Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10 ESV)
An outline of a sermon by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones entitle, "The Christian and Persecution" (Studies in the Sermon on the Mount)
1. What it doesn't mean
a. Blessed are those who are persecuted because they are objectionable.
b. Blessed are the persecuted because they are fanatical.
c. Blessed are they that are persecuted for a cause.
d. Blessed are they that are persecuted for religio-political reasons.
e. Blessed are they that are persecuted for being good, or noble, or self-sacrificing.
2. What it does mean
a. The teaching is this: if you are like Jesus Christ, you will be persecuted.
b. This teaching is illustrated throughout the Bible and church history.
c. The righteous are not only persecuted by the world, but often by the formal Church.
d. The righteous are persecuted not because they are simply good, but because they are different.
a. If our conception of Jesus is one that can be admired and applauded by the world, we have a wrong view of him.
b. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets. (Lk 6:26)
c. The natural man hates God.
d. The new birth is an absolute necessity before anybody can become a Christian.
4. A final question: Do we know what it is to be persecuted for righteousness' sake?