Purity, Peace, and Persecutions-
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8)
Something that is pure, such as pure gold, has no variables in it. It is unchanging. It is steadfast.
Blessed are the pure in heart, blessed are the steadfast in heart, for they shall see God.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Cor. 15:58)
The Book of James chapter one verses six and seven tells us why this is to our advantage to be steadfast and unmovable.
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” (James 1:6-7)
There are many winds of doctrine today but God says “stand fast”.
The Lord says to “stand fast” in what I have put in your heart and the revelation that I have given you. “Stand fast” in what the Holy Spirit has borne witness to be truth unto you.
We are not to be tossed to and fro as the wind tosses the waves, for the Bible says “we shall not receive anything from the Lord.”
Second Peter chapter three and verse 17 says,
“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.” (2Peter 3:17)
God wants us to be steadfast.
The Gospel of Matthew chapter five and verse nine tells us,
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matt. 5:9)
Romans chapter eight and verse 14 says,
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14)
The children of God and the sons of God are those who are led by the Spirit and are peacemakers.
When the Spirit of God is involved we are going to be peacemakers. We are going to spread peace between man and God. We are going to show men how they can be reconciled unto God.
Acts chapter eight and verse 29 declares,
“Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.” (Acts 8:29)
These Scriptures in Acts tell us of a time when Philip was led by the Spirit of God to go down to Gaza and there he met an Ethiopian eunuch whom he led to the Lord.
Philip was led by the Spirit of God.
This is the witness of the gospel that we are talking about: being a peacemaker.
James chapter five and verse 20 says,
“Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (James 5:20)
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;” (Eph. 6:15)
Being a witness is very important to God. It is an attitude of heart. Many people know that they are supposed to witness but they do not exercise that attitude of heart.
This attitude of heart is just like the Bible says, having “your feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”
It means to be ready.
The Bible says that we are to always be prepared and be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within us.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1Peter 3:15)
We are to be ready to give an answer as to why we don’t run to the same extremes of excess, the pleasures of sin, or the worry and panic that other people do.
This is an attitude of heart. To always be prepared to give an answer. To always be prepared to speak out for the Lord Jesus Christ and not to be ashamed.
Jesus said that if we are ashamed of Him in this wicked and adulterous generation, then He will be ashamed of us when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38)
There is a lot more to the Word of God than just John 3:16.
It has been said that Thompson, the man who put together the Thompson Chain Reference Bible, said on his deathbed to the man who was consoling him as he was dying, that if we really believe everything contained in the Word of God, then there are going to be few who enter into eternal life.
This is just exactly what Jesus said.
“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:14)
Matthew chapter five verses ten through 12 declares,
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matt. 5:10-12)
Persecution is a gauge or an indicator of our godliness. The Word of God tells us in Second Timothy chapter three and verse 12,
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2Tim. 3:12)
Jesus said in John chapter 15 verses 20 and 21,
“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” (John 15:20-21)
Here Jesus lets us know exactly what we’re getting into when we decide to follow Him. It is not all a bed of roses being a Christian.
There are things we are going to encounter as a Christian that might not be very pleasing to the flesh.
But Jesus said also said that great is the reward when we do live godly.
The Lord wants us to count the cost. Luke chapter 14 verses 28 through 30 says,
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.” (Luke 14:28-30)
There will be persecutions. He says there will be divisions.
There will be a mother-in-law against a daughter-in-law and a father-in-law against a son-in-law. There will be a brother against a brother and a sister against a sister.
But the Lord says that if we stand fast and hold onto the faith, if we continue to go on and not turn back, we shall reap in due season if we faint not.
“And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)
Many preachers preach about the 100 fold return, but oftentimes there are two words that they leave out when they preach about this Scripture. The words that are left out many times in preaching about the 100 fold return are the words “with persecutions”.
The persecutions are going to come as we live godly.
If we are able to live in this unrighteous world, work side-by-side with ungodly individuals, listen, laugh, or go along with the immoral jokes and philosophies and never receive any type of persecution for our faith and belief in Christ, then we need to ask ourselves “What kind of witness am I for Christ?”
Jesus told the Church at Laodicea,
“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:16)