Sermon – The Beatitudes: Hurting Happy (Matthew 5:1 – 5:12) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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The Beatitudes

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Sermon 8 of 9

The Beatitudes: Hurting Happy

Rory Kinnaird, Matthew 5:1 - 5:12, 7 March 2021

Rory speaks of the last beatitude in our series; "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." We see in this passage that the desire to live a righteous life in this world will cause friction and bring about some suffering and persecution. We also see from 1 Peter 2:11-25, that our suffering is not meaningless if we remain in Jesus.

Matthew 5:1 - 5:12

5:1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Okay. We are on our last beatitude, which is in Matthew 5, which is our first of our 2 readings that we've got tonight. So if you want to open up your bible, if you got it to Matthew chapter 5, this is from verse 1. Now when Jesus saw the crowd, who went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him and he began to teach them.

He said, blessed of the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted, blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. Bless are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Bless of the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Bless of the pure in heart for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blesser to you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

And our second reading, which is up on the screen, is from 1 peter 2, which is versus 11 to 25. Different friends, I urge you as foreigners and exiles to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul, live such good lives among the pagans that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the lord's sake to every human authority whether to the emperor, as a supreme authority or to governors, who were sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good, you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover up for evil live as God's slaves, show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers fear God honor the emperor.

Slaves, in reverent fear of God, submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, This is commendable before God. To this, you were called because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.

He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate when he suffered he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly, for he himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness by his wounds you have been healed. For you will like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepard and over of your souls. Good evening for me.

I'm Rory. And as Ben said, we're in our last session or last beatitude of this sort of series. So, hopefully, you're as excited as I am. About getting into this, I'm gonna pray, and then we'll get stuck in. Let me pray.

Father, we we thank you once again for the Lord Jesus. And we thank you for what he has been teaching us in this in the sermon on the Mount. With these beatitudes. We thank you that to display these marks is to have a truly blessed life. And so we pray father that as we consider this last 1 now, that we will want this blessed life, And so we pray you will challenge us where we need challenging.

You'll encourage us where we need encourage you. And we pray father in all of it, we will see how glorious Christ is and how glorious it is to live for him. And so Prady sings in his name, our man. See, this works. Yes.

Okay. Now, as we come to the end of the beatitudes, I wonder how you felt as we've we've gone through them, Maybe you've never never read them before, maybe you've read them a hundred times before, but I think you would agree that if you thought about a happy life, these are not the marks that we would go for for happiness. Right? The world, especially, I think, if people in in our culture read this and they said, to be happy, are the things that we've read in Matthew, they would probably laugh at you. I think actually, it's interesting.

In Luke chapter 6, we also get these kind of beatitudes there as well. Jesus talks about them then. I think He draws us out a little bit more. But we would expect that actually the happy person would be the person who's really rich. Who laughs, who is who's well fed, who's proud, who lives life to the full, who who smashes all opposition to himself and climbs the ladder to great success, less.

So, I would imagine that if you've come to this for the first time and you you heard that this is what a truly happy, restful life and pieces, you may you may think you're going a bit stir crazy. The fact that you're saying to be truly lest, you've gotta be poor, you've gotta mourn at sin. You've got a hunger and thirst of righteousness, you've gotta be meat, you've got to be merciful, pure in heart, and a peacemaker. What many I think many people have called this this sermon, Jesus' kingdom is the upside down kingdom. It's where everything's flipped on its head.

We don't expect this. Our world doesn't get it. This is not how the world I think we saw it with naming this morning. The world likes to say, look how rich I am, look how important I am. Look what power I have.

And Jesus says, no, my kingdom is totally and utterly different. Now, you may have been very familiar. I guess many people in this room are really familiar with Matthew 5 verses 3 to 10. And and you might you may be there in your seat going, yes. Yes.

Our men are men. I'm a I'm a Christian. I love this. I love it so much. It's beautiful.

Preach me the word Rory. I know I can see you all now. Give me more Rory. But as you read these things, Are you actually living it? Yes, you may agree with Jesus and say, yeah, men are men, but are you living it?

Are those things in your life? See, we come into the very last 1 here, and I think this is the test. I think this is the test of are you living a righteous life? And as we come to this, I guess after you've read those first 7 beatitudes, you'd be thinking, well, to be honest, it's probably going to be what the world would think is bad. But you may be shocked when we come to this how bad it really is.

