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
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:33-34
Then said Jesus unto His disciples,
“If any will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.
Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” Matthew 16:24-28
“And He said,
‘So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.’ ” Mark 4:26-29
“And Jesus said unto him, ‘No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’ ” Luke 9:62
When Jesus extends His call to follow Him it is a matter of urgency. It is not a wait and see if it checks out. Neither is there time to say “Good bye” or to take care of family burials that are yet to happen some unknown day in the future.
When one plows a field they must keep their eyes focused straight ahead, so that they can have a straight row or furrow.
The one having taken the plow, and looking back is quickly off course.
Let us who are in Christ Jesus and are following Him be ever faithful to the task He has given us and keep our focus straight ahead, keeping His word, and hiding it in our hearts making it the main words we think, live and share. Keep your hand to the plow; look straight ahead. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
If you have taken your eyes off Jesus, or have never had your eyes on Him, and are focusing on family issues, debt, loss of a job, loss of a family member; just remember Jesus makes you fit for kingdom service.
Call on the name of Jesus. He is the One who died for our sins, was buried, and rose again for our justification.
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” Proverbs 12:15
“Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is My kingdom not from hence.’ ” John 18:36
Pray that others may not continue in the foolishness of thinking they are right in walking their own way. Give them ears to hear the truth of who Jesus is, to realize their lost condition, the spiritual darkness and death in which they exist.
Let us also pray that we grow stronger in the power of the Spirit of God because the battle we face is not carnal, but spiritual, and can only be won by the power of the Holy Spirit overcoming evil with good.
The power of the new life in Jesus Christ is that He died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again. He said, “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself…” John 14:3. He is coming again.
“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.
“My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into Thy lips: therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever.
Gird thy sword upon Thy thigh, O Most Mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty. And in Thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and Thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things.
Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; whereby the people fall under Thee.
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows. All Thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.” Psalm 45:1-8 (KJB)
“And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, ‘Lo here!’ or, ‘Lo there!’ for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.’ ” Luke 17:20-21 (KJB)
Please note who is asking this of Jesus. The Pharisees, a sect of religious leaders who did not even see the signs of the coming of the Messiah. The one’s who should have not missed the obvious.
They were more concerned with rituals, and religious observances, etc. than they were with the presence of God, or the kingdom of God.
To their question Jesus answers. His answer is probably not what the Pharisees wanted to hear. He is basically telling them, “It is here, near you, and you are missing it”. They missed all the Scriptural signs of Jesus’s birth. They are missing the signs they have actually heard and seen Him do.
The kingdom of God is not announced like a business advertisement. It is not brought in by demonstration and fanfare. God is present all around; within His people, and within creation. It is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
If you refuse and reject Jesus Christ for who He is you miss the kingdom of God. He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and He rose from that grave and forever lives within the hearts and lives of those who love Him, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32 (KJB)
Anxiety can be a huge problem for many people. It is in fact a growing problem with people.
At the beginning of this let me say that planning ahead is not a bad thing. There is much in the Proverbs which we can learn in the matters of planning for our future; but it cannot, should not be done with fear or anxiety.
For the follower of Jesus Christ the words of Luke 12:22-34 are directed toward us. Jesus had just told the parable of the rich man who tore down his “barns” to build greater ones without one thought of God or his soul. He had no sooner completed the planning, and he died (Luke 12:13-21). Wealth without God is a foolish sin, that cost you your eternal soul. Your soul is eternal. Material riches are temporary.
Jesus was sending out His “Little flock” to do ministry; preaching the gospel, repentance, and faith toward God. They; as do we today; need to hear these words, “Fear not”.
We cannot let the cares, the fears, the anxiety of this word weigh on us. It is a load too heavy to bear. Why do we worry about things we have no control over? After all that is what most fear and worry is about.
For those who have been redeemed through the cross of Jesus Christ – His death, burial, and resurrection we are promised the kingdom. The kingdom is His, and we are in fact, “Joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). It is The Good Pleasure of The Father to give the kingdom to His Little Flock. We need always remember also the apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 4:6-7.
“Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD.” Amos 9:8 (KJB)
“eyes … upon the sinful kingdom — that is, I am watching all its sinful course in order to punish it (compare Amo_9:4; Psa_34:15, Psa_34:16).
not utterly destroy the house of Jacob — Though as a “kingdom” the nation is now utterly to perish, a remnant is to be spared for “Jacob,” their forefather’s sake (compare Jer_30:11); to fulfil the covenant whereby “the seed of Israel” is hereafter to be “a nation for ever” (Jer_31:36).” From the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary
“The guilty will certainly be punished. If they enter the sacred place of worship, even that will not shelter them, Amo_9:1. Flight and concealment will be in vain. Let them climb ever so high, or burrow ever so deep; let them scale the loftiest hills, or dive into the deepest seas-the consequences of their sins will overtake them, Amo_9:2-3. How can sinners hope to escape from Him whose chambers are built in the heavens and whose voice governs the tides, Amo_9:6? The great desolations of the past prove the exactness and severity of His judgments, Amo_9:7-8. How remarkably Amo_9:9 has been fulfilled? Notwithstanding their scatterings, the Hebrew people have been preserved as a race.
