Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
We’re on everybody. Invite you to take your Bibles again to Matthew chapter five. Um, we’re going to be looking at the last of the beatitudes this morning, but I’m going to read down through the list again. One more time. Uh, Matthew chapter five, we’re going to begin at verse one down through verse 12, seeing the crowds.
He went up on the mountain and when he sat down, his disciples came to him and he opened his mouth and taught them saying blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shell. See God blessed are the peacemakers for, they shall be called sons of God and blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you, falsely on my account, rejoice, and be glad for your reward is great in heaven for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you let’s pray.
Lord, I thank you again this morning for the picture of what it means to walk with Jesus in this passage, living as citizens of the upside down life. Lord, as we reflect on this last one, the one you gave the most commentary on, I pray you, it, you would teach us, teach us what it doesn’t mean, teach us what it does mean and draw us deeper in our love and desire to walk with you because of it.
And Jesus’ name. Amen week, I was driving down Hainesport road, which is the road right out front of our property. And I was heading East and I was, I was driving down East. I saw an interesting guy who was running. He had dark hair. He had a dark beard, dark mustache, and a trim guy. He was running and as he was running, um, he was, he had an unusual outfit on.
I noticed that he had a leopard skin top and a leopard skin pair of shorts. They were like one unit. He had a. Uh, apparently a wig that was about halfway down his back and it was pink. I’m getting a little bit of, I’m hearing something in back of me. It’s like somebody is talking if somebody back there talking and no, I think, I think there may be feedback from one of the speakers.
I don’t know, but everybody else hears it. So anyway, this guy’s running and he’s got pink hair and he has a long frilly wrap, like an eight foot wrap that’s around his neck and he’s got it. It goes around his arm. So he’s holding onto it and he’s running and he’s, and he’s a runner. I mean, he’s, he looks like a runner and he’s running and I’m just miserable and watching.
And I notice every car that goes by he waves to, or, and he does it. It’s not really like a. Uh, smiling saying, hello, it’s almost like a dutiful wave. Well, I drove down and I’m thinking about this guy and about 15 minutes later, I’d finished where I w where I went up the road four and I came in and he was still running.
He actually, actually, he had had a, how do I say this? He had gone up and now he was running my way. So now I’m running with him and riding with him. And it was, it was at least he probably had been running. It was probably a half an hour. So he’s really running. And again, every car that goes by, he’s just doing one of these two.
He hears you. He’s not really looking at, it’s like a dutiful wave. So of course. I’m alone in the car and I’m trying to figure out what is this guy doing? I mean, he’s got this long frilly yellow wrap. He’s got, he’s got leopard skin outfit on, he’s got a black beard, but he’s got long pink hair. What is his statement?
Is he make wise doing this? So I came up with a variety of theories. The first theory was that, uh, he was advertising something and I thought, I don’t see any, I don’t know what he’s advertising. The, the, the second thing I thought he was making some statement about, bout his sexuality. I wasn’t sure what that was, but, but maybe that was something, another thought I thought.
And I don’t think this is true because it was a good run about maybe he’s on drugs, but this is the, the, the, the thought I came up with most. It’s my favorite one. I wonder if the guy lost a bet. And the bad was you have to run and down the road in this outfit and you have to wave at every car that came by.
So that’s the one I’ve landed on. If you’re here today, if you could tell me, I’d really be grateful. I want you to know you got my up attention.
He got me thinking about now. He was obviously doing this for a reason and he got me thinking about it when we come to the eighth beatitude Jesus does stuff to get us thinking about this. Beatitude more exceptionally than any of the other beatitudes. It’s the only beatitude he gives a commentary on it’s as if he is saying, look, I, this one in particular, there’s, there’s stuff about it that you’re going to need to really process.
And I wanna, I wanna, I want you to think about it with me. Couple of things. We, we notice it’s the only one that Jesus gives a commentary on that’s verse 11 and 12. It’s the only one he changes from peak speaking generally, where he says blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
In this one, he goes to the first person. He says, bless it. Are you it’s as if he wants to come, come alongside and say, Hey, I want you to really understand this. I want you to think about this. I want you to, to, to, to reflect on what this is about. I think there’s a couple of weeks reasons why that may have been true, why he gives us extraordinary emphasis on this particular.
