22nd October 2023

The Righteousness that Invites Persecution

Passage: Matthew 5:10, John 7:37-39, 2 Timothy 3:11-12
Service Type:

Automatically Generated Transcript

Turning on the television and seeing the cricket, my heart leaped for joy, and then I realised it was England and South Africa playing. So I wasn't quite so happy. But nonetheless, a little bit of cricket helps the day. And they had at one stage there an anthem from England, and the old song, the old song we're used to hearing, some of you might remember it, of God Save the Queen, came on. Except there was one word changed. What was the word that was changed? King, yeah. And so God Save the King. And it made me feel rather, a lot of feelings, how much do I appreciate singing that song when it's the King and I know it's changed. Charles. Because I really did like the Queen, I've got to tell you, that she had an era that lived up to what the Anglican people particularly think is right, when you've got a Queen or a King and you're praying for God to keep them. Because there was this tradition in England about wanting God to be the head of the nation. And that was achieved by having a good King who'd be righteous. The only trouble was that all the Kings that came down through the centuries in England, some were relatively good, and some were scoundrels. And praying for the King isn't, well, the Queen, her era was one where she lived up to, I think, that task, as good as a human being who's a sinner can. I thought the Queen was pretty good. And Charles has yet to prove what he's going to do. So maybe that was why I had the feelings. But you know, right back in the time when this whole tradition was developing, is that era of the three musketeers that we've been talking about in our morning services. And the three musketeers were joined by a young hot hand who wanted to be one of them. The three musketeers, by the way, were those who were the guards of the King. They had to use their swords and their muskets in order to see that the King could be kept safe. Are we doing all right, or do you want to give me a, okay? All right, so D'Artagnan arrived from some other place and wanted to join in. He was a young hot head, and he wanted to join the other three, which is why there's actually four. And if you've been getting the E-Connected, I'll be making a bit of a point about the fact that when we have our Beata joining us, we're going to be joining the other three. And we're going to be joining the other three. And we're going to be joining the other three. And we're going to be joining the other three. And we're going to be joining the other three. And we're going to be joining The early ones are ones about how you can become righteous with God, how you can come right with God. And then they move on to how we should live, being on God's side, representing Him. And there were three of those at first that we had, and we've been going through them in the last. And so they're to do with Christian character. And that Christian character was what we've been doing in our Beatitudes. recent times. And that's a part of what the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes is about. It's not only teaching us how to come to God and find him and be right with him, but then having God on his side to have a role, we become, if you like, his musketeers as Christians. We are those who help the righteous king. Of course, the trouble is here in political scenarios, the king varies as to how righteous he is. I told you the other Sunday about that film which had DiCaprio in it. And he had two parts to play. One was himself as the king, Louis IV, whatever it was. And the other was his twin brother whom he had put behind an iron mast. And taken out of sight. So the man in the iron mask is about this. Now we don't actually know whether historically Louis IV did have a twin brother or whether that was a servant who then betrayed his master or didn't go out of favour with his master and was put away out of sight behind an iron mast. But it's quite a wonderful storyline that's built around the idea. And of course, something that comes out in the conversations is it only really works for the musketeers to give themselves a role. It only really works if the king is a good king. If the king is not a good king, the whole expenditure of their loyalty isn't really worth it. Now, in the case of the Beatitudes, we have the one person who is a good king. It is the Lord Jesus Christ. And the Beatitudes are about how we can come. And you know, all those statements, blessed are those that mourn. It's about the fact because of sinfulness, we all have an incapacity to really live up to being truly righteous. In fact, all our attempts of righteousness, because they're coming out of a sinful human nature, the Bible calls dead works. God says our righteousness in his sight is like filthy rags. Now, back in those days, they didn't have toilet paper. They didn't have, when women had their periods, they used to use old dirty cloths. Those were, the dirty rags. And all your righteousness, the Bible says in God's sight and God's smell, if you want to take the analogy literally, is like filthy rags. We don't have any righteousness and the whole of the gospel is built on the fact of that truth. And that God has to supply the righteousness and the whole old covenant with the law that gave us a standard that we could try and attain were to be a proof of the fact that we don't have it within ourselves. and the whole sacrificial system that the old covenant was built around in Jerusalem with the sacrifice of all various animals and creatures was to show that there needed to come a