What do we do?
What do we think about? What is the comfort for our soul in the midst of persecution and rejection for the sake of Christ? It hurts, doesn't it, when people you care about reject you because of your faith in Christ and also reject the invitation to come to Christ. But today on The Truth Pulpit, Pastor Don Green will help you come to terms with that byproduct of your Christianity as he begins a message titled, When You're Rejected Because of Christ.
Hi, I'm Bill Wright, and as Don continues to teach God's people God's word, Don has the first two of four important principles to impart that will provide the encouragement you need to cope with spiritual rejection. So have your Bible handy as we join our teacher now in The Truth Pulpit. Turn to Matthew chapter 5 with me. I want to give you four principles, four thoughts, four comforts in the midst of that that would give you what you need not only to dry the tears, but that your heart would be elevated, that your affections would be warmed to Christ all the more, and that as we sing in the hymn that the things of this earth would grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace. We all need this, beloved, because this world is a hard place for Christians to walk through. And so what do we do?
What do we think about? What is the comfort for our soul in the midst of persecution and rejection for the sake of Christ? First of all, what you need to do is you need to remember the reality of your salvation. You need to remember the reality of your salvation.
And really, in one sense, what we're going to do here is we're going to talk about what it means to be a Christian and what the whole purpose of the Christian life in this world is. It is at that level, at that macro fundamental level of understanding why Christ saved you and what that means for you, it is at that level alone that you can find the comfort that you need. You know, I can't stand up here and promise you that there's reconciliation in that human relationship. It could be that the months of sorrow and heartache that you have experienced for some that has brought you even to this church, I can't promise you that that human aspect of it is going to go away. Sometimes people just won't have you while you cling to Christ.
And so we're not promising something here that we can't deliver on. What I can promise you is the presence of Christ, the sympathy of Christ, the love of Christ in the midst of that rejection, and that the sweetness of Christ which sustains you even if the humans never call back and ask the ship to come back and get back on board. First of all, beloved, you remember the reality of your salvation. Look at Matthew chapter 5 in verse 3. Jesus, as we've said many times, is describing the repentant life. He's describing life in the kingdom. He's describing what it means to live life in the kingdom of grace, under his lordship, under his kingship. And he says in verse 3, as he speaks to you personally through his word here today, Matthew chapter 5, he says, blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And in verse 10, he says, blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
You start, beloved, in the midst of that rejection. You start by stepping back and remembering the whole fundamental nature of who you are and what your life is now when you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, to be a Christian means that there has been a change of ownership. Christ now owns you, not the world. Christ now sets the terms of life. Christ now establishes the parameters of your existence. Christ now, beloved, take refuge in this. Christ now is delivering the circumstances of your life, of your relationships.
And he is orchestrating that to accomplish his will. You belong to a different king. And the people who are outside the kingdom don't recognize the authority of that king.
They don't have your affection for that king. And so naturally, when you become someone alien to them, there's a pushback to that. What you must do, beloved, where your comfort lies, where your encouragement to persevere resides, is in realizing the dynamic that brings this about.
You say, ah yes, I should expect this. I didn't see it coming through that person or through that relationship. I didn't anticipate it coming there, but I remember that I belong to a different kingdom and therefore there will be sparks when that kingdom intersects with the world in which I live. And where does that world in which you live manifest itself? In your relationships.
In those that are closest to you. You see, beloved, the reason that you can rejoice when this happens to you, the reason that you can find comfort, the reason that Christ could say, God bless you, as it were, that you are under the hand, under the favor of God when this happens to you, why could that be? It's because, beloved, all remember this and all will be well with your soul. When that happens, you remember that Christ has claimed you as his own. That Christ appointed you for salvation before the foundation of the world. That Christ, when he went to the cross in order to die for sinners, had you in mind by name. That you were not just part of a glob of humanity and Christ hopes that maybe you'll come to him.
No, that's a false view of the atonement. Christ went to the cross in order to save you by name. Christ loved you before the foundation of the world. Christ purchased you by name at the cross. Christ by name and by the Holy Spirit worked in your life and brought you to new life and imparted new life to you.
Why? Because he would have you as his own. By a sovereign exertion of his prerogative and will, he saved you in order to belong to him. Beloved, when that kind of rejection comes to you and you're feeling the pain of it, look up.
Look vertically. Look at where the source of the cost comes and realize that the Son of God shed his blood for the remission of your sins. That the Son of God gladly gave himself in a perfectly righteous life. That your sins might be washed away by his blood. That his righteousness might be counted to your account. So that before God, you had a perfect condition, a perfect standing before God that could never be taken away. That cannot be improved upon by your good works. That cannot be diminished by your sins and failures. Christ purchased you and gave you the full benefits of his righteousness and shed blood so that you could belong to him and be in a secure relationship with God forever and ever.