Beatitude. One of those I think is because this one is really the fruit of all the others, all the other beatitudes. He says, if you are poor in spirit, if you are, if you hunger and thirst for righteousness, if you’re meek, if you’re merciful, if you’re a peace maker, then this is what you can expect. Number eight.
Okay. Another reason I think he’s talking about this exceptionally is because this one is done to you by others. You mourn, you are poor in spirit. You are merciful. You are to be in peacemaker, but you are the recipient of persecution. And the third thing. I think because persecution feels really bad and can be very confusing.
So I’d like to just try to unpack this a little bit this morning and try to understand what is Jesus saying here and simple three point outline reality of persecution. If you belong to Jesus kingdom, those who are persecuted it’s as inferred it’s expect the word persecute is literally the word to pursue or to hunt down.
It’s often used in the new Testament, translated by persecution, but also in those other ways, a definition of persecution. And this is a broad definition is the act of practice of pursuing others with malicious intent on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or beliefs that differ from those of the persecutor.
I intentionally take the broadest sense of the definition to highlight that it isn’t just Christians that are persecuted Jews have been persecuted for centuries all over the world. Gays are persecuted now in our culture, minorities in any culture will tend to be persecuted in any culture at any time anyone’s singled out and penalized for being different tends to be persecuted.
Police officers tend to be persecuted today, lumped in with everyone out there. There is just a sense of which many, many people can be persecuted. Now, the reason I’m saying that is to say Christians don’t have a monopoly on being persecuted, but Christians do have a monopoly on the reason they are persecuted.
And that’s what Jesus highlights here. Jesus is saying, if you are a member of my kingdom, you will be persecuted with malicious and pursued with malicious intent. It’s connection to be attitude. One is striking. If you notice the attitude one, he says this back in verse three, blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
He comes down to the last one. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The same statement. I mentioned this when I did the first sermon on the poor in spirit, that this is a, a. An exegetical methodology of what’s called inclusion. In other words, you say something about the first one, and you say the same thing about the last one, and it’s a way of saying, and it’s true of all the rest that basically this is a package and he is saying those that are a part of my kingdom are those that have these qualities of life.
They will experience these things. And just as they have poverty of spirit and, and sense the desperateness of their need for Christ, they will just as surely be marked by the fact that they will be pursued with malicious intent because of righteousness. Second, Timothy chapter three verse 12 says, Paul says it this way.
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ, Jesus will be persecuted. Now this persecution comes in different forms to some of the boys that were listening to the first presentation of this. Sermon of Jesus. This sermon on the Mount, the 12 apostles. This is how fairly a reputable church tradition and history has summarized their lives.
Their ending James, the brother of John was beheaded. Phillip was whipped thrown into prison, and then crucified. Matthew was slain with the sword. James, the less, the other James in the apostles was stoned to death Mathias who became the apostle that replaced Judas was stoned. And then beheaded, Andrew was crucified and then left hanging on the cross for three days.
Peter was crucified upside down at his own request because he didn’t feel worthy to be crucified in the same way. Jesus was Jude or also called Thaddeus was crucified Bartholomew also called Nathaniel was beaten with clubs and then crucified. Thomas was speared to death. Simon, the zealot was crucified, John.
Was the only one that wasn’t martyred and he was exiled to the Island of Patmos, where he died as a prisoner, many believers in the world today are facing persecution in the extreme form, death incarceration, torture. Now, if you’re not a believer in Jesus Christ this morning and you’re listening online or you’re listening in the room, I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking, sign me up. I mean, that is the most compelling challenge to become a Christian th th the most effective, um, recruitment speech I’ve ever heard. Well, of course it’s not. And happily, most of us will not experience the extremity of persecution as many brothers and sisters around the world will, but.
X there will be persecution. Persecution can come in the signed form of disdain, mockery, history, hostility, rejection, accusation, slander, and verse 11 lists. Some of those. Here’s what it says in verse 11 of our text. When others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you, falsely on my account, a number of you face sarcasm or painful separation from a spouse or family member that does not appreciate your faith.
Some of you have a promotion at work that seems elusive because of your principles as a follower of Jesus, some of you may feel mockery for the seriousness of your faith. The practice of your convictions are refusing to go along with the crowd. And here’s my question. Why? I mean, Jesus is a really nice guy, right?
I mean, who doesn’t like Jesus. There was a big survey done a number of years ago. And they said, what’s the one word this has done of secular people of everybody. What’s the one word that describes Jesus. And the most commonly expressed word was gentle. I mean, who persecutes a gentle person? I mean, why, why persecute Christians?
