Matthew 5:11 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are YOU when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely BECAUSE OF ME BECAUSE OF ME.
Matthew 5:11 1.Revile unjustifiably bringing reproach [accusation] on someone 2.Persecute maltreat, hostile pursuit: drive out, expel 3.Say all kinds of evil falsely what is physically disadvantageous: bad, harmful, painful things characterized by ill will: evil, wicked, malicious 4.Because of Me (Jesus) vs. Because of me (self) We should always test whether we are being persecuted because of Jesus Christ (via godliness), or because of me (via godlessness).
Matthew 5:11 How is it a blessing (now)? A.1 Peter 4:12-14 12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
Matthew 5:11 How is it a blessing (now)? B.Romans 5:3-4 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Matthew 5:12 How should we respond when we are persecuted? 12 Rejoice [be glad, be happy, be delighted] and be exceedingly glad [express extreme joy], because great is your reward in heaven, for,in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:13 13 You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its saltiness, with what will it be salted? It is then good for nothing except being thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men. “of the seasoning effect of salt lose its strength; become ineffective” When the church loses its effect of saltiness in the world (with a distinguishing mark of persecution) then she will not only be useless but will be ‘thrown out’ by God and will be ‘trampled by men’! Is this similar to ‘removing lampstand’ in Ephesus church in Rev 2:5?
Matthew 5:14-15 14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
Matthew 5:16 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. ‘see’ = realise, perceive; experientially come to know Men realising the good works of the saints in persecution and glorifying the Father in heaven might not necessarily be in this age!
Summary A.As followers of Christ, we are both ‘against the world and for the world’ (C. S. Lewis) and ‘world-affirming and the world-denying’ (Os Guinness). B.Because we are against the world, we proclaim the righteousness of God, and at the same time, because we are for the world, we intercede for the world. The former inevitably brings persecution. C.Because we affirm the world by saying ‘God loves the world’, and yet, we deny the world by not living like them, they persecute us. D.Salt preserves life and heals wounds but it also causes pain when applied to the wounds. E.Light drives out darkness but also exposes sins, which cause offence. F.Nonetheless, God commands us to be the salt and light of the world, and the consequent persecution (because of Jesus & His righteousness) will be a distinguishing mark as followers of Christ, just as He was.