Amen. That's why you're paying that price relationally on a human level. It's the reality of your salvation. Well, beloved, what you need to do is remember that when it comes. And not simply descend and kind of sink into the human reactions and the anger or the bitterness or the rejection or the sorrow or whatever you're feeling. To remember and come back and look up and let Christ, as it were, pick you up again by the wonder of the salvation that he has given to you. By remembering in the midst of that that there's no more war with God in your soul because Christ has made peace with you. You have a surpassing peace, a surpassing reconciliation that transcends eternally in value any earthly relationship that you might have. And you realize the surpassing worth, the surpassing greatness, the surpassing value of Christ as the whole book of Hebrews teaches us. Better than angels, better than the Old Testament system, better than the Old Testament priests. You have a Christ, you have a Savior, you have a high priest who took you under his wing. Like a mother hen taking a stray chick under its wing and saying, you'll be mine and I'll protect you and I'll keep you. And you rest in the security of that.
You rest in the fact that there is no doubt about his intentions for you. You realize that there is no defect whatsoever in your status before God. Not because of you and your merit or your good works, all because of the goodness and righteousness of Christ. And so, beloved, when the world wages war against you, when people in authority make you pay a price, when people close to you reject you for a stand for righteousness or because of your testimony to Christ, you say to yourself this, beloved, the world may war against me, but I have peace with my God. I have peace with my Christ and that is worth more to me than 10,000 worlds. That is worth more to me than the vault at Fort Knox, if that place still has gold, I don't know.
It's just a cliche at this point, isn't it? That to have Christ, to have his preeminence, and to have his love in my life, to be redeemed by him, to belong to him, and to know that that is a security that is mine forever and ever into all of the ages of eternity to come. You say, ah, I remember the reality of my salvation and that is worth far more to me than any earthly relationship whatsoever. And you rest in that. And maybe as you're resting in that, maybe as you're counting the cost, and in sweet joy toward Christ and in sorrow toward the human situation, you wipe the tears off of your eyes, but as you're wiping them off, you're saying, I belong to Christ in a way that is superior to anything that happens to me here on earth. And I love him and I find my hope, my security, my confidence, and my consolation in him.
That's what you do. You remember the reality of your salvation and then you give thanks to Christ. Secondly, not only remember the reality of your salvation, remember the reward of your salvation. Remember the reward of your salvation.
These things are all just so precious and sweet to you, precious and sweet to me, and this is the sweet word of Christ coming to us, Christ coming to us through his word, saying, exercising his sovereign prerogative over the church, exercising the endless love and compassion that he has on his people, giving us that which would encourage us because he understands that we pay a price for following him. He understands that this world brings us sorrow and he gives us that which surpasses it in comfort and consolation. Bless his holy name. So look at what he says in verse 11, Matthew chapter 5 verse 11. He says, blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad for your reward in heaven is great, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Ah, rejoice and be glad. The reward in heaven is great. Frankly, I don't think that there is any greater reward than the privilege, that coming moment when you and I will look face to face into the countenance of Christ. And then we will see, then we will have fuller understanding, then we will have a greater appreciation of the price that he paid for us, of the love that he has for us, of the lengths that he went to in order to secure our eternal well-being. Beloved, when that day comes, the reward, the joy, the blessing, the peace, the exaltation, and the exaltation will be so massive. It will be greater than the, it will be exponentially greater than all of the combined joys that you've had in this life, so much so that the joys of this life will not be worthy to be compared to being in his presence.
And being in his presence will surpass exponentially, geometrically, far beyond any price that you paid for Christ here in this life. Don't you understand that? Don't you realize that?
Don't you believe that? Well, beloved, I know that you do, that soon enough, soon enough, you'll leave the conflict behind. Soon enough, the pain of disrupted relationships will be over, and you'll enter into the joy of your Master. And when we enter into the joy of our Master, beloved, based on the authority of God's Word, I can promise you, without fear of contradiction, that whether it's the trumpet that calls us, or whether it's the passing through this life and death and entering into the presence of Christ, beloved, whenever that moment comes for you, you will step in and draw your first breath of the purified air of the kingdom of God, so to speak, and you will instantly know that I'm home.
This is where I belong. And when you're home with Christ, the conflicts will be over. And what Christ purchased you for will be consummated, never to be taken away. Your reward in heaven is very great, so soon enough, you'll leave the conflict behind. Soon enough, Christ our brother will confess us before the Father and own us gladly in the presence of the Holy Unseen God.
Immortal, invisible, God-only wise, you'll belong to Him. Look over at Matthew chapter 10. Just to give you another hook to hang your spiritual coat on, so to speak, that you will not be lost by Christ, that in the presence of God, He will own you. In fact, let's step back in Matthew chapter 10 verse 28. Jesus goes to the uttermost of the worst that the world can do to you.
