This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on December 5th 2021 by Navaz D via zoom. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.
CREATING A COUNTERCULTURE PART 8. CONCLUDING
Blessed are those
who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matt 5:10
Over the last few weeks, we have been looking at how
Jesus came to usher in the Father's Kingdom-We called it an upside-down,
inside out Kingdom.
Actually, Jesus came to turn his Kingdom from the right side up and
lived from the inside -out. The Pharisees had turned it upside down and
corrupted the beautiful law of the Lord.
I was thinking about this. How did David love the law of the Lord
so much that he wrote amazing psalms around it? In fact, the longest Psalm 119,
is a tribute to the Law of God. Surely it could not have been so bad!!! It was
the interpretation and practice of it that was messed up.
It’s like someone using a Ferrari as a waggon being pulled by 2
bulls. It is a complete misuse and abuse of a beautiful car. Till the maker of
the car comes along and shows you how to use it. He unhinges the car and shows
them its proper use.
So, let’s dive into today’s concluding verse in this series. And it
is a timely word given the season in which we are living.
Remember we said the Beatitudes cannot be understood nor practised
in isolation of each other. They build upon each one another.
Notice that the beatitudes have a progression. We first need to be poor in spirit, recognizing your
spiritual bankruptcy, which leads us to mourn over our condition, and
then we are meek and humble because of that condition and realize we
need to hunger and thirst for His kingdom. From that place, we can grant mercy
to others because we have experienced it first. Those who seek
righteousness will cultivate a pure heart and want to bring peace in
Blessed are those
who are persecuted because of righteousness.
True happiness, the blessing of God and favour come from living in the right relationship with Him and
in the right manner with people. When we fulfil the law of God we are truly
The first 7 are
about what is expected of a Christian who is living our Kingdom culture.
The last one
tells you what will happen to you when you want to be Christ-like!!! Any takers? This is the litmus test. If we are living up to
the other 7, the eighth one will follow. Will we give up the standard of
Kingdom culture to avoid being persecuted?
Blessed are the
persecuted for the sake of righteousness.
I like the way
Jesus is not careless with His words. HE is very clear who is blessed and
2. WHAT PERSECUTION
· Now if we do something foolish we are not blessed.
Even if it is a Christian thing. We are to be wise as serpents and innocent as
We must be
ready to give an answer to everyone who asks. And our speech needs to be
seasoned with salt. Our deeds must speak more than our words. Let your
love provoke the questions asking about the hope you enjoy.
Do not be
offensive in your language toward other people’s faith.
Do not force
people to do things against their conviction.
Do not provoke
the authorities by being brash
or obnoxious. The church in China and South Korea survived and flourished
because they learned to be wise as serpents. If you are living the beatitudes right,
trust me you will face persecution. Why? Am I not living a good life?
Exactly for that
reason. Light and darkness have nothing in common. We come from not only
two different but opposing kingdoms. Our new nature in Christ is offensive and
a stench in the nostrils of some.
As Paul warned in 2 Timothy 3:12,
“All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Peter told
his readers, “Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you . . . as though
some strange thing were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).
Remember is it persecuted because of Christ i.e when we live like Him and do what He tell us to do.
WHAT IS RIGHTEOUS
It is living
according to the Word of God. There is a
difference between being self-righteous and righteous for Christ’s sake. Self-righteous
is when we think we are right and feel we need to defend our convictions.
Righteousness for Christ’s sake is the
qualifier. Not every moral person who is persecuted is blessed in this
manner. Righteousness for Christ’s sake may sometimes mean letting go of your
ego or the issue because in that situation love is the greater motive. That is
why we need to always walk in step with the Holy Spirit and abide in His
Word to understand what the will of the Lord is.
sermon on the mount into practice is not easy. We are asked to love our enemy,
to pray for those who hate us and to bless those who curse us. This is counterculture.
The Kingdom of God is not about entitlement, my rights etc. It is about
laying down your life.
WHAT DOES PERSECUTION LOOK LIKE ON A
Not everyone will
be called to be a martyr or go to jail etc. Yet our convictions are challenged
daily. And we need to learn to grow strong in our convictions by taking a stand
in small steps.
· At work –Doing what is asked without fudging anything even
if team members are pressurizing you to do it. What will you do?
· Those white lies you are asked to tell to cover up for
· When the boss has it in for you when you work hard but want
to establish a work life balance and log off on time so you can spend time with
your family. Your promotion is denied.
· When family taunt you for your faith or threaten to disown you.
“If you have run
with men on foot and they have made you tired, then how can you run as fast as
horses? ( Jer 12:5)
4. WHY DO YOU GET PERSECUTED?
Why would anyone
have something against a meek person? Against someone who shows mercy, or the
pure in heart or for that matter a peacemaker? It does not make sense.
Two responses to
righteous living –
It can provoke
someone to want to know the hope to which you are called.
It can provoke
persecution because they cannot deal with their guilty conscience. So, they
blame you for making them feel the way they do.
When people love their
evil lifestyle or choices or something false, they need to justify that love. And
then they need to demonize you because unless they do that, they can’t hate
you. So, they begin to believe false things about you to justify their
hate. This is the root cause of persecution.
In church when
you confront sin, people lash out
at you. Don’t expect everyone to applaud your sacrifice. You did not do it for
them. If you live for the praises of men, you will die by their criticism.
I would ask this
question today – Have you been persecuted for righteousness’s sake. Be careful how you answer this? Sometimes we can be right,
but our actions are so wrong that it invites brickbats. But if people have
never noticed that you are different then you need to examine yourself. We
are in this World but not of its values and systems.
God has given us
His holy spirit to strengthen us, encourage and
comfort us, guide and lead us into all truth. His Holy Spirit is the divine
power that gives us the strength to say no to sin and yes to ungodly choices.
righteous living that got persecuted
Abel was killed
David was hunted
murdered by David
Elijah by Jezebel
Daniel and his
Foxes Book of
Chinse church and
CONCLUSION: HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO
How do we display our kingdom culture? Firstly, do not go
V11 says we are
blessed when people falsely accuse us and slander us. We need to rejoice and be glad because we suffer the same
fate as Jesus. No servant is greater than his Master.
We must bless
them, pray for them, do good to them.
that these troubles are but for a while. (2 Cor 4:17) There is a crown that awaits
all those who persevere till the end. We do not stand alone. We have 1000s
stand beside us cheering us on – the great cloud of witnesses. (Heb 12:1)
The promise is
the Kingdom of heaven – here and now and in the age to come.
Let’s pray for
the persecuted church now.
By being salt and
light (v13) We preserve society and prevent its decay
We are asked to
rejoice and be exceedingly glad because we have a reward in heaven waiting for
The Christian calling is a great one. It is
the highest and the most challenging one you will ever have to live up to.
All of us have a Christian calling – to
live to glorify Jesus.
And if we are children then we are heirs of God
and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in
order that we may also be glorified
with him. ( Rom 8:17)
is God’s will for the earth. Your kingdom comes you will be done on earth as it is
in heaven. This is what we are asked to pray for. And it will come as you and I
usher it in by our lifestyle and our practice.
Over the last few
weeks, we took you through what it is to be poor in spirit, to mourn,
to be meek, to hunger and thrust for righteousness, to be merciful,
to be pure in heart, to be a peacemaker.
How has this
teaching challenged and changed you? Ask God to show you how. He will strengthen
you, guide you and lead you.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.