The greatest place on earth is the kingdom of heaven as seen in the local church living out daily Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. This is truly a fulfillment of the nine “blessed are” sayings of Jesus in Matthew 5.
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) begins to give greater detail into His primary message.
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17
Prior to John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2) and Jesus, the emphasis was, “The kingdom of Israel.”
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6
Jesus proclaims, “It’s different than you have been thinking. It’s no longer about an earthly kingdom with borders and thrones, but about God’s “every tribe and every tongue” kingdom. Leadership and governance have been shifted to the King eternal, Jesus. And of His kingdom there shall be no end.”
Jesus reveals citizenship in the kingdom of heaven is by birth. As in the natural, I am a United States citizen by birth, so in the spiritual I am born a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ John 3:3-7
9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
Citizenship in the kingdom of heaven is by spiritual birth through trust and belief in the person and ministry of Jesus.
Place your trust and belief in Jesus today and you will be born into the kingdom of heaven.
Life in the kingdom of heaven is the topic of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
As previously noted, Jesus is building his eternal kingdom of heaven right here and now.
In Matthew 16 Jesus introduces the church as a parallel concept with the kingdom of heaven.
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
In this way, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is introducing life as it should be in His church. The Apostle Paul says it this way, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…” Philippians 3:20
“So, why church? The short answer is because the Holy Spirit formed it to be a colony of heaven in the country of death.… Church is the core element in the strategy of the Holy Spirit for providing human witness and physical presence to the Jesus-inaugurated kingdom of God in this world. It is not that kingdom complete, but it is a witness to that kingdom.…Church is an appointed gathering of named people in particular places who practice a life of resurrection in a world in which death gets the biggest headlines. … The practice of resurrection is an intentional, deliberate decision to believe and participate in resurrection life, life out of death, life that trumps death, life that is the last word, Jesus life.” (Peterson, Practice Resurrection, 12)
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus reveals the glorious life of heaven’s kingdom and invites us, the church, to be a heavenly colony filled with the love, joy, peace, faith, and hope of heaven.
As a colony of heaven:
Matthew 5:16 We do so many good works that the world glorifies our Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:17-20 We know and obey God’s law with our hearts filled with love for both.
Matthew 5:21-26 We know the dangers of anger and we reconcile immediately.
Matthew 5:27-30 We know the value of people in the image of God and we do not lust.
Matthew 5:31-32 We know the priority of marriage and we keep our marriages healthy and do not divorce.
Matthew 5:33-37 Healthy relationships are top priority, so we always keep our word.
Matthew 5:38-42 Healthy relationships are top priority, so we never retaliate.
Matthew 5:43-48 Healthy relationships are top priority, so we love our enemies.
Matthew 6:1-4 We know pride is the great destroyer, so we humbly give alms secretly.
Matthew 6:5-15 We know pride is the great destroyer, so we have a private prayer life.
Matthew 6:16-18 We know pride is the great destroyer, so we have a private fasting discipline.
Matthew 6:19-21 We know earth is temporary and passing away, so we lay up treasures in heaven.
Matthew 6:22-23 Knowing earth is temporary and passing away, we keep a pure eye, guarding ourselves from longings for the temporary.
Matthew 6:24 Knowing earth is temporary and passing away, we guard ourselves from the call to serve money and serve only God.
Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus, King of the kingdom, perfectly takes care of everything. We are not anxious, worried, or fearful. We seek our King and His kingdom, and He takes care of all our needs.
Matthew 7:1-6 Valuing healthy relationships, we do not become judgmental.
Matthew 7:7-11 Our King loves us and responds to our asking, seeking, and knocking.
Matthew 7:12 Valuing healthy relationships, we treat others the way we want to be treated.
Matthew 7:13-14 The kingdom of heaven is so important to us that we stick to the narrow and difficult path that leads to life.
Matthew 7:15-20 The kingdom of heaven is so important to us that we watch out for those wolves who would come in sheep’s clothing to influence us for destruction.
Matthew 7:21-23 More than the language of the kingdom, we want the heart of the King and so we do the will our Father in heaven.
Matthew 7:24-27 With Jesus as our highest priority, we both hear and put into practice His words.
The greatest place on earth is the kingdom of heaven as seen in the church living out daily
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
MCA LIFE GROUP Homework
Listen – My Story
- Name one of your favorite places to be on the planet.
- What do you enjoy there?
- What happens inside you while you are there?
Learn – Digging Deeper
- Is it possible to become a beatitudinal Christian while isolated from the day to day issues of our brothers and sisters in Christ? 1 Peter 1:22; 1 Peter 4:8;
- How important is the “body of Christ” in your daily life? Do you live as if you aren’t in a body of believers? What are the personal benefits you experience by being in the Lord’s church? 1 Corinthians 12
Life – Taking it Home
- What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this lesson?
- What can you and your life group do THIS WEEK to strengthen, encourage and bless each other.
Lift – Prayer
- Pray for “Bridging the Gap” our upcoming training on building bridges to our Muslim neighbors for the cause of Christ. October 19, 20 at MCA Church.
- Pray for “BAM” our upcoming Business as Mission training. We are asking God to help us launch five businesses in the next five years for the cause of global evangelization. October 6th, 9 AM to 1 PM.
Will you make time in your schedule to attend BAM and Bridging the Gap? It may help you discover more about your role in the Body of Christ locally and globally.