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Rejected & Blessed

March 12, 2017 Speaker: Dan Davis Series: #blessed

Topic: Sunday Message Verse: Matthew 5:3–5:10, Matthew 5:11–5:12, John 15:18–15:19, 1 John 3:12–3:13, 1 Peter 4:12, 2 Chronicles 4:17–4:18

Rejected & Blessed

Matthew 5:3-10 NIV

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

ROOTS-SHOOTS-FRUIT-REACTIONS

The first three Beatitudes are like the roots of a plant. They describe what goes on inside our hearts. Jesus says that the blessings of God come to the desperate, the broken, and the surrendered among us.

From there, the evidence in our lives begins to show above the surface like shoots on a plant and buds on a branch. We display these initial signs of life when we hunger and thirst for more of God’s righteousness in our lives.

Those shoots then turn into fruit: these outward expressions of righteousness in our lives toward God and others in things like: being merciful toward others instead being judgmental; becoming increasingly pure of heart (both clean and clear), where we treat other people with respect, honesty, and sincerity; rejecting our personal tendencies to deal with conflict as either peace-breakers or peace-fakers, and instead, we draw upon the love of Jesus, and courageously step into messy relational situations as peace-makers.

When God works in us and we express His love toward others, there will be a reaction, and it's not always positive.

Matthew 5:10 NIV

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Reaction of Persecution

Jesus uses a very intense word to describe the reaction of others toward our pursuit of living a righteous life. The idea of “being persecuted because of righteousness” goes against every instinct within us that wants to believe that a blessed life is a pleasant and harmonious life. Jesus says that's just not so. The word “persecute” means much more than just having people disagree with you and what you believe. It means they oppose you, they oppress you, that they intentionally and proactively reject and harass you, verbally, and in some cases, even violently.

How do we respond to opposition and rejection?

(1) Don't be surprised.

Persecution for your faith doesn't automatically mean that you're doing something wrong. The Bible tells us that an unredeemed, human heart is genuinely hostile toward God and everything He represents… including us. So the more we grow in righteousness, the more we actually can become a potential lightning rod for that hostility.

Matthew 5:11-12 NIV

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.

John 15:18-19 NIV

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

1 John 3:12-13 NIV

12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.

1 Peter 4:12 NIV

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.

How do we respond to opposition and rejection?

(2) Don't be obnoxious.

There is a difference to a negative reaction for our righteousness versus our obnoxiousness..” So if people giving you a hard time because you’re a jerk—there’s nothing spiritual about that. There are times when our obnoxiousness can disguise itself as righteousness. That’s why Jesus kept on attacking the Pharisees and the teachers of the law for their self-righteousness and hypocrisy. They weren't righteous. They were smug and acted superior toward others. True righteousness is rooted in the entirety of the Beatitudes, beginning with our desperation and brokenness before God and leading to a mercy, pure, and peace-making attitude toward others.

Because of Righteousness

“Something’s wrong if all unbelievers hate us. Something’s wrong if all unbelievers like us. If we accurately demonstrate grace and truth, some will be drawn to us and others will be offended by us—just as they were with Jesus.” –Randy Alcorn

How do we respond to opposition and rejection?

(3) Don't be defeated.

Don’t be defeated when you experience persecution, no matter how hard it might get, because the reward that’s waiting for you in the end is more than worth it. Living as a Christian isn't always a mountain top experience. There are times when our hearts get discouraged. There are times when our faith grows weary, and persecution is certainly one of the factors that can wear us down. So how do we overcome that and not give up? The Bible says the answer isn't the one we often hear: “Do more.” “Try harder.” “Have more faith.” The key to persevering faith is focusing on our future reward. The hope of heaven puts our present problems in proper perspective.

Matthew 5:11-12 NIV

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.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NIV

17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

 

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