Blessed Are the Persecuted (9 of 26) by Jonathan McLeod

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Blessed Are the Persecuted (9 of 26)
Series: Kingdom Life
Jonathan McLeod
Matthew 5:10

''Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven'' (Matt. 5:10).

SCRIPTURE READING

Jesus began his Sermon on the Mount begins with the beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-12). Are there eight or nine beatitudes? In my opinion there are eight beatitudes. The eighth beatitude is ''Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven'' (v. 10). Then in verses 11 and 12, Jesus talks more about persecution.

D. A. Carson calls the beatitudes ''the norms of the kingdom.'' The beatitudes give us a summary of what Jesus expects his people to be. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes, ''All Christians are meant to manifest all of these characteristics.'' The eighth beatitude is slightly different. We shouldn't seek persecution, but we should strive to live according to the teachings of Jesus even if it results in persecution.

[Read Matthew 5:1-12.]

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS

According to Open Doors, a ministry that serves persecuted Christians, each month 322 Christians are killed for their faith, 214 churches and Christian properties are destroyed, and 772 forms of violence are committed against Christians. We've probably all heard the stories of ISIS executing Christians.

When we think about the horror of Christians being killed for their faith, we might question how the words of the eighth beatitude can be true: ''Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake.''

PERSECUTION IS INEVITABLE

Jesus is talking about persecution that is ''for righteousness' sake'' (v. 10) and ''on [his] account'' (v. 11). In other words, it's persecution for following Jesus.
This persecution can take many forms. Persecution is not limited to physical violence. We are persecuted when ''others revile [us]…and utter all kinds of evil against [us] falsely on [Jesus'] account'' (v. 11). During ...


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