The final paragraph, Amo_9:11-15, is very reassuring. It is a burst of noble anticipation, quoted by the Apostle James, Act_15:14-17. The promises made to Abraham and David are yet to be fulfilled. The derision of their foes, of whom Edom was the ringleader, will be silenced. Through the parted curtain, we descry the golden age of the future. There is a divine plan working to its conclusion, and Israel shall yet come again to the land given to their fathers.” From THROUGH THE BIBLE DAY BY DAY with F. B. Meyer for Amos 9:1-15
“And He taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy Him, and could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear Him.” Luke 19:47-48 (KJB)
During the final week of the life of Jesus as the God-Man walking among men He spent His days teaching in the temple, going out at night to the Mount of Olives to rest and pray (Luke 21:37).
In reading Luke 19 – 21 today I noticed many things about His teaching. He taught some new parables of the kingdom, some warning the religious rulers of their impending loss of the kingdom.
He also took note of the generous heart of a widow who gave more than all, because she gave all she had. People listened. They were attentive; you might even say they hung onto every word He said.
No man taught like this Man; neither do any of 2019 in any part of the world; though some probably think they do.
I tend to believe that those who were seeking to destroy Him were jealous of His power of conviction, passion for God and His word, and love for the people.
Do you love the teachings of Jesus? There might be some who will say, “But how can I hear the teachings of Jesus?” There is only one answer to that question. Pick up the Scriptures called the Holy Bible, and start reading, then you will hear the teachings of Jesus. If you are new to reading the Bible, then begin with the Gospels – Matthew through John. You will be drawn to Him if you have a sincere heart to know Him.
Jesus came to die for you and me. He died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again. Hear Him, believe Him, trust Him.
The verse we are about to read, study, and contemplate is to the small group of 12 of Jesus Disciples, and to all the Church of the Lord Jesus down through the years.
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32 (KJB)
This fits well with and for a small local congregation [local Church, Body of Christ] of believers joined together; a people who loves God through His Son Jesus, loves His word, and endeavors to live for the honor and glory of Jesus Christ; also having a burden for others who are lost in their sins.
The following is commentary from the late Matthew Henry on this verse…
“They have better things to expect and hope for: Fear not, little flock, Luk_12:32. For the banishing of inordinate cares, it is necessary that fears should be suppressed. When we frighten ourselves with an apprehension of evil to come, we put ourselves upon the stretch of care how to avoid it, when after all perhaps it is but the creature of our own imagination. Therefore fear not, little flock, but hope to the end; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. This comfortable word we had not in Matthew. Note, [1.] Christ’s flock in this world is a little flock; his sheep are but few and feeble. The church is a vineyard, a garden, a small spot, compared with the wilderness of this world; as Israel (1Ki_20:27), who were like two little flocks of kids, when the Syrians filled the country. [2.] Though it be a little flock, quite over-numbered, and therefore in danger of being overpowered, by its enemies, yet it is the will of Christ that they should not be afraid: “Fear not, little flock, but see yourselves safe under the protection and conduct of the great and good Shepherd, and lie easy.” [3.] God has a kingdom in store for all that belong to Christ’s little flock, a crown of glory (1Pe_5:4), a throne of power (Rev_3:21), unsearchable riches, far exceeding the peculiar treasures of kings and provinces. The sheep on the right hand are called to come and inherit the kingdom; it is theirs for ever; a kingdom for each. [4.] The kingdom is given according to the good pleasure of the Father; It is your Father’s good pleasure; it is given not of debt, but of grace, free grace, sovereign grace; even so, Father, because it seemed good unto thee. The kingdom is his; and may he not do what he will with his own? [5.] The believing hopes and prospects of the kingdom should silence and suppress the fears of Christ’s little flock in this world. “Fear no trouble; for, though it should come, it shall not come between you and the kingdom, that is sure, it is near.” (That is not an evil worth trembling at the thought of which cannot separate us from the love of God). “Fear not the want of any thing that is good for you; for, if it be your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom, you need not question but he will bear your charges thither.”” MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY
I love hearing Jesus say to us “Fear not…” Here He is saying it to His little flock. Let us be very encouraged, and live for the cause; the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
“And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when He had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, He went out unto Bethany with the twelve.” Mark 11:11 (KJB)
This was during the week of His presentation, and the giving of His gift from God to Adam kind; the gift of His life. His public presentation as King was received by many, as He came in on the donkey; with people singing and saying
“Hosanna: Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that comes in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.” Mark 11:9-10
We are told in verse 11 that He came to Jerusalem, and entered the temple. He looked around. Of these words John Gill wrote…
“and when he had looked round about upon all things; that is, in the temple, as the Lord and proprietor of it; and made a thorough visitation of it, and search into it, and corrected what was amiss in it:” John Gill
Jesus is Lord and Proprietor of the temple. Today the temple of the Lord is each individual who has been redeemed by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and secured by the resurrection of Christ from the grave (1 Corinthians 3:17; 6:19).
