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Summary: Citizenship is a hot topic today. What is a legal citizen and what is an illegal alien? Can you believe that Jesus addressed citizenship in the beatitudes?

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This message is an edited version of a sermon given at Loving God Fellowship. Copyright © 2007 Loving God Fellowship, Inc. http://www.LovingGodFellowship.org . You are encouraged to share this message with those you know that are hungry for God’s Word.

What Citizenship is All About

The Greatest Sermon Ever Preached Series

By Greg Johnson

Matthew 5: 3-12

Jesus Christ is the greatest person that has ever walked this earth and He preached the greatest sermon ever preached. It has been titled The Sermon on the Mount and it spans three chapters in Matthew beginning with chapter 5. In this series that I’m titling “The Greatest Sermon Ever Preached” we will be looking in detail at this sermon given by Jesus.

The Sermon on the Mount holds the same significance for the new covenant as the giving of the Law had for the old covenant. As Christ followers, we need to spend a lot of time knowing and understanding The Sermon on the Mount as it outlines the basic principles of life in the Kingdom of God in which Christ followers are citizens.

Jesus starts by defining the character of Christ followers in what is called The Beatitudes. Jesus said (Matthew 5:3-12 NIV) ""Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. {4} Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. {5} Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. {6} Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. {7} Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. {8} Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. {9} Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. {10} Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. {11} "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. {12} Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

In future messages we will be looking at each of these blessings, but today let’s look at the people described, the qualities of their character, and their blessings that they receive by God’s Grace.

The People Described

The people described here are citizens of the Kingdom of God. Their citizenship is not of this earth. That which gives them citizenship in God’s Kingdom is Christ and what Christ did for them at the cross. They are not righteous but they are justified or declared righteous through their faith in Jesus Christ. They have fallen at the foot of the cross and they have lost their life for His life that is eternal. On this earth, they take up their cross and they follow Jesus with total abandonment. They are Christ followers. The world is behind them and the cross is before them. Though none go with them, still they follow with their eyes fixed on Jesus who for the joy set before Him endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2).

Please know that there are not groups of Christ followers that have some of these qualities and not the others. There are not some that are poor in spirit and others that mourn but are not poor in spirit. The eight qualities are given to every Christ follower. That is the idea that Jesus is projecting here.

The Qualities of their Character

Listen to the qualities of a Christ follower’s character as defined by Jesus:

• poor in spirit

• mournful

• meek

• hunger and thirst for righteousness

• merciful

• pure in heart

• peacemakers

• persecuted because of righteousness

These qualities distinguish the citizens of the Kingdom of God. Citizens of the Kingdom of God are allowing God to develop all of these qualities within them as they follow Jesus with a sweet and humble spirit.

Their Blessings that They Receive by Grace

Listen to the blessings that are given to the citizens of the Kingdom of God.

• theirs is the kingdom of heaven

• they will be comforted

• they will inherit the earth

• they will be filled

• they will be shown mercy

• they will see God

• they will be called sons of God

• great is their reward in heaven

Each of these blessings is given to every citizen of God’s Kingdom. One will not receive the kingdom of heaven and not be comforted or be shown mercy. One will not be comforted and shown mercy, but not receive the kingdom of God. As with the qualities of the Kingdom of God’s citizen’s character so with these blessings; they receive them all! God is no respecter of people. He does not discriminate. In His Kingdom there is total social justice for ALL! In God’s Kingdom it is as His Word says (Galatians 3:28 NIV) "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

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