The Kingdom of God 7: The manifesto of the Kingdom

Now we come to look at the Manifesto of the Kingdom.

 
 
 

How then shall we live?

 

 

I am going to look this morning at the Beatitudes

Let’s have a look at this word.
 

BE - Attitudes

 
It’s what you are that matters. How is your attitude?
Right attitudes are o important. It’s not what comes at you but how you face it that matters.
 
So let’s look at the Beatitudes
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 

Matt 5:1-12

5:1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,
2 and he began to teach them, saying:
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Blessed means more than happy, because happiness is an emotion often dependent on outward circumstances. Here it refers to the ultimate well-being and spiritual joy of those who share in the salvation of the Kingdom of God. (NIV Study Bible)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

The NIV note compares these with those who are spiritually proud and self sufficient.
We need to have a right attitude – one of humility and not full of our own importance.
I can manage on my own will not help you in the Kingdom. I need help is far better.
The kingdom is a gift, not something to be earned. Look at the story of the Pharisee and the sinner at prayer. Jesus was very clear on which was the better attitude.
When we become Christians we are saying, “I can’t do it on my own. I nee you, Jesus, to help me
My mother-in-law. Look how good I am, but not prepared to accept Jesus as Lord of her life. 
There is a spiritual poverty which is not good for us – a forgetting to seek God.
James 2:5 Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love Him?
Ray Harvey prayed about us being bankrupt. Why was this? When we don’t have the right attitude then we are spiritually bankrupt.
 

4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

What are they mourning? There is a humbling again here.
We see in the Bible, mourn with those who mourn. Share in their loss.
Be prepared to do this with others. It’s a painful place to be. E.g. Pat helping me.
James refers to mourning as repentance.
Be truly sorry for your ways. Grieve over what you have done. When you truly repent God gives you joy, real joy.
This does not mean that you stay in that place for ever, because once your time of mourning is over you move on. The Israelites were told this in Joshua 1
Moses my servant is dead now get up and go.
 
There is a call on our nation at this time to repent of our ways, to seek God and to move forward in the ways that He is showing. Sept. 5th in Chelmsford Cathedral there is a service of repentance and prayer for the nation. It would be good to see as many there as possible. We may not feel that we have done anything wrong, but we are part of this nation and by default we have allowed laws to be passed and things to happen that are against God’s will.
Daniel was an upright man but he still said, “We repent” He was including himself among those who need to repent.
 

Dan 9:3-14

3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
4 I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: "O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands,
5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.
6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
 
7 "Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame-- the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you.
 
8 O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you.
 
9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;
 
10 we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.
11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. "Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.
12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem.
13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favour of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth.
14 The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
15 "Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong.
16 O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.
17 "Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favour on your desolate sanctuary.
18 Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.
19 O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name."
 
We are called to repent. Then we can walk as the Lord wants us to. We will have the comfort of knowing that we are in God’s will.
 
 

5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth

 
This means humility towards God. It is not so much an attitude towards man.
Those who hope in the Lord – i.e. trustfully look to him to bestow life and its blessings as a gift.
We used to sing Gentle Jesus meek and mild. Yet He turned over the tables of the money changers. He was meek. He humbled himself before God and came to earth as a man. He was obedient to death, not an easy end of life, but a cruel tortuous death, having nails pierce his body and every ounce of breath painfully squeezed from Him. This was meekness. He chose to do it because He loved us.
Submit to God. Others may not agree with what you do, but do it you must.
When I went to Culloden to pray last year some people thought I was mad but I did what I believed was right. Tell about Louis Palau and the churches uniting. Something broke in the heavenlies.
It does not mean you have to be a doormat to be meek. You are not a Uriah Heap.
 

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

 
What are you hungry for? Are you chasing after material dreams or do you want God to work more in your life? Tim spoke the other day about righteousness being important in our lives. The kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking and all the material things, but about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
 
All the material things in your life will not satisfy your soul. You will still want more. The more you have the more you want
What fills your desire? I looked up references for the word desire and found a lot. If you have a concordance this is worth doing. There are different kinds of desire but the important one is to desire the things of God.
 