And so this is my first point. And each of my points, I have a question with an answer. So first point, who is the blessed 1? Answer the reviled. Who's the blessed 1, the reviled?

The first part of verse 10 says, blessed are those who are persecuted. In other words, happy is the 1 who is harmed or hurt. In other words, blessed is the battered. In other words, peace comes persecution. Now, I like many of these, I think what the person who's happy is the 1 who's persecuted.

The 1 who is happy is the 1 who is who is reviled. It's not the popular 1. It's not the 1 who everyone loves. It's not the 1 who says whoever speaks so highly of. No, it's the 1 who's persecuted.

And what does that persecution look like? Well, if you go to verse 11, Jesus expands on this. He says, blessed, are you and people insult you? Persecute you? And falsely say all kinds of evil against you.

In other words, persecute you, they physically harm you, they That word perch you actually is kind of they hound you and they chase you into almost death. They insult you. That's the word for revival. They sneer. They mock.

They they make snide comments. And they falsely say all kinds of evil against you, they disgrace you, they blame you, they shame you. This is both physical and it's also verbal. Now, it's it's I I find this quite an interesting thing because if you if you look through all the other beatitudes, it's all about how we are to respond to others, or sin, or to other people, whereas this 1 is actually how other people respond to us, or to the blessed 1. Now, this is the question I suppose you could ask.

Does that mean if I experience harm and hatred and bad things, Does that mean I'm a blessed person or not necessarily? It's not just if you get beaten up, that means you're blessed. Okay? Because you might get beaten up for a good reason. You might have said something you shouldn't have said and you've got beaten up.

So, here's my second point. Why is the blessed 1 persecuted? Rightsness? Why is the blessed 1 persecuted? Righteousness.

See, verse 10 again, and verse 11, blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness. And then Jesus says, at the end of verse 11, falsely say all kinds of evil against you, because of me. See, it's not because you're an absolute horror. It's not because you are a confrontational aggressive toe rag. It's not because you're you're someone who's trying to just wind someone up because it's funny and you want to get beaten up.

That's not what it is. It's not that, it's quite the opposite, isn't it? It's because you're pursuing righteousness, it's because you're trying to be like Jesus. That's what righteousness is. That's why he says because of me.

And this is is what I think is going on here, those first 7 beatitudes. If you live those first 7 beatitudes out, Then you'll be persecuted. That's the result. It's an amazing thing if you look at verse 4. It says blessed is the 1 who hungers and thirsts for what.

Righteousness. So the thing that we ought to thirst for in verse 4, righteousness is the very thing that brings us persecution. Jesus says, hunger and thirst are right living. And you'll be persecuted. And so Christians who seek Christ's righteousness will face hardship in this world.

And we see that we see that tonight, in Tunisia, we see that If you just go to the open doors website or barnabas or whatever it is, you will see that people up and down this country and this world sorry, are persecuted for living righteous lives. That they can't even that that as soon as they become Christians, they're disowned by their family. That they are classed as second class citizens that women face sexual harassment because they are righteous. But listen, it's not just those in those other countries, it's us as well. Or at least it should be.

This is a really hard teaching by the way. I've found this quite a hard teaching because I've had to look at my own life on this 1. Because it should be that as I try and live out, the the beatitudes in my own day to day living, there will be hardships from others. And is there hardships in my life? Because the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Jesus in these beatitudes should be clashing with the kingdom of this world, It should be righteousness versus self righteousness of this world.

And when the world with its all its ways of I'm gonna do right in my own way, When it comes up to with Christ's righteousness, it looks filthy. It's a bit like I don't know if you heard Pete the other week. He was talking about that because I think it was snow, and he was talking about the white dog in the snow. Right? Well, the white dog when it's not in the snow looks really clean.

As soon as you put it in the snow, it looks filthy. Right? Or like if you might not be able to see on camera. I'm wearing incredibly white trainers, I feel great. But you might have seen Ben Reid.

He's wearing white trainers. He thinks he looks really clear. If he stands next to me, he looks filthy and he probably will hate me. To repent brother. But as you live out these beatitudes, as you're Mawning over your sin, as you're meek, as you're merciful, as you do these things, a world that tries to do right in its own eyes.

Will be exposed as sinful. See, as you're in a workplace and there's people gossiping about another member of staff or or colleague, and you don't join in. You've exposed them. You've exposed them to be the gossip that they are. As you refuse to lie for someone, I say, so can you cover for me and just tell him I'm I'm sick?

