Friday, August 12, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 5:12

"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." -Matthew 5:11-12

Who is this command to?

This command is in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5:1 suggests that there is a great crowd listening to Jesus teach and He is teaching His disciples.

What does this command require?

Jesus commands that those who are persecuted must rejoice and be happy for their reward in heaven. Even though on earth all things might be taken away in persecution, the disciples would be gaining treasure in heaven because of their persecution.

What truths do we learn through this command?

We learn that all disciples of Christ will be persecuted for His sake. We know, often from experience, that persecution is not a fun thing. Persecution is painful. Often persecution means the loss of things that we hold dear.

But we also learn that persecution on earth is not the end. Heaven is the end. Heaven is the goal of life and if we are persecuted here on earth for Christ's sake, we will receive great reward in heaven. Christ commands us to rejoice and be glad for our reward.

This is a command that the disciples learned to follow well. Acts 5:41-42 - "So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ."

So take this command to heart and rejoice when you are persecuted for His name's sake. Great is your reward in heaven.

What are the consequences for disobeying this command?

Loss of reward in heaven; bitterness of spirit; no Christlike testimony for your persecutors;

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