substitute who would take our place and bear the cost that was deserved by our sins. That's why Jesus said he'd come not to break the law but to fulfil it. He fulfilled it by paying for its punishments. For the entire human race and all that's been affected by it. That's the gospel. That's why Jesus when he finished that which he had to do in living, obeying the law he lived under the old covenant you see. Jesus lived under the old covenant yet he was there to represent the new covenant that he was bringing. That's why that period of Jesus through the gospels is called the transition period and the people who come to faith have to await to a moment when the new covenant was put in place and put into practice for them to be able to receive the spirit. That's the day of Pentecost. That's what was meant by John 7, 37 where Jesus at one of the religious feasts to do with the old covenant to there being obeying it as Israelites at that feast, that great feast in John 7 verse 37 to 39 where Jesus cries and says if any man thirst the priests have been bringing up these great big jugs of water and pouring them over the altar as a bit of a sign as a bit of a representation that the covenant eventually was going to come the new covenant where God would provide living water like Jesus spoke to the woman at the well about this was something that was promised but it also says there in John 7 and verse 39 this spake he of the spirit which they who believed in him were to receive yet to receive going to receive for Jesus was not yet glorified and how was Jesus glorified? He was glorified by he's taking to the cross and discharging his mission successfully by dying in fulfilment of the law paying for our sins and then rising again from the dead as God the Father accepted his sacrifice for our sins and that action of God the Father raising Jesus from the dead was heaven's statement that his mission was a success which is why Jesus had been able to cry it is finished paid in full God the Father so he ended the transition time that he was in to introduce the new covenant so the very first sermon that's given is Peter's Pentecostal sermon which tells of the availability of the Holy Spirit and he gives the call the call for them to repent of the fact that they turned against him that they'd caused him to be crucified to repent of the fact that they were sinners and deserved them to be the ones that died under God's wrath to repent of the fact that they'd been making themselves the bosses of sin especially the religious leaders the Jews who wanted the vineyard representing the people of Israel and the power that went with it they wanted that for themselves and when the sun came along they said here is the sun in Jesus' parable when he gave the parable of the vineyard keepers they said here is the sun let us kill him in the vineyard's house and that attitude of heart displayed by the Jews that they want it for themselves instead of a recognizing their king was a fulfillment of what John's gospel chapter 1 says he came to his own and his own received him not they would never get into the kingdom that was destined for them if they kept up that attitude of putting self first and rejecting their Messiah the gospel of the kingdom is the proclamation of the time when that sun was going to come and he was going to take over whether people liked it or not that's the gospel of the kingdom we mentioned just the other day that there's a difference between the use of the book of Acts when it says the gospel of grace and the gospel of the kingdom not that there's more than one gospel there's only one gospel but depending upon the time when it is announced as to whether it's available for people to get in and there is going to come a time is the scriptures teaching I believe when our saviour who's going to come from heaven and when he comes from heaven it will not be to give a second chance it will be to institute this gospel of the kingdom it's going to be after the moment when the Jews are converted and they become Christians and they triumph and lead in the business of the gospel of the kingdom and the other Sunday we went through the four verses in Matthew where it's got the gospel of the kingdom shall be heralded and in the final one it speaks about the fact that those Jewish Christians those people converted to Christ now being in the new covenant now being Christians whether they're a Jew or not doesn't really matter anymore the fact is that they've taken on the Messiah as their king and their saviour and these ones will be going around the towns of Jerusalem and won't get around they'll go around all the world but they won't get around even all the towns of Jerusalem before he arrives and when he's coming at time he's coming in the clouds of heaven he's coming not to say maybe he's coming not to give people a call to come into the door then because that's the time when it's too late as Jesus illustrated in the parables that he gave parables about a wedding feast where there's these girls who are meant to light the track for the bridegroom to come on down and they run out of oil and they run away to get more oil but while they're away the bridegroom comes they go into the place where the ceremony is going to be then the others come running with the oil and they have to knock on the door but from inside it's said it's too late the door is shut for when Jesus comes at the end of the time to set up that kingdom that he shall reign the bridegroom will be there those who are already prepared are they who will go in and there are those Matthew verses that have often been put in songs two shall be in a bed one will be sleeping well