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Count Your Blessings: Theirs is the Kingdom

Count Your Many Blessings  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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INTRODUCTION TO SERIES
If you would like to follow along in your Bibles, please turn to .
During January and February, we are going to have some lessons that go along with our theme for 2018. We are going to talk about some of the great blessings that we have in Christ, focusing on the beatitudes in .
This section is a challenging introduction to the sermon on the mount. It not only shows the kind of character the LORD calls disciples to, but they also show the great rewards of seeking to be like the LORD.
We see in this section that the blessed life is counter-cultural. It is different. This was even the case at the time of Jesus, even though many of the ideas described in the beatitudes are taken from the Old Testament. Many had missed these character traits because of their approach towards religion.
When people consider what a blessed life looks like, they don’t think that being poor in spirit, mourning, meekness, suffering, etc as being a blessed life. But in the LORD, no matter how the circumstances may be physically or emotionally, there is great blessing for us as God’s people.
Your version may say “happy” where my version says blessed. Keep in mind that Jesus is not just saying that if you have these character attributes, you are going to be emotionally happy all the time. It is much deeper than that. The greek word is used in the New Testament to describe a state of spiritual prosperity and blessedness, the highest possible satisfaction that man can enjoy in this world because of the Lord’s work in their lives.
Your version may say “happy” where my version says blessed. Keep in mind that Jesus is not just saying that if you have these character attributes, you are going to be emotionally happy all the time. It is much deeper than that. The greek word is used in the New Testament to describe a state of spiritual prosperity and blessedness, the highest possible satisfaction that man can enjoy in this world because of the Lord’s work in one’s life.
THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM
For today’s lesson, we will talk about a blessing that is mentioned in two of the beatitudes, where Jesus says “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
This passage is bookended with the blessing of the kingdom. Let’s look at verses 3 and 10:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.(, ESV)
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.(, ESV)
I would like to dissect these two verses for a few moments, and then we look at some practical lessons regarding the blessing described in these verses, then we will close with some applications.
Let’s begin with describing quickly this idea the kingdom of heaven/the kingdom of God. We talked about this idea in a lesson last year and looked more in depth at this point then…
What is this blessing that Jesus is talking about?
The Greek word that is translated as ‘kingdom’ in the New Testament does not convey the same main idea that our English word ‘kingdom’ does. Whenever we think of the word kingdom, what comes to mind? For us, the English word conveys the idea of land and territory someone rules over. A king or queen has authority over their land, territory, or even people…
The Greek word may include many of these things, but the word conveys a broader concept, that being “the reign or rule that the king has.” The rule or reign of a king. Some synonyms may be words like authority, dominion, influence, power, royalty, sovereignty, and kingship. It is these ideas that are primarily meant when we refer to God’s kingdom in the Bible.
“THEIRS”
First, we see in the blessing of these two verses that the kingdom of heaven belongs to a specific group of people.
The word "theirs" here is showing that the blessings of the kingdom are only for a specific group of people. It is “theirs alone,” nobody else's. It only belongs to those who have a specific type of heart. These blessings are not just for anyone. They are for a people who are indeed different - a people who are peculiar compared to the world around them.
Jesus mentions in verses 3 and 10 of that the kingdom belongs to those who are poor in spirit and those who are persecuted for righteousness sake. Now, in my opinion, Jesus is not saying here that if you are only one of these two that the kingdom belongs to you. Both of these are true of those who the kingdom belongs to. Let’s talk about each of these in detail for a moment:
Those who are poor in spirit.
This idea of being poor is one that many Jews would not have considered as a blessing. Blessed are the destitute, Blessed are the beggarly, Blessed are the hopelessly dependent, Blessed are the people who are willing to see that they have nothing and can earn nothing.
What kind of poverty is he talking about? This poverty is further defined as poverty in spirit, it's not poverty with regard to money, material things. It's not poverty with regard to something external, it's poverty with regard to what is internal with reference to the spirit. In other words, they look inside and realize their state of spiritual bankruptcy. They are willing to see that they are in desperate need of the LORD’s help.
What kind of poverty is he talking about? The phrase “in spirit” helps us understand what Jesus is talking about. He is not talking about earthly blessings or the lack of money, he is talking about a state of mind spiritually - spiritual poverty. Seeing yourself as needy.