I want my desire to be to learn the ways of the Lord and to follow in those ways day by day, to walk more and more closely with my God, to live a righteous life and that is not to be self righteous and judgemental.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

I looked up the word mercy in the dictionary. One of its definitions was having a disposition to forgive.
Jesus told a parable about an unmerciful servant. Matt 18: 23-35 He was forgiven, but was not prepared to forgive someone who owed him less.
Jesus was quite clear on forgiveness.
I’m not saying it is easy to forgive, but we must do it.
Matt 6:14-15
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
I find this difficult at times, but with God’s strength it is possible. So often we think we have forgiven and then something crops up and we have to do it over again. Try to forget the sin as well as forgive. That’s what God has done for us. He’s forgiven unreservedly.
How many times are we judgemental? When we read of someone being punished for wrong doing what is our attitude. Remember, there but for the grace of God go you or I.
 

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

I looked up these words in the PC Study Bible and this is what I found.
 

A heart which is not contaminated – one that has been cleansed.

 
Surely we were all cleansed when we accepted Jesus as Lord. However we do need to keep our hearts pure. How can we do that? See 1 John 1 If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and will purify us from all unrighteousness. We need to keep a short account. Remember in Hebrews it says that we have confidence to enter the Holy of Holies.
Hebrews 10:19-23
 

Phil 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.

 

  

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

 
Those who are peaceable. Do you live as a peacemaker or do you want to stir up trouble?
 

James 3:16-4:1

For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

 
Again being a peacemaker is not being a doormat, but I do believe it does not involve insisting on our own way. If we look at 1 Cor 13, we see here that love does not insist on its own way.
Sometimes we just have to walk away from a situation rather than cause trouble. It’s not easy, but then none of this is easy. We can only do it with God’s help.
The disciples were to do these things, not in order that they might become children of God, but that, being children (note 'your Father' throughout), they might make the fact manifest in their character, might 'become sons.' Show the family likeness
(from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
 

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

11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 
Persecution. Something we do not relish. We do not know what it is to be persecuted but are we not already facing opposition in our country to a certain extent? It could get a lot worse.  Rules are being brought in that make it harder for us to declare out the truth of the Word. We are accused of being bigoted if we stand up for Truth and righteousness.
How many of us have been mocked because of our faith?
Have you ever had insults thrown at you because you are a Christian? I can remember as a teenager having a Bible thrown at me because I went to Church.
Opposition does not just come from the world but it can come from within the Church. Satan does not like it when we get close to God and are doing His will.
Some Christians have been made to leave Churches because we were walking in the power of the Holy Spirit and the powers that be did not approve.
What are we told to do? Rejoice and be glad. If we are being persecuted then we are having an effect in the world.
We have to remember that we are not alone. Many who have gone before have faced even worse. Great will be our reward in Heaven. Hallelujah!
 

 So these are the attitudes we should take on board.

Paul says our attitude should be like that of Jesus Himself. It’s hard for us to be like this. I have just been reading the rules for the Israelites in the Books of the Law. Tough laws to keep. We cannot do it alone, but we have Jesus to help us. If there are areas of your life where you need help, ask someone to pray with you. Don’t leave it. Deal with it now.
  
 
Questions for groups
  1. What forms of persecution do you think we could face in the foreseeable future?
  2. People often say, “I will never forgive.” In the light of Jesus’ words, “IF you do not forgive men their sins then neither will your Heavenly Father forgive you” do you have any option?
  3. Who is the one to suffer if you do not?
  4. How do you forgive and forget?
  5. How can you show the attitude of being poor in spirit in your life?
  6. We have looked at the beatitudes. What are the opposite attitudes to these and what are the consequences of those?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Christine Foster, 31/05/2009