both will be sleeping but one will be taken and the other left two women will be grinding at the mill I think that's about doing the washing I don't know or is it doing the yeah doing the or the grinding is yeah the flour making flour and one will be there one will be taken and the other left I heard one preacher say you know back in those days when there are people who are in the fields usually it's a father and a son and where there's two women who are grinding at the mill it's a mother and a daughter and at that moment it will be the scene of decision where God makes the decision and he makes the decision about us whether we're already in the door with Christ because we've come and received him as saviour and lord or whether it's too late and so those passages in Matthew and Mark and Luke which are about that moment are tragic passages just as was Jesus when he wept over Jerusalem and said oh Jerusalem Jerusalem how often would I have gathered you as chickens under my wings but you would not because you did not know the time of your visitation the coming of the Messiah they turned him down when he comes at the end of the age there shall be indeed a message of the gospel that's an announcement the word that's used in those four passages is herald and those converted Jews now Christians and all those with them who are going and announcing the gospel why announcing not just teaching sometimes the gospel was taught by Paul announcing because it's an announcement of the happening of the gospel you do a bit of a study of the book of Acts and you'll see that and have a look at how the message is proclaimed it's a very valuable exercise so to do if you're in the business of being a proclaimer because instead of it being nicey-nicey language the language that the apostles used was more announcement of the facts and saying it's happened they announced what Jesus did they announced how he died they announced that he rose from the dead they announced that he's coming again and all of that is a part of the gospel of the kingdom Jesus will have a kingdom that he is going to be the king of and it's going to be a very visible one and it's not going to be just saying please here's your last chance to come the announcement of the kingdom just before he comes is the last chance anyway as we're talking here we're talking about the facts that's here in our scriptures in the Beatitudes not only is the gospel in the Bible not only is it a revelation it's a testimony it's a revelation that it's going to be a miracle and we're talking about a God who's going to give us a new beginning and who's going to a new life and who's going to have us come back to life and how we're going to get to that next life and that's what we're talking about and that's what we're talking about and that's what we're talking about and that's what we're talking about and I'm wanting to add a fourth one today the final one I think it's number 8 if you were to account there's another word blessed use that would make number 9 but really it's only a blessed about those who listen to the number 8 but those final ones we've got some of they don't go by the verse enumeration but blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Now the eighth beatitude is blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake and this morning what I'm talking about what I feel the burden to say is that righteousness of God in us produces persecution. 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 is great in heaven for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. So Jesus is saying here if you get persecuted like that rejoice. There's a great reward coming. There's several aspects to that reward I want to bring out but we'll do so by going to various verses. I thought I'd go through the rest of the New Testament and pick out those that were there and that would bolster the meaning of this beatitude. I've discovered there are too many spots that talk about persecution so how many of those we'll get through we'll see. But anyway let's go across to the verse that says that we go to next which is that we have okay. Now this is in 2 Timothy 3 verses 11 to 12 that Joey read to us as one of the two Bible readings. Paul was talking to the Christians he's writing to through Timothy. Timothy's on his behalf there. And Paul has written to him my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra which persecutions I endured. Yet from them all the Lord rescued me. So the first thing about persecutions is that God doesn't let it happen without him noticing. It doesn't mean that he will as he did Paul in these cases always rescue you because Paul was heading towards Rome where he actually thought he might be martyred. We don't know if he was or not that's something not known or did he escape and go to Spain. But in these occasions he was rescued. God sees when we go into persecutions not necessarily that we're going to be rescued yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed all listen all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. And so one of the things that you're blessed by is being persecuted. Now that's a strange statement. Most of us don't really want to be persecuted. In Australia it's usually a social persecution or you might get a little bit of bullying at work or at school or whatever. But nonetheless persecution has been an element of Christianity all the way down through the centuries. And sometimes that persecution can be very severe. And in the case of the Apostle Paul he says it's a, it's a fruit it's a result of you living godly in Christ Jesus. Now there are nations today where I don't think there's that