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Persecuted for Christ

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
May 30, 2021 8:00 am

Persecuted for Christ

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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May 30, 2021 8:00 am

People are persecuted for many reasons, and Christians are no exception. But the persecution that Jesus describes in the beatitudes has nothing to do with race, religion or social status. That persecution arose from a very particular way of life. Join Dr. James Boice as he examines the true meaning of Christian persecution.

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People are persecuted for many reasons for being a nuisance for being foolish, insulting, fanatical, or following the cause, but none of these things are what Jesus meant when he spoke of being persecuted for the sake of righteousness. What did Jesus mean welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.

Jesus spoke of the persecution that would not come from a Christian idea or theology would not even come from a believer's allegiance to heavenly King. So what kind of persecution did Jesus have in mind. In his sermon on the Mount join Dr. Boyce as he reveals the meaning of Christ's beatitude on the true cause of suffering and the blessings that we come to those who would bear it. The Bible says in many different passages that true disciples of Jesus Christ will be persecuted. It's inevitable, unnatural consequence of exhibiting true Christian character yet any honest assessment of the Christian church in America must point out that although the country itself is far from Christian and ungodly. Nevertheless, there's very little persecution of Christians today.

What's wrong is undoubtedly racial persecution is persecution and politics sometimes. I suppose even in business, but there's very little persecution for most Christians, least openly so possible that the Bible is wrong or are Christians today simply not showing forth the type of righteous character that Jesus said results in persecution long ago, I asked Dr. Harold Vogel missionary for many long years inquiry about persecution in this country is contrasted with the terrible persecution of Christians that he'd observed overseas, answered well. I see no persecution here at all. From his point of view. At least this was the case because for most Christians. There is little if any persecution.

This is true in spite of the clear implication of the Beatitudes that persecution will come the one who lives as Christ indicated Jesus say he said blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven so persecuted they the prophets who were before you. Perhaps you are saying to yourself as I read those verses that they don't actually teach that persecution is inevitable.

I agree that they don't teach that every day.

As a result of everything you do.

You as a Christian will be reviled and suffer for righteousness sake the other hand, the verses do conclude the list of statements to delineate the Christian man's character, the natural implication is the one who lives like this will be persecuted and amazing and provocative statement yet as much of a description of the Christian as the words poor in spirit. They that mourn the meek, the pure in heart and the peacemakers. Moreover, this is exactly the way in which the disciples of the Lord, received the statement Peter, who was one of the ones who heard the Lord give the sermon later quotes the beatitude twice in his first epistle once in chapter 3 verse 14 he says button if you suffer for righteousness sake, happy are ye, and once in 414 if ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye, for the spirit of glory and of God rest upon you on their part. He is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified and it's this same epistle that most stresses the inevitability of suffering. Peter writes beloved.

Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to test you as though some strange thing happened to you, but rejoice in as much is your partakers of Christ's sufferings. The apostle Paul who had himself endured much persecution says exactly the same thing.

Timothy wrote EA and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

In Philippians, he says, run, do you it is given in the behalf of Christ not only to believe on him also to suffer for his sake and he wrote to the Christians at Thessalonica. After a period of persecution and that Macedonian city.

No man should be moved by these afflictions for you yourselves know that we are appointed to these things from early when we were with you, we told you before that you should suffer tribulation, even as it came to pass, and Gino. You see all of these writers would've agreed in an instant that even in the most tolerant country. The cross would never cease to be a symbol for derision and at times intense hostility they would have urged that the absence of persecution as well as its presence to drive a believer quickly to his knees, no point in the entire list of Beatitudes is it more necessary to be careful indicate exactly what is meant by Christ's statement, there's no beatitude that has been more often misunderstood and misapplied than this one for what is the Christian persecuted. That is the heart of the problem. The answer lies in the phrase for righteousness sake and the parallel phrase in the following verse for my sake doesn't say was that. Are they that are persecuted for the Lord Jesus Christ were sanctified any persecution that might occur at any time and at any point in history and for any reason, it says blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness sake. This means blessed are they who are persecuted because by God's grace. They are determined to live like me. This means that there is no promise of happiness for those were persecuted for being a nuisance for Christians who shown themselves to be objectionable, difficult or foolish and insulting to their non-Christian friends.

This is not the thing about which Jesus Christ was speaking a humorous example of this non-sanctified type of persecution is given by Joseph Bailey in a fictional story about Christian witnessing call the gospel blimp the satire. Of course, and it's widely exaggerated. Unfortunately, in many of the attitudes, representatives, all to crew of much so-called Christian activity. The believers in an imaginary town conceived the idea witnessing by means of a blimp which is to fly over the town, trailing gospel signs and dropping tracks and leaflets called gospel bombs the silly idea and no one's ever converted by it, but for a while at least. The tone is tolerant tolerance changes to hostility.

