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Text Box: The Resultant Beatitude: Suffering!



Text Box: (Matthew 5:10-11 NIV)  Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteous-ness, 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.
(James 1:2-4 NIV)  Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perse-verance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(John 15:20-21 NIV)  Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.  They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.
(Romans 5:3-5 NIV)  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
(2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV)  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Text Box: Among the blessings we will have in this life is the promise of suffering if we follow Jesus (Mark 10:29,30).  This beatitude is the most misunderstood one of all.  Every single person dislikes suffering.  We pay great amounts of money to avoid it! However, we need to understand why it is such a blessing!
“Christianity has never promised a trouble-free life on Earth. We must all undergo various trials during our lives in this world, but keep this in mind: our trials are not designed to destroy us, but to strengthen us. They are designed for the testing of our faith. Tried faith is of much more value than tried gold. Gold will eventually perish in the flames, but faith that is refined will never fail! Allow your faith to be the kind of faith than endures and results in praise, honor and glory after it as been refined--for Christ will come soon to bring us to eternal peace! In this, we greatly rejoice and eagerly await His coming! AMEN!” –Pedro Gelabert, The Armor of God
(1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV)  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
To suffer for our own stupidity is a shame.  This kind of suffering hopefully teaches us to stick with Jesus’ Words. What an honor, though, it is to suffer for the cause of Jesus!  Jesus is our Model Sufferer. As Lord and Overseer of our soul, He calls us to follow Him In His Footsteps: (1) Don’t retaliate; don’t threaten. There’s no need to return evil for evil (1 Peter 3:9-12).  (2) Entrust yourself to the Lord’s care (John 14:1-3).  (3) Bring healing and comfort to those who are suffering along with you (Matthew 25:34-46).
(2 Timothy 3:12 NIV)  In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
Persecutions, in whatever way they come, whether mild or extreme, are the world’s way of confirming that yours is the Kingdom of Heaven.  No wonder Jesus says we are blessed when we are persecuted because of righteousness!
(James 1:12 NIV)  Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
(2 Thessalonians 1:4-5 NIV)  Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.   All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.

In His Footsteps © 1998                                                    





Text Box: The Resultant Beatitude: Suffering!




Another equation enters our study of the Beatitudes: Real Disciple + the world = persecution.  Persecutions are the result of living righteously.  They are not the result of only talking about it.  You should be winning someone over because of your service, not only the correctness in what you say!  This is the essential lesson I have learned from the Beatitudes.  Read Revelation 2:18,19.  What good characteristics did the church of Thyatira have?  Read Revelation 3:1-3.  What was the church of Sardis known for?  Read Revelation 2:8-11.  What did their persecution teach us about them?  As you can see, true living shows true conviction.  Read through the rest of what Jesus had to say about the churches at that time in Revelation 1-3.  The kind of impact Jesus wants us to have on the world can only come by radical changes of our hearts and minds that are evidenced by righteous living.  Is there any evidence of persecution in your life?  Why or why not?



Persecutions can also come about by our own stupidity.  Read 1 Peter 4:15-17.  It is interesting to note that the word translated as “meddler” in the NIV is the Greek word allotriepiskopos.  This word means, “overseeing others' affairs, i.e. a meddler--busybody in other men's matters”.  Do you think it possible that your evangelism could be perceived as this kind of annoyance if done carelessly?  Be careful that you present the Gospel by your actions and by your gentle speech.  Gossip, laziness, tardiness and irresponsibility are more frequently the causes of our suffering in this world than righteous persecution.  Imagine how it must look to your co-workers if you live like that and then try to preach to them the truth!  The kind of persecution Jesus is talking about in the Beatitudes obviously doesn’t stem from this kind of behavior or attitude.  Those of us persecuted because of UN-righteousness are not happy (blessed).  We are bothered, embittered and self-justified.  This is not fruit of the Spirit!  Read Galatians 5:22-24.  These actions will invariably produce persecution if practiced constantly! Make a list of the things that are causing you to suffer, or that bother you.  Identify which ones are because of righteousness and which ones aren’t.



Jesus was controlled by God’s love, not by the circumstances around Him.  He glorified God by using His life to make a difference in other people’s lives--He was not used by life.  Read Romans 12:12-21.  To rise above trials and afflictions as a Christian, you need to: (1) Always pray  (2) Reach out to those you see in affliction  (3) Persevere in patience by trusting the Lord  (4) Cultivate a positive attitude of joy, in hope and humility; not vengeful or bitter.  These things can be accomplished if you let the Counselor (Greek: Parakletos: comforter, advocate) within you comfort you and guide you (John 14:15-18). Read Romans 8:28.  Do you believe and trust that God is working through every circumstance in your life?  What two conditions need to exist in order for your situations to work out for the best?  If you are a hypocrite, will things work out for your best?  If you are a liar and a cheat, are the things happening in your life the result of loving God?  You could say that it depended on whether or not you are open to God’s correction.  If you are, God will use all your circumstances to guide you to Him.  If you’re not, then you, too, will perish!



Entrusting yourself to God requires you to look beyond the physical clamor that surrounds you and focus on the spiritual reality that permeates and transcends space and time. Your afflictions can only affect your physical dimension. Don’t let them affect your spiritual one. Read Hebrews 4:15-16. Why is it that you are able to approach God with confidence? Have you been willing to entrust yourself to such a caring friend as Jesus is? Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Compared to Jesus’ afflictions, how do you rate yours? Will you lose heart (grow weary) if you focus on the fact that you are being renewed inwardly (spiritually)? Will focusing on your external circumstances cause you to grow weary? Why? Does your idea of being joyful have to do with being physically comfortable, or do you rejoice in the fact that you will have an eternal glory that will blow away any trouble or affliction you suffered on Earth?  Read James 1:12-16. If something in your life is tempting you, what is the true root cause of the temptation?  If you give in to the temptations, will you be blessed because you persevered?  Don’t be deceived, only he who perseveres will be blessed!



Rather than be discouraged about all the negative activity we can generate by being Kingdom People, we are encouraged because we expect and anticipate a greater reward in Heaven.  We cannot expect to receive a reward on Earth because that would indicate that we are pleasing men rather than God.  No!  He who is pleased by our denial of Earthly things gives us our reward.  We are truly blessed to be counted among those who have suffered for the plan of God to take effect!  What a royal honor!  When we are ready to accept the persecution from the world, we are ready to make the kind of impact we are going to be studying about in the weeks to come.  If you hold a grudge or get an attitude from the world because it doesn’t like you, you don’t understand what being a disciple is all about.  You need to go back and re-learn what the Beatitudes are teaching you, so that you may grow up in your salvation and be used as an effective tool in this world.  The outcome of true faith is persecution from the world.  Read carefully the 11th chapter of Hebrews, especially verses 32-40, to learn what the result of true faith is all about.


Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.Matthew 5:12


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