I mean, I mean, we have principles of honesty and integrity and, and be kind and love your neighbor, man, who wants to persecute those people? Well, somebody does, because Jesus says that all who pursue righteousness who want to live godly in Christ, Jesus will face persecution. So my second question is this why, the reasons for persecution, if you belong to Jesus kingdom and he says it.
You are persecuted for righteousness. But before I get to that, I want to talk about bogus reasons for being persecuted. Now, this is kind of where I think I’m going to step into it, but there are things we bring on ourselves, right? And I think this is important to just remind ourselves of, because this whole persecution thing, you know, they call it the old persecution complex.
Well, that’s certainly, uh, inherent in the Christian circles as well. It’s very possible to feel we’re being persecuted because we are a Jesus follower when we are getting what is normal human reaction to ignorant or unpleasant human behavior. It is not saying, bless it are they, which are persecuted because they’re obnoxious or arrogant or mocking of others.
You may be suffering ostracism people avoiding you, talking about you, but it’s not your Christ likeness. That is, they are reacting to. It’s just your way of responding to people who believe and live differently than you do. And I think that’s important. I would, I would go this far. It is also not saying bless it or those who are persecuted because they’re trying to make people follow their standards.
Now, this one, I want you to process with me in the early church and in the, uh, season of the Roman empire, when the church was, was exploding and people were coming to Jesus, there was an accusation that was made of believers. And they were often ostracized. It was one of the things that Roman governors or tribunals would, would, would list.
And it was the word they are. Midler’s I’m going to read a passage for you where that word is used and how Paul talks about it. And it was basically that they were trying to make everyone else behave. Like Christians think like Christians act like Christians and Paul, even in passages said, be careful because there are there, there are people that have a form of godliness, you know, they have the verbiage, but they deny its power.
And he says, we, Christians can, can expect people without the spirit to produce what it can only be produced by the spirit. Let me read you a passage that Paul wrote, excuse me, Peter wrote and Peter, the gospel of first Peter, the epistle first, Peter is the primary new Testament book on suffering. By the way, he talks more about suffering persecution and ostracism for our faith than anything else.
And he says this beloved do not be surprised at the fiery trial. When it comes upon you to test you as though something strange were happening to you, but rejoice in so far as you share, Christ’s sufferings that you also may rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you’re blessed because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you, but not let let none of you suffer as a murder or a thief or an evildoer or a Mettler.
It’s the very work you had. If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glory in that name. What he’s saying is. That if you’re suffering as a murderer, if you’re suffering, don’t, don’t say that being persecuted, but he also says be careful of this thing that they’re accusing us of, which is meddling.
So what does this actually mean? Welfare? Who is one of the preeminent, uh, lexicographers, who, who actually, uh, dealt with the Greek language everybody looks to in seminaries. Here’s what he says about the term. The word Medlar here in first, Peter four, Peter seems to refer to those who with Holy, but in temperate zeal metal, with the affairs of the Gentiles, whether public or private, civil, or sacred in order to make them conform to the Christian standard.
In other words, trying to make your cubicle mate at work act with your convictions, Vogel, like you view their moral choices. Like you screen their music, their movies, their entertainment, like you. They will consider you a Medler. If we are known for our politics or our social convictions, more than our love for Christ, more than our love for people, then we have moved into, they just view us as the Mendler.
Jesus is saying here, that’s not what I’m talking about. When you are persecuted, you’re persecuted
for righteousness. So what does that mean? Well, that’s what I want to look at together.
And Peter is saying here, if you’re suffering for yielding to Jesus, Lord, he says don’t be ashamed. But if you’re suffering for being a Medler telling everyone else how to live their lives, acting like they’re perverted and less than because they disagree with you. You may be persecuted. But it’s unlikely.
It’s for Jesus. All right. That’s where I stepped into it. I’m trying to step out now. Bless had reasons for being persecuted righteousness. What’s he saying here? If you have your Bible, look at first Peter chapter, excuse me, Matthew chapter five. Again, if you look at Matthew chapter five, you’ll notice he says this in verse nine, verse 10.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake or for righteousness, depends on which we’re seeing the same. Then you jump down to verse 11 and he says, this blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account, he says, there’s two reasons you can be persecuted one.
