- Shopping for a car experience
- For the first three centuries Christians knew that their conversion would not ease their life
- Is persecution only about those living in countries where people go to jail for their faith?
Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
- Webster – Persecute – to cause to suffer because of belief.
- God doesn’t call us to be persecuted; he calls us to pursue righteousness
- 3 ways: to your face -behind your backs -physical abuse
Avoiding persecution is avoiding the Kingdom of God
- We are tolerated to the extent we shape our lives, activities, and vocabularies according to what is more or less “normal” where we happen to live. In many ways we human beings swim in schools no less than fish do. Mob mentality. Desire to conform.
- Persecution reveals what side we are on. teams, politics…
- To be persecuted requires a thousand deaths to self
- Grace will be available and we will experience joy
- Illustration of going door to door
Matthew 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven...
Hebrews 11:25-26 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
- What is the kingdom? All of creation made right, with God as king and everything in its rightful place: relationships made right, suffering and death overcome, conflict and wars ended, everything functioning according to the righteousness of God.