#255 – THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (11/12/20)
To be blessed is to be truly rich. In the first (and last) beatitude, Jesus promises us the Kingdom of heaven. This is clearly meant to fill us with joy, hope and motivation.
Readings and reflections
1. The Kingdom of heaven has come.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:12
The Kingdom of heaven can be thought of in two ways. firstly, It has come. Whenever someone becomes a Christian, they enter the Kingdom of heaven (synonymous with Kingdom of God) and receive all the blessings of the Kingdom. Jesus began his ministry with these words,
‘From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”’ (Matthew 4:17)
To enter the Kingdom one must ‘repent’; this is to change ones thinking and life by turning our lives over to God.
The Beatitudes, and The Sermon on the Mount, describe the new kind of thinking and lifestyle that citizens of the Kingdom are to have.
3. The Kingdom will come
The Kingdom will continue to grow in more and more lives until Jesus returns. The Lord’s prayer reveals that we are to be praying for the extension of the Kingdom and for the return of Christ each day.
“This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen).” (Matthew 6:9-13)
Am I a repentant person who changes my thinking and life as I walk with the Lord each day? Am I praying for the Kingdom to spread? Am I full of joy that I will enjoy the Kingdom of God for eternity?
To memorise this week
This week, why not begin memorising The Beatitudes?!
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:12)
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Have you ever been jealous of someone? Why was this?
Introduction - please share in your group
To be a disciple means that we learn from, in order to obey, Jesus. On Sunday, we began to look at the Beatitudes, which is an important section of Jesus' teaching.
Let's read the whole section together,
'Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."' (Matthew 5:1-12)
To be blessed means to be truly happy, and truly rich.
Billy Graham called the Beatitudes the beautiful attitudes. These are attributes that every Christian is to exhibit. As we do so, we will become a city set on a hill for the glory of God.
Blessed are the poor in spirit
This week we will focus on the first Beatitude which reads,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3)
To be poor in Spirit is to realise that we are spiritually bankrupt. We realise that we need saving. It's to come to trust in Jesus completely for salvation and transformation. To such belongs 'The Kingdom of heaven' - they become citizens of God's Kingdom and have the certain hope of eternal life.
1. Would you like to share anything that struck you or something that God spoke to you about from Sunday's message or the devotionals this week?
2. What might characterise someone who is 'poor in spirit'?
3. To be blessed is to be truly rich; in what ways have Christians been enriched?
4. To be poor in spirit is to rely on Jesus completely for salvation; what texts of scripture would you use to reinforce this idea?
5. To be poor in spirit to to rely on God for transformation (sanctification); what texts of scripture might you use to reinforce this?
Investing and inviting
i) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
ii) How are you planning to 'invest and invite'?
iii) Finally, Who are you planning to invite to our carol service on the 20th?