much persecution. In fact when I lived in America I was rather amazed at the fact because there's so many Christians that you're actually doing a nice thing when they find out you go to church and it's quite an honourable thing to be someone that has a Christian belief. There were circles where they stopped the cacophony. I think it's a very common case which is increasingly so there at the moment. But I couldn't really discern much persecution happening over there. There was persecution of minorities and persecution for other reasons. But for being a Christian there wasn't much persecution. It made me wonder why? But I think this verse tells you. Now it's not true that all of the Americans who are Christians are not godly enough. But it is true of the society that they have generated. There's an awful lot of sin in it. And indeed if a person really seeks to live godly in Christ Jesus persecution is what happens. What is the cause of it happening? It's the clash between the righteousness of God and the rebellion of man. And when Christians really let God work in their lives and they become godly their righteousness is actually the cause of the persecution of a world that is too dark to be able to tolerate it. You want an example from the Bible very visible is the city of Sodom. And Lot is described as righteous Lot. Now I wouldn't think that he was a good Old Testament example of a man doing everything God wants. He wasn't actually getting in the door of being obedient. But he's actually described as righteous Lot because of the comparison between him and all the city that was given to terrible lusts and disregard of families. And when he had the angels come and the angels didn't appear like angels with wings but the angels came and they must have looked like men and probably handsome men. And he said we want to know who these men mean we want to rape them. And they came outside the door of Lot and he had to go and try and protect them standing at the door. And eventually the angels tell Lot to get his family and get out. Now the reason why that's such a stark example is because relatively speaking Lot was righteous compared to the people of Sodom. We're living in an age just now where in Australia the way the lifestyles are going the language is corrupting the lack of honesty is disseminating the business world is more greedy I can remember time, I'm old enough now to remember when you met a trader you could pretty well trust them give you what they offered at the price that was right you know these days sometimes to find a tradie that you can trust is so much more difficult and the expectation of them doing the wrong thing is how they treat each other well what about the insurance companies do you think they're all so wonderful I can't tell you too much but certain companies I've been involved with praise for being so good being a member for 30 years or whatever but the moment they were going to lose money they didn't keep their word we're living in a rotten area in Australia where dishonesty is more to be expected bolstering the price being greedy being materialistic we've been the lucky country but we're not very righteous and when that happens do you know when the gradient between the country and the Christians who actually go all out for Christ when the gradient is greater the persecution arises and our government joins in propagating values which is simply the throwing out of the laws that the English system was based on is Charles is he going to stick to the guns of how his mother led I don't know I'm waiting to see well this is where Timothy is talking about now let's go to another bible passage I've got so many I can only give you a few but we'll go to the next one please and here we have who is wise and understanding among you by his good conduct let him show in his works in the meekness of wisdom now this is in the book of James and you'll be aware of the fact the book of James talks about being wise I rather like the book of James not because his name is James but because he talks about wisdom and the verse I love best is the one that says if any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who won't turn you off but will give liberally but anyway he says here who has understanding among you who really knows what is wisdom by his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom but if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts do not boast and be false to the truth this is not the wisdom that comes down from above but is earthly unspiritual demonic for where jealousy and selfish ambition exist there will be disorder in every vile practice but the wisdom from above is first pure hey do you recognize one of the Beatitudes one of the three we talked about last week first above all is first pure then peaceable then gentle I think in the Beatitudes it was merciful the wisdom from above is pure peaceable gentle open to reason full of mercy and good fruits impartial and sincere and a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace that's James and if we want to suffer persecution well we don't want to suffer persecution but if it's righteousness that we want it will lead to be there some gradient with those who are not really righteous and there will be a lack of peace if you go on reading there to our next quote from Peter and here it is in 1st Peter it's interesting all the little books at the back of the New Testament seem to say a lot about righteousness God's righteousness and about persecution now who is there to harm you if you're zealous for what is good there's a truth a lot of people who get persecuted it comes about because they do stupid things