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PERSECUTED FOR THE SAKE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS - PART II

By Gale Maiden                                                             

In the way of righteousness is life, and in {its}
 pathway there is no death. (Proverbs 12:28, NAS)

THE WORK OF RIGHTEOUSNESS – FIRST TO CREATE CHOICE

One of the keys to understanding the work of righteousness in the earth is that righteousness brings forth judgment (choice). It is most important that we understand that the word judgment is the Greek word krisis. The English word crisis is derived from this Greek word. Also the Greek word krisis is sometimes translated justice. The better translation for krisis is choice. Understanding that judgment is simply choice greatly clarifies the work of righteousness.  Again the work of righteousness is simply the word of God’s faith working in and through you.

JESUS PRESENTS A RIGHTEOUS CHOICE TO THE PHARISEES INCITING PERSECUTION

Certain activities of persecution by the “religious” leaders were transpiring as recorded by the Apostle Matthew (Matthew 12). Jesus told those persecuting that these actual activities of persecution were fulfilling that which Isaiah had prophesied (Isaiah 42:1-9). Isaiah essentially prophesied how that Jesus would negotiate His ministry of righteousness and respond to persecution. This is a profound revelation for all who walk in righteousness and are for sure being persecuted.

There was a man with a crippled hand next to Jesus along with the Pharisees, a “religious” community of Jews. There was obviously mal-intent in the hearts of the Pharisees. The scripture says that they questioned him concerning the lawfulness of healing on the Sabbath…so that they might accuse him. Remember that persecution against righteousness includes false accusations. (Matthew 5:11-12)

And behold, {there was} a man with a withered hand. And they questioned Him, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"-- in order that they might accuse Him. (Mathew 12;10, NAS, emphasis & parenthesis added)

Jesus gives a brief dissertation which asked, "What man shall there be among you, who shall have one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it, and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." (Matthew 12:11-12, NAS)

Jesus was simply saying that the letter of the law, which says not to labor on the Sabbath and keep it holy, would have given way to the death of a precious sheep. This would of course not be good. Immediately Jesus demonstrated good on the Sabbath by healing the man with the withered hand.

Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand!" And he stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other. (Matthew 12:13, NAS)

RIGHTEOUSNESS “TICKED OFF” THE “RELIGIOUS” SPIRIT IN THE PHARISEES

But the Pharisees went out, and counseled together against Him, {as to} how they might destroy Him. (Matthew 12:14, NAS, emphasis & parenthesis added)

Jesus was very much aware that He had upset their “religious cart”. Jesus also knew that from their perspective persecution was imminent. Jesus, walking continuously in the righteousness of God which is by faith knew exactly the next move by which He would deal righteously with the persecution. Jesus for sure infuriated the “religious” Pharisees when retreating from the scene, He healed many who followed Him…despite it being the Sabbath. Unbeknown to the Pharisees, the righteous healings were a way of Jesus blessing those who were persecuting Him. Jesus was not self-righteous (doing what He wanted to do), but was righteous in that He was being instructed moment by moment by the spirit of faith (righteousness) being released by His Father God.

It is important to note that it was neither a self righteous glory nor notoriety in which Jesus desired to make known righteousness to the “religious” church. The healing of the withered hand conveyed the true message of righteousness. No self-righteousness or notoriety implied when Jesus warned the multitudes not to make him known in order that what was spoken by Isaiah the Prophet might be fulfilled. Notice that Jesus’ righteous actions throughout the encounter with the persecuting Pharisees and the subsequent healings is reflected and reiterated in the following Old Testament prophetic word concerning the ministry of Jesus.

Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen; My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall proclaim justice (choice) to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel, nor cry out; nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory. And in His name the Gentiles (Nations) will hope. (Matthew 25:18-21, NAS, emphasis & parenthesis added) (See Isaiah 43:1>)

WHAT ARE WE AS MINISTERS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS TO KNOW CONCERNING INEVITABLE PERSECUTION?

FIRST…WHO ARE YOU IN THE EYES OF GOD?

Again, this is the passage of scripture quoted by Jesus concerning Him and also all who would believe in Him.

Behold, My servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one {in whom} My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1, NAS)

This is who you are! This is the way God sees you!

·         God says concerning you, “Behold”. You are His prize possession and He wants all to know.

·         You are God’s chosen servant

·         God will uphold you

·         God’s soul delights in you

·         God has placed His Spirit upon you. You are totally anointed to fulfill His desires

·         God’s desire is for you to bring choice to the nations

My Lord…do we have the goods? Isaiah 42:1 says we have all that we need to consummate the end of the age (of sin). The initial and final choice or judgment of God is that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is righteousness unto life eternal. This eternal loving and wise judgment (choice) was demonstrated in the incarnation of Himself (God the Word made flesh) into the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The judgment (choice) for the incarnation, death and resurrection of the Lamb of God for the salvation of the world has eternally existed in the heart of God. We have the goods!

SECONDLY…HOW DO WE RIGHTEOUSLY RESPOND TO PERSECUTION?

In presenting the righteous choices of God in faith, we are presented with persecution. How do we handle persecution? Note the following scriptures from Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the ministry of Jesus. While Jesus presented the righteous choices of God throughout the earth it was said by the Prophet Isaiah that…

He will not cry out or raise {His voice,} nor make His voice heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice (judgment or choice). He will not be disheartened or crushed, until He has established justice (choice) in the earth; and the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law. (Isa 42:2-4, NAS, emphasis & parenthesis added)

THIS YOU WILL DO

·         You will not cry out or raise your voice nor make your voice heard in the street

·         You will not break a bruised reed

·         You will not extinguish a dimly burning wick

·         You will totally function in the faith which God gives thereby bringing forth judgment i.e.choice

·         You will not be disheartened or crushed until…

·         You have established choice in the earth and the coastlands will wait expectantly for God’s word of faith i.e. righteous choices

Conclusion: Are we willing to suffer persecution by walking in righteousness for the sake of righteousness? You are blessed!


 

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