I. PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE.
A. The previous verse, Jesus said, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake."
B. I believe in verse 11 Jesus is defining what He meant by "For righteousness sake."
C. I do not see this as a new beatitude but only an amplification of verse 10.
II. WHAT WAS MEANT "FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE"?
A. "Men shall revile you."
1. The Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah saying,
Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart [is] my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.
2. We read how the Jews reviled the blind man that was healed by Jesus.
As [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man which was blind from birth.
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
The neighbours therefore, and they which before had known that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?
Some said, This is he: others [said], He is like him: [but] he said, I am [he].
Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?
He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.
Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I don't know.
They brought the blind man to the Pharisees.
And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.
Then the Pharisees asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and I now see.
Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.
They said unto the blind man again, What do you say of him, the One who opened your eyes? He said, He is a prophet.
But the Jews did not believe that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight.
And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how is it that he can see?
His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind:
But by what means he now sees, we do not know; or who has opened his eyes we do not know: he is of age; ask him: he can speak for himself.
His parents spoke these words, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
Therefore his parents said, He is of age; ask him.
Then again they called the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.
He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner [or not], I do not know: one thing I know is that, once I was blind, now I see.
Then said they to him again, What did he do to you? how did He open your eyes?
He answered them, I already told you, and you did not hear: why do you want to hear [it] again? will you also be his disciples?
Then they reviled him, and said, You are his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples.
We know that God spake unto Moses: [as for] this [fellow], we know not from whence he is.
The man answered and said unto them, This is marvellous that you do not know not from whence he is, and [yet] he hath opened mine eyes.
Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and does his will, him he hears.
Since the world began has it been heard of a man opening the eyes of one that was born blind?
If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sin, and do you try to teach us? And they cast him out.
3. Peter spoke of this in his first letter.
Forasmuch then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same mind: for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin;
That the rest of his life he should not live after the lusts of his flesh but after the will of God.
For it is enough that in the past we lived after the will of the the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, partying, and abominable idolatries:
Wherein they think it strange that you do not run with them to the same excess of riot, and now speak evil of [you]: He went on to comfort them saying:
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy [are ye]; for the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
B. Persecute you.
1. In the early church persecution took many forms.
a. They were beaten.
b. They were tortured.
c. They were cast into prison.
d. They were put to death in many horrible ways.
2. The church is still being persecuted today.
a. Here in the U.S. we have been relatively free from overt persecution, but if things continue in the present form, it is only a matter of time till persecution will begin to come.
b. People want acceptance for their perverted life styles. They hate to be condemned or made to feel guilty for living perverted lives.
c. They through the laws are trying to criminalize those who would speak out against the way they want to live.
d. If we continue in the present trend it is only a matter of time till reading Romans 1
will open you to charges of inciting hate crimes.
e. In foreign lands such as China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, India, Indonesia, parts of the Philippines, much of the continent of Africa Christians are facing severe persecution.
C. Say all manner of evil against you falsely.
1. The case of Stephen.
Because they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which Stephen spoke.
Then they hired men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and [against] God.
And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, who came upon [him], and caught him, and brought [him] to the council,
And they set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.
2. The case of Paul,
For we have found this man [a] pestilent [fellow], and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:
Who also had gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law.
But the chief captain Lysias came [upon us], and with great violence took [him] away out of our hands,
Commanding his accusers to come unto thee: If you will scourge him you will find out that all these we accuse him of are true.
And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so.
Then Paul, when the governor beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge unto this nation, I cheerfully answer for myself:
I want you to understand, that it was only twelve days ago that I went up to Jerusalem to worship. And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city:
Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.
III. THE KEY WORD OF JESUS HERE IS, "FOR MY SAKE."
A. There isn't any special blessing attached to the persecution that comes to us for other reasons.
1. Peter said that if you are buffeted for your own faults and you take it well, that does not prove much.
B. This really reveals how we should live. We should live our lives for His sake.
1. Most of what we do is for our sake.
2. What shallow living that is.
3. We should be living for His sake.
4. Paul said, "And when Christ, who is our life,"
C. Why are you blessed?
1. For one thing, you are in good company, "For so persecuted they the prophets who were before you."
2. As Stephen challenged the religious council he asked, Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?