Jesus said to be happy when we’re persecuted. Persecution can be good because: (1) it takes our eyes off earthly rewards, (2) it strips away superficial believers, (3) it strengthens the faith of those who endure, and (4) it serves as an example to others who may follow us. We can be comforted to know that God’s greatest prophets were persecuted in the past (Elijah, Jeremiah, Daniel). Our persecution in the present means we have shown ourselves to be faithful. In the future God will reward the faithful by letting them enter his eternal kingdom where there is no more persecution. – The Life Application Bible, p. 1332
I concluded our study of the beatitudes of Jesus this past Sunday with a message on Mathew 5:10-12. It is a ironic, radical, and paradoxical statement in which Jesus declares those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake are blessed.
Here is the sermon skeleton:
Title: "The Joy of Persecution"
Title: Matthew 5:10-12
Theme: The blessedness of Christian persecution
Point: God blesses those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake.
I. The reality of persecution
A. You will be reviled: "Blessed are you when others revile you" (5:11)
B. You will be persecuted: "and persecute you" (5:11)
C. You will be slandered: "and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account" (5:11)
II. The reasons for persecution
A. Persecution can arise because of your obedience to the word of God: "for righteousness' sake" (5:10)
B. Persecution can arise because of your devotion to the Son of God: "on my account" (5:11)
III. The response to persecution
A. The response: "rejoice and be glad" (5:12)
B. The reasons:
1. Look back and rejoice: "for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (5:12)
2. Look up and rejoice: "for your reward in heaven is great" (5:12)