However, when the promoters of the project and sound equipment to the blimp begin bombarding their neighbors with gospel services broadcast from the air this point. According to Bailey, the persecution begins in the town newspaper prints an editorial that reads for some weeks now, our metropolises been treated to the spectacle of a blimp with an advertising sign attached at the rear sign does not plug cigarettes or bottled beverage. But religious beliefs of a particular group in our midst. The people of our city are notably broad-minded and they have good-naturedly submitted to this attempt, a proselyte, but last night, a new refinement sum was a debasement was introduced.

We refer, of course, to the airborne sound truck that invader of our privacy that raucous destroyer of communal peace and so on that night. The sound equipment of the blimp is sabotaged in the Christians call it the persecution well it's not persecution that's Mr. Bailey's point. It's a provoked response to an unjustified invasion of privacy in the same way. It's not persecution today when Christians are snubbed for pushing tracks on people who don't want them insulting them in the midst of a religious argument pumping into their affairs when they're not invited, and so on. Christ spoke of the persecution of those who are abused for the sake of his righteousness. Moreover, the beatitude does not mean blessed are those who are persecuted for wrongdoing should almost go without saying, but it can't be left unsaid for the simple reason that most persons, including Christians will always attempt to justify a wrong act by loud cries of unjustified persecution or prejudice.

Peter wrote let none of you suffer as a murderer or as a thief or as an evildoer or as a busybody in other men's matters. Reno Jesus was speaking of a persecution for the sake of righteousness into its motto persecution for being fanatical when the Jewish Ct. in Jerusalem tried Michael Ro Hahn for attempting to burn down the mosque of Alaska and Jerusalem and the temple enclosure of the city is not persecuting them.

His act was a fanatical act and it was, not performed for the cause of Christ's righteousness and for the sake of conformity to him. Finally, the persecution about which Jesus spoke is not persecution, evil by following a cause even I think you must understand me rightly here for following Christianity Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones has written quite correctly on this point I say that there's a difference between being persecuted for righteousness sake and being persecuted for a cause I know that the two things often become one and many of the great martyrs and confessors were at one and the same time suffering for righteousness sake and for the cause but it does not follow that the two were always identical.

I think that in the last 20 years there have been men. Some of them very well known who suffered and have been put into prisons and concentration camps for religion but they have not been suffering for righteousness sake. This is not the thing about which our Lord is talking well then the verse does not mean being persecuted for being objectionable or doing wrong or being fanatical or endorsing a cause.

What does it mean what does it mean to be persecuted for righteousness sake, for Christ's sake.

Very simply pointed means to be persecuted for being like the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Jesus said those who are persecuted for being like him will be happy. What is more, those who are like him will always be persecuted.

When Jesus came into the world and his righteousness, he exposed the sin of the world, and men hated him for it. Before Christ came. Men could get away with hypocrisy allying dishonesty, selfishness, renal long list of other vices I could excuse themselves by pointing out that other men were like themselves and they were better in some of these respects than others. After Christ did come all of these vices were revealed for what they were just as the filth of the sewer is revealed by thrusting a strong white and one of its openings, men hated the exposure of their inner hearts natures and they killed Christ for exposing them all in a similar way, they will hate and the exposure of their evil nature that comes from the evidences of the righteousness of Christ and his followers.

That's why Jesus said servant is not greater than his Lord. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they've kept my saying, they will keep yours also. By not come and spoken under them. They had not had sin, but now they have no cloak for their sin.

He that hated me hated my father also let me ask this question. Is there anything in your conduct that reveals Christ's righteousness is Jesus Christ seen in your character. Although I know that we're living in a country that's adopted many Christian values tolerance among them. So is risen to a level where persecutions are not likely to be what they were in the early Christian centuries, but it's also true. I'm afraid that much of our Christianity has sunk to a level where it's hardly noticed. The world has become tolerant of us, but we have become form more tolerant of the world there sometimes precious little visible of true Christian character.

Have you ever put the principles of Christ's righteousness and action in your home or your job or your business. You might say to me, Dr. Boyce, I'm up against a situation of my factory that so rotten is been going on for so long that if I did the righteous thing I'd be fired. Listen man came to Tertullian once he had exactly that problem is business interested been conflicting with his loyalty to Jesus Christ. He told of the problems and ended by saying what can I do I must live, must you said Tertullian, it came to a choice between righteousness and a livelihood in Tertullian's day the believer was expected to choose for righteousness of the beatitude not only describes the nature of the Christians persecution persecution for the sake of righteousness and also promises happiness to the one who was so persecuted, how can persecution add to a Christians happiness. Let me suggest two ways in which it is possible.

