Today’s Scrip-Bit   17 November 2021 Matthew 5:10.

Matthew 5:10.      Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

What a morning! The day’s half done, and I haven’t done my business yet. (smile) But that’s how life intervenes sometimes; getting you behind the eight-ball before you have even begun. So, without further ado, let’s begin. And the Good Book opened today on the Beatitudes, those blessings with which Christ began His Sermon on the Mount, and though we are only going to look specifically at the last section, the scholars offer an excellent explanation of Jesus’ message. 

They say: ‘The opening verses of the Sermon on the Mount indicate that the message deals with the inner state of mind and heart that is the indispensable absolute of true Christian discipleship. It delineates the outward manifestation of character and conduct of true believers and genuine disciples. Thus, the life of the believer, described by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, is a life of grace and glory, which comes from God alone. To make this quality of life the product of man’s human efforts (as does the liberal) is the height of overestimation of man’s ability and underestimation of his depravity. 

To relegate this entire message, Jesus’ longest recorded sermon, to a Jewish only life-style, as do some dispensationalists, is to rob the church of her greatest statement of true Christian living. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus states the spiritual character and quality of the kingdom He would establish, and the basic qualities of this kingdom are fulfilled in the church He would establish. Virtually every section of this message is repeated in substance elsewhere in the New Testament. Nothing here indicated that this message is to be limited in its application to the people of Israel only.’ 

Awright friends, so we now have a working knowledge of what the Beatitudes are supposed to mean, because just reading them without a proper understanding, will lead us astray, since all of them begin with ‘Blessed,’ which means “happy,’ but seem to be applicable to people who are suffering. They all seem rather contradictory to what the world expects. How can a suffering person be blessed and happy eh? But that’s because Jesus is talking about His spiritual kingdom, not that of this physical world, and the spiritual world always seems to be the opposite of the physical. 

Now, according to the scholars ‘Blessed is a basic description of the believer’s inner condition as a result of the work of God. These Beatitudes, like Psalm 1, do not show a man how to be saved, but rather describe the characteristics of one who has been saved.’ 

And finally, (smile) we come to the section we want to look at. It says: ‘Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.’ (Matt. 5:10-11) Yes, my fellow saints, if we live the way Jesus wants us to live, we will face persecution, ridicule and hate from the world around us. 

And the scholars explain: ‘5:10.  As Jesus develops His message, He clearly teaches that such a life causes His people to be in direct contrast to the world in which they live. Therefore He reminds us, Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. The plural use of  “ye” in verse 11 indicates that He foresaw this persecution as touching all His followers. Notice 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”  

There’s absolutely no doubt about that friends! No wonder so many of us don’t acknowledge Christ, or our faith in Him in public, because we are either and/or ashamed and afraid of the repercussions from those around us. But we must remember that no cause is ever easily invoked or maintained. 

Please note what the scholars tell us, re verse 11. ‘Again, Jesus warns that men shall revile you, and persecute you. This became true during His own ministry, in the lives of the apostles, and throughout the history of the church. This persecution spoken of here is twofold. First, it involves a physical pursuing of the persecuted, and second, a personal attack of slander against them.’ 

And that’s why I chose that section of the Beatitudes to look at today my fellow brethren. Some of us are naïve, or just don’t know what to expect in being a true and devout Christian and trying to live by the principles that Christ taught. But it is not a simple matter, as we see from the beginning of the church all the way down to right now. And yuh better believe that in many places, it’s open season on persecuting believers. So it’s not something to be taken lightly. 

However, as our Lord and Saviour always does, He provides solace for us even in those times of persecution. He says: ‘Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.’  (Matt. 5:12) And I know that’s difficult to do when persecution is staring you straight in the face, but it’s a necessary part of walking with Jesus. 

Listen to the scholars again: ‘5:12. Rejoice is the command that grows out of the blessedness of the believer. The phrase ‘Rejoice and be exceeding glad’ means even more, exult! Great is your reward in heaven focuses attention on the eternal destiny of all things. If God is real as He claims, if the Bible is true, if heaven is to be gained, then no temporary earthly trouble or persecution can dispossess the child of God of joy in the prospect of the eternal glory that lies ahead.’ 

And that’s the God-awesome truth! We have to keep our minds tuned to the home we have waiting in heaven for us. Although this one will be pretty rough, the ultimate one will be worth all and any suffering we do down here. Please remember what Jesus said to the disciples later on when He was explaining the whole scenario of His coming and going to them? ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) 

And He has overcome the world through His death, resurrection and ascension, but we have to be strong and remember that this earth is not our home, and for Jesus’ sake, with His strength and wisdom, handle whatever comes against us, knowing that He is faithful who promised. And for those of us who are sincerely attempting to do that, let’s go home declaring (awright!!!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our wonderful position in Christ Jesus. 

Altogether now! ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

Yes friends, let’s keep that glorious future of heaven in our mind’s eye as we walk this evil and ungodly earth. Much LOVE!

…whatever ‘sufferation’ this earthly life brings…the joy of heaven will supersede and totally erase it…as soon as we get there…                                                                                                                              

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8          

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