Another parable spake He unto them; “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” Matthew 13:33
Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in Thy sight.
Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah. Psalm 9:19-20
Not every one that saith unto Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works?” And then will I profess unto them, “I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23
He saith unto them,
“But whom say ye that I am?”
And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered and said unto him,
“Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:15-19
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:45-50
“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying,
‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.’ ” Mark 1:14-15 (KJB)
John the Baptist preached the message too; preparing the way for the Messiah. I have thought for years on the topic of “the kingdom”, “the kingdom of God” and “the kingdom of heaven” and wondered, “What is the difference?” or even, “Is there any difference.
I have finally come to a conclusion of the matter of the kingdom. The terms are synonymous referring to the same thought. If you disagree that is fine. We can still be brothers in Christ and disagree.
We must realize that the people of God – Israel – had for years turned their back upon God. They were “Looking for the kingdom of God” but completely missing it; especially the religious leaders; and then, along comes the prophet John, and he is preaching, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” Matthew 3:2. It is not that the kingdom had suddenly appeared, but that it had always been present and at hand.
With the coming of Jesus and His message He says the same thing as John. Now that Jesus is here the kingdom has took on Personhood, and He is the Son of God, God the Son; the God-Man and praise God He Himself is here.
Just some things for musing; The gospels of Mark, Luke and John call it the “Kingdom of God”. Matthew is the only gospel which calls it “The kingdom of heaven”.
What is the kingdom, the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God?
The kingdom or kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God is referring to all that is under the sovereign, superintending hand of Almighty God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. So, we must conclude that even evil, evil deeds, and evil people are also superintended by His mighty hands and Omniscient mind. He does not do evil; neither does He approve it; He does set its limits and says to it when it reaches its limit “This far and no farther”. Think of where God cut off the evil acts of the Pharaoh during the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. According to John Baptist and Jesus the kingdom is at hand.
There is however, the Kingdom coming with Jesus Christ ruling and reigning over the world sitting on His throne in the City of Jerusalem; and His kingdom and rule will be forever.
You can be with Him in that kingdom by submitting to Him, His cross confessing your sins, that He died for you, was buried, and He rose again. Repent – turn your back to sin. Call on His name. He will hear and He will save you to be with Him through all eternity.
“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said,
‘Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.’ ” Matthew 18:1-6 (KJB)
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matthew 11:12 (KJB)
I am going to let the exposition of John Gill give you an explanation of the above verse.
From John Gills Exposition of the Bible…
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now,…. From the time that he began to preach, to the then present time,
the kingdom of heaven, the Gospel, and the ministry of it, first by John, then by Christ and his apostles,
suffereth violence; or “comes with force”, and power upon the souls of men: it was attended with the demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; as appeared by its being the means of quickening persons that were dead in trespasses and sins; enlightening the blind; causing the deaf to hear; melting and softening hearts of stone; making, of enemies, friends to God and Christ; turning men from the power of Satan unto God; setting at liberty such as were slaves and vassals to their own corruptions; and, in a word, in being the power of God unto salvation, to many souls: and which was further seen, in the manner it did all this; suddenly, secretly, powerfully, and effectually, and yet not against the wills of men; and by such instruments as the apostles were, poor, sinful, mortal men; despised by the world, and attended with opposition and persecution: or “suffers violence”; which may be understood, either of the vast numbers, that pressed and crowded to hear the Gospel preached: great numbers followed John, when he first began to preach, and baptize: still a greater number followed Christ, some to hear his doctrine, others to see his miracles, others to behold his person, others out of selfish ends; and some behaved rudely and indecently: or of the ardour and fervency of spirit, which appeared in some, to the ministry of John and Christ, and in their desires and expectations of the kingdom of the Messiah: or of the Gospel’s suffering violence by the persecutions of its enemies opposing and contradicting it, reproaching it, intimidating the professors of it, and seeking to take away the life of Christ, the great subject of it:
and the violent take it by force; meaning either publicans, and harlots, and Gentile sinners; who might be thought to be a sort of intruders: or rather the same persons, as being powerfully wrought upon under the ministry of the Gospel; who were under violent apprehensions of wrath and vengeance, of their lost and undone state and condition by nature; were violently in love with Christ, and eagerly desirous of salvation by him, and communion with him; and had their affections set upon the things of another world: these having the Gospel preached to them, which is a declaration of God’s love to sinners, a proclamation of peace and pardon, and a publication of righteousness and life by Christ, they greedily catched at it, and embraced it.
