Sermon on the Mount Memory – week 5
Review Matthew 5:1-10
This Week: Matthew 5:1-12
“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.”
When I was in grade school, I was a punching bag of a sort. A punching bag for words. I was teased and talked about and much of the time, ignored. I could see girls whispering and pointing at me from the corners of the classroom where they would all gather in their little groups to talk about the small and meek, those that they perceived to be ugly or weak. The more they talked, the less I did. I felt downtrodden and beaten, sad and alone.
I’ve come a long way since those days, as I’m sure they have too. But don’t we experience much of the same stuff, just in a different way, today? On a whole, Christians are persecuted every day, and I don’t mean just in other countries where the people don’t have the right to practice their religion as they choose. I mean right here in the good old US of A!
Yes, in places like China, Christians are thrown into prison for professing their faith, or even for meeting in worship. They are beaten and sometimes even killed. But here in our country, we have a right to believe in what we want, or we are supposed to have that right anyway. News articles shout headlines of religious rights for Muslims, Hindus, Buddists, and even atheists (which is actually a religion in respect to terms), but when it comes to the Jewish community or Christians, people are hesitant to offer their support. Instead we are condemned for what we believe, and chastised for professing that faith on the basis that it is exclusive.
I’ve even found that, within parts of the Christian community itself, if you talk about Jesus or about praying for someone, or putting your faith in your heavenly Father, those looks and whispers begin to appear. “Who does she think she is?” “Wow, that was kinda weird!” or maybe, “I’m not sure that I want to be her friend.”
Our faith makes people uncomfortable. If you are not experiencing this, it could be because you are surrounding yourself with only people just like you…..and that’s great, we are supposed to rely on our brethren for encouragement and support, but if you are not experiencing ANY persecution what-so-ever, it may be that you are not living out Jesus’ great commission, which is to spread His love throughout the world and brings others to His side. How can you do this if those surrounding you are just like you?
Jesus spent His time with the sick, the needy and the broken….and not just in body, but also in the spirit and soul.
Who are these people who are broken in spirit, or sick and needy in their souls?
They may not be who you might think. Those who seem confident in themselves are often broken in their spirit but have buried their pain deep so that they do not have to feel it. Some who are over-achievers are actually needy; they are constantly trying to fill the empty spaces in their souls with “stuff”, but no amount of worldly belongings can ever fill what was meant to be filled by God. Many who are on top of the world, are simply that. They have everything the world has to offer but nothing that really counts. They are sick in their souls and do not see the benefit of the eternal.
These are the people that we should seek to affect, as well as the sick, needy and broken of body. The last part I believe is what we refer to as ministry, the first portion should be what we refer to as our calling. We all like to help those who have less, or can’t do for themselves, it is much harder to try to fix a broken heart that doesn’t know it is broken.
I pray that the Lord will show you these people who truly will be the lost if they are not searched out and tended to. Pray that He will bring those people into your life every day, and show you what their souls need. Pray that He will give you the courage to speak out to the lost, give hope to the broken and encouragement to the sick. For this is what we are ALL called to do. Let’s not hide from the hurtful words of others, let’s instead help them to understand why they think that way…even if they reject us. For then, Matthew 5:11 tells us, “You will be blessed!”
My Prayer: Lord, give me the strength I need to be your voice and your heart; give me soul strength.
Reflect His Light!
next tuesday: Matthew 5:13-14