Text: Matthew 5:10-16
I. One popular trend arising around the world is to criminalize talk that is branded as “hate speech.”
A. Now we all know that “hate” isn’t good, so these laws passed quickly and easily
B. But what exactly is “hate speech?” I found definitions, such as:
1. Speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation
2. Speech that carries no meaning other than an expression of hatred for a group, especially if it provokes violence.
3. Hate speech can be any form of expression regarded as offensive to racial ethnic, and religious groups and other discrete minorities or to women
C. Notice the bias in the definition. In that it leans in favor of minorities, but speech against a majority is not counted as hate speech.
D. Around the world we are finding that hate speech laws are being used against people who take a stand against what some people do or advocate.
1. In Sweden a Pentecostal preacher was found guilty of hate speech when he spoke against homosexuality in 2003. He referred to homosexuality as “abnormal, a horrible cancerous tumor in the body of society.” What makes this particularly noteworthy is the comment of the prosecutor: “One may have whatever religion one wishes, but this is an attack on all fronts against homosexuals. Collecting Bible citations on this topic, as he does, makes this hate speech.”
2. You can believe what you want, but you can’t express it publically if it is against homosexuality, nor can you offer evidence that the Bible is against homosexuality.
3. Similar prosecution has taken place in Canada and other European countries.
II. Consider the reversal
A. Christians who point out that homosexuality is wrong are called names, such as homophobes and hate-mongers.
B. Christians who decline actions that show a support of homosexuality are prosecuted and fined.
C. Christian beliefs are taunted and degraded.
D. As a result, Christians’ business are burned and destroyed.
E. Now who is inciting violence by hate-filled speech against a particular group?
F. You can see the flaw when a position applies to one by not to self - Romans 2:1-3
III. What is being feared?
A. Christians are different from the world. We stand out as lights - Philippians 2:14-17
B. It is our Lord’s command to let our light shine - Matthew 5:14-16
C. The problem to the world is that light reveals - Ephesians 5:8-13
1. And people don’t like their sins exposed - John 3:19-21
D. It isn’t that true Christians are being provocative and seeking to cause problems. We seek to be peaceable people - Romans 12:18
1. But we remain different. And so we are sought out for persecution.
2. For example in Indiana, a pizza store, whose owners followed Christianity, were merely asked if they would cater a homosexual wedding. It wasn’t that anyone was asking to do so, it was a hypothetical question. And yet, their store was burned down when they politely stated that they would have to decline because of their beliefs.
3. People don’t like people who are different - John 15:19
4. It has been going on since the beginning - I John 3:11-13
IV. We have to make sure that the reason for the persecution is because we are doing right
A. Matthew 5:10-11 - “for righteousness’ sake”, because of Christ
B. Christ is our example - I Peter 2:19-23
C. As Christ pointed out, this has happened before - Matthew 5:12
D. Stephen pointed out it was consistent - Acts 7:52
V. Persecution is going to happen at times
A. If you live godly lives, you will be persecuted - II Timothy 3:12
B. But however bad it may become, it is momentary and light - II Corinthians 4:17
C. They are nothing to what awaits us - Romans 8:18
D. Thus the encouragement - Revelation 2:10