Baptism

Beatitudes and Suffering

When we think of the Beatitudes we normally think of Matthew 5:3-10.  But my Bible, and I think most Bibles that have headings for different sections include verses 11–12 in the Beatitudes.

(Matthew 5:11-12 WEB) 11Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.When we were baptized we were asked to confess Jesus as our Savior and Lord.  What does it mean to accept Jesus as Lord?

Later in Matthew this theme is reiterated.  The key in all of this is that the righteous (blood bought disciples of Jesus Christ) will suffer at the hands of people who are fully vested in this life; whereas we should strive to be fully commited to Jesus Christ.

(Matthew 9:9-13 WEB) 9And as Jesus was passing from thence, he saw a man named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith to him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. 10And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at table in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11And when the Pharisees saw [it], they said to his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12But when Jesus heard [that], he said to them, They that are in health need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13But go ye and learn what [that] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

For the 20th consecutive year, North Korea ranks as the No. 1 most dangerous country for Christians. For three generations, everything in this isolated land has focused on idolizing the ruling Kim family. Christians are seen as hostile elements in society that must be eradicated. Thus, being discovered as a Christian is a death sentence. If you aren’t killed instantly, an inhumane labor camp awaits. North Korean President Kim Jong-un is reported to have expanded the system of prison camps, in which an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 Christians are currently imprisoned.

Jesus calls us to follow Him.  Did He know when He challenged His disciples that they would all desert Him?  They did come back to Him after His resurrection. 

(Matthew 16:24-27 WEB) 24Then said Jesus to his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25For whoever will save his life, shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake, shall find it. 26For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of man will come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and then he will reward every man according to his works.

How many preachers have challenged us to evangelize at this level? Are we satisfied with our current volunteer work at church and benevolent work outsife of church? It doesn’t seem like we have problems like they do in North Korea? Aren’t we doing the Lord’s work?.

But how close have we followed Jesus to begin with?  Would anybody know it?  Other than attendance at a church building, is there enough information to convict us for being a Christian?

In the case of the Apostle Paul, there is no doubt that He was faithful to Jesus and truly rejoiced when he was persecuted. We need to step up our Evangelistic efforts here in America. But what will it take? How do we do this? And won’t there be opposition?

AH! Now we’re getting close to being on track. In my case I need to be serious when I pray for lost souls and for confidence and expectations of success. And remember the three levels of effort:

1. I’ll try
2. I’ll do my best.
3. I’ll do whatever it takes!

(2 Timothy 2:10-12 WEB) 10Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11[It is] a faithful saying: For if we are dead with [him], we shall also live with [him]: 12If we suffer, we shall also reign with [him]: if we deny [him], he also will deny us:

If we are focused on God and not on the fleeting pleasures of this life, we obtain access to the King of Kings, a place in Heaven, and being counted as a “good and faithful” steward of the gifts He has given us.

(Matthew 25:21 WEB) His lord said to him, Well done [thou] good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” ― Jim Elliot (martyred Missionary in Ecuador).

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