He says for righteousness, literally the word. That that goes before righteousness is the word on account of righteousness. Okay. Then he comes to verse 11 and he says, another reason you can be persecuted is on my account. And literally it is word is exactly the same phrase that he see. He says, you can be persecuted for the sake of, or on account of righteousness.
You can be persecuted in verse 11 for the sake of, or on account of me. So what Jesus is saying is what causes us to be persecuted. He says pursuing righteousness, pursuing me. When we talked to earlier about one of the beatitudes, it was, we are marked and we value in Jesus’ kingdom, hungering and thirsting for.
Righteousness. I mentioned there that most of all, this is saying that the thing that, that is the passion of our lives, what, what we, what we hunger for, what we thirst for, what we can’t live without is Jesus himself, and then living for his glory. That’s what he’s talking about. He’s saying if Jesus is your heartthrob, if he is what you long for and what you, what you love, if it is desiring to please see him as an expression of your love, he says, you will, you will be persecuted if Jesus is first.
Now, does that mean when I, what I said earlier that we’re, we’re not meddling, does it mean we don’t live out our convictions? Absolutely not. We do live out our convictions. We gently, but faithfully stand with those things that are priorities to us. We just don’t ask non-Christians to be those that have the spirit when they don’t have the spirit.
But certainly we walk with the passion and Jesus says, if I am your passion, if I’m what you hunger for, if I’m what lights, the fire of your life and doing what I want you to do, if you’re crazy about me, more than anything else you will find. Okay. Persecution. Now again, I come back to my question. Why? I mean, people like Jesus, most of all, pretty much, um, people, Christian principles, pretty much.
Why does he say if you love Jesus, most, if you love doing Jesus will most, you will suffer persecution.
Because Jesus has an enemy. And he’s your enemy because you identify with him and the enemy is not usually going to be person at work that is mocking about your faith. The ultimate enemy is the enemy. It is the one that insights and, and, and why there’s so many times when people react to us negatively.
And I’ll show us this later on in a couple of practical thoughts where people are, are mistreating and, and, and yes, we can say, well, it’s, it’s because I love Jesus, but honestly, that’s not their motivation. Their motivation is just they’re ticked off because of, of it’s inconveniencing them somehow.
They’re not ultimately the enemy, but there is an insider. That’s why, as we’ll see, persecution can come from even God’s children. Persecution can come from people that are not against us personally, but there can be an incitement to that. They might even feel they’re doing God’s work. The Pharisee certainly will persecution will come in the most unexpected places.
Sometimes workmates, sometimes classmates, sometimes teachers, sometimes family members, sometimes friends, sometimes other believers, they might feel they’re doing God’s work. The Pharisee certainly felt that way. Taking the moral high road, I feel you’re being too rigid in your convictions. They may feel you’re being a compromiser or too.
Open-minded what you have to know is where Jesus is leading you and you have to stay with him. And you have to have the courage to believe this is what God’s called me to do. This is my convictions. These are my, my personal beliefs that I’m holding onto. I won’t compromise. And on account of those, there will be opposition, but we need to realize who the real enemy is when we’re persecuted.
There’s no question. I’ll say it this way. I have persecuted people that are believers. I don’t think I did it intentionally, but looking back, I realized my way, my expectations, my response, that they felt the weight and the heart, and we’ve all been used to make life harder. Even for other people. We love the ultimate enemy is the enemy.
So, how do we respond to persecution? If we belong to Jesus well, wrong ways and been, just touch on these. We don’t retaliate Romans 12, 17 says it this way. Repay no one evil for evil, Matthew 10 verse 16. How are we to behave before the world? Jesus tells you, I’m sending you out a sheep in the midst of wolves.
So be wise and serpents as serpents and innocent as doves, we have to be very careful as believers that we don’t have a bunch of triggers. It’s really easy. We’re in a trigger day, right? We’re in we’re in a day where, where people have short fuses to mix my metaphors, that it’s possible. It’s easy to have triggers that cause us to respond with anger, angry that Christians are the people always getting taken advantage of.
That our freedoms are taken away. Our rights are not honored. And so we blast the cyber world with our perceived injustices, but we will likely more sound more like the wolfs than the doves and the sheep that Jesus says he is sending us to be that we don’t retaliate that we’re not angry. People that we don’t speak in retaliatory verbiage.
We don’t respond with resentment. Bitter makes bitterness makes everybody scary people. I mean, there’s no such thing as somebody that’s consumed with bitterness, that is a welcoming person. You just sense it. It’s, it’s an aura that we all have when we’re carrying betterness within us. It repels people.
