Merritt Seventh-day Adventist Church

Part #5 of the Kingdom series

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Lifestyle of the Citizens of Kingdom of God’s Grace

(Part #5 of the Kingdom series)

 

Scripture readingMatthew 4:23–25: “Now Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. And great multitudes followed Him – from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and beyond the Jordan.”

 

Notice the focus of Christ’s ministry:

 

1)      Teaching and preaching the gospel of the kingdom – how did we define it in our last 4 studies? Transition from living in the kingdom of darkness, under the power of darkness, we’ve been “transported” to live in the reality of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, the kingdom of light, love and grace (Colossians 1:12–14)

 

2)      Healing people afflicted by all kinds of sicknesses and demonic possession and oppression. Christ manifested His authority, revealing God’s love for the oppressed, suffering and undeserving sinful humanity.

 

You may ask, yes, this is great, but once you believe Christ’s message or have benefited by His healing what then; what’s next? Now as you have experienced God’s love and grace, how do you live as the citizen of Christ’s kingdom of love and grace?

 

In 4 parables of the kingdom we looked at how Jesus dealt with the following issues:

 

In the parables of the Sower and the soils, the mustard seed and the yeast in the dough, Jesus was primarily focusing on how the word of God through the gospel comes to us and works in our lives.

 

In the parable of wheat and tares – how the enemy working in the church tries to frustrate God’s work, smear God’s reputation and nullify church’s witness and effectiveness.

 

One thing we did not cover is – HOW do the citizens of this Kingdom of Son’s love and grace live?

 

Is it something automatic that just happens because now we believe and have received the promise of the Holy Spirit?

 

Or, do we need to be taught and learn it?

 

Does the Spirit by-pass the word of God or does He primarily work through it?

 

What do you think?

 

Let’s read Matthew 5:1.2: “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 saying:”

 

Most Christians call the following instruction recorded in Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7 “The Sermon on the Mount”

 

In reality, this is not a sermon, but an instruction, teaching on “HOW” to live as the citizens of “the kingdom of God’s grace” while here on earth in preparation of entering into “the kingdom of glory” at the 2nd coming of Jesus.

 

In OT times God revealed His love to His enslaved people in Egypt, “redeemed” them from slavery, saved them based on His grace (see the Passover lesson of blood), provided for them and then led them TO THE MOUNT Sinai where they received the instruction on “HOW” the redeemed people need learn to live. The moral aspect of Torah (the law) can be translated as “the way”. The redeemed people were given instruction “how to live” as God’s special people. But first they were to experience “the circumcision of the heart” – the new birth experience as we do today. (Most of them did not experience this spiritual rebirth and tried to obey God’s law and commands in their carnal condition and human strength). Then Moses and the Levites were to teach the people the principles of the gospel through the sacrificial system and the obedience by faith in an on-going way.

 

Jesus ON THE MOUNT teaches necessary attitudes, motives and resulting lifestyle practices for the citizens of “His Kingdom of love and grace”.

 

Matthew 7:28.29 tells us of the impact His instructional teaching on the Mount had on those who listened to Him that day: “And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teachings, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”

 

Today, we can only cover the first part of Jesus’ teachings. I would like to call it – Attitudes, motives, thinking, focus and lifestyle of citizens of Christ’s kingdom of light, grace and love.

 

Matthew 5:3–12The Be-attitudes (Read, comment and explain)

 

-         the poor in spirit – those feeling, realizing and admitting their spiritual poverty

-         those who mourn – those grieving over theirs and others sins and shortcomings. Also going through suffering – Ecclesiastes 7:3.4  (In both of these be-attitudes I also think of Christ’s parable of the Pharisee and publican and their attitudes when approaching God)

-         the meek – the humble, the teachable, the correctable, the submissive

-         those that hunger and thirst after righteousness – those longing, desiring and seeking to be changed, to partake of God’s righteousness – (righteousness is God’s 1st key characteristic)

-         the merciful – the forgiving, not holding on grudges and hurts – (this is God’s 2nd key characteristic)

-         the pure in heart – freed and cleansed from selfishness, lust, sensuality and sin, sincere, unpretending, open to God, allowing the Lord to make them grow in sanctification and holiness, hiding nothing, purified and purged from sin

-         the peacemakers – they solve, not create conflicts, help heal strained relationships and tensions, being at peace with God through the gospel, they share and proclaim the gospel of peace

-         the persecuted for righteousness sake – what is the result living by previous 7 be-attitudes? Persecution! Why? They will be resented and attacked by sin and world loving individuals, particularly by compromising religionists and by their example rebuked professed believers (example of perfect, faultless, absolutely pure and righteous and loving Jesus, prophets, the apostles, history of church in all ages)

-         the reviled, slandered, defamed and falsely accused – this one expands on the previous one: when force and persecution fails, campaign of defamation, slander and twisting of facts takes place (example – trial of Jesus, accusation of Jeremiah, Elijah, history of every true reformer and believer). Weaknesses or missteps of God’s followers are blown out of proportion, twisted, distorted; then passed on as facts, often serving as an excuse or self-justification to avoid acceptance of undesirable or unpopular truths or refused corrections (experience of reformers in every age).

 

Many people seek for happiness. How many have found it?

 

How about you? Do you want to be blessed and be truly happy?

 

Then spend more time in coming days in prayer and study learning and incorporating into your heart and life by the Spirit Christ’s steps to blessing and happiness.