Saved by grace, through faith, that works (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Going back to the New Testament today…
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Matthew 4:17 (KJB)
The Thoughts of F. B. Meyer…
“Our Lord’s earliest ministry seems to have been centered in Jerusalem and its contiguous villages. See Joh_2:1-25; Joh_3:1-36. But on the news of the Baptist’s imprisonment, He took up His testimony to the hearers of the heavenly kingdom, which is the reign of God over the hearts and lives of men. Someone has said that it is “the universal awareness of God.” Yet there was a difference! At the commencement of His work, the Savior showed a tenderness and a winsomeness which were very inviting to the crowds of harried sheep. See Mat_9:36. His ministry resembled the gentle, holy dawn that breaks over the mountains and dispels the black shadows of the night. The evangelist quotes the prophet’s anticipation of the coming of Him who is called “Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God.” Oh, do not be afraid when Jesus comes to your heart! You may be as far away from goodness and purity as Naphtali and Zebulun from Jerusalem, but Galilee of the Gentiles is included in Joh_3:16.”
The Thoughts of John Gill…
“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say,…. Not from the time he dwelt in Capernaum; for he had preached in Nazareth before he came there, Luk_4:16 nor from the time of John’s being cast into prison; for he had preached, and made disciples, who were baptized by his orders, before John’s imprisonment, Joh_3:22 Joh_4:1 but from the time that Satan left tempting him; as soon as that combat was over, immediately he went into Galilee, began to preach, and called his disciples. The words with which he began his ministry are the same with which John begun his; which shows the entire agreement between them, in that they not only preached the same doctrine, but in the same words; See Gill on Mat_3:2.”
The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary…
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand — Thus did our Lord not only take up the strain, but give forth the identical summons of His honored forerunner. Our Lord sometimes speaks of the new kingdom as already come – in His own Person and ministry; but the economy of it was only “at hand” until the blood of the cross was shed, and the Spirit on the day of Pentecost opened the fountain for sin and for uncleanness to the world at large.”
It is time for all who call themselves Christian to turn to Christ, turning away from sin. It is time for you who do not know Jesus to know that He loves you so much He paid the penalty for sin by His death on the cross, He was buried, and He rose again.
Call on His name today.
To many who have great wealth it is their life. The wealthy without God, are always grasping for more.
“And, behold, one came and said unto Him, ‘Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?’ And He said unto him, ‘Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He saith unto Him, ‘Which?’ Jesus said, ‘Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ The young man saith unto Him, ‘All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?’ Jesus said unto him, ‘If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me.’
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
Then said Jesus unto His disciples, ‘Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.’ When His disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’ But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, ‘With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.’” Matthew 19:16-26 (KJB)
What was the cost to this young rich man? It cost him his soul and eternity.
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy…
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:10
The verse from 1 Timothy is not saying that money is evil, but rather the “love of money”. Money over God. Wealth over peace with God. Prosperity rather than love for God.
What will your wealth cost you?
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” Matthew 13:44-46 (KJB)
I have noticed many different conclusions concerning these two parables, and though I can see their ideas, encouragements, and strengths in them I do see something different.
First of all let us consider that Jesus, in this chapter of parables has identified the “Field” as the world (13:38). It is also true of the seed sower, who is identified by Jesus as “The Son of Man”; and that is Jesus. So, here are my thoughts on these parables…
In the beginning the Liar [the father of lies] deceived Adam and Eve stealing from them the dominion of this world. Jesus the Son of Man, Son of God, came to this world (the field), and “found” a treasure in the lives and souls of men; and having surrendered all that He had in glory went to the cross to redeem man unto God.
To Jesus we of earth are the treasure which He gave up His own life to purchase us unto Himself. We are also His pearls; chosen and precious to Him. His purchase of us makes us clean, and pure in the sight of Holy God. We are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). The Hidden Treasure in the world, are those who have hearts to receive Him.
“Then came Peter to Him, and said, ‘Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me that thou owest.’ And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, ‘O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?’ And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.’” Matthew 18:21-35 (KJB)
Yes! A little bit of a lengthy parable.
As a man, and as all who will admit and confess to it we need forgiveness from our transgressions. God has forgiven me more than I could ever repay. How can I not forgive another who owes me very little? Or owes me nothing?
Something we all need to think hard about if we ever want to be unforgiving toward another.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:44-50 (KJB)
The finished result of the kingdom of heaven will be the final putting away of all that is evil and false. The complete redemption of all who are bought and claimed by the Redeemer. All the parables of Matthew 13 give us an outline, together, of the Church Age. First of all in the parable of the “Sower” we see individual’s responses to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Secondly, in the parables of the wheat and the tares, the mustard seed, and the leaven; we see Satan’s opposition to the work of God in His kingdom, and his attacks upon it. Thirdly, we see the results of Judgment upon the “Treasure” [Israel], the Pearl [the Church], and the dragnet [Gentile nations]. This parable shows us that there is evil in the kingdom of heaven; the kingdom of Christ while He is not bodily present, and it will progress until He comes again.
I. In the parable of the “Wheat and the tares” the field is the world (v. 44).
* + In this world “a man” is God in the person of His Son, and the “treasure” is true Israel.
* + When God called Israel to be His people and Nation He had a plan for them, and He still does.
Warren Wiersbe says, “That nation was placed in the world to bring glory to God, but it failed. It became a nation hidden, a treasure not being invested to produce dividends for God. Jesus Christ gave His all to purchase the whole world in order to save the nation (John 11:51). On the cross, Jesus died for the whole world; but in a special way, He died for Israel (Isaiah 53:8). The nation suffered judgment and seeming destruction, but in God’s sight it is ‘hidden’ and will be revealed again in glory.” From the Bible Exposition Commentary by Warren W. Wiersbe, p. 47, VOL. 1.
II. Pearls are made through the much tribulation of the oyster (vv. 45-46).
* + I don’t know all the mechanics behind the making of the pearl, but what we have all heard is that it begins with a grain of sand being on the sensitive part of its body.
* + In the parable of the “pearl of great price” (vv. 45-46), it has seen the similar interpretation as the above “treasure”, the “pearl” being Christ Jesus and those who give up all they have, and purchase the pearl have made a great bargain.
” Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:” 1 Corinthians 10:32 (KJV). “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13 (KJV). “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” Ephesians 4:4-7 (KJV). “The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Psalms 14:2-3 (KJV).
III. In this parable of the precious pearl the “Merchant man” is surely representing Jesus Christ (vv. 45-46).
* + Jesus saw the Church as being a precious pearl, and gave up the splendors and glory of heaven to come and redeem fallen men to God.
* + In Scripture we always have God seeking for men.
* It was Jesus who said, “I came to seek and save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10).
* + The pearl which the Merchant man seeks is the Church.
* + The growth of the Church is unseen by the world, just as the pearl within the oyster.
IV. Jesus once again goes to the sea, only in a bigger way (vv. 47-50).
* + Keep in mind that we are to understand that the “kingdom of heaven” contains both the good and the bad [evil]; the true and the false.
* + The good and true ae the ones who are genuine believers.
* (Daniel 7:1-3; Revelation 13:1; 17:15).
* + The time of this judgment is at the end of the age, when God is going to make all things right.
