Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 5 Study # 5
October 28, 2007
:An aggressive campaign to discredit a believer is to be met with a clear understanding of its absolute final futility.
:In our studies of the "beatitudes" recorded by Luke in 6:20-21 we have seen that there are definitive links between the attitudes we take in the present and the experiences we shall have in the future. Luke's record began with Jesus addressing the foremost issue of all: what it takes to have a place in the future Kingdom of God. This tipped us off to the probable approach Jesus was going to take: He began with the greatest issue, so it seems likely that He would pursue each following issue in a descending order.
And that is what we discover. First, Jesus addressed the "attitude" that allows a person to be received by God. That attitude is the kind of humility that approaches the desirability of getting into God's Kingdom with a clear-eyed understanding that there is not one red cent in the bank of moral qualification for God's acceptance and, accompanying this recognition, there is an honest desire to be accepted. God is willing to accept people into His Kingdom who possess "faith" in two basic realities: they have no hope in themselves; and, they have hope in God's willingness to forgive and cleanse and regenerate.
Second, Jesus addressed the "attitude" that permits a larger inheritance in the Kingdom for which humility qualifies: the hunger for righteousness that refuses to be addressed by substitute foods.
And third, Jesus addressed the "attitude" that brings about a final exultation over the enemies who continuously attempt to undercut the accomplishment of righteousness by their methods of opposition: tears of significant grief because of the present destruction of the good.
These first three followed this order: first, one's own attitude about one's own righteousness; second, one's attitude about how much of God's righteousness one could acquire in actual experience; and third, one's attitude about how badly God's righteousness is being distorted in the present.
This morning we have come to the fourth, and final, and longest "beatitude". Up to this point each beatitude was a brief (the longest was only 10 words) sentence. At this point, the final beatitude takes up two complete verses. According to Jesus, the "problem" is the way people respond to the genuine faith of the believer, and the solution is to recognize how enormous is the heavenly reward for that faith.
So, let's at least begin to consider this last, and longest, declaration by Jesus.
- I. What He Describes.
- A. He ends by sharply defining the spur that has created the scenario.
- 1. In an extremely contentious world, the causes of hatred and conflict are legion, but there will always be a basic root: the reality of competing agendas.
- 2. Jesus said that the foundations of this beatitude are rooted in the believer's commitment to God's agenda in the devil's world.
- 3. By this qualification, Jesus eliminated the beatitude's application to anything that is not a genuine expression of real humility, a genuine expression of a hunger for more of God's righteousness in my actions, and a genuine remorse over the temporary successes of the wicked.
- a. Believers are often "odious" to others because of their pride, their self-righteousness, and their twisting of what they want into what God wants and crying all over everyone.
- b. Jesus was not making any promises to anyone who was simply seeking his own agenda at the expense of others.
- B. He begins by addressing the most potent issue before men: being hated.
- 1. The potency of this issue is revealed by two realities.
- a. The first of these "revealers" is the impact hate makes.
- b. The second of these "revealers" is the lure that being loved possesses.
- 2. The primacy of this issue is also revealed by two realities.
- a. The first of these "revealers" is the fact that Sin entered this world at the point when God's love for man was undercut.
- b. The second of these "revealers" is the fact that God's solution to the Sin problem consists of a demonstration in real terms of the undeniability of His love and His unremitting demand that men be clear, clear, clear on whether they "believe" His demonstration, or not.
- 1) Heaven and Hell rest upon the fact that God has genuinely loved His creatures.
- 2) But Heaven and Hell depend upon what those creatures do with it.
- C. He continues by describing some of the things "haters" do to the "hated".
- 1. He spoke of being "ostracized", an action that makes no bones about the fact that the "hated" is not going to be accepted by the "haters".
- 2. He spoke of being subjected to "criticism", a tactic that makes no bones about the fact that the "rejection" is caused by the "hated".
- 3. He spoke of being "maligned", a tactic that makes no bones about the intention of the "haters" to attempt to extend their ostracism to as great a degree as possible.
- II. Why This Reality Occurs.
- A. As we said in the beginning, the real roots of all contention exist at the agenda level.
- B. The fact that men do to each other what Jesus describes simply means that they are sufficiently committed to their agenda to attempt to impose it upon others.
- C. It is out of this intention "to impose" that hatred, ostracism, criticism, and character assassination comes.
- III. What Should the Believer Do About It?
- A. First, he should believe in his "blessedness".
- B. Second, Jesus said he should "rejoice in that day".
- C. Third, Jesus said he should "leap" -- a word that is defined earlier (Luke 1:41, 44) as the physical result of the believer's hearing the voice of the bearer of the Son.
- IV. How?
- A. Realize the magnitude of the reward of heaven.
- B. Separate yourself from your sinful link to sinful men (caring overmuch for their opinions of you, caring overmuch about their own destruction, and caring overmuch for the impact they are currently making in this world).