CHARACTERISTICS OF A KINGDOM OF HEAVEN CITIZEN
Jesus (GOD on earth in human form) is about to teach us what it means to be a kingdom citizen, in His Sermon on the Mount. He is going to teach us about the conduct, principles, and the constitution of that kingdom. The kingdom of heaven is not like the kingdom of the world. What is common place here or (normal) here is completely the opposite in the kingdom of heaven. For instance, in the world we say fight for everything you have, but in the kingdom, we say give it all away. Is 40.:3 A voice of one calling: “Prepare the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert.4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill made low; the uneven ground will become smooth, and the rugged land a plain.… The kingdom of Heaven is going to change the whole surface of the world physically and spiritually. In the text we see Jesus talking to His disciples and breaking down what it looks like where he comes from. This had to be a total paradigm shift for these young men hearing this, because this was totally different then what Israel had heard and was doing. As we look at the Sermon on Mount I want to be very clear that it does not show the way to salvation, but it clearly conveys the way to righteous living for those in God’s family.
A. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. (Poverty of Spirit)
- Ptochos – Pto – khos’ – Destitute – One without the necessities for spiritual life. If the Kingdom of heaven is all about opposites, then what would be the opposite of poor in spirit? It would be one who is prideful, and self-reliant, self-righteous. This one would not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Proverbs 16: 5 / Habakkuk 2:4 / 1 PT 5: 5-6) One who is poor in spirit will like the apostle Paul in Romans 7:18 say – For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. This is the person who knows there is nothing they can do for themselves, there is no good in them and they need a righteous Savior to save them. (They are poor in spirit). Gods say in Isaiah 66:2 that this is the type of person He will look to.
- The question to ask yourself is are you poor in spirit, or are you a self-righteous pharisee? Jesus said unless your righteousness exceeds that of the pharisee you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. The pharisee did not trust in God, they lived to serve their own purposes, one who is poor in spirit will rely entirely on GOD. Do you cry out to God knowing that He is the only way to be saved? Do you need to repent, and humble yourself before God right now, know that you need Him more than anything?
.B. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Sorrow over Sin)
- Pentheo – Pen-theh-o – To feel guilt so severe it takes over a person. This mourning here is the sorrow one feels over the sin in their lives. This sorrow leads to a repentant heart, that leads to salvation. The apostle Paul explains it best in 2 Corinthians 7: 9-11. Even in the old testament we see how those who mourn will be comforted. Isaiah 61: 1-3. One of the greatest promises to ever ring out is Revelation 21:4.
- Have you mourned over your sins? Have you laid yourself bare before God in sorrow? Have you sought His forgiveness for your sins? One who is poor in spirit would throw themselves at the altar of God and beg to be made right. All those who have done this will be in comforted in Jesus Christ through the forgiveness of their sins! Here is one of the best parts of being comforted in Christ Jesus! The word says now we can be a comfort to others! 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.
C. Blessed are the Gentle for they shall inherit the earth. (Meekness)
- In the world we live in today, most men believe only the strong survive. They believe they must be ruthless and willing to commit the worse atrocity to take over the earth. This is not what our Lord teaches us. He says the gentle or the meek will inherit the earth. This had to be a most radical thought to this Israelite listening to him preach. (Psalm 37-9-11). Biblical meekness is not weakness, but it refers to exercising Gods strength under his control. When your led by the strength of the almighty week is not a work I would use! (Proverbs 16:32, Matthew 26:52-53, Numbers 12:3, Eph 4:1-3).
- As Christians we MUST be light and salt. We must be different then the world we live in to effect change in the world. We are called to be gentle and meek, not aggressive and over powerful in the flesh. If we are to effect change we need to be gentle (1 Peter 3:15, Philippians 4:5).
