Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pentecost 25 (Proper 28)

Today's readings were Malachi 4:1-6, 1 Peter 4:12-19, and Luke 21:5-19; the sermon text was Matthew 5:11-12.

Christians are the primary persecuted group worldwide because of their faith. Our duty is to be and remember martyrs (lit. "witnesses"); Christ has assured us of this. The world hates us because it hates Christ our Lord and Master. Don't be surprised! Persecution is NOT general suffering and personal trials. It IS, however, suffering for the name of Jesus Christ. Discipleship invites persecution; it is an expected part of our Christian walk.

Modern Christianity objects. Surely persecution is not a blessing as Matthew says! But it is. Part of our path home, sustained by God's efficacious grace. Some are in chains for Christ. Remember their chains, for they hold us together. Be prepared for persecution and pray for those imprisoned - rescue them if at all possible, and REJOICE! Persecution shows those true to Christ; He grows His church in this way. Be strong in the Cross.

Soli Deo gloria.

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