There has been a real demand for these messages particularly from those suffering with insomnia. There are testimonies of folk struggling to sleep for years but two minutes into the sermon and they are sleeping soundly as can be witnessed most Sundays.
This is the first of a series on the Sermon on the Mount, one of the Lord’s great teaching sections in Matthew. It isn’t difficult to see the theme of the sermon as the Lord Jesus mentions the kingdom of heaven six times, at the very beginning in chapter five and verse three and near the end in chapter seven and verse twenty one.
Mt 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mt 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mt 5:19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and Teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Mt 5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
At a time when we are seeing different parties vying for power in the Welsh Assembly election, it is perhaps appropriate to see the message as the radical manifesto for the kingdom of God.
This Kingdom has a King
- Matthew is the Gospel of the King
- He was the King as a child
- He was King on a cross
- Jesus did not come to reform religion
- He rightly expects obedience
- The kingdom is now
- The kingdom is to come
This Kingdom is Blessed
- The Old Testament ends with the word ‘curse’ (Malachi 4:6)
- The Lord’s first recorded sermon begins with ‘blessed’
- Receiving God’s favour, fortunate, good, happy (feelings associated with receiving God’s favour)
- Citizens of the kingdom are blessed now
- There are more blessings to come
This Kingdom is in the Heart
- The sermon begins with the poor in spirit, citizens of the kingdom are spiritually bankrupt
- They receive the kingdom now
- They mourn for their own sin
- They will be comforted
- They hunger and thirst for righteousness
- They will be filled
- They are pure in heart
- They will see God
This Kingdom changes Relationships
- Meek – strength under control, considered a bad thing in the ancient world
- They will inherit the earth, this must have stunned the hearers
- Will be shown mercy, how can they fail to be merciful when they have received mercy?
- They will be called sons of God, citizens are in the business of reconciliation, in relationships and between people and God
This Kingdom is Persecuted
- This blessing is repeated
- Jesus knows citizens of his kingdom will be persecuted
- The kingdom is now for the persecuted
- The blessing is when we are persecuted for righteousness or because of Jesus
- “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18)
This Kingdom Shines
- This is not a secret kingdom
- This kingdom makes a difference
- It can be seen
- It lights the darkness
- It brings glory to God
- “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.” (Psalm 145:13)