D. Blesses are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Looking for righteousness).
- Jesus says blessed are those who hunger and thirst for right standing with God. If you hunger and thirst to be in a right position with God, Jesus says you will be satisfied. After admitting we are poor in spirit, and destitute of any good thing in us, the next obvious step is to go to the one person who can make us right. Hunger and thirst (food and water) are two of the most basic physical human needs. A basic need in our walk, and life in Christ is righteousness. 1 John 3:10. I for one have a great love for eating, drinking! I believe most people love a great meal. Well just as we have a great passion for food and drink, we should have a greater passion for living righteously. As one grows in righteousness you will see this person becoming more and more sanctified. Heb 12:14.
E. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
- This is not the mercy we receive for salvation. This is a mercy we will receive on the day our works are to be judged. 1 Corinthian 3: 13-15. It’s a funny thing when Jesus uses the word mercy though. When we look at the world we live in mercy is not a thing anymore. Our world is topsy -turvy compared to the kingdom of heaven. We live in a dog eat dog world, winner take all. Mercy does not exist. Our society is so opposite of the kingdom, we believe abortion and treating elderly folks like a nuisance is ok. We believe we can go to church, sing songs, volunteer, and this makes all our ugliness ok. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 23:23. Beware those who call themselves disciples of Jesus. Jesus our Lord and Savior is a merciful God, Hebrews 2:17-18, Titus 3:5. The bible is very clear on this issue. Those who show mercy through the holy spirit will receive mercy, but to not show mercy (non- believers) you leave yourselves out in the cold, and subject to the hell fire. Matthew 25:41-46, James 2:13.
- How can we show mercy to others? Are we meant to be merciful to just those who are kind to us? What happens when you are kind to someone and they repay you with rudeness, or mocking? Luke 6:32-36, Proverbs 11:17.
F. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
- Let’s start with a statement of fact. An unsaved man can not have a pure heart. Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:9-12. To be pure in heart is to serve the one true God. Jesus said you cannot serve to masters. Matthew 6:24. A pure heart can only come from the creator. Psalms 51:10, Ezekiel 36:26-27.
Have you cried out to God to clean your heart? Have you asked him to make you pure? If you would only repent of your sins and call out to God He is faithful and Just to forgive them. 1 John 1:8-9.
G. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.
- So, based on the text we see very clearly that the “sons of God “are peacemakers. We also learn from the word that Jesus was the prince of peace. Isa 9:6. Every Christian who is filled with the holy spirit should be a peacemaker. Romans 8:14, Galatians 5:22-24. Being a peacemaker does not mean the Christian refuses to either confront evil or make a stand of truth. Jesus confronted the money changers in the temple. John 2: 14-16. He also confronted the scribes and pharisees who taught false doctrine. Matthew 23:13-36. There will be times when righteousness must confront an ungodly world and there will be conflict. We must remember Jesus himself said he was coming to make divisions in families, and friends. Matthew 10:34-38.
- Are you really a son or daughter of God? Are you keeping the peace with your friends and family? Are you telling this dying world that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ? James 3:17-18.
H. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
- One very important rule of being a Christian, is to expect to be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:12. Jesus himself sends the same warning John 15:18-19, John 16:2-4. Now that we can clearly see, that we will be persecuted the questions remains, how do we handle it? Romans 12:14, Matthew 5:43-45. Now the next question is should we then rejoice? Acts 5:40-41. The great news is those who are persecuted will receive a great reward “our reward in heaven is great”.!
- There is a huge difference in being persecuted for your faith, versus being persecuted for something you have done wrong. You can also be persecuted inside, and outside of the church. From inside by hypocrites, and false brethren, and the spiritual immature. 2 Corinthian 11:26. One quick way to know that you are dealing with a false Christian, is how they react to being persecuted. They will quickly change their tune to be all inclusive. Then they will turn on the true believers and call them trouble makers. Paul spoke about this in Galatia. Galatians 6:12. Will you as a true believer stand and be counted among the persecuted in Christ? Remember you have been called to this. Philippines 1:29. If you refuse to suffer for Christ, then I must tell you to evaluate your faith and make sure you are still in it.