I just can’t wait to suffer for Jesus! What!?
AUGUST 3, 2022
I just can’t wait to suffer for Jesus! What? Let’s talk about it, on this edition of Key Life.
This is Key Life. We’re here to communicate the freeing truth that God’s not mad at his children. Steve invited our friend Pete Alwinson to teach us all this week. Pete is a former pastor, founder of ForgeTruth.com, and the author of Like Father Like Son.
Thank you Matthew. And hello Key Life. This is Pete Alwinson again, I’m sitting in for Steve Brown this week. And I want you to know it’s great to be with you all. And this week we’ve been circling back to the Beatitudes that we started earlier in the year, doing some review of the first seven Beatitudes. And today we are hitting the eighth Beatitude, which is really a tough one. And so, we’re going to spend two days on it, but here it, Matthew 5, verses 10 and 12.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account, rejoice, and be glad for your reward in heaven is great. For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
This is God’s Holy Word. And I suggest the most difficult of all of the Beatitudes as he wraps it up for us today. You know, I heard just the other day that there was such a thing as the international day of peace or world peace day. And I’m sure that you guys all know about it, but I don’t learn things quickly. And I just learned about it, September 21st. Did you guys know that? Well at any rate, World Peace Day is a good day. I mean, I’m glad we have it. It’s a day devoted, as they say in their literature to strengthen in the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. Now, who could be against that? So, having talked yesterday a little bit about being peacemakers and how important that is. Today we’re going to talk about something that is a hundred percent guaranteed to mess up any attempt that you and I make at bringing peace between people. We’re going talk about the Beatitude that is absolutely devoted to dividing people. And that’s just the way it is. And we’ve got to get used to it. We probably should have titled this talk From Peace to Persecution. But Jesus’ word is powerful and the reality is he came up with this. I didn’t. You want to know what the original meaning behind the word persecution is? The Greek word literally means persecution. It means, it’s not a complex word at all. It’s simply a word that means that if you stand up and live up for Jesus, they’re going to come after you. Some of the great synonyms are like to harass, to annoy, to cruelly pursue, to hound, to bully, to badger, to bate, to torment, to maltreat, and to abuse. And so, the first thing I want you to note, is that persecution takes on many forms. And the affliction that comes from persecution because of our faith can take on many different trajectories. Some people will persecute you just in a teasing way. They’re that person in your office or in your company who always likes to point out that you never do anything fun on Sunday, but you go to church. Or that you’re never fun to go out drinking with us, you only have one. You know, some persecutions cut lightly and some of them can cut deeply. Some can be quite aggressive. A lot of persecutions can be passive aggressive, aggressive, and they can trash your name while they speak nicely to your face. They can get you canceled, embarrassed, fired, arrested, even killed. Like I said, persecution can run the gamut. And in a fallen world where there really is evil and there really are evil people. I mean, listen, just because you’re not paranoid, doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get you, they might be. What Jesus says here is easy enough to understand. Let me unpack it. So, three real brief points. Number one, if you live righteously like Jesus, you’ll be persecuted. Basically this Beatitude means just this, live like Jesus, you’ll be persecuted by somebody at some time and you might be surprised from where it comes. That’s the inevitability of persecution. And why is that? Well, cause you believe in things, that our culture by and large, no longer believes. For instance, if you’re a believer, you do believe, you’ve got to believe in the value of unborn human life. And you’ve got to stand up for that. You believe that there are male and female, this is a controversial subject today, I know, but the Bible says there’s male and female, that settles it for us. If you talk about the exclusive, that’s easy for you to say, let me say that again, the exclusivity of the gospel. If you say there’s only one God, and one way to heaven, you’re going to be persecuted. Never has America been more pluralistic then now? If you talk about the grace of God and that you don’t have to earn your way, that you can’t earn your way to heaven, then you’ll get daggers for people. And so, the reality is we’re persecuted because we approach life and our relationship to God so much differently than others who were out there. And we’re in good company. I mean, the profits of the Old Testament were persecuted. Jesus says in Matthews 16:24.
If anyone wants to come after me, let him deny himself. Take up his cross, follow me.
Oh, say what? Yeah. True discipleship means death to self at minimum and possibly in reality, real death, John 15:20.
If they persecuted me, they’ll persecute you.
Yeah, that’s true. That’s just the way it is. Secondly, I want you to note that Jesus goes on to say that if we’re persecuted for living righteously, then we can be happy. We can be happy, blessed, because really it’s proof that we’re in, that we belong to the Father, that we’ve been forgiven, that we’re in his family forever, that were in his Kingdom. Now, that presupposes that we want really our applause from heaven and not from from earth. I want you to note, but if you and I are persecuted, it means that we can be happy. Number three, I want you to note that this is the only Beatitude with an expanded explanation, because to deal with persecution, you really, I mean, we need more help and explanation. Jesus says that the world will trash talk you, they’ll run your name down in business or on Facebook or Instagram. You may never get your name fully cleared. I mean, once it’s in cyber world, it never gets taken away, unless one of those big company wants to cancel you out. I mean, it’s there forever. I remember when I first started here in ministry in the greater Orlando area, where I live. And I was starting a church, and then, and you know, I wanted everybody to like me. But the reality is somebody left our church. They were mad at me and some of the decisions our leaders made and they left the church and they weren’t nice about it either. And I had this stunning thought that in the greater Orlando area, these people were going to go out and trash talk my name and the name of the church that I served and I could not, I couldn’t do a thing to stop it. And that led me deeply to this idea that I have to find my identity in Jesus. And, I don’t think I did anything wrong to make him mad at me, but the reality is, I can’t fix that. And I had to say, Hey, I have to be willing for my name to be trashed for the glory of God. And, in time it took me a long time, I began to find some joy in that, that even if I was being persecuted for the sake of righteousness, I proved that I was in, that I belonged to Jesus.
Rejoice and be glad, Jesus says, for your reward in heaven is great. For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Why did they persecute the prophets? Well, the prophets told people things they didn’t want to hear. And so, if you tell other Christians things they don’t want to hear, or other people who don’t follow Christ, you could be persecuted. Why were Christians persecuted in the early church? Because they, their views were different on everything. And they were the minority. And so, they could be persecuted. One of the great lessons we learned from the early church is how pro-life they were. And as a result of that, when Romans would go out and expose their baby girls out there to the wolves and the wild animals, Christians would go and pick them up and raise these little girls to the glory of God. And that’s how they stood up in the face of a bad culture. Their practices were different and ours are too, and there were many ways of persecution in the early church, but there was a statement that was made that was so powerful. And that is the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. And so, we’ll talk about it more tomorrow, but you can be happy if you’re persecuted for the sake of righteousness. You take it to heart. Amen.
Thank you Pete. That was our good friend Pete Alwinson beginning his wrap up of his study of the Beatitudes, the so-called Kingdom Manifesto. To borrow a phrase from Steve, Pete is going to land this plane here in Matthew 5 tomorrow. Don’t miss that. And just as a reminder, if you did miss any of this, week’s broadcast with Pete, be sure to catch those at Keylife.org. A lot of great stuff happening there. We have a station finder tool, so say you’re taking a summer road trip, the station finder tool will let you know which radio stations near you will be playing Key Life and Steve Brown Etc. We also have transcripts for Key Life. So, everything you hear Steve or Pete or Matt or Justin teaching, you can get that word for word. Also at Keylife.org you’ll find our digital magazine, sermons, video versions of Steve Brown Etc., a sign up for our weekly e-mail, even a link to our Key Life app. And all of it is still free thanks to the generous support of listeners, just like you. If you’d like to donate, just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. Or you can mail your donation to
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