10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Matt 5:10-12 (NIV)

“Canst thou answer this, believer? Canst thou find any reason why thou art so often mourning instead of rejoicing? Why yield to gloomy anticipations? Who told thee that the night would never end in day? Who told thee that the winter of thy discontent would proceed from frost to frost, from snow and ice, and hail, to deeper snow, and yet more heavy tempest of despair? Knowest thou not that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Hope thou then! Hope thou ever! For God fails thee not!” Charles H. Spurgeon

Ever been in the midst of persecution, insults, false accusations and much evil because of righteousness sake – Christ’s sake? We are not talking here consequences from our own foolish actions rather consequences of our actions motivated by honoring our Lord Jesus. Not only are we to take heart believer but we are to “Rejoice and the glad” as it is certain, Christ said, that blessedness follows.

Likewise, Scripture states, we are in very good company. Jesus tells us here, in the same way, those whom “the world was not worthy” were persecuted. Those that came before us and proved faithful to the faith though hunted, pursued, run down, abandoned, insulted, falsely accused and treated as the scum of the earth – rarely credited by man yet ever elevated by God. In the great “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews chapter 11 we are told that faith is being certain of what we do not see and it is our faith that pleases God:

1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. Heb 11:1-2 (NIV)

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Heb 11:6 (NIV)

7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. Heb 11:7 (NIV)

“Show the world that thy God is worth ten thousand worlds to thee...Be strong and very courageous, and the Lord thy God shall certainly, as surely as He built the heavens and the earth, glorify Himself in thy weakness, and magnify His might in the midst of thy distress. The grandeur of the arch of heaven would be spoiled if the sky were supported by a single visible column, and your faith would lose its glory if it rested on anything discernible by the carnal eye.” Charles H. Spurgeon

When one is persecuted for righteousness sake, as Noah in Hebrews 11:7 above, who condemned the way of the world – mocked and belittled by those he served and warned - yet, we are told, he became an heir of righteousness that comes by faith. Rather than embrace the world for a short season he chose rather to be mistreated for the sake of Christ over any other earthly acceptance or treasure ever looking ahead to his reward.

“Never dread any consequence resulting from absolute obedience to His command. Never fear the rough waters ahead, which through their proud contempt impede your progress. God is greater than the roar of raging water and the mighty waves of the sea. ‘The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever’ (Psalm 29:10). A storm is simply the hem of His robe, the sign of His coming, and the evidence of His presence. Dare to trust Him! Dare to follow Him! Then discover that the forces that blocked your progress and threatened your life become at His command the very materials He uses to build your street of freedom.” F. B. Meyer

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Heb 11:13-16 (NIV)

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Heb 12:1-3 (NIV)

What I Glean

  • Even in the midst of persecution for Christ’s sake, I am to rejoice and be glad. 41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ. Acts 5:41-42 (NIV)
  • Faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see.
  • No earthly treasure or acceptance can compare to what God has prepared in advance for those who love Him.