You say, I can't do that. I'm I'm a Christian. They're gonna hate you for it. When you as a Christian Love and forgive, when you as a Christian show mercy to the people that this world says, we should know, way should we show mercy, to those type of people, they will hate you. It's interesting as I was thinking about this sermon, I I was reminded of a book called War and Grace in which I've talked about before at Cornerstone, there's a there's a man called Henry I think this is how you say, Gerek, doesn't matter about the pronunciation.

He's an American man who can speak Germany, goes over during the Neuremberg trials This is where the Nazi officials are being being put up into court, put on trial, and he gospels them. He gospels them. He shows mercy. He puts on this beatitude of mercy. And what happens, he's reviled, dew hater, nazi lover.

Because the mercy that he shows on these Nazi officials reveals the judgmentalism of a self righteous world. So if you live a righteous life, if you live out these choose in this world, you should have persecution. You'll have insults coming your way. You may have had it. Those snide comments that come under the breath or the sarcastic tones that that are you're greeted with.

The mocking and the sneering. Maybe you're a Christian from a non Christian background, and you've faced disownment, I don't know. Maybe people say evil things about you, they wish but behind your back, they gossip about you. They twist your words, so you believe that, do you? No, I didn't say it.

You believe that, do you? You believe that about sex, you believe that about gender, you believe that, that. You hate this type of person. To Timothy chapter 3 verse 12 says this, In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. If you want to live a godly life, if you want to live the beatitudes out, then you will face persecution.

And so this this is why I'm challenged by this because what I ask myself is, am I facing persecution or am I not? And if I'm not facing persecution, why? Why not? Now, I think part of the answer is this, that in the UK, we live in we we have been blessed upon far beyond we the what we could imagine or appreciate in that that this culture has been built on Christian foundations, that means that people understand the morals of the bible, And so therefore, I don't face the persecution of those people in Tunisiaia. So that I think that could be a problem, a reason why.

However, And this is to young people, especially, because I can see there's some young people in the room. This culture is going further and further away from the bible. Further and further away from the gospel and what it says about who we are and who God is. And as they do that, If you are going to live out the righteous life, then you're going to find you'll be persecuted more and more. But I think another reason why I don't face persecution sometimes is because I fail to live up to the calling of Christlikeness.

I fail to put on these beatitudes day by day. I fail to show Christ in my life, and so therefore, there's nothing to persecute. In in if you keep on going on in in the book of Matthew, he talks about salt and light. And he says, a light is not meant to be hidden. And so I have to ask myself, is my light hidden?

Am I hidden? Are people seeing me? Can people see me live in the righteous life? Because if they do, then persecution is sure. Now, I guess we can now hear I mean, this is this is pretty good, like, oh, gosh.

You know, we could hear this and go, well, what is the point of this? You know, if you lived lose amazing beatitudes out the first 7, then you just get your head kicked in. Well, no, thank you. I think I'll give that 1 a miss. Thank you, Rory, and good day to you.

How can this be a blessed life? Well, here's the third point. Why go through this? A reward to rejoice in. A reward to rejoice in not again at verse 10?

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And then again, in verse 12, rejoice, and be glad. Because great is your reward in heaven. In other words, count the cost, You know, when you have to make a big decision, I thought about buying a house or buying a car or something expensive or moving jobs You've got to consider the losses and the gains, don't you? I've got to work out, okay, how much how much will I lose and how much am I going to gain by going for this decision?

And if if I get more gains than losses, then you go for it. Right? Well, I guess that's usually how people will. Unless you're like someone Sometimes we're a bit indecisive on we were all, I don't know, and then we make no decision. So in the end, we make no decision.

We decide against it. See, and what I'm trying to say here is, if it was just persecutions and it was just sufferings, if that's all there was in this world because you're living a righteous life, then I would say don't bother. Just don't bother. Going out go down have it well, not to the pub because we can't. But go and have a drink somewhere.

And have a happy life some other way. Because if it's just suffering and persecution, it's not worth it. But because there is a reward, It makes it absolutely worth it. Now, it's not just worth it either, because how does he start that sentence in verse 12? Well, look at it.

Amazingly, he says rejoice and be glad. That word is like leap for joy, which is a bit of an off thing. You get pushed in the face and you go, woo hoo. But it's not, I don't think it's quite like that. Romans 8 verse 17 till 18 says this.