And what does He say to you? He speaks words to give you courage, to give you hope, to give you peace, to give you fortitude that says, I will stand like a man for Christ no matter what the opposition may be. Even if it grieves my heart to see relationships falter and fracture because of my commitment to Christ, I will be unmoved. That's what Christ is doing here.
Matthew 10 verse 28, He says, Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
So do not fear. You are more valuable than many sparrows. Jesus says, God knows the sparrow.
His eye is on the sparrow in response to which you say, and I know He watches me. And He watches me with a sense of love, with a sense of grace that is on my life, that is greatly more valuable because Christ didn't die for sparrows. Christ didn't die for the animal kingdom. Christ died for His people. And the measure of His love and the measure that He loves us is shown by the measure of the cost which He willingly paid.
And to Christ it was a joy, as it were, to endure the shame of the cross in order that He might call many brethren unto Himself. Not ashamed to call you brethren. Why?
Because His Father is your Father as well. You're more valuable than many sparrows and so don't be afraid. Don't flinch.
Don't despair. And He goes on and He says in verse 32 there in Matthew 10, He says, Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. To openly name the name of Christ even in the midst of opposition, even in the midst of rejection, to cling to Him in all of your futile failing strength is to realize that His strong arm of omnipotence has laid hold of you never to let go. That He will keep you and that the time will come when He will openly confess you in the courts of heaven and say, This is one for whom I died. And so you remember the reward of your salvation. Soon enough, beloved, you'll be free from sin.
Soon enough, you'll be freed from the conflict. Soon enough, you'll be glorified in His presence. It's too wonderful for words, isn't it? These are things too magnificent for tongue to tell. Who's adequate to give the proper due to explain these things fully and to speak of them of the reverence and holiness and joy with which they deserve? Who's worthy of that?
Who can do that? Oh, but beloved, it's what the Word of God tells us, that the reward of your salvation is great. And beloved, remember this and let it draw you closer to Christ and to elevate your affections for Him, strengthen your loyalty to Him, and move the motions of your heart so that there is unrestrained love for Him.
Oh, beloved, let it do that work in your heart. Because that great reward of which we've spoken is yours despite your sin, despite your inadequacy, despite your prayerlessness, despite your faltering steps for Christ, despite the many ways that you've sinned and compromised. Christ covered it all. Christ paid it all and says, yes, I see that sin, I see that you're not worthy, but I, Christ says, Christ is worthy and Christ bestows His worthiness on you so that you have a status that is fit for the presence of the holy God. And this gift of salvation, this reward of belonging to Him is yours apart from your deserving of it. That's grace.
That's great. That's great grace. And so in the midst of the rejection, you remember the reality of your salvation and you remember the reward of your salvation. And beloved, it strengthens you. Look down at the end of Matthew chapter 10.
We really need to just sit down and dwell on this. Because having spoken of His intention to openly confess us before the Father, He helps us see that there is a human line, there is a thin human line of cost that is paid for those blessings. He says in verse 34, don't think that I came to bring peace on the earth. I didn't come to bring peace, but a sword. I came to set a man against his father, daughter against her mother, daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He goes on to say, he who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.
He who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. He who has found his life will lose it. Oh, but beloved, here is the blessedness in which we live.
He who has lost his life for my sake will find it. You see, as Jesus is talking about these great themes of the love of God, talking about these great themes of the reward of salvation, and we have this great promise of seeing him face to face, as he teaches us that, he simultaneously tells us, informs us in advance, comforts us with the knowledge that says, sometimes, beloved, there will be a human price to pay. There will be a relational cost to your devotion to me. And he sets the bar high, and Christ says, I am worth paying that price. Christ says, if you would walk away from me for the sake of preserving a human relationship, you're not worthy of me.
You don't belong to me. By choosing the world over Christ, you testify to that which realm that you still belong to. But not for you, beloved. Not for those of you that are in Christ.
Remembering both the reality of your salvation and the reward of your salvation will help you when the mockers inevitably show themselves in your life. Pastor Don Green has two more principles to share next time as he concludes our series When You're Ejected Because of Christ. Be with us, then, here on The Truth Pulpit. Right now, though, here again is Don with some closing words.
Hi, friend. As we close today, I just want to make something available to you. You know, as you listen to these radio broadcasts, they have to fit into a 25-minute format, and we're very grateful for the opportunity the Lord's given us to do just that. But the radio messages are born out of a longer sermon message that contains more information, more background, a fuller explanation of the passage than what we're able to do on radio. So I encourage you to go to our website and find the link that says Follow Don's Pulpit. That will lead you to a podcast that gives you the full-length sermons from every Sunday and every Tuesday from my pulpit.
I really think that it will minister to you over time to hear the full-length messages, so we make that available for free, and we would love you to join us in that way as well. Thanks, Don. And friend, to take advantage of what Don just mentioned, just visit TheTruthPulpit.com. That's TheTruthPulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you again next time as Don Green again teaches God's people God's Word from the Truth Pulpit.
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