CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
October 10, 2021
THE BEATITUDES Part 3
How Far Will We Go?
The past two Sunday we have looked at the first 7 of the Beatitudes. Two weeks ago, we discussed the first three and, last Sunday, the next four. The first three Beatitudes are about how everyday life affects us and then how we react to some of those disappointments and challenges as well as what God promises us when we remain faithful. The four we looked at last week are about choices we have made, both to life as well as to God’s call in our lives. The Beatitudes are all about choices and attitudes that drive us or about how life challenges us and what our reactions and responses are.
The last two Beatitudes that we read this morning are different yet from the others. These Beatitudes warn us about how others may react to the choices and attitudes we have made, especially our stand on God’s word and our relationship with God because of Jesus Christ. The first we read this morning says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We are being warned by Jesus that if you stand up for God’s holy standard not everyone is going to agree. As Jesus got more and more into his ministry, we see the Jewish leaders of the day were constantly opposing him. When we looked at Acts and the early church proclaiming the good news of salvation through Jesus, it cost many everything, including their lives. Jesus is warning the people, standing up for God and his holy standard will not always be easy, but once again look at the reward. The kingdom of heaven awaits those who will stand up for God’s righteousness. What is interesting is Jesus said the exact same thing of those who are beaten up by life in the very first Beatitude. The reward for both is the kingdom of heaven awaits. Many who may feel poor in spirit may feel that way because of what had happened to them for doing the right thing for pursuing God’s righteousness and encouraging others to do the same thing.
The final Beatitude read in verse 11 really warns Jesus’ followers the reality of serving God in an honest yet visible way. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil again you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.” This morning’s message title is “How far will you go?” If we are really willing to put it all out there. If we are unafraid, unashamed and willing to boldly proclaim the truth, be ready. People very well may insult you, persecute you and spread lies about you to stop you. Notice one important thing Jesus said. Sometimes sin can get us into trouble and these same things can happen because in many ways we deserve it. Jesus made a point in telling everyone if people insult you, persecute you and lie about you because you are firmly in God’s hands doing his work, do not be surprised. Jesus wanted to make sure everyone knew if these things happen because of your belief in him, be ready. But if these things happen because of him, great is your reward in heaven.
The Beatitudes remind us that things will happen to us while we are in these bodies on this earth. Sometimes it is because of what we have brought on ourselves because of sin. Sometimes it is because we live in a world that is stained by sin. Sometimes it is because we purposely took a stand with Jesus for God and his righteous, his holy standard. When things happen to us, especially because of our faith in God, Jesus wanted to make sure we all know God is watching. When God created us, He always intended for us to spend eternity with him, not live forever in this body as it currently is. Jesus was telling his disciples, the ones gathered on that mountainside and us today, that being one of God’s children can and will be difficult at times.
The last Beatitude Jesus shared really makes it very clear that if you truly pursue a righteous godly life, not everyone is going to be excited about it. And if you dare share your faith with others, you really better get ready.
We will continue with the more specific details of a godly life Jesus shared on the Sermon on the Mount starting next week. The Beatitudes gave an overview to us all of what we can expect not only from people and from the world, but also from our God. God is there ready to bless us, and Jesus has just given us the recipe for blessings. The question for you and me is will we follow it or try to create our own? Sometimes altering a recipe works in cooking, but it is not a good plan to change God’s recipe if we want to spend eternity with our heavenly Father and Jesus Christ our Savior when our time is up on this earth.
Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday
October 13 7:00 Executive Committee
November 5, 6 District Conference—One delegate still needed
November 10—Board Meeting
November 14—Council meeting after worship
Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you!
Donation Box: Pastor’s Assistance Fund
First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
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Keep in Your Prayers
Matt & Jill Reed and family; Andy Flenner and family; Mindy Sawyer; Jim (Buck) West; Marlene Schultz; Randy West; Jen Durst; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Tera Runyan; Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike Gentry; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Owen Wright; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 700,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
Church of the Brethren vision statement:
Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.
Our Mission Statement:
Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.