What is interesting is that Jesus was saying this to many who would have believed that they were rich in spirit - that they were ok because they were descendants of Abraham, had been circumcised, and looked at themselves as righteous because they were keeping the law. They had an inflated and proud view of their pedigree and accomplishments.
But to be kingdom citizens, one must realize the truth that we are bankrupt and in need of God’s kingdom. We cannot rule our lives on our own. We are desperate for God’s help.
Look at what Isaiah says in Isaiah 57:15:
15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit...” (, ESV)
I believe this mindset is seen well in the Tax Collector in .
Those who SUFFER because of righteousness.
The blessing of the kingdom is for those who suffer for the sake of righteousness. They are willing to do what is right. To live as a disciple. To talk as a disciple. To be willing to help others, even if that means they suffer for doing so. They are willing to speak the truth even if that means people will make fun of them or mistreat them. They are willing to stand up for what is right even if that means they will be persecuted for doing so. They don’t allow fear to stop them from doing what they should be doing.
And in spite of the suffering and pain they endure for Jesus, they are still blessed! They understand that they are living for something bigger than this world. They can have hope and joy at these times because they understand that whatever may be taken away in this life - whether that be physical health, their money, their homes, or even their lives, they still had the LORD and His promises.
Paul and Silas could praise God from a prison cell after being beaten because they were not living primarily for physical blessing, but for the spiritual blessings in Christ. James could say to consider it all joy when encountering various trials because he knew that God was working in His people for good. Only God can make suffering and pain a blessing.
This may not be something that we would look at as a blessing.
“IS” - A CURRENT POSSESSION
The kingdom is a CURRENT blessing for God’s people. This is not to say that there is not a future aspect of the kingdom promised to God’s people. We will look at this point later. There are future promises of a heavenly kingdom given to God’s people also in the New Testament. But here, in this passage, in talking about the kingdom, Jesus uses the present tense. He says that it is a present possession and blessing of His people. It is something God’s people need to keep in mind and thank God for because it is a blessing that we have now.
The kingdom of God is within us as God’s people. It is our possession right now.
But, of course, this all begs the question: What is the kingdom?
“THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN”
What is this blessing that Jesus is talking about?
The Greek word that is translated as ‘kingdom’ in the New Testament does not convey the same main idea that our English word ‘kingdom’ does. Whenever we think of the word kingdom, what comes to mind? For us, the English word conveys the idea of land and territory someone rules over. A king or queen has authority over their land, territory, or even people…
The Greek word may include many of these things, but the word conveys a broader concept, that being “the reign or rule that the king has.” The rule or reign of a king. Some synonyms may be words like authority, dominion, influence, power, royalty, sovereignty, and kingship. It is these ideas that are primarily meant when we refer to God’s kingdom in the Bible.
If you were not able to be here for the lesson in July of last year where we looked at this idea more in depth, I would encourage you to go to the website and to watch it. There are just so many passages in the New Testament, especially in the book of Matthew that talk about the kingdom of God and it’s impact in the lives of His people in the present and the future.
“THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN”
What is this blessing that Jesus is talking about? We talked about this idea in a lesson last year.
The Greek word that is translated as ‘kingdom’ in the New Testament does not convey the same main idea that our English word ‘kingdom’ does. Whenever we think of the word kingdom, what comes to mind? For us, the English word conveys the idea of land and territory someone rules over. A king or queen has authority over their land, territory, or even people…
The Greek word may include many of these things, but the word conveys a broader concept, that being “the reign or rule that the king has.” The rule or reign of a king. Some synonyms may be words like authority, dominion, influence, power, royalty, sovereignty, and kingship. It is these ideas that are primarily meant when we refer to God’s kingdom in the Bible.
God’s people are
THE BLESSINGS OF BEING UNDER GOD’S REIGN
Let’s talk about some of the amazing blessings we have as God’s people having the kingdom as a possession.
We could talk for hours about the blessings that we have being those who willfully submit to the reign of the LORD. Every blessing in the New Testament for God’s people could be included here. But I would like to talk about just a few…
Access to the King.
First, as possessors of the kingdom, we have access to our king - to the God of heaven - daily! This is different from any ruler in this world. We don’t have access to our president or any president that came before him in our lifetimes, and for the most part, rulers today don’t even care about what we as individuals believe and think or desire to have us come and talk to them. But it is not this way for us as subjects in God’s kingdom.