Learning to forgive is so much the principle of Jesus. As we talked about, when we talked about what it means that, that in his upside down world, his people are meek. They don’t fight for perceived rights. They, they yield, they forgive, they the model, the, the truly remarkably supernatural quality of forgiving people, the wrong them.
So how do we respond when we are persecuted number one, he tells us in this passage, rejoice in your identity. He says it this way, rejoice, and be glad from the same way they persecuted the prophets before you, if you’re pursuing righteousness in Jesus and feeling the fiery rejection of hostility of others, he says rejoice, because it identifies you with the best of God’s people.
The profits here are held as, as the examples of those courageous men and women of, of old Testament times, he said, you’re, you’re sharing in their life in their experience. It’s why the disciples, when they were persecuted, it says they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for his sake. Why did they rejoice while back Marianne, um, threw a party for me and Marion’s not a, a big group person.
I like things like last night with the painters and the celebration. Um, this wasn’t that big a party, but we, she threw a party for me unexpectedly and meant a lot to me. And I knew what had been going on in her life and all that she was working through. And I knew the cost. It was to her. And I, I talked to her about it afterwards and I said, you know, it meant so much to me.
And you did, you must, must’ve done so much. And it turned out there was more than I knew that she had sacrificed to do it. But I remember what she said to me. She said, this, you’re sorry, you’re worth it.
What a lovely thing. As God’s kids, to be able to experience things, because we belong to him that are hard and say you’re worth it. I mean, it’s worth it to me to not be understood, to be slandered to me, to mirror whatever it is that you experience in your life for, for, to, to be ostracized. He says if, if it is because this is coming to some degree, simply because I belong to you and then.
You’re worth it. That’s what the prophet said. And he says, you’re like one of the prophets, you’re one of my people that say he’s worth it to lose a promotion. If it costs that for following Christ, you’re worth it to be misunderstood and misrepresented he’s worth it. And he says, you, you joined with all my people that have made that statement.
Jesus you’re worth it. You’re worth it to me. He says another thing. He says, rejoice in that. And the disciples said, Christ, we rejoice that were counted worthy to suffer for you to identify with you. Why? Because those guys 11 of whom died as martyrs. One who lived alone on an Island. To his death. They all felt Jesus was absolutely worth it.
He says also rejoice for a second reason in this passage, he says, rejoice in your reward. Great. Is your reward in heaven? Verse 12? I don’t think any of us really know what the reward is. I don’t think he’s talking about stuff that you’re going to get a bigger house. You’re going to get a cooler mansion.
Uh, I, I don’t think that’s what he’s talking about. One thing I know he’s talking about is he talks about statements that, that Jesus is going to make well done. Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord. There’s going to be some sense of joy of the reward, looking back and saying I’m so glad.
I didn’t take the easy way. I’m so glad that I did believe Jesus was worth it. And yeah. And then I did experiencing things because I wanted Christ most of all, that, that sense of pleasure. And I don’t think heaven’s going to be a place of horrible shame or anything like that. But I do think this is real, that there is going to be that sense where we’re going to have a moment of reckoning and remembering and thinking, man, I’m so glad I, I didn’t bag it.
I didn’t weasel out. I stood with Jesus and I sensed the pleasure of one who he identifies as a guy who said, Jesus, you, you are worth it. You’re worth it. He says, remember the source. This is the third thing to remember in persecution. I mentioned this briefly, Ephesians six verse 12 says the fiery arrows of Satan come against us.
I mean, real they’re scary. Many times the persecutor is not your enemy. He or she may be at that moment, a tool of the enemy, and it can be anybody often. They are attacking you because they perceive you’re doing them harm illustration recently. And, uh, it was a story from Franklin Graham. Uh, it actually was, well, I’ll read you what happened.
Here’s what happened. Sam dogger had been a maitre D at the world, famous Phoenicia hotel in Beirut before Lebanon’s terrible civil war just before the war broke out. He left the hotel to plant a small church in one of the poorest areas of the city. When he approached the hotel manager to inform him that he was resigning, the following dialogue occurred.
God has called me to preach Sam till the manager I’m leaving the hotel. You’re full. You’re crazy a man in your position, making good money and you quit. I leave for something more important than money. I’m going to preach the name of Jesus. You’re going to give up this good position to preach for some God, you must be crazy.
