10. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Kingdom of God What is righteousness here? Last time we said what righteousness is. Righteousness is the Kingdom of God. So this is saying, those who work for the Kingdom of God. Those who work for the Kingdom of God are blessed. The Kingdom of God is so important. The conclusion of the OT is Jesus Christ. Then what is the conclusion of the NT? The conclusion of the NT is the Kingdom of God. That is why Jesus said in the Lord’s prayer, “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus taught us to pray that it can happen on earth. So Jesus is not teaching us to escape reality. Our faith should not only focus on the place that we go after death. But instead, Jesus said pray so that it will happen on earth. If we are truly the disciples of Christ, if we are truly true servants of God, then we should work for the Kingdom of God. So here it is saying, those who work for the Kingdom of God.
Persecution But in that process, working for the Kingdom of God, you will be persecuted. But he said, if you are persecuted, you are blessed. He said, when you are persecuted, rejoice and be glad. This is very unfamiliar and strange. Who would ever rejoice and be glad during persecution? But Jesus taught us, rejoice and be glad when you receive persecution ? that it happens: you will be persecuted. If you live for the good in this evil world, you will be persecuted. You are persecuted because you are living the opposite life. So rejoice and be glad when you are persecuted; because the reason you receiving persecution is because you are the child of God; that proves and testifies that you are the worker of the Kingdom of God. So rejoice and be glad. This is so important in faith. When you receive persecution, don’t be sad. When you receive persecution, then you should think, yes now I am being distinguished. Now I am being distinguished from the world. Yes it is true, those who do great work always experience hardship and trials. There are times when we need to leave and give up the small things. So do not be sad when persecuted, but remember this message.
God With Us This is the eighth blessing, this last blessing is truly the greatest blessing of all blessings. This is very paradoxical. When are receive persecution, when we are persecuted, God will be with us. God will not abandon us. God is the one who is always with us, with our sorrows.
Do you know the Christian painting of footsteps on the sand? The man was walking praying to the Lord to walk with him. At first there were two pairs of footsteps. And then walking that way, going on, he was so tired, so weary. Then going on, there was only one pair of footsteps. This man prayed to God again: ‘Lord why are you doing this to me? When I am having a hard time you are supposed to be with me, why are you letting me walk alone?’ Then the Lord said to him, “those were the times I carried you.” So that one pair of footsteps were not the man’s ? they were God’s.
Suffering When you walk this path of faith, there are times when you face difficulty and it is hard for you, but remember that more than you are feeling difficult and sad, God feels that more than you. And you need to remember that the suffering will not just end at suffering. Jesus said, great is your reward. There is a greater reward; you cannot even compare how much greater the reward will be. When we are among hardships and trials, we are able to have greater hope. God gives us greater hope. I wish that we will be able to remember this.
Sincerity And actually, the one who experiences persecution, and the church that experiences persecution, they are deeper. They have faith, and they are more sincere. Because there is self-examination, self-reflection, looking at myself, how I walk that path, there is more exact and thorough self-identity. That is why Jesus said, do not be afraid when you are persecuted.
Sovereign God Jesus said, even one sparrow falling to the ground from the sky, cannot fall without the permission of God. This means that God leads us and guides us in this life, and He will take care of our spirit, He will take care of our future. It is that God will reign, and God will control. He will reign. So when you receive persecution, do not run away, but instead, fix it with sincerity and earnesty, and go on. I wish that when you receive persecution, your heart will not dry up, and your heart will not grow hardened and harsh. Jesus said, in the same way, the prophets before you were also persecuted. We must remember this, and we must go on with gratitude. Also, through suffering and hardship and trials, we are able to experience the heart of God better.
4. who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
5. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
6. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
It is recorded that through distress, we will be able to experience the greater comfort of Christ. We will be able to understand better the suffering of Christ. We will truly be able to understand and know Christ.
There is a greatness in the teaching of Christianity. Christianity is a religion that does not avoid suffering. The meaning of suffering is different. Christianity is not a religion that looks at suffering as just suffering. Christianity looks at suffering with the eyes that the world cannot see, the meaning that the world cannot know. When we experience suffering, we will be able to experience deeper the love and the way of Christ as we walk this way of the Cross.
This is such a paradox, that we will be able to see love through suffering. This is a paradox. So what is suffering? This is so precious. This is so precious and valuable. So when we receive suffering and persecution, we shouldn’t become harsh. We shouldn’t let our hearts dry up, we shouldn’t hate. I wish that we will be the ones who face this and rejoice and be glad. Until now, always, the history of good was always persecuted. But no persecution was able to hinder us. So just like that, persecution does not hinder, does not stop my faith. Peter said…
13. Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?
14. But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”
15. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
16. keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
[1Pe 4:14] If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
Apostle Peter said this. In this message, the disciple of Jesus, the words of the Sermon on the Mount is here. The Word that touches our heart, from the Sermon on the Mount, is here also, in this verse. The disciples lived on remembering how touched they were. It is said here that if you suffer and if you are insulted, and if you are persecuted, then you are blessed, because the glory of God is with you. So I wish that you will remember that persecution is something precious. The one who receives persecution has deep realization. So do not fear persecution. Because if you are persecuted a lot, then later in the days of glory, all those persecutions will be greater glory. And also we need to remember that we should not persecute others. Just because there is difference in faith, we should not persecute nor mistreat each other in any way.
33. When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death.
34. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while.
35. Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men.
36. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing.
37. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered.
38. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.
39. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
This records the story. We should not persecute others, we should not judge others. Because we need to live on with the attitude, leaving all judgment up to God. So I wish that you will not persecute others. Now we finished the eighth blessing that Jesus taught. This is very strange to you. This is not familiar to us. But when this becomes familiar to us, we have become people of the Kingdom of God. When this becomes familiar to us, then we will find peace inside, we will feel joy and happiness. I wish that you will get to be familiar with these eight blessings, and will be able to reveal the glory of God. I wish that you will be able to experience this amazing world.