, BUT WITH US. THEY DIED IN FAITH LOOKING FORWARD TO PROMISES OF HEAVEN JUST AS WE ARE. SO AGAIN, REMEMBER THE PERSECUTION OF THE PROPHETS. ALSO, AS WE THINK ABOUT MATTHEW CHAPTER 5 AND THIS BEATITUDE; WHAT IS THE REASON BEHIND THIS SUFFERING? WHAT'S THE REASON WHY WE SUFFER IN THIS WAY? THE WORDS THAT WE READ BACK IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 5 POINTS THAT OUT FOR US. IN VERSE 10 IT SAYS, “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO ARE PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE.” WHY ARE WE PERSECUTED? BECAUSE WE ARE LIVING RIGHTEOUSLY. WHEN YOU MOVE ON DOWN THERE AGAIN TO VERSE 11 HE SAYS THIS, “YOU ARE PERSECUTED FOR MY NAMESAKE.” AGAIN, THOSE ARE THE WORDS OF JESUS. WE ARE PERSECUTED BECAUSE WE LIVE RIGHTEOUSLY AND BECAUSE WE LIVE FOR CHRIST. THE IDEA HERE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE IS THE IDEA THAT WE ARE LIVING A VIRTUOUS LIFE...A LIFE OF PURITY, A LIFE OF UPRIGHTNESS AND IT INDICATES THAT WE HAVE A CORRECT THINKING, A CORRECT FEELING, AND A CORRECT WAY OF ACTING. IT LITERALLY IS THE STATE OF BEING RIGHTEOUS. AS WE LIVE BEFORE GOD, AS WE LIVE BEFORE OUR FELLOW MAN IN A RIGHTEOUS WAY AS GOD HAS CALLED US TO, THEN THIS BECOMES THE REASON WHY WE ARE PERSECUTED. IT'S NOT BECAUSE WE ARE LIVING LIKE THE WORLD AND NOT BECAUSE WE ARE DOING WHATEVER WE WANT TO, BUT IT'S BECAUSE WE ARE FOLLOWING GOD'S PATHWAY. WHEN WE ARE ON THAT NARROW PATH THERE ARE MANY WHO WILL PERSECUTE US. THIS IS THE REASON FOR OUR PERSECUTION. EVEN THE WORD FOR MY SAKE, THAT IS TALKING ABOUT JESUS' SAKE, THE WORD SAKE THERE INDICATES THAT IT IS ON ACCOUNT OF OR BY ACCOUNT OF. WELL, ON ACCOUNT OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE REASON WHY WE ARE SUFFERING. IT IS BECAUSE WE DON'T TALK LIKE THE WORLD, WE DON'T LIVE LIKE THE WORLD, WE DON'T ACT LIKE THE WORLD. WE ARE DRAWN OUT OF THIS WORLD. THAT IS, WHEN WE FOLLOW THE WORD OF GOD WE COME OUT OF THE EVIL AND WE LIVE FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. WE WALK IN THE LIGHT AND FOR THAT REASON WE ARE PERSECUTED.

