Prompt: Has anyone ever reacted negatively to your faith in Christ?
Bible Passage: Matthew 5:10-12
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:10
Digging In The Word
1. What image comes to mind when you hear the word persecuted? According to Matthew 5:11, how might that definition be broadened? Is persecution an isolated event or something Christians should avoid? See 2 Timothy 3:12.
2. We often think of persecution happening only when someone admits they are a Christian in a country predominated by other religions or atheism. What does the phrase, “persecuted because of righteousness” mean? List several ways someone might be reviled, threatened or ostracized because of righteous choices?
3. What keeps you from sharing your faith with non-believers, stating a biblical point of view, or making a righteous choice that swims against the tide of public opinion? According to Matthew 5;12 what should be your response?
4. Why would Jesus tell his followers to be glad about persecution? What is His reason in Matthew 5:12? See also John 15:20. What’s the connection? If you are persecuted, what does that say about you and your commitment to Jesus?
5. When we do suffer for our faith, what hope can we cling to? See 2 Cor. 4:9
1. What Scriptures or faith concepts bolster you when you’ve been attacked for your faith or Christian response?
2. We are in this together! If one part of the body is being persecuted, we are all under fire. How can you encourage, help, or pray for someone who is under attack for their faith or their display of righteousness? List three or four ways.
FURTHER READING: How are Christians able to rejoice and be exceedingly glad when they are persecuted? For an insightful look at the persecuted church, you might want to read The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken and Gregg Lewis.
This concludes the Be-Attitudes bible study. For seven weeks, I’ll be providing a bible study guide sheet based on Max Lucado’s book, Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine.