Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kingdom of Heaven

(Painting by E. Thor Carlson)

Kingdom of Heaven - have you been pondering on this statement this week?  On Tuesday, we began our fall study of Matthew 5-7, which is known as the Sermon on the Mount. I spent a significant amount of time trying to define what the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God is and when we were done we had a definition:  the rule and reign of Jesus Christ over all creation.

We discussed whether this was a future event or a current event and concluded that Jesus Christ rules and reigns in the hearts of believers today, so the Kingdom of Heaven is alive and well today, in the lives of the children of God.  Yes, there is a future fulfillment, but the Sermon on the Mount is not a description of the future, but a reality today.

I wanted to give you one more reason that the Sermon on the Mount is for today - if you read through the Beatitudes, it becomes crystal clear - Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the gentle, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and the persecuted - in those descriptors we find things that will not be in the future Kingdom of Heaven:
  • There are no tears or mourning
  • I doubt there will be a lot of persecution, right?
  • Who would we have to show mercy to?
  • What would we be mourning?
  • Who would we be making peace between?
  • Yes, pure in heart and gentle are definitely righteous character traits that will be seen in heaven, but they can also be for today
Do you get my point?  The teaching does not say, "Blessed are those who were poor in spirit when they were on earth, because now they will live in the Kingdom of Heaven."  No, it is taught in a present tense - "Blessed are the poor in spirit (right now), for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."  Can you see the difference?

Yes, the Kingdom is right now.  Did you wake this morning and remember that you are a stranger in a foreign land?  Do you stick out like an American in a different country?  Are you fired up to gather with the citizens on Sunday morning and worship your heart out to the King of our Kingdom?

Keep it in the forefront of your mind - you are not of this world. Don't be conformed to it. Don't buy into Satan's lies.  Rejoice at the opportunity to gather with citizens of the Kingdom, for you are a new creation - the old has passed away and behold, you are a child of the King!  (Doesn't that make your heart soar???)

And plan on coming Tuesday to learn what it means to be poor in spirit...

(Pretty cool painting, don't you think?  Have you figured it out?)

1 comment:

  1. Great post and such a good reminder that the Kingdom is now in each believer. The painting is an abstract of the Sermon on the mount.