I am preaching through the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) on Wednesday nights. Last night, I complete the introductory section - The Beatitudes of Jesus (Matt. 5:3-12).
The next section of the passage in Matthew 5:13-16, where Jesus describes the influence his disciples should have on the world for the kingdom of heaven. Using to gripping and dynamic word pictures, Jesus declares, "You are the salt of the earth" (5:13) and "You are the light of the world" (5:14-16).
Following this paragraph, I will be venturing into new ground in my exposition. Over the past two months, I have taken a fresh look at the beatitudes. But I have benefited from study notes that I already had on file. But I am now at a place in the text where I must study each text from scratch. I am looking forward to digging into portions of scripture that I have never studied or taught before. But it will require a lot more work. So please remember my study time in your prayers and my sequential exposition of Philippians on Sundays and the Sermon on the Mount on Wednesdays.
I preached last night from the final beatitude recorded in Matthew 5:10-12, in which Jesus blesses those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. I entitled the message, "In the Line of Fire." It was very hard work. But the Lord is faithful. Here is the sermon skeleton from last night's message:
Title: "In the Line of Fire"
Text: Matthew 5:10-12
Series: The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7)
Theme: The blessing of Christian persecution
Point: The Lord blesses those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake.
I. The reality of Christian persecution (5:10-11)
A. You will be reviled (v. 11)
B. You will be persecuted (v. 11)
C. You will be slandered (v. 11)
II. The reason for Christian persecution (5:10-11)
A. You will be persecuted for righteousness' sake (v. 10)
B. You will be persecuted for Christ's sake (v. 11)
III. The response to Christian persecution (5:12)
A. Look up and rejoice: "for your reward is great in heaven"
B. Look back and rejoice: "for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you"