Summary: Christ gives us a glimpse of the kingdom of God through the Beatitudes.
“Do We See God’s Kingdom?”
By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church,
Newport News, VA
Our Gospel lesson for this morning is frequently referred to as the Beatitudes, and they are all promises of the kingdom of God.
Because to be in the kingdom of God is to be comforted, to inherit the earth, or the promised land, to be satisfied, to obtain mercy, to see God, and to be called God’s sons and daughters.
The Beatitudes are also descriptive…in that they describe those who receive the kingdom of God.
Now, to anyone who does not understand the message of Jesus Christ…and I would imagine that none of us understand His message in it’s completeness…the Beatitudes of Jesus Christ, can, naturally seem kind of foolish.
After all, who willingly wants to be poor, meek, mournful and persecuted?
As much as we all need to be comforted and filled, as much as we all want blessings and mercy, as much as we all yearn to be the precious children of God, we might not be sure that it’s worth the cost. Or is it?
I mean, just what is Jesus getting at here?
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
According to John Wesley, “Poverty of Spirit is the foundation of everything.”
Who then are the “poor in spirit”?
They are those who truly understand themselves in the scheme of this life, and in truly understanding themselves they are completely convinced of their sinfulness…
…and their own inability to do anything about it on their own!
This is what all of us need before we can cry out to God: “Have mercy on me, a sinner!”
This is the first step in running the race…of being part of the kingdom of heaven.
Wesley writes: “I speak to all whom God has enabled to become ‘poor in sprit’ and to feel themselves lost.
Through the gracious promise of him ‘who never lies,’ we have a claim to heaven. The blood of the Lamb has purchased our title to heaven for us. Heaven is very near; you are on the brink of heaven!
After only another step, you will enter into the kingdom of righteousness, and peace, and joy!
Are you full of sin?
‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’
Are you completely without God?
Look to your ‘advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’
Are you unable to atone for the least of your sins?
Christ is ‘the atoning sacrifice for your sins.’
Here and now, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and all your sins will be blotted out!”
When we completely depend on Christ, we learn from Christ to be “humble in heart”…and this is true, genuine Christian humility.
It flows to us from our sense of God’s love which has been shown to us in Jesus Christ.
And in this sense, “the poor in spirit” is what we always are.
Because poverty of spirit is our continual awareness of our total dependence on God for every good thought, word, or deed.
And the more we grow in grace, the more we understand just how fallen we are…and just how great God is!!!
The second beatitude is a startling paradox: “Blessed are those who mourn…”