and they go bragging to they get known for what they're against instead of getting known for what they're for and you can get persecuted because you rub in the noses rub it in the faces of how you disagree with people and there used to be a movement of using those blimps I read this in a book as an illustration of not using wisdom but in America they had these blimps where it got to be a bit of a craze by Christians having a blimp up above their city and having a trailer which gave advice and then dropping like bombs tracks that told them how they were doing the wrong thing and some of the things they wanted to stress were things that were true like dropping tracks about abortion but I hardly think having a blimp go across your city especially if you added noisy Christian music and then you drop bombs there were tracks that came undone when they hit the ground and people read of how bad they were do you think that made a good a very good note of joy in the hearts of the people picking up the tracks well it didn't and so consequently the quote that I read was that the places were not getting a lot of well they were getting a lot of anger and so you can be persecuted because of how you go about it but if you are persecuted because of righteousness sake this says you will be blessed have no fear of them not to be troubled but in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks for a reason and for the hope that is in you yet do it with gentleness and respect having a good conscience so that when you are slandered those who revive your good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame for it is better to suffer for doing good if that should be God's will than for doing evil for Christ also suffered once for sins the righteous for the unrighteous that he might bring us to God being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit and there is some strange correlation not strange but very deep correlation between Jesus suffering our sins and yet having such spiritual power and that when he blesses us by taking on his character when we let his righteousness envelop us and come and be seen in us and we do get persecuted there is a moment of aliveness in the spirit that happens with it all the verses especially later in the book of the New Testament that I kept looking up and it was amazing to me that they talk so much about the blessing perhaps we will go back to let me finish on going back to the Beatitudes and what is about verse 10 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 then and this is the most amazing one rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you you've joined a crew of people who having captured to have the righteousness of Christ suffered persecution and your reward is far greater than the cost you may experience in glory be glad for your reward is great in heaven for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you it is a fact that people who serve the Lord have many difficulties to go through and you should expect that but rejoice is what Jesus is saying what are we to rejoice about because we get to share being like him being a son of God means you be more like Jesus and when somehow that he arranges now sometimes the Bible talks about I've jumped a lot of verses but we could have gotten into but sometimes when we have things go wrong in our lives that's called discipline there's a bit of a difference between discipline and persecution discipline is where God allows bad things to happen to get you to understand you've been heading in the wrong way but discipline is because he loves you and discipline is that which proves you really are a son or a daughter he only disciplines his own he doesn't discipline the people who don't belong to him who are just religious or just think they are rejoice in being be glad for your reward is great in heaven and the reward is because his righteousness has become a part of you and you've been blessed and your future is guaranteed in fact if you've been you're being persecuted at the moment it's not because of wrong things you're doing or because you've been cranky or because you've been a person that's always known for what you're against rather than being known for your righteousness that you're for but if you're being having troubles it's discipline and it's painful but even that is something to rejoice about along with your persecution because it proves you really are a child of God if your being a Christian allows you to be so popular that you never have a problem everybody claims you as good and there's something going wrong because his righteousness produces persecution but when it comes to you one of the good rewards it brings is you're certain you belong to him the persecution has proved it and that is a great blessing for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you you're put in a great company of very famous people who got persecuted for God sake for his righteousness and that's wonderful. let's have a word of prayer shall we pray. Heavenly Father Lord I know this is a big topic probably bigger than what I've done justice for but we pray Father that you'll sponsor us to look further into your word about persecution because we've taken on board the righteousness of Christ and we pray Heavenly Father that you'll teach us how to rejoice at being like Jesus becoming like him and getting persecuted bless us in this topic and to understand the depth of it I pray pray for tonight as we continue a little from John's Gospel about this topic of persecution pray Heavenly Father your hand will be upon us then too in Jesus name, Amen.

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