WE HAVE A REASON TO UNDERSTAND WHY THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO US. MANY OF THE VERSES WE COULD CONSIDER BUT WE'LL JUST CONSIDER A COUPLE FROM MATTHEW CHAPTER 10:22. JESUS SAYS, “YOU WILL BE HATED BY ALL FOR MY NAMESAKE, BUT HE WHO ENDURES TILL THE END WILL BE SAVED.” WE ARE GOING TO BE HATED FOR JESUS'S SAKE BECAUSE WE WEAR HIS NAME, THAT IS THE NAME CHRIST WHEN WE WEAR THE NAME CHRISTIAN. BECAUSE WE LIVE FOR CHRIST, WE HAVE TO LOSE OUR LIVES AND WE HAVE TO ENDURE THIS PERSECUTION FOR THE CAUSE OF CHRIST AND FOR THE NAME OF CHRIST. ALSO, THERE IS A REMINDER AS YOU THINK ABOUT ALL THAT PAUL FACED IN HIS LIFE. HE GIVES A WHOLE LIST IN SECOND CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 11 WITH THE BEATINGS, THE SHIPWRECK, AND ALL THOSE THINGS THAT HE ENDURED. YOU KNOW WHAT HE SAYS ABOUT IT IN PHILIPPIANS CHAPTER 3. HE SAYS IT WAS BECAUSE HE WAS SUFFERING FOR THE REPROACH OF CHRIST. BECAUSE HE WAS LIVING RIGHTEOUSLY HE INDICATES THAT HE HAD TO SUFFER ALL THOSE TYPES OF THINGS. THERE IS A REASON FOR OUR PERSECUTION. IT IS INDEED BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS LIFE ANYWAY? ECCLESIASTES CHAPTER 12:13-14, SAYS “LET US HEAR THE CONCLUSION OF THE WHOLE MATTER. FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS.” WE WERE PUT HERE TO SERVE GOD, TO LIVE FOR GOD, AND TO BE RIGHTEOUS IN HIS SIGHT. WHEN WE DO THAT, GUESS WHAT? WE WILL BE PERSECUTED. GO AGAIN TO THE WORDS THERE FOUND IN THE BEATITUDES. WHAT SHOULD OUR REACTION BE TO THIS PERSECUTION? AGAIN, MATTHEW CHAPTER 5:12. THIS IS THE PASSAGE THAT MAY SOUND STRANGE TO US BECAUSE YOU THINK THAT IF YOU'RE PERSECUTED, SHOULDN'T YOU BE DOWN OR BE DEPRESSED? WOULDN'T THAT GIVE ME A VERY GOOD REASON TO SAY YOU KNOW, I QUIT. I GIVE UP BECAUSE IT'S JUST TOO HARD. WHAT SHOULD OUR REACTION BE WHEN WE ARE PERSECUTED FOR OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS? MATTHEW CHAPTER 5:12 SAYS, “REJOICE AND BE EXCEEDINGLY GLAD.” YOU MEAN I'M SUPPOSED TO REJOICE? I'M SUPPOSED BE FILLED WITH JOY BECAUSE OF THE PERSECUTION THAT COMES UPON ME? THAT'S WHAT JESUS SAYS OUR REACTION SHOULD BE. THERE THE WORD REJOICE MEANS TO BE FULL OF CHEER OR TO OVERFLOW WITH REJOICING. EXCEEDINGLY GLAD, WHEN TRANSLATED, LITERALLY MEANS TO JUMP FOR JOY. YOU MEAN I'M SUPPOSED TO BE SO EXCITED THAT I JUMP UP AND DOWN FOR JOY BECAUSE I GOT BEATEN FOR THE CAUSE OF CHRIST? ISN'T THAT WHAT CHRISTIANS DID IN THE FIRST CENTURY? ISN'T THAT WHAT THE DISCIPLES DID IN THE FIRST CENTURY AS THEY LIVED FOR GOD?

I'M REMINDED OF ACTS CHAPTER 5 AND THE SUFFERING OF THE APOSTLES. IF YOU HAVE YOUR BIBLES, LOOK AT THE VERSES THERE BECAUSE THEY SHOW US THIS POINT EXEMPLIFIED. THERE ARE MANY TIMES WHEN PETER AND JOHN AND THE OTHER APOSTLES HAD TO FACE SOME TYPE OF PERSECUTION FOR THEIR LIVES. HOW DID THEY FACE IT? WHAT WAS THE REACTION TO IT? IF YOU LOOK AT ACTS CHAPTER 5, AS IT SHOWS US THERE THEY WERE IMPRISONED. AS YOU MOVE ON DOWN TO VERSE 28, THEY WERE REPROACHED. THEY WERE TOLD BY THE COUNCIL TO NOT SPEAK ANY LONGER THE NAME OF CHRIST. WELL, YOU BROUGHT THE BLOOD OF CHRIST UPON US. THAT'S THE REPROACHING DONE WITH WORDS. IN VERSE 40 IT SAYS THEY WERE BEATEN. IN VERSE 41. THIS WAS THEIR REACTION TO ALL OF THIS. IT SAYS, “THEY DEPARTED FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE COUNCIL REJOICING THAT THEY WERE A JOY WHEN YOU FALL WORTHY TO SUFFER SHAME FOR HIS NAME.” THEY WERE IMPRISONED, THEY WERE BEATEN, THEY WERE SPOKEN EVIL AGAINST, AND YET THEY STILL WENT AWAY DOING WHAT? JUMPING UP AND DOWN, REJOICING AND EXCITED THAT THEY COULD SHARE IN THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST. ISN'T THAT THE ATTITUDE THAT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE? WE ARE TO BE THOSE THAT REJOICE WHEN WE SUFFER PERSECUTION. JAMES CHAPTER 1 VERSES TWO AND THREE, “MY BRETHREN, COUNT IT A JOY WHEN YOU FALL UNDER VARIOUS TRIALS, KNOWING THAT THE TESTING OF YOUR FAITH PRODUCES PATIENCE.”