* It is not the end of the Church Age, but the end of the age of a “Mixed Multitude”.
-by Tim A. Blankenship
For further study and reading
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-20 (KJV)
Many a man and woman have said something like this, “I live by the Sermon on the mount”. My thought when I hear that, though I usually say nothing is, “O really.” Do we think about what Jesus says in the sermon? It is stronger than the law. The law says, “Do not commit adultery”. Jesus says, “If a man looks at a woman with lust he is guilty of adultery”. Now tell me that you live by the Sermon on the Mount.
In the words of Jesus above Jesus is declaring that He is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. He did not destroy them, or lay them aside, He is their fulfillment. Jesus is what they spoke of and what they speak of.
When reading the Scriptures from Genesis through the Revelation we can see Jesus. He is creating in Genesis 1, and He is finishing His great salvation in Revelation 22.
From the comma to the final period of the law, all will be fulfilled, and it will take place while there is a heaven and an earth. All through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Righteousness is a good thing. True righteousness comes through the faith of Jesus Christ. All the righteousnesses of sinful men is as filthy rags before holy God (Isaiah 64:6). Our righteousness must come through the cross of Jesus. It must be given us by God Himself. Through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus we enter the kingdom of heaven.
What do I want for Christmas today?
I want for things, possessions, and personal desires to always take a back seat; or to be completely unloaded; so that God, His Son Jesus, and others in my life, and those I have not met yet as well; might be my treasure.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, ‘That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24 (KJV)
“With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name have cast out devils, and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV)
Please note that these are the words of Jesus. Those who do the will of His Father are those who will enter the kingdom of heaven.
What do I want for Christmas?
I want you to do the will of God in Christ Jesus, and that is to believe on Him whom the Father has sent.
“Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” John 6:28-29
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-20 (KJV)
It would appear that the fulfilling of the “Law and the prophets” is the ultimate fulfillment of Righteousness; according to the words of Jesus. We see that Jesus is the fulfillment, because we have no Righteousness except through Him.
What do I want for Christmas?
I want the righteousness of Christ to reign in my life, so that others might see Him in me, be convicted of sin, turn from their sin to Christ, calling on His name for salvation.
There is no righteousness which exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, except that of Jesus.
There are millions of Christians around the world suffering persecution for the cause of Christ, and their faith in Him. Even in the United States that is increasing, as we steadily lose our freedom of religion.
I know there are some who do not see what I am saying, but it is still in the facts of reported events.
So, What do I want for Christmas?
No matter what may come on us; Christian, I want us all to stand strong on the cross, and faith of Jesus Christ; no matter what a God hating society may hurl at us; let us be strong in the faith of Christ, and grow in His image and likeness; returning the world’s hatred toward us into His love back at them.
Happiness in persecution? That is right, because we live for Him.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3 (KJV)
What do I want for Christmas?
I want the “kingdom of heaven” to be mine through Jesus Christ my Lord; to be so dependent upon Him that there is no pride, arrogance, or selfish bone in me.
This morning I wrote of this verse in my journal;
Those who have no rebelling spirit against God and right; those who humble themselves before God and the holy; those who realize their purpose in life is to give glory to God, the One who made all things.
Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17 (KJV)
What do I want for Christmas?
I want repentance to be a daily event of my life; to repent when I sin, and I want all who call themselves followers of Christ Jesus to know that turning from sin; from darkness to the Light, is evidence of faith in Him.
True Repentance is turning from sin to Christ; and we are not guaranteed another day.
There is something about the gospel of Christ that the worldly man, even some of the spiritual elite who hate it. Some people want, desire people to follow them, their teachings, their philosophies, and when the true gospel of Christ Jesus is presented; the death, burial and resurrection of Christ they stand against it.
One of the Communist leaders of the past said, “Religion is an opiate of the people” or something very similar to that. Sad part about that statement is is that it is mostly a true statement. Religion blinds minds, cripples thinking, and makes captives of a people who ought to be free.