Unlike many rulers and kings in this world, we can have a personal relationship with our ruler. Because of the sacrifice of Christ, we can have access to the throne of God.
“16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (, ESV)
As those who are poor in Spirit, who see their need for the Lord’s help and mercy, we not only have access to His throne, but we can boldly and confidently approach the throne to find any help we need in our faith. That is a great blessing for us. God desires for you and I to talk to Him - to know Him - and to experience His mercy and grace.
The King’s Protection and Care.
Second, as those who possess the kingdom, we have the protection and care of our king. He is our defender and protector. He gives us security.
We see this fact in . Jesus says, “27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (, ESV).
I give them eternal life and they will never perish. Of course He is talking about His sheep - those who hear His voice and follow Him. For those who submit to Him, there is no perishing. Their is no condemnation. even if men in this world may condemn and judge God’s people, all that truly matters is what the Judge of all men thinks. Jesus says His followers are protected!
And He makes sure we as His subjects are cared for. This is something that is shown to us in where Paul parallels the relationship with Jesus and His people to the relationship of a husband and wife. He is primarily talking about Jesus and His church here. Paul says, “Christ loved the church and gave himself for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. 27 He did this to present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. 29 For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 since we are members of his body.”
The kingdom is a blessing for God’s people now. This is not to say that there is not a future aspect of the kingdom promised to God’s people. There are future promises of a heavenly kingdom given to God’s people also in the New Testament. But here, in this passage, in talking about the kingdom, Jesus uses the present tense. He says that it is a present possession of His people.
He makes sure His citizens are provided for ()
Jesus cares for His people. He provides for them. He nurtures them. He works to help them so that they can stand before Him holy and blameless. It is this example that Paul calls husbands to in this passage. But Paul wants us to see primarily what Jesus does for His people.
We are not just living to receive the blessing of Heaven. We are living for God now. He is our King now. We have this great blessing and all that accompanies it right now.
We have access to the power and influence of our king now. He working among His people who have submitted to His great and glorious reign. As those who have received the kingdom, we have access to His grace, mercy, joy, wisdom, strength, and so many other blessings because we are in His care.
The Future Promises the King Gives Us.
The promises of our sovereign King are as good as gold. He is trustworthy. He will give all of the blessings that He has promised to those who have submitted to His rule.
The other blessings of being Kingdom citizens in the beatitudes
This includes a future kingdom that both Jesus and Paul talk about. Jesus, in , talks about how, at the time of judgment, He will give His people a kingdom that was prepared for them from the foundation of the world. And Paul, at the end of His life, says to His beloved disciples Timothy, “18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (, ESV)
He believed this because this is what the LORD promised Him. Paul, along with all of those who were poor in Spirit and endured the hardships of this life, will be rewarded with a heavenly kingdom. They will be in God’s presence where there will be no sin. There will only be perfect submission to the reign of the LORD.
The
Everyone is under the reign and dominion of God, but God’s rule and care belong to God’s people in a special sense. They are the ones who willfully submit to his reign and receive it’s blessings. The word "theirs" here is showing that the blessings of the kingdom are only for a specific group of people. It is “theirs alone,” nobody else's. It only belongs to those who approach God with a specific type of heart.
Jesus mentions in verses 3 and 10 of that the kingdom belongs to those who are poor in spirit and those who are persecuted for righteousness sake. Now, in my opinion, Jesus is not saying here that if you are only one of these two that the kingdom belongs to you. Both of these are true of those who the kingdom belongs to.
APPLICATION & CONCLUSION
Those who are poor in spirit
Those who are persecuted because of righteousness
Do you display the character of those who possess the kingdom?
Are you “poor in spirit,” or have you been unwilling to see your need to be a “spiritual beggar” because of pride?
Are you persecuted for righteousness sake, or have you allowed fear to keep you from doing righteousness as you should?
- Are you persecuted for righteousness sake, or have you allowed fear to keep you from doing righteousness as you should?
When was the last time you thanked God for the blessings we gain from His rule? It is important for us to see the blessings that God gives to His people, but it is also important to make sure we tell the LORD how grateful we are for what He has done and will continue to do for us.
Our desire for you is that the kingdom would be yours - that you would enjoy the blessings of submitting to the LORD Jesus today. If there is anything we can do to help you make this happen, why don’t you make your need known as together we stand and sing?
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