Page Three: “Blessed Are The Persecuted” 08/19/2012
First, Jesus says you will be blessed when you are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” What is this righteousness? Look with me at what Jesus says to the Pharisees about it later in this sermon, verse twenty. Matthew 5:20 “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteous-ness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
There are two kinds of righteousness. There’s the Scribes and Pharisees type in which you say you do what God says, but don’t do it. Then there is the person who simply yields himself or herself to the LORD to do whatever He says.
The kind of righteousness that the Pharisees exhibited was all outward. It was for show and self-honor. Anyone, religious and otherwise who does what he or she does so that you will be noticed and honored falls into this category of righteousness.
And then there are those whose righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. Their righteousness is outward. But first it’s inward. It’s a righteousness that comes from having a true heart relationship with Jesus Christ.
John 7:24 “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
II Corinthians 5:12 “For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.”
Those who judge according to appearance and who glory in appearance and not in heart are inside the category of the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees.
Folks, being a Church-goer; taking on the name of Christian; wearing a cross; and such things can never constitute being a child of God with the right-eousness of Christ.
In the OT we read of such people as Abraham having this kind of righteousness. Here’s what Paul says about him.
Romans 4:13 “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.”
And although outwardly religious, many people are like this. Romans 10:3 “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
If your goal is to establish your own righteousness and you have not submitted to the righteousness of God, you can be sure you have the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees.
But if you are connected to Jesus Christ and have exercised child-like faith in Him alone for your eternal security, you’ve been given the righteousness of God Himself. Here’s what we read in II Corinthians five.
II Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteous-ness of God in him.”
And here’s how the Apostle Peter put it.
II Peter 1:1 “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:…”
Listen now to Jesus as He speaks publically to the Pharisees about their heart-love for money.
Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
(14) And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. (15) And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”