First, persecution is evidence that the believer is united to Jesus Christ.

Jesus said we were of the world, the world would love its own, but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hate a few we are persecuted for Christ's sake, we can be happy in this proof that we are his son are united to him forever. Second, we are persecuted for righteousness sake, we can be certain that the Holy Spirit has been at work in our hearts. Turning this room are seen in our sinful ways to Christ's way and is making progress and molding us into his sinless image. We can be happy in that you've known examples in your life of the persecution about which we been talking by taking an honest path at work by refusing to compromise in quality or service by remaining pure friends and acquaintances are profligate. This is true, then you can rejoice that this evidence of God's gracious sends supernatural working in your life.

This brings us to the end of our exposition of this eighth and last beatitude, but it seems to me that I need to say a word to those who are not and who never will be great martyrs for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ that includes most of us, I'm sure about us well maybe certain that God sees the little martyrs as much as the great ones that he's is pleased and sometimes I think even more pleased with the small sacrifices and small insults patiently born as he is with the bearing of far more spectacular persecutions, the persecutions of Job loss of his family and possessions by a series of calamities caused by Satan. This was, not persecution, but the persecutions he suffered from his friends who accused him of sitting greatly because of his sudden and tragic losses. What historian would ever have mentioned Job not one of them.

No ancient historian would've thought twice about them. You can be certain that of Job, and risen the wealth in New York City and it later died in poverty in Harlem's name would not even of medial actuary columns. The New York newspapers yet the struggles of Job and his persecutions were viewed by God and angels in his victory is been recorded forever in God's word. It may take more grace and it may be a greater victory for a man to spend the 40 years of his life.

At the same desk in the same office watching other men being promoted over him because he will not do some of the things that are demanded of officers in the company and it would take for a John Hoss to be burned at the stake for his testimony and it may have been more of a victory for housewife to stay at home raising her family and the things of the Lord while her neck, picking neighbors laugh at her for being humdrum and unglamorous that it would be for a Joan of arc diet Ruan what is all take comfort in this let us turn to Christ for the victory in every none known persecution, even a little ways then let us search our hearts before him. Let us ask for that righteousness of character that will either repel man or draw them to our blessed Lord and our Savior now are heavenly father we acknowledge that most of us will never be great martyrs for you but we do want to live like Jesus, even if it means persecution hopeless to do so, and if and when persecutions, we ask you to give us victories in them. We pray in Jesus name, amen. You're listening to the Bible study hours featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyce, the last of Jesus parables, compares his return with the fishermen casting a net and then separating his catch into the good and the bad. What are the implications and consequences of that judgment day still to come. Find out through our free message offered entitled God's kingdom consummated. It's also by Dr. Boyce this receipt. He is our way of saying thanks for listening. Give us a call that 1-800-488-1888 and will be quick to send you a copy of God's kingdom consummated that number again is 1-800-488-1888. If you enjoy Dr. Boyce's messages may we count on your support to keep the Bible study hours on this and other radio stations across America. We covet your prayers for this ministry as well. Make your contribution by calling us directly at 1-800-488-1888 or visit us online at the Bible study our data work.

Our mailing address 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601. Thank you for your faithful support. We are indeed grateful that you listen to the Bible study are as you reach out to us.

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Take note of the website address. Knowing how you connect with the Bible study our will help us serve you better. Coming up next time on the Bible study our is our study of the sermon on the Mount continues. Have you ever noticed how the apostle Paul described his mental state in the midst of his persecutions.

He writes about it in second Corinthians, telling us that confusion of his reason was at least part of the problem. He says we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed we are perplexed, but not in despair persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed. Along with being troubled, persecuted and cast down. Paul says that he was also an often perplexed. Nancy had learned that he could not trust even his own great powers of reason in the midst of these troubles. If we cannot trust our feelings and if we cannot trust our reason. What can the Christian trust in order that he might rejoice and persecutions. Let me repeat it again. We can only trust the knowledge that we have of God's purposes in persecution and his control of suffering. This is a knowledge gained only through Scripture victory is intellectual and it is only knowledge will calm the Christians, troubled heart and allow the supernatural joy of God's spirit to triumph in the midst of his suffering. What are the things that a Christian can know that can allow him to rejoice in persecutions, there are at least five of them in the first one is this the Christian must know that through persecutions, God is demonstrating his identity with Christ by Mark Daniels and you know one of the hardest things to do as a Christian is to rejoice when you're falsely accused and attacked for doing good yet rejoicing is the very thing Jesus calls us to do in his eighth and final beatitude. Join Dr. James Boyce as he encounters this seemingly impossible command to love those who wish us harm.

That's next time on Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically

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