THERE IS ONE MORE THING THAT I WANT US TO SEE IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 5 AND THAT IS THE END RESULTS OF ALL THIS. IS THERE A REWARD? IS THERE A GOAL THAT WE ARE LOOKING TOWARDS? IS THERE SOMETHING OUT THERE BEYOND THIS LIFE THAT WILL CARRY US THROUGH ALL OF THE PERSECUTION THAT WE FACE? INDEED, WE ALSO SEE THAT IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 5:10-12. AGAIN, AS YOU LOOK IN VERSE 10 IT SAYS, “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO ARE PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE, FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.” THERE IS THE REWARD. THERE IS THE OUTCOME FOR LIVING FOR CHRIST AND BEING PERSECUTED BECAUSE OF YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. A REWARD IN HEAVEN. IT IS REPEATED AGAIN IN VERSE 12 OF CHAPTER 5 WHERE HE SAYS, “REJOICE AND BE EXCEEDINGLY GLAD FOR GREAT IS YOUR REWARD IN HEAVEN.” THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS IN THIS LIFE THAT ARE GREAT, A LOT OF TREASURES THAT YOU COULD HAVE, BUT YOU KNOW WHAT SURPASSES EVERY SINGLE ONE? THE REWARD IN HEAVEN. HOW DO WE GET THAT REWARD? WE ENDURE THE PERSECUTION, WE LIVE RIGHTEOUSLY, WE UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE THOSE LIKE THE PROPHETS WHO HAD TO ENDURE BEFORE KNOWING THAT THEY LIKE WE, IF WE ENDURE TO THE END, WILL HAVE THE SAME REWARD AND THAT IS HEAVEN. WHAT A GREAT THING TO LOOK FORWARD TO. 2TIMOTHY CHAPTER 2:12: IF WE ENDURE THEN WE SHALL ALSO REIGN WITH HIM. IT IS A TIME WHEN WE CAN LOOK FORWARD TO BEING WITH CHRIST. A TIME WHEN WE CAN BE IN THAT HEAVENLY REALM REJOICING WITH THE SAINTS FOR ALL ETERNITY AND PRAISING THE NAME OF GOD. A PLACE WHERE THERE ARE NO TEARS, NO SORROWS, NO HEARTACHES, AND A PLACE WHERE THERE ARE MANSIONS PREPARED FOR US. THAT'S THE HEAVEN THAT AWAITS US. REVELATION CHAPTER 2:10 REFERS TO THE TRIALS SPOKEN OF IN THE FIRST PART OF THE VERSE AND IT WAS COMING UPON THOSE CHRISTIANS ON THAT DAY. AT THE VERY END HE SAYS, “BE FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH AND I WILL GIVE YOU A CROWN OF LIFE.” THERE IN 2TIMOTHY 4:6-8 HE SAYS IF WE KEEP THE FAITH AND WE DON'T GIVE UP AND FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT. WHAT AWAITS US? THE CROWN OF LIFE. THE CROWN GLORY WHEN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT COMES. JESUS CHRIST WILL JUDGE US FAITHFUL TO HIS CAUSE AS HE SEES OUR LIFE LAID OUT BEFORE HIM. WHAT A GREAT BEATITUDE TO LOOK AT HERE IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 5. AGAIN, THE WORDS THERE IN VERSE 10, “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO ARE PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.” GOD'S PEOPLE HAVE A LOT TO BE HAPPY ABOUT. THEY ARE HIS PEOPLE AND THEY HAVE HIS BLESSINGS. THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS THAT WE HAVE TO FACE BUT THE END RESULT IS WORTH IT ALL AND TO KNOW THAT WE HAVE A HOME IN HEAVEN AND THAT WE WILL TRULY BE BLESSED SOMEDAY, NOT JUST IN THIS LIFE. BUT IN THE ETERNAL LIFE IF WE ENDURE WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS THE THINGS BEFORE US.

CLOSING COMMENTS

THANK YOU AGAIN FOR CHOOSING TO BE WITH US TODAY, IN GIVING THIS TIME TO GOD. I HOPE IT HAS BEEN AN ENCOURAGEMENT AND BLESSING TO ALL OF US. WE INVITE YOU BACK EVERY SUNDAY MORNING AT 7:30, AS WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO THIS SERVICE OF GOD!

IS THERE ANYTHING WE CAN HELP YOU WITH? LET ME ASK YOU IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ABOUT TODAY'S LESSON? MAYBE, YOU WOULD LIKE A FREE TRANSCRIPT OR A CASSETTE TAPE OF THIS PROGRAM? POSSIBLY, WE COULD ASSIST YOU WITH FREE BIBLE MATERIALS OR CORRESPONDENCE COURSES? NO MATTER WHAT YOUR NEED IS, PLEASE CONTACT US AT THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:

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HOW BLESSED WE ARE TO BE ABLE TO SUFFER PERSECUTION AND TRIAL IN THE NAME OF GOD, JUST AS JESUS CHRIST WAS WILLING TO DO! MAY WE ALWAYS PUT GOD FIRST AND SERVE HIM NO MATTER WHAT COMES OUR WAY, KNOWING THAT THE FAITHFUL WILL ULTIMATELY HAVE A GREAT REWARD!