The Kingdom Of Heaven

  The Kingdom Of Heaven

  Praise The Lord everyone and greetings in the Name of Jesus, on this wonderful day the the Lord has given us, once again we have a new study,  this week we will be studying on “The Kingdom Of Heaven”so getting right to our study, here is the first part.

The Kingdom of Heaven

Focus Verse

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

Lesson Text

Matthew 7:21–23

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Focus thought

The Sermon on the Mount reminds us that we all need grace.

Culture Connection

For Such a Time as This

No doubt as believers we have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this. We live in a precarious day and yet a marvelous day. The challenges facing our society are horrific; the opportunities opening up for the church are tremendous. Our present-day culture is constantly changing, and unfortunately it seems to be changing for the worse. Have we ever seen a time when so many people are depressed, frustrated, and uptight?

It is an unforgettable experience to have seen a young woman in a coma dying from an overdose of drugs. It is shocking to know that a couple of acquaintances are gambling their incomes and their homes away. It is more than disturbing to realize a young teenager was given a lower grade in English this year because he would not take the part of a homosexual in a class play.

And yet for all that, there is a singular move of God sweeping through our world. Hundreds, yes, thousands, are entering into the kingdom of God. Many are being transformed by the power of the Holy Ghost. As citizens under the reign of Jesus Christ, we are called to storm the bulwarks of the enemy. We are called to break down the very gates of Hell.

Outline

1. CONTRASTS IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

A. The Standard of the Law

B. The Higher Standard of the New Covenant

2. OUR NEED FOR GRACE

A. Difficulty in Meeting the Law’s Requirements

B. Increased Difficulty in Meeting the Heightened Standards of the New Covenant

C. Need for Grace Since We Are Insufficient to Meet This Standard

Contemplating the Topic

The words spoken by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount sent shock waves through the multitude of those who had come to hear him: “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine” (Matthew 7:28). They had never heard such words, never heard anyone speak with such decisiveness and authority as this man. The Lord had given fresh, challenging directives; He had spoken as one who utters the oracles of God. The sermon must have had a profound effect for “when he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him” (Matthew 8:1).

What must have passed through the minds of individuals as they heard the Master teaching on the mountainside? Most of them must have been common laborers, country and city folk, people burdened with everyday tasks in their homes, in their fields, in their fishing boats, and in their little shops. Some people on the mount, as in every crowd, had experienced their share of sin and sorrow and wanted something better from life than what it had already given them. Perhaps new hope arose within them as Jesus taught clearly of a glorious future for His followers. Six times in Matthew 5–7 He spoke of “the kingdom of heaven,” and additionally He made frequent references to their “Father in heaven.”

Jesus Christ knew His audience well. He knew the people’s thoughts and intents (Matthew 9:4; Mark 2:8; Luke 5:22). He was aware of those who were dealing with anger or with an unforgiving spirit. He would have known of some struggling with pride and of others who were wrestling with covetousness. Still others, He knew, were having problems with moral issues. Some were worrying as to how their natural needs would be met in the future. Others would have been weighing the cost of fully committing their lives to Christ.

No doubt many in the crowd that day had strained to keep the letter of the law of Moses, but Christ was teaching them they could go well beyond that: they could actually keep the spirit of the Law. Far from laying down another set of rules, the Lord was presenting these people with another, more rewarding way of life. It was a far better way, a way in which they would live by a new set of values. They could place their confidence in their King, and trusting Him to rule well, they could go on to become the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Searching the Scriptures

1. CONTRASTS IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

As the people listened to Jesus on the mount, they must have soon recognized that what they were hearing was vastly different from the legalistic monologues of the scribes and Pharisees. The first recorded word of the Lord was “blessed.” It was a word Jesus used for those who find happiness and fulfillment in being of a Christ-like character. What wonderful rewards He promised then—and still promises—to those who will follow Him! What a glorious future awaits those who will obey the precepts of His kingdom!

A. The Standard of the Law

The Law could not save us. Its precepts simply exposed the sinfulness of mankind. The Law revealed the standard of living God required, but it was a standard that man could not fully attain through the weakness of the flesh, which came as a result of the Fall and the ensuing sinful nature.

The people of Israel, to whom the Law was given, were to be aware that they were to worship the one, true God who had led them out of Egypt. They were to recognize that such acts as adultery, murder, theft, and false witness were sinful and repugnant to the Lord. They were to be holy for the One they served was holy. They were called to be separated from the evil practices of other nations. There seems no doubt that even the strict dietary laws were intended to keep God’s people from intermingling with the ungodly and from the horrible practices of idolatry.

The Law was given in preparation for a much greater work to follow. The many sacrifices of lambs and of bullocks simply pointed ahead to Jesus Christ, the sinless Lamb of God. Under the old covenant, the people had to continually make sacrifice for sin. Those sacrifices pointed forward to a coming Messiah. “Wherefore,” Paul wrote, “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).

In a very real sense the Law (particularly through the sacrificial system) directed and introduced us to Christ. As Adam Clarke has commented, the Law leads us to the very door where salvation can be found. (See John 10:7, 9.)

B. The Higher Standard of the New Covenant

If they were to enter into the kingdom of Heaven, the Lord informed His listeners, their righteousness had to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5:20). This bold statement Jesus spoke early in His sermon must have been startling. The scribes were respected because they copied the books of the Old Testament and taught on matters that pertained to the Law. The Pharisees were religious leaders in the local synagogues who were zealous for the Law and for the Jewish traditions. Arrogantly these teachers of the Law expected reverence from the common people. But because they emphasized man-made traditions and failed to live up to their own precepts, Jesus openly condemned their hypocrisy.

The righteousness Jesus required of His kingdom subjects was not to be simply a matter of outward performance; it was to be a matter of inward purity. Through Christ we can enter into a new covenant, a covenant of grace.

Our Lord strongly rebuked those religious leaders who were blindly guiding others toward certain destruction. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matthew 23:23). Christ perceived these leaders were focusing on minor things while neglecting things of far more importance.

It is possible to refrain from murdering someone and yet to feel a deep hatred for that person. It is also possible to lust after a woman without actually committing the act of adultery. Obviously, as Christ dealt with these matters, He was not just considering deeds; He was examining motives. We are not just to refrain from doing harm to our enemies; we are actually to do them good. And it is clear from the Lord’s directives that we are to do so with a right spirit.

In the  Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated, “I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

The Christian lifestyle demands more than acquiescence and conformity to a set of rules. It demands a total change in attitude and behavior. To be part of Christ’s kingdom, we must be born again (John 3:5). We are invited to take His name in baptism, and He offers the gift of His Spirit to us. Then we will be willing to turn the other cheek, to forgive others who have injured us, and to endure persecution and even death for the name of Jesus Christ.

  So getting this far in our study of “The Kingdom Of Heaven” a good question to be asking is have we taken the first step in this journey? Are we Born Again as John 3:5 speaks of, if not-now is the time to take that step. As always we will pick up our study on Thursday with part 2 starting with “Our Need For Grace”, looking forward to being with you then.

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