Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Sermon of Heaven on Earth

And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them. (Matthew 5:1-2)
The traditional designation for the teaching Jesus presented in Matthew 5-7 is “The Sermon on the Mount.” As I study it, I see that it is about the kingdom of heaven breaking into the earth.

In Matthew 4, after Jesus passed the test in the wilderness, completely blasting away the deceptions of the devil, He began His ministry, starting in Galilee. His message was simple: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). “And Jesus went about all Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23).

As His fame grew throughout the region, multitudes gathered, bringing people who had various sicknesses, diseases and afflictions, the demon-possessed, the epileptics and the paralytics—and Jesus healed them all, demonstrating that the kingdom of heaven was truly present on earth.

Seeing the multitudes, Jesus began to elaborate about the kingdom, beginning with what is known as the beatitudes. This is not a short course in ethics, a checklist of do’s and don’ts, as some might suppose. Book-ended by the declaration of the kingdom of heaven (verses 3 and 10), it is a pronouncement of blessing on all to whom it has come.
  • The kingdom belongs to those who are poor in spirit, who trust in God alone (v. 3).
  • The kingdom brings comfort, encouragement and hope for those who mourn over sin and its consequences (v. 4).
  • The meek, who are not proud and arrogant but live humbly before God, inherit the earth from our Father in heaven. For the kingdom of God is not for heaven only, but also for earth (v. 5).
  • The kingdom brings fullness and satisfaction for those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for it is how God’s rightness is being revealed (v. 6).
  • The kingdom brings mercy to those who allow mercy to flow through their lives to others (v. 7).
  • Those who are pure in heart (whose hearts are not divided, but are established in faith and set on God) shall see God, for it is His kingdom (v. 8).
  • In this kingdom, those who promote peace and goodwill are called the sons of God, for they have the wisdom from above (James 3:17) and show the character of God (v. 9).
  • The kingdom belongs to those who are persecuted for the sake of God’s way of doing and being right (v. 10). For we overcome the evil one by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony, and we love Him more than our own lives (Revelation 12:11).
In Matthew 5-7, Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom, that the kingdom of heaven is now here. I call it “The Sermon of Heaven on Earth.”



The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth

The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth
Keys to the Kingdom of God
in the Gospel of Matthew

by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.