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Matthew 5:10

The Persecuted Christian

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Our nation's trend toward political correctness could cause a person to believe that just about everyone is persecuted. Minorities in the United States all claim some form of persecution, Jews claim religious persecutions, so do Evangelical Christians; Bahais suffer persecution in Iran and Iraq; Homosexuals claim they are being persecuted, so do pedophiles. The handicapped, native Americans, women, white males, the elderly, the hog farmers, witches, smokers, alcoholics, cab drivers,and truck drivers are all persecuted. You can find many more persecuted groups by simply asking the next person you meet if his group is being persecuted.

Of course, we know that many such claims are exaggerated. Various groups have found that they can get special privileges or services for themselves, if they show that there is some prejudice against them. Even Christians will tend to exaggerate. During class discussions, I have had people tell me that they were persecuted at the office, because someone made an unwelcome remark about their beliefs.

While such harmless remarks might come under the definition of persecution, Jesus obviously meant to use the word in its harshest sense. Persecution takes place when one is maliciously pursued. The Greek word means to put a person to flight out of fear for their own safety. Christianity has millions of martyrs who have died for their faith due to persecution, and Jesus has warned us that this would not be uncommon.

He did not include all persecuted persons in His statement, but only those who are persecuted "due to their righteousness." This follows the progression that He has been establishing: (1.) The spiritually needy (2.) Those that mourn for their need and the need of others. (3.) The meek (4.) those who hunger for the righteousness of God (5.)those who live righteously, the merciful and (6.) the pure of heart who have received God's mercy and righteousness and (7.) the peacemakers.

That those who are persecuted for their righteousness should be blessed, fits no better spot in the characteristics of the saints. It is not enough to live righteously nor to say that we have a pure heart nor to perform works of mercy, if our hearts do notlead us to die for our faith when it becomes necessary. This is the perfect and utmost demonstration of our faith in His salvation. To die for our Lord as He did for us would bring the greatest of all happiness.

Willingly enduring persecution for the sake of righteousness, we are promised the greatest of all rewards,"....for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". Only God can own the kingdom of heaven, so this implies that we will be of His family. We will be His children (v. 9), kings and princes and priests in the kingdom of God. This inheritance is more than just the earth, as in verse (5), but includes all of creation, both heaven and earth.

In a politically correct world, a Christian who warns the world against the consequences of sin will offend people. They will take it personally when told that their religion is leading them to destruction or that their sexual habits are offensive to God. They will rise up in anger when told that Jesus is the only way to heaven and that every other way is a lie. When a Christian is violently persecuted, no one will come to his aid, because his gospel has called everyone a sinner.

Will you stand today on the Rock of Offense... spread the gospel and risk being persecuted? Then, the kingdom of heaven is yours.

Before The Throne:

Pray for this kind of faith. Ask God to take your life from you now and use it as it pleases Him. Ask for the courage to stand firm when times get tough. Pray for the many persecuted Christians around the world. Ask the Lord to make their suffering easy and their trials short. Thank God for giving you His kingdom.

For Further Study:

** are. Matt 10:23; Ps 37:12; Mark 10:30; Luke 6:22; Luke 21:12; John 15:20; Acts 5:40; Acts 8:1; Rom 8:35-39; 1Cor 4:9-13; 2Cor 4:8-12; 2Cor 4:17; Phil 1:28; 2Tim 2:12; 2Tim 3:11; Jas 1:2-5; 1Pet 3:13-14; 1Pet 4:12-16; 1John 3:12; Rev 2:10; ** for. Matt 5:3; 2Thess 1:4-7; Jas 1:12;


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