Now, if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and co heirs with Christ. If indeed we share in his sufferings, in order that we may also share in his glory. Okay? So, there's the soft rings, the persecutions, and the reward is the glory. Okay?

What's the losses and gains like? Well, let's have a look. I consider that our present soft rings the losses, are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Worth it. Absolutely, the the reward is so much greater than the sufferings.

But it's not only that, that the sufferings that that that that that the the sufferings are worth it and they actually show the reward we have because actually the sufferings are pointing to the fact that we have a reward, but they actually lead to, and they achieve the the the reward that we get. Check out 2 Corinthians, chapter 4 and verse 70. This is a brilliant verse. 4. Again, what's the loss is like, the lighter momentary, for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us.

They're achieving for us. If you're persecuted, that's achieving something for you. They're achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. In us, as you live your righteous life, And people revile you, and insult you, and you know, and say all kinds of evil about you, those are are things that are achieving for you, the glory, the reward that is to come, the day when I stand in a new creation, and I see the father and I see the Lord Jesus face to face. It's a bit like the athlete or the Olympium.

As he as he they go through they put their body through suffering. But is it they look, what is that achieving as they as they run and run and run and run and get better and better and better is achieving the goal that is hopefully the gold medal? Or maybe it's just the weight the person trying to lose weight. Yeah? I'm 30 now.

Apparently, this is where we start gaining weight. So I'm probably going to have to do this at some stage. But you you you you well, apparently, you just don't eat anything or you eat just is it carbohydrates or something? And it's painful and I just put my body through rubbish. But each time I lose a pound, Eastamaloo's another pound and another pound.

Oh, yes, and now I'm 11 stone, 11. Whoo. Yeah. And it's going towards the goal of 11 stone, 9. Yes.

See sanctity and suffering Be made like Jesus and suffering go hand in hand. And so when we suffer, and we will suffer, and we live righteous lives, And it is unpleasant. Let's not let's not get this, like, mixed up. I'm not saying, look, you go into suffering and then, like, you enjoy the pain or something. We're not sadists or what they call masochists.

But we don't have to endure them like a stoic just in putting my body through it and just hoping that it ends at the end at the end of the day. But we can go and suffer with rejoicing and gladness. We can rejoice and glad because in those sufferings, and as we suffer, and in those persecutions, and every vile word aimed your way for your righteous life. That is a mark. That is a sign.

That we have a reward that far outweighs the pain that we experience. It says, The kingdom is ours. It says, the Lord Jesus is ours. It says, you will see Christ face to face. That is the reward.

Now you Listen. The reward is not just a place the reward is a person. The treasure is not gold. The treasure is far greater than gold. It is Christ.

That is the joy. That's why the apostles when they come out of the Sanhedron in acts chapter 5 can say, they come out rejoicing that they had been considered worthy. To suffer for the name. We don't get this, do we? I don't get this.

As a Christian, I shy away. I shy away from persecution. I don't want people seeing. I don't understand the greatness of God, the greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ, the greatness that even in persecution In fact, more in persecution than in any other realm that is achieving for me a glory that far outweighs anything else I could experience. 1 of her 1 of the first Scot theologians said that the early Christians, and they really got it.

I mean, you just need to read what happened to the people in Rome, put in pitch and burned to death. Feta lions put through a whole host of things. But this bloke Tillion's name is, he says, they had more comfort in their sufferings than they did in their deliverances. Another theologian says this, this is a local Thomas Watts in a puritan. The way to heaven is by way of thorns and blood.

Though it be full of roses in regard of the comforts of the Holy Ghost, Yet it's as full of thorns in regard of persecutions. Before Israel got to Canon, a land flowing with milk and honey, they must go through a wilderness of serpents and a red sea. So the children of God in their passage to the holy land must meet with fiery serpents and a red sea of persecution. Saint Paul fought with beasts at Ephesus, set it down as a maxim. If you follow Christ, you must see the swords and staves, put the cross in your creed.

We should really know this. I could have just read through the new test. It would take a long time if I just read through the new testament. There is so much on this topic of suffering and persecution. Paul is constantly saying I'm suffering and to expect suffering.

The passage that Ben read as long as it was, he merely got down before he finished it. He said we're gonna suffer. But the reward is worth it. I get Christ. We're gonna sing a song at the end.

1 of my favorite songs actually. It's Christ's mind forevermore. Because when I get to heaven, then my heart will have its treasure. Christ forevermore. So How do I keep living a righteous life?

