Bible Lesson 236

PERSECUTION . . . MATTHEW 5:11-16

“The gospel thrives on persecution. It makes better headway against a world that trifles with it. Bitter hostility is better than half-hearted endorsement.”
Vance Havner.

We Will close out our time in the Beatitudes this month and look at how the world and the worldly react to those who live and show what God has done in their lives that we have called the Beatitudes or Blessed.

It has become evident now, that people who are worldly, do not like people who belong to Christ and live as He wills them to live.

They do not like people who are poor in spirit, people who mourn over their sin, people who are meek, or hunger for righteousness, people who are merciful, or peace makers, or people who are salt of the earth and light.

Why do you imagine the world feels that way about Christians’ Christians and the way they live (like Christ) draws attention between their lives and the lives of the sinners.

Our Savior, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, informs us that “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” If you study your Bible you have to know that the world and the devil and all his people did indeed, hate Jesus Christ, because they persecuted him by dishonoring Him, lying against Him, mocking Him and finally demanding His being hung on a cruel cross.

They Tried him in a kangaroo court, a court that had already made up their minds to kill Him because His life made theirs look like dung.

We are told that during the trial and on the way to the site of the cross, they whipped him unmercifully, stripped Him of his clothes, plucked out his beard, punched, spit upon and called Him all kinds of names.

Further than that they nailed him to a cross, as He became sin for us to suffer bleed and die to pay our sin debt, if we ever are really saved. When He was taken from the cross, He could not be identified as a human. (Isaiah 52:14).

You probably never will suffer persecution to that extent; however, if you are truly saved (born again and obedient) you will suffer persecution. We should never chaff at persecution because it is the way that God strengthens His children and prepares us for heaven.

We must remember that we serve a living God who created the world and all that is in them, including you and I. Our grandfather Adam sinned by disobeying God in that perfect garden that God had planted for him. We were all in Adam at that time and everyone born into this world since then was born “dead in trespass and sin, and under the wrath of God.”

Ephesians chapter 2 1-10 speaks to us concerning our problem and says to us who have been saved, “And you He made alive , who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with witch He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).

That my friend says it all, we who were lost and separated from God by our sin, were born again from heaven, and given an inheritance in heaven for our eternal lives. We live in this body of clay and it must be tamed by God and sanctified so that it is fit to inhabit heaven. That’s one of the reasons for persecution which strengthens the true Christian.

Persecution perfects the Christian as it grinds away the old ways of the world. All too often the modern church member tries to avoid persecution by their dalliance with the world. We have too many people who live like the world, so they won’t be recognized as Christians and be persecuted. Christians should take on the world instead of attempting to look like the world.

So, the question becomes ‘ are you really being persecuted, and that would mean have you lost many of your friends who now whisper about you to their friends. Does your work place seem hostile and do screaming liberal point you out to be persecuted’ If not, you are probably not a Christian.

When you know the God of the Word and the Word of God (The Bible), you want everyone to Know God through His Son Jesus Christ, and that is where, as the old folks would say, the rub come in. The world resists Christ and therefore you will be persecuted to one degree or another. We don’t go out looking for a fight with the world, we simply proclaim the gospel, and that always brings persecution.

In closing, let’s agree that the Bible is full of the evidence that true Christians were and are persecuted, so we will be also. God speaks to us there in 2nd Timothy 3:12, and says “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Remember now, they will persecute when you act like Christ, not when you act like a politician. Think on these things.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob