Blessedness and Harassment

Blessedness and Harassment [TRANSCRIPT]

Micah 7:6-7 declares,
For son disavows father, Daughter rises up against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A person’s enemies are the people of his own household. But as for me, I will be on the watch for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.

In Matthew 10:34-37 Jesus says,
Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to turn a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a person’s enemies will be the members of his household. The one who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and the one who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
 
In John 15:18-20 Jesus said,
If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you as well; if they followed My word, they will follow yours also.

John 3:19-21 says,
And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds will be revealed as having been performed in God.

Luke 6:26 says,
Woe to you when all the people speak well of you; for their fathers used to treat the false prophets the same way.

What does the world think when they watch the life and the walk of a follower of Jesus Christ? Does the world, our culture promote the truth and the values that Jesus introduced into the world? What expectations should a follower of Jesus have as they live out the life seen in the Beatitudes that we have studied? Let’s answer those questions.

***

There’s a saying that says, “Disappointment is directly proportional to expectation.” In other words, people experience disappointment when something doesn’t happen like they expected. But the amount of disappointment they experience increases in relation to what they’re expecting.

Another way of saying it, “What are your expectations as a follower of Jesus Christ?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of wrong ideas floating around in our time concerning the faithful follower of Jesus and what they should expect as they live an obedient life.

Some people promote the idea that if you’re a faithful follower of Jesus, you’ll always be happy, healthy, and prosperous. You will have a life of victory over any and all circumstances. Now, while those ideas may sell in prosperous areas of the United States or among those who desire such a life, I have to ask, “Is this what the Truth of God’s Word declares?”

You see, we have been covering the Beatitudes here in Truth Matters. And I explained to you that the word Beatitude can be translated “Happy.” I also covered that how a problem of understanding this occurs when we simply take the word Happy and move from there and on to making assumptions about the life of a follower of Jesus. As we have seen, Jesus has done the defining already for us in the words of the Beatitudes. Happy or happiness is not a state of emotional well-being. Jesus in the Beatitudes is describing a character that is to exist within the life of follower of His and that this happiness is a result not a pursuit.

But this happiness is not what the world and our culture defines as happiness. When the world thinks of being happy, they define happy as being free from problems or worries. They think in terms of having what they want. They say things like, “If I had X amount of money, I will be happy. If I looked a certain way, I will be happy. If I possess certain things, then I’ll be happy.” Now, these all declare that if a person possesses certain things outwardly, that they would be happy within. Well, history and current events declares that nothing could be further from the truth.

Therefore, the expectations of the follower of Jesus should not resemble those of the world. They are not the same. And so, beware of anyone promoting ideas resembling those of the world and not those given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word.

Now, this brings us to the last of the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:10-12. If you read these verses, it should be obvious that they’re very different than the previous ones. Beginning with next week’s Truth Matters we’ll look closely at what Jesus said in these Beatitudes. But before we do, I wanted to provide a prospective before we examine these remaining Beatitudes. You see, in them Jesus connects the word Blessed with harassment and persecution. Now, at first glance these words appear to be going in an opposite direction from where we’ve been going. I think that providing some prospective will help us as we look at these last remaining Beatitudes.

If you look back at where we’ve been in looking at the Beatitudes, Jesus has described His followers as persons who are: Repentant of their sins, they’re Poor in Spirit; They’re Humbled by the grace of God – they’re Gentle; They Desire to be Right with God- they hunger and thirst for righteousness; they’re Caring and compassionate – they’re Merciful; they’re Pure and devoted in their hearts – Pure at Heart; they are Desiring peace - they’re Peacemakers.

Looking at these attributes, on the surface they appear as admirable. They look at the type of citizens any society would applaud and desire. In contrast to this troubled world that we live in, such citizens would seemingly be desired to help and give stability to any culture. Such citizens should tend to be law-abiding and well-meaning additions to any society. You would think.

But there are problems with such an assumption. We only have to look at the life of Jesus to see how the collision of realities occurs when the Light of God enters a dark world. That world does not welcome it. The Apostle John provides us some explanation of this problem in John 3:19-21 when it says,
And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds will be revealed as having been performed in God.

The world does not welcome the Light of God. Quite the opposite. Of all the people, I mean look, of all the people who should have been welcomed to the earth, Jesus stands at the very forefront. By any standard, Jesus was an extraordinary individual. No kinder, gentler, more caring or loving person ever walked the earth. People were drawn to Him and by the way He treated the poor and downcast. Even non-believers are forced to admit what an outstanding person He was. At His trial, even a hardened pagan Roman ruler admitted he found no guilt in Him. And yet, he was hated, He was harassed and violently treated. Why?

Well, Jesus tells us. It’s not a stretch to admit that the world is not a nice place. Evil exists and it exists in the hearts of people who inhabit the world. The truth is, we’re all sinners. But we’re not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners. The Light of God entered the world and the world resisted it because their deeds were and continue to be evil. Jesus said it clearly in John 15:18-20 it says,
If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you as well; if they followed My word, they will follow yours also.

Did you hear what Jesus said to His followers? He recognized and declared what the world thought of Him. He then tells us that if we follow Him, we shouldn’t be surprised if it reacts to us in the same way. We shouldn’t expect applause or congratulations for walking in footsteps of our Master. On the contrary, we should expect the same reaction He received.

I need to point out at this time and remind you that what the Beatitudes has been describing was a life lived before a True and Living God. It is a life inwardly and honestly open before God. This not talking about an outward conformity but an inward honesty concerning their own hearts and the lives before God, a Holy God. This God sees us, He forgives us and He changes us from within. And then He changes how we live and how we walk outwardly in the world. And then that outward walk shines the Light of God and it reacts and not always kindly.

As we approach these last of the Beatitudes, Jesus is saying that we need to manage our expectations of how the world will react when you take on the life His follower. When you become a redeemed follower of Jesus, your life doesn’t follow your expectations. It is now in the hands of the One you follow – namely Jesus Christ.

Jesus gets very specific when he explains how this can play out. He tells us that it’s very possible that the very place of resistance can come from very close relations that we have, some of the most endearing connections in life.

In Matthew 10:34-37 Jesus says,
Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to turn a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a person’s enemies will be the members of his household. The one who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and the one who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

Now, is Jesus saying that He intentionally creates divisions in families? No. He’s saying that when you follow Him, it may create a division within the members of your family who willfully resist the Light that He brings. Not everyone welcomed Jesus when He came. And not everyone will welcome when He comes into your life. But you need to understand that those who resist Him may include close members your family. Jesus disturbed people when He came to the earth and He will continue to do so when He lives in the lives of His followers.

Jesus didn’t come to earth to win a popularity contest. He came into the world to rescue sinners who needed a Savior. Likewise, our life as a follower of Jesus is not a popularity contest either. He said it clearly for us to understand. In Luke 6:26 He says, “Woe to you when all the people speak well of you; for their fathers used to treat the false prophets the same way.” False prophets and false followers are looking for the approval of the world. A true follower only has one person to please, their Master and Savior Jesus Christ.

The simple truth is this, Blessedness, happiness lives in the lives and hearts of those redeemed and changed by the True and the Living God. Such a person will manifest a different life before the world. But living that life will not always meet with the approval of the world around it. We need to understand that from the very beginning. If you understand what to expect you won’t be disappointed. In fact, you’ll understand that you’re exactly where you need be and you are living as you should.

It is the Lord who holds our lives and our destiny in His hands. Our story is not determined by what the world thinks or how it reacts to us. The Psalmist even understood this when he recorded these words in Psalm 27:11-14
Teach me Your way, LORD, And lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Do not turn me over to the desire of my enemies, for false witnesses have risen against me, and the violent witness. I certainly believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.

We have trusted our Redeemer when we accepted His rescue. Likewise, we trust Him all the way to through to the end.

This is very important to understand as you follow our Savior.

This is the truth and the Truth Matters.

Recent

Archive

 2022
 2021

Categories

Tags