Upside Down 8 // Blessed are the Persecuted

Matthew 5:10-12, John 15:18-20, 1 Peter 2:20b

Beatitudes Review:

  • Blessed are the peacemakers – work for a godly peace…a peace that is worth keeping.  Reconciliation is key.

Matthew 5:10-12

  • (NIV) | Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
  • (MSG) | You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens — give a cheer, even! — for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Remember: we tend to be driven by comfort, convenience, and consumerism. Discipleship can be uncomfortable, inconvenient, and costly.

If you live in the way Jesus instructed, you will be seen as a threat to the world. Jesus said that the persecution from the world proves this is not where you belong.

So, if you live with a godly worldview based on the other Beatitudes, you are inviting persecution.

BUT it comes with a reward that is out of this world!

John 15:18-20 (NIV) | If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 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. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”

1 Peter 2:20b (CEV) | God will bless you, if you have to suffer for doing something good.

4 ways persecution can help:

  1. Take our eyes off earthly rewards
  2. Strip away superficial belief
  3. Strengthen your faith
  4. Build your character

Caution in Compromise: Jesus teaches that there will be times when you will be tempted to compromise, but be careful. Know your values, and stand up for Him.

If you are insulted, persecuted, lied about, etc., then you can know you’re in the absolutely best company!

Reconciliation: the heart of Jesus’ rescue mission for humanity.

The Last Supper proved it!

Holy Communion

Reflection Questions

  1. Review the Beatitudes. Which one(s) proved to be most meaningful for you? Which one(s) challenge you the most?
  2. How do you feel about the progression of the Beatitudes that indicate we open ourselves for persecution when we aim to live right-side-up in an upside-down world?
  3. What was Jesus’ main point about persecution?
  4. Pastor Mark gave four ways that persecution can be helpful – two which we must remove from our faith life and two we can add to it. Review those four and discern/discuss how each has or is impacting your life of faith.
  5. What does it mean we must be cautious when it comes to compromise? Why, considering this is something we tend to ascribe to living a life in the Christian faith?