HAPPINESS IS ... PERSECUTION! Matthew 5:10-12
Nobody likes to be persecuted. We like peace..contentment ... joy and understanding.
We are adherents of happiness and persecution stands over against everything we desire
and hope for in this world and in our living. Persecution is contrary to the life style
we want to develop as members ... even ... of God's family. It's logical, isn't it - that
if we are truly children of God - if we are Christians - we will be honest, truthful,
conscientious, straight forward and logically - wouldn't this kind of life receive the
applause of the world? If we are Christian - it seems that people would gather around
and sing "For he's a jolly good fellow - nobody can deny!"
But yet - this Beatitude, which really is the summary of all the other Beatitudes -
in other words, if we are meek - if we are poor in spirit - if we have these other divine
qualities in our Christian walk - then Jesus says that persecution is a part of it. In
fact, he says something that is absolutely absurd. Our problem is we have heard the
Bible - some of us - too much and we just run over these verses that are non-sensical
that are difficult to understand and we say "surely it means something to me, but I'm
just not a smart enough.....Christian enough .... or read enough to comprehend."
But let me say categorically, this morning ... our Lord and Savior means exactly what
He uttered here and what is recorded by Matthew. He has spoken to us in paradox; He
speaks to us in metaphor; He informs us in hyperbole and here he gives us a straight
word! But an exceedingly difficult word. I wish none of us had heard it before. When
He uttered this phrase on the Sermon on the Mount, we have it in verse 10 - succinct and
brief and then He explains it in verse 11 and 12 - He ...
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