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Bookends

photo credit: Pop Culture Geek via photopin cc
photo credit: Pop Culture Geek via photopin cc     

As we tie up our time in the Sermon on the Mount, I want to take two giant steps back and notice a couple of things from the top down.

Back in chapter 4 there was a bit of foreshadowing about Jesus’ preaching;

And Jesus was going about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. ~ Matthew 4:23

Then Jesus began teaching with:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ~ Matthew 5:3

As He closes this wonderful teaching He says:

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; ~ Matthew 7:21

This gospel, good news, that Jesus brought is all about the kingdom of heaven. So what is this kingdom?

When Jesus talks about the kingdom of heaven, He is not simply talking about you getting through the pearly gates. He is talking about the government of your life.

When I step back and see this sermon declaring the good news of the kingdom of heaven, I see a description of a life under the reign of a King, not just a future in a mansion taking harp lessons.

This life is marked by humility, giving, caring for others, letting go of rights, and generally living a selfless life. Jesus takes the priorities that our world presses upon us, and turns them upside down.

And this is expressed perfectly in our bookends. Those who are entering the kingdom – demonstrating their allegiance to the reign of Christ in their life, are poor in spirit. Those who are denied entry actually stand before the one they called Savior and say “What about ME!”

Any attempt to enter the kingdom, or should I say, any delusion of being a Christian, that is centered on self, is just that – delusion.

Do you remember Paul’s heart?

For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, ~ Romans 9:3

These we see at the gate of heaven as it were, cared for nothing but their own access to heaven. Paul, a good picture of transformed man, is more interested in the souls of others that of himself.

You see, it is a kingdom of love, agape love, self-sacrificing love. Love that is willing to lay down it’s own rights, priorities, dreams, hopes, and even calling to serve the one who gave up heaven and took up hell for … well … you and me.

The big reason those folks are on the outside looking in, is that they always have been on the outside looking in. Even the wonderful works they do in the name of Jesus don’t change who is boss, master, ruler of their life.

Even standing before Jesus in His glory their hearts are crying out “what about me?”

How is it with you today, friend? Is it about you?

If so, simply ask the Lord to give you a new heart and to remove the stony heart, that monument erected to you in your chest, and replace it with a heart of flesh that beats for others, that beats for Him. [Tweet This]

BenThanks for coming by today

See you again soon.

Ben

0 thoughts on “Bookends

  1. Caddo-Jael

    Well, Ben--I confess that on occasion (usually on holidays when I just want some peace and quiet) I utter those words, "I have a right". They're not about BIG things--like material wealth; but if there's no weighing and measuring of "rights" in the Kingdom, then I'm ever grateful to be covered in Jesus' blood, His Grace. God bless you Big--love, Cj

    Reply
    1. Ben Nelson

      I was just pondering the other side of the considerable coin which is the rights we have as children of the king. And I am going to talk about that very soon here. The big questions in my mind is who is in the center of it all. It has to be Jesus, and that is so evident in your life. (at least from where i am sitting!)

      Reply
      1. Caddo-Jael

        Thanks for this response, Prof, as I was thinking surely royal kids ought to have rights, if anybody does. Jesus is definitely front and center with me--my security in and with Him amazes me almost daily! And yet, as you've often seen in my comments, I get nervous that I'm not making top marks--but He says I'm okay, so I'm gonna rest in that today. Later--

        Reply

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