In the Gospel of the Kingdom—Part 1, we hear Messiah Jesus introduce the Gospel of the Kingdom with Beatitudes—the heartfelt attitudes that motivate us to walk worthily of the calling with which we were called.
“1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, even as you also were called in one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one immersion, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in us all. 7 But to each one of us, the grace was given according to the measure of the gift of Messiah.” Ephesians 4:1-7 WMB
We should feel as poor as the destitute rather than rich in our own moral power to serve God. Jesus says the poor have the kingdom of God. In Romans, Paul graphically showed us how to mourn over our wretched sinful state prior to God saving us. But, we didn’t stay in that state. Rather, by God’s grace, we were saved (Eph 2:8), regenerated (Titus 3), born born by the Spirit (Jn 3), created in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:10) and made holy by the blood of Jesus (Heb 13-12), Our righteousness is God’s covenant justice in action. Through the act of God’s covenant justice, God declares us to be in the right (Ro 3:25).
Years ago, I heard Jill Jackson aptly describe the root of the barriers to fellowship with God and one another as the Me Attitudes. In the Beatitudes, Messiah Jesus is telling us how it is in the kingdom of God. We are to undergo moral renewal and adopt the Be Attitudes of the kingdom, because, we’ve got a lot of Me Attitudes of our old nature.
In the vernacular of the culture of the world, some say the Beatitudes and Jesus’ Sermon are a value system. Some go so far as to call them part of a Christian value system.
Think about this. A value system is man made. It carries the idea we decide for ourselves what is right and wrong, how to live in that mode, how to ignore the truth and disdain those who follow Messiah Jesus.
The teachings of Jesus are not a value system. We didn’t think them up. They stand as a declaration of how it is in the kingdom of God, whether we agree with them or not. We are to be loyal and faithful to Messiah Jesus and live just as He lived.
Pagans settle for value system and a worldview and follow their own way.
Believers have the gospel of the kingdom and follow Jesus as King. (1 Corinthians 15:24-28)
We would do well to heed and do our utmost to adopt all of the Beatitudes in our hearts and character. We are not sinless and we fall into sin, but Jesus paid the price. Now, we are to put down the urges of the flesh and follow Jesus by walking in the Spirit. That’s sanctification, our walk according to the Spirit.
The beatitudes of the Gospel of the kingdom
- 3“How blessed are those who are destitute in spirit,
- because the kingdom from heaven belongs to them!
- 4“How blessed are those who mourn,
- because it is they who will be comforted!
- 5“How blessed are those who are humble (meek),
- because it is they who will inherit the earth!
- 6“How blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness,
- because it is they who will be satisfied!
- 7“How blessed are those who are merciful,
- because it is they who will receive mercy!
- 8“How blessed are those who are pure in heart,
- because it is they who will see God!
- 9“How blessed are those who make peace,
- because it is they who will be called God’s children!
- 10“How blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
- because the kingdom from heaven belongs to them! Matthew 5:3-10 ISV
11“How blessed are you whenever people insult you, persecute you, and say all sorts of evil things against you falsely because of me! 12Rejoice and be extremely glad, because your reward in heaven is great! That’s how they persecuted the prophets who came before you.” Matthew 5:11-12 ISV
Explaining the implementation of the Beatitudes, Jesus continues the gospel of the kingdom by encouraging His hearers, including us, to consider ourselves salt and light on a lampstand—righteous.
You are the salt of the world. If salt loses its taste, how will it be made salty again? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by people.
You are the light of the world. A town can’t be hid when it’s built on a hill. And you don’t light a lamp and put it under the peck measure but on the lampstand, where it gives light to everybody in the house. So let your light shine before people that they may see the good you do and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16
Schweitzer wrote: “The new morality, which detects the spirit beneath the letter of the Law, makes one meet for the Kingdom of God.” The Law motivates people to think up ways to get around it. The Spirit makes us alive to God, able to see the spiritual intent behind the Law and empowered to live righteous.
Jesus Fulfills the Law
Matthew 5:17-20 “Don’t think that I came to set aside the Law or the prophets. I didn’t come to set them aside but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, till heaven and earth pass away, not an i or the dot of an i of the Law will pass away till everything is done. Anyone, then who sets aside one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But anyone who does and teaches what they say will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. I tell you, unless your righteousness is much better than that of the Bible scholars and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.
The Two Foundations
In conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explains His intent in sharing the gospel of the kingdom. He was showing the multitude and us how to build a solid foundation for life. Let us hear and do what Jesus says. He is the rock of our salvation.
Matthew 7:24-29 Anyone who hears and does what I say is like a man who had the sense to build his house on a rock. The torrents came, the winds blew, and they dashed against that house. But it didn’t go down, because its foundation was on the rock.
Everyone who hears what I say but doesn’t do it is like a man who was so foolish he built his house on sand. The rains poured down, the torrents came, the winds blew, and it went down with a big crash.
When Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were amazed at His teaching. He taught them with authority and not like their Bible scholars.