How do I keep my eyes on the reward? This is my fourth point. How do you keep your eyes on the rewards? Reflect on those before you. Reflect on those before you.

You see in verse 12? He says rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Consider those who've gone before you. And reflect on the saints. And there's 3 things I want you to see under this.

Number 1, reflect on the profit. Reflect on the prophets. That's what Jesus says here. Hebrews chapter 11 verse 35 to 40 says this, This is about the prop. We've looked at some of them.

Elijah, do you remember when Elijah's feeling pretty sorry for himself and you can understand why? He says, Jezebel's just killed like a load of your profits. So they got it. They were being persecuted. They were being killed.

And so this is what Hebrew says, there were others who were tortured refusing to be released, so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning. They were sold in 2 They were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute persecuted mistreated.

I love this sentence. The world was not worthy of them. They were they were worthy for a different world. They were getting the reward of a different world. Didn't want the reward of this stinking world.

They will go in for a better 1. They wandered in deserts and mountains living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. Since God had planned something better for us, so that only together with us would they be me perfect? You get persecution living the righteous life, Well, know that the prophets before Christ did so as well.

And that was a sign that they were God's people. It was a sign that they were going to get the rewards. So firstly, reflect on the profits, Secondly, reflect on the saints. See, the good news about being, I don't know, alive 2000 years after Christ, is we've got even more examples of this sort of behavior. I told you about the people in Rome, You think about this country?

People dying for the faith because they were righteous. And they were rejoicing them being glad in it. Some of them kissing their steak, not their not their meat, the steak that they were about to be burnt on. I say, and this is the way to glory. There was 1 story I was reading.

I think it was a book called John Rogers, it might be Hooper. Can't remember whose kids at his burning, as he burned on a stake, shout encouragement to him to keep going. Not feeling sorry for themselves, rejoicing, encouraging, Jim Elliott, who who lived the righteous life and went to preach the gospel abroad, killed for his faith. The list goes on and on and on. Look at them.

Consider them. Consider them. Helen Rosevier. Didn't feel sorry for herself when she was being raped and her and her works were being burned. She said, am I worthy?

Am I worthy? To reflect on the saints, and thirdly reflect on Christ. God how to end on Jesus, don't we? Reflect on Christ, the ultimate prophet, the ultimate example. Hebrews goes on to say this.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy, the joy, the reward, the rejoicing. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross stawning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God, consider him, who endured such opposition from sinners. So that you will not grow weary and lose heart consider Christ for the joy that was set before him endured the cross. Because it was only momentary, but the glory of bringing a lost people into eternity with him, it was worth it.

Consider Jesus the righteous 1. The 1 who whose righteousness outshone the self righteousness of the Faracies at the time that they sneared at him for scorning the love of money. Consider Christ, who they put on a mock trial. And insulted him and sneered at him, who said all kinds of evil about him, who falsely made up things about him, who struck him, who smashed a massive crown of thorns on him, who swung him on a cross and crucified him, consider him, and then consider what he won for us. He endures the cross so that we may know him, that we may get him.

So how are we doing with this? How are we doing with this? Maybe you're here like me thinking, I do not match up. I I I so often shun persecution. And so let me lift your eyes up again and lift my eyes up and place him on the Lord Jesus Christ, and see the righteous 1 and what he what he went through, the fact that he that he lived the life of the cross.

But that life of the cross means a life of heaven. I need to remind myself daily what he has done, and what he has won for me so that I then may try and live out these beatitudes. And then when persecution comes, I may rejoice and be glad because they're achieving that glory that is to come. It's great news. Let me pray.

Father, we thank you so much for these verses that we read. And For many of us, we may have been very familiar with these things, but not fully considered them or forgot about them. But as we truly reflect on them, we can't help but be convicted. And so father, forgive us for when we don't consider you to be that great, and we don't consider the reward in heaven to be that great, And so because we we forget how glorious you are and what you've done for us, we shun persecution and we shy away from it. Father help us to give us give us a bigger vision of you and a bigger vision of your glory so that we may live the righteous life.

And when persecution comes, can rejoice and be glad because they are achieving the glory that is to come. Help us with this, we pray in Jesus' name, our, ma'am.

Preached by Rory Kinnaird
Rory Kinnaird photo

Rory is a trainee pastor at Cornerstone and oversees our Youth Work with his wife Jerusha who is also a youth leader.

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