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

Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matt 5:3 & 10

I know I am getting out of order here. I was just lying in bed – it is about 10 minutes to 12 on Friday night, and I was mulling.
Now let me be clear. I have studied through and taught through the Beatitudes probably more than any other passage in the Bible. It is my favorite by far. I have notes dating back a decade from preparations for this little piece of scripture.
But tonight – closing in on the middle of the night – I am trying to get to sleep, and the phrase “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven” is rolling around in my head. This phrase that is calling me to my laptop to put down my thoughts does not even belong in my mind right now. I mean we are right smack in the middle of the beatitudes, and this phrase bookends the passage. I suppose I could wait and release this in a week or so when I get to the end of the passage. But I feel a sense of urgency in my spirit like I need this to go out now.
Here goes:
What if "Their's is the kingdom of heaven,"rather than meaning they gain entrance into the kingdom, as in, the poor in spirit get saved, what if what it means is the poor in spirit and the peacemakers for that matter, get the kingdom of God? What if those who are broken before God are not just given a ticket for St. Peter to punch, but they actually possess the entire kingdom. What if we are not just someday going on a long trip to visit a great place, but we actually have ownership (and not some sad 52nd part like a time share, but we are on the deed) of the kingdom of God.
Isn’t that what Paul was talking about when he said we are joint heirs with Christ? (Rom 8:17) Doesn’t that line up with us being seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus? (Eph 2:6) Isn’t the very fact that the Holy Spirit is in our lives the “deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.” (Eph 1:14) Or how about this outrageous bit from Daniel:  "But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it for ever--yes, for ever and ever." (Dan 7:18)
So I have a question for you, Lord. How should this look in my life? What does it mean for me to be in possession of a kingdom? [Tweet ThisAnd not just any kingdom, but a heavenly kingdom!
I dare you to ask God that question. Share what you hear with me and let’s compare notes!
BenThank you for taking time to read this. It actually means a bunch to me.

Ben

 

Blessedare the poor in spirit”   Matt 5:3

Whoare these poor in spirit? They are the ones who realize that before God, theyhave nothing to offer. Without God they bring nothing to the table. They have no hope for any future if God does not take their part.
InPs 51 David, (God’s favorite) in his prayer of repentance for his failing with Bathsheba, states, “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” (Ps 51:17 NASB)
InJames 4:6 the, James says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Thepoor in spirit are those who see their need for redemption. Without this sense you will never get right with God. It is a wonderful thing to grow up in a Christian family. You have a chance to live a good life and never make thosehuge mistakes that hurt so badly, and cost so dearly. However, there is adanger of becoming familiar with the Holy, and missing the fact that you need asavior. This was my testimony. I was born and raised in a church setting forall my growing up years, but never got serious about God until at age 25 whenthe Holy Spirit opened my eyes to my own sin and my need for a savior. Itchanged my life. I was no longer a good enough to get by church kid. I was onset on fire for God.
fortheirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  
Thereis no other way into the kingdom of heaven save a broken and contrite heart.You cannot be born in, you cannot be raised in, and you cannot memorize enough scripture, or pray enough prayers. It is not even about believing the rightfacts about Jesus. You can believe that Jesus is the Son of God and still diein your sin. You can believe that He died on the cross for your sin and neverknow the life He offers. You can believe that He rose from the dead and stilldie and go to an eternal hell.
Untilyou see your own spiritual deadness, and take hold of Jesus as your Lord, Master, King and Boss you cannot enter into His kingdom. He is the only way. It is not about believing the right facts, or praying the magic words. It is about exchanging your life for His.
Hey, thanks for reading today!

Comeback soon

Ben