No, I’ll tell you the right thing to do. You stay here and make money. I need you. He responded. I can’t stay any longer. I’ve prayed about this and this is what I must do. Then the hotel manager grew angry and shouted. I curse you one day. You will come to the threshold of my door and you will beg for a crust of bread.
And I won’t give it to you. I will let you starve. You hear my words, not a crust. Now in, in Franklin, Graham’s sequel to this story, he talks about how after the Beirut, uh, all that went on in Lebanon, this a guy actually showed up at Sam’s door. Begging for food, but I want to, this is the part of the story I want to highlight.
I don’t think that hotel manager hated Jesus. I don’t think he even hated Sam. I think he felt I need you. I know you mean you’re gonna, you’re gonna leave me here high and dry. You’re going to go off and do something else. I need you here. Do you know how hard this is to run this stinking hotel? And you’re one of my key people and you’re, you’re a productive worker and you’re now going to go.
I think if he had said that he was going to go and go to a rival restaurant, or if he had said he was going to go, he always wanted to be a carpenter and he was going to give it a run and be a carpenter. I think the guy would have responded exactly the same way. Why? Because Sam was inconveniencing him.
Here’s what I’m saying. There’s a lot of times people are not responding to us because they hate Christ. And they’re, they’re, anti-God, they’re just responding because your Christian faith makes them uncomfortable. The decisions you make, make work harder for them. And just practical things. I’m saying all this to say this, they’re not usually the enemy.
They’re not your enemy. They’re not God’s enemy. And, and, and now they’re being used that way. But I find it when I have been in a position where I feel I’m a recipient of something it’s really important for me to remember. I need to not look at this situation that this is my enemy. This is a victim of the enemy.
Now, still some really hard things, right? Some things people do very personally, some things people hurt you with. But if you really got it in their lives, you’d find out like the home, tell the manager, this guys, he’s dying to keep this hotel running. He’s ticked because you’re making his life so much more complicated.
Now that’s not what the devil has in mind. The devil wants to keep Sam from starting this church. The devil wants to the devil’s against him, but the hotel manager, you know, it would be easy as a Christian walk away and say that hotel manager, he is just dirt. He hates God. He hates me because I’m a Christian.
Now. He just was frustrated. Now he had more work on his plate. Now, again, was this guy persecuted? Absolutely. But I don’t know. Tell him manager was the primary persecutor. It was the enemy. And I think it helps us to remember. That our persecutors are not in most cases, our enemy and nor are they intentionally.
Sometimes they are intentionally gods. I think this is true. I’ve known many families have had young families that have felt called to go to the mission field and grandparents who are not believers or even some that are believers are very upset, very frustrated, very Y. And it feels like they’re against the call of God and, and they’re against, uh, serving Jesus.
And, and they’re just, they’re just against doing life with their only grandkids. It’s, it’s, it’s just remembering the enemy is not the people usually, but there is an enemy. And persecution will feel how it feels, but it does affect how we respond to the people which leads to two quick, other things, restrain your response.
Romans 12 verse 19 says it this way. Beloved never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God for it is written. Vengeance is mine. I will repay says the Lord when you’re persecuted, when you’re harassed, when people treat, you mean, you need to believe that God is big enough to care for it in his own way.
He says, leave room for God’s mad wrath. Well, we want to move in and fill the space. We’ll take care of it. We’ll retaliate. We’ll we’ll declare the injustice, no leave room for it. We need to have the faith in God that we don’t have to avenge ourselves. We can trust him to protect us. We can trust him to make right.
What’s been wrong. And then the last thing which that ties into. Rest in God, Psalm 37, verse seven, be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Fret, not yourself. Over the one who prospers in his way over the man who carries out evil devices.
God is enough. And if he’s allowing you right now to be suffering, to be pursued, to feel ostracism, to feel loss, he says, man delight in the fact that this has always been true. My children, that there’s an enemy that is he, he knows that the greatest way to hurt the father is by hurting his kids. So he attacks you.
He says glory in that say, Lord, you’re worth it. And I’m resting in you. I’m trusting in you. I’m leaning into you now to give me the strength and the grace to respond with gentleness. Returning good for evil to the glory of God, Lord, you know where everybody in this room and online is this morning, you know exactly where application needs to take place.
I pray you would do that father in Jesus name. Amen. Now go in peace to love and serve and enjoy the Lord.