Something many people need to realize is that true Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship with Christ Jesus. Jesus Christ came into the world to free us from our sin, and its condemnation; our captivity to fear. There were those in the days of Jesus Christ who would not believe the message of Christ, because it freed the people from the binding message of their religion.
“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” Matthew 23:13 (KJV)
This is the beginning of seven woes announced, by Jesus, against the scribes who were teachers of the law, and the Pharisees who were a religious sect of the day. During the days of Jesus it would seem that their duty, and work was to keep people from the kingdom of God and heaven. In essence to keep their followers from following Jesus Christ.
These woes are announcements against them. They are working ruin. Religion for the most part is against Christ. Religion is the attempts of men, women, and children to try to gain God’s favor their own way; in their own personal labors. Faith in Christ Jesus is coming to God His Way trusting only in the work of Jesus Christ. Jesus is for the grace of God. Grace is shown to us through the cross of Jesus. God putting on His Son all the unrighteousness, all the filth of sin, and its condemnation; and pouring His wrath on His only begotten Son. Then, when you or I look to Jesus God places on us all the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Now, all those who receive this precious, eternal gift, have eternal life with Jesus forever. Do not let the teaching of men and religion that is false keep you from the kingdom. The kingdom is Jesus Christ Himself.
If you are born in a hospital, does not make you a doctor, nurse, or even a hospital bed. Neither, if you are born in a garage does that make you a car, truck or motorcycle. Those may seem to be somewhat pathetic thoughts, but the point will be made in a moment.
Hear the words of Jesus:
“Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name and in Thy name have cast out devils and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV)
There are many morally good people in the world who would give you the shirt off their back, and maybe even more than that. Being morally good does not mean they are good in the eyes of God.
Just as Jesus says in the above text; just saying His name does not mean one knows Him. I hear people using His name all the time; but let me tell you they do not know Him; not the way they use His precious name. Then, there are those who claim to know Him, but do not trust His finished work on the cross.
They continue to live doing things to gain God’s favor. They may attend every Church service. They may pray. They might even read a chapter a day from the Bible or read a daily devotional guide; all trying to gain favor with God. Yet, they do not know Him.
In the gospel of Luke Jesus says,
“And why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46
What must one do to be a Christian; a true follower of Jesus Christ? Believe on the One whom the Father has sent (John 6:29). He died on the cross, was buried, and rose again. He is returning. Will He find you faithful; or in the world culture?
The Be-Attitudes continuing…“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (v. 3)
These are characteristics and attitudes we should possess as disciples or followers of Jesus Christ the King. The first one is being “Poor in spirit”. This is opposite of being haughty, arrogant, and proud. Especially when we are considering the things of God. There is no room for pride before the throne of God. The one who is “Poor in spirit” realizes they are bankrupt before the God of all creation. We could not stand in His presence, except that He provides us a way.
Arrogance and pride before men is one thing, but to be arrogant and prideful before God is an eternal matter which will cause you to be cast into everlasting fire. When one is humble before God that will show in our dealings before men as well.
The definition of “Attitude” – ‘the position of something in relation to something else’ MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY. In the case of these Beatitudes it seems this is the best of the definitions given. The position of your thinking in relation to God is of extreme importance. The way you think of yourself in position to God. If you do not see yourself as God does there will be no way you can walk along side of Him. When you do; you will inherit ‘the kingdom of heaven’.
The “Poor in spirit” are not poor toward God. It has been said; and I believe wrongly so; “Good guys finish last.” With God the “Poor in spirit” finish first.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Jesus saith unto them, “Have ye understood all these things?” They say unto him, “Yea, Lord.” Then said He unto them, “Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.” ~Jesus (Matthew 13:44-52)
“The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” Another parable spake He unto them; “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” ~Jesus (Matthew 13:31-33)
“What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.’ Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” ~Jesus (Matthew 11:7-15)