TEXT: Matthew 5:1-12:
1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
After preaching the Gospel every day for 367 days straight throughout the 2016 presidential campaign season, I am preaching the Gospel every day throughout the first 100 days of President Donald Trump’s term. If you think a new president being in office is the only thing needed to save America and ‘make America great again’, you are woefully deceived. The church must follow through and “keep the main thing the main thing: and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’ and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to ‘pray without ceasing’ for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders.” So, we encourage you to pray for the new president, but not to get caught up in the political happenings like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord. And that is what this campaign is all about.
This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 178 since Jan. 20, 2017, day 545 since Jan. 1, 2016.
Thomas Watson said, “To suffer as Christians is to suffer with cheerfulness. Patience is a bearing of the cross; cheerfulness is a taking up of the cross. Christ suffered for us cheerfully. His death was a freewill offering. He thirsted to drink of that cup of blood. Such must our sufferings be for Christ. Cheerfulness perfumes martyrdom and makes it the sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour to God.”
Charles Spurgeon said, “Never did the church so much prosper and so truly thrive as when she was baptized in the blood. The ship of the church never sails so gloriously along as when the bloody spray of her martyrs falls on her deck. We must suffer and we must die, if we are ever to conquer this world for Christ.”
Today, we will continue looking at the eighth of Jesus’ laws for supreme blessing. To recap:
#1 is to be “poor in spirit,” that is, to live in accordance with one’s true standing as an undeserving sinner before God. It is these who will obtain the kingdom of heaven.
#2 is to “mourn” over sin, especially one’s own sin. It is these who will be comforted by God in the end.
#3 is to be “meek,” to depend entirely on God in every situation and not on one’s self. It is these who will “inherit the earth.”
#4 is to “hunger and thirst after righteousness.” Those who do so will experience the fullness of God in their life.
#5 is to be “merciful” so that we might receive “mercy.”
#6 is to be “pure in heart” so that we can “see God.”
#7 is to be “peacemakers” so that we might “be called the children of God.”
#8 is the blessing of the “kingdom of heaven” being granted to those who are “persecuted.”
The words that we are considering today in verses 11-12 are an extension of the eighth and final beatitude. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” As we have already learned, the reviling, persecution, and false accusation that the believer experiences all happens for Jesus’ sake. The reward for suffering as Christians comes only when we are suffering on account of the cross and the crucified Savior. There are plenty of reasons why someone might hate us based on our own human flaws and human nature, but to suffer solely on behalf of Christ is a rare blessing — one which Christ says we should “rejoice and be exceeding glad about.”
Some of the saints of yesterday set a great example of what it means to rejoice and be glad about their persecution. John Rogers was burned alive in England because of his faith in Christ. His children went with him to the place of execution and called out encouragements to him through their tears that he might be strong and not turn back and dishonor Christ. Vanya Moi-se-yev, a young Christian soldier in Communist Russia, was imprisoned and tortured for his faith. The day before his death, he wrote in a letter to his family, ‘I’m going into battle for Jesus Christ; and I don’t know if I’ll be back.’ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the anti-Nazi pastor and spy during World War II, as he left his prison cell on the way to the gallows in 1945, said, “This is the end—for me the beginning of life.”
I am afraid that many of us, when under persecution, take on a smug, look-at-me-I’m-suffering-for-Jesus kind of attitude. We know it is right for us to endure it, but we would rather not go through it. We wish that the cup would be taken from us, and that if it won’t be, we should at least get some credit for drinking it. But that is not the attitude of the man or woman of God who is living a life of supreme blessing. The supremely blessed individual is not looking for pats on the back down here; rather, he is looking for the great rewards of glory. While we ought not to endure persecution for a reward, the simple fact is that Jesus has promised great rewards for those who endure for His sake.
Jesus uses as an example the prophets of old — men who were despised by the world in their day, men who were not welcome in polite company, men who went against the grain of society in order to preach thus saith the Lord. Some were imprisoned, some were thrown to lions, some were sawn in half, some were tossed into a fiery furnace. But they were faithful to God until the end. They did not receive much praise here on earth, but they gained eternal rewards in Heaven.
Do not be surprised at the suffering you bear;
It’s not something strange, so you must not despair.
You share with Christ, and His sufferings you know;
When He comes in glory, your joy will overflow.
If you are insulted because of Christ’s Name,
You’re blessed, for God’s Spirit on you will remain.
Your suffering should never be for what deserves blame;
But if for your faith you’re hurt, be not ashamed.
God’s judgment will start with His own family.
What then will the outcome for godless men be?
In spite of your suffering, do good to all men;
For God will be faithful to you to the end.
For those of you who are not saved, you can enjoy the supreme blessing of the kingdom of heaven by giving your life to Jesus Christ right now. Allow me to show you how:
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to GospelLightSociety.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.