He is in you. He is in me. He is in us who confess Him as our Lord and Savior. He has every right and authority to look around in His temple. He will lead us in the paths of righteousness as we yield to His word and Holy Spirit.
“And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided Him. And He said unto them, ‘Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.’” Luke 16:14-17 (KJB)
Be blessed today reading God’s Holy Bible, His Word to us today; which shows the way to Himself, and to life eternal.
“And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then said one unto Him, ‘Lord, are there few that be saved?’ And He said unto them, ‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and He shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets. But He shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and the west, and from the north, and the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.’” Luke 13:22-30 (KJB)
The gate is narrow. Jesus speaks of the narrow gate in another place as well (Matthew 7:13-14) which seems to imply with difficulty, due to blockages, hindrances, or obstacles in the way.
The needle’s eye passage of Scripture could apply here as well,
“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
Though this passage is speaking directly of the rich who are encumbered with the dangers of wealth toward the spirit; it can also apply to the religious but lost crowd. Letting, like the Pharisees, the knowledge of Scripture, theology, and pride keep them from knowing the Person of the great salvation that is available to all who will receive Him as a little child.
The end result of rejecting God’s plan of grace and salvation is not good. Read again the words of Jesus. Jesus is God’s plan of grace and salvation.
THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE WITH CAUTION (vv. 1-4).
* Jesus’s first words in the first verse is “Take heed”, so there is caution needed in giving.
* Caution means giving without calling attention to your act.
THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE ATTENTION TO PRAYING WISELY (vv. 5-13).
* The hypocrites, to whom Jesus refers, probably spent no time praying in private, unless it was to build their praying vocabulary, and prowess in expressing the words they would pray in public.
* How the Kingdom Christian should pray –
+ When you pray Praise and Glorify the Father – Recognize Him for who He is; Holy, Righteous, Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Sovereign, LORD of hosts, etc…;
+ For His will in your life as though you were in Heaven;
+ When you pray be sure that it is His will that you request most earnestly;
+ Request from Him what you need for the day – not wants and desires – your needs for the day;
+ Asks for forgiveness of your sins and transgressions against God and those you may have committed against your fellow man;
+ Asks for the power of the Word of God in your life to be delivered from evil;
+ As you are ending the time with the Lord end with recognition of His sovereignty, power, His kingdom, recognizing that His Kingdom is forever.
THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE ATTENTION TO FORGIVING THOSE WHO ARE INDEBTED TO US (vv. 14-15).
* The Christian of all people should know how to forgive – We have been forgiven much.
* Lack of forgiveness can hinder our prayers, and rob us of peace.
* All Christians have been forgiven by God’s grace, through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE ATTENTION TO FASTING WITH JOY (vv. 16-18).
* Just as in their praying, so also in their times of fasting they begged the attention of men.
* Fasting is right and good when it is done with the right motive.
+ To seek God’s will in times of uncertainty.
+ To seek God for personal renewing, revival, and church renewal and revival; National renewal and revival.
+ To seek God for strength for going through a difficult time.
* Fasting is a means of disciplining the appetites of the body.
* Overcoming hypocrisy in fasting -+ Be honest with God in your secret life;
+ Fast seeking God with all your heart;
+ Pray from your heart, not form;
+ Fast secretly;
+ Please God alone.
* The purpose of fasting and prayer is to glorify the Lord, and then it matters not whether you get what you asked for yourself.
For the Kingdom Christian Giving, Praying and Fasting is so that we might grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus our Lord and Savior. All world religions have these as religious disciplines for the gaining of their salvation, or earning favor with their deity; whoever that may be. These become the Character of the true Believer of Christ – the true Christian.
-Tim A. Blankenship
Being The Right Attitude
We are looking at the beginning verses of what is called The Sermon On The Mount preached by Jesus to His disciples. It does not seem that there was a multitude at this message. It seems clear that it was only His disciples, “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them,” (vv. 1-2).
Each of the “Beatitudes” are a principle for living in the kingdom of our King. They represent an attitude of the heart and the mind. Within the kingdom of Christ our King there would be peace among us with no pride – lording it over another; there would be more sorrow over sin – our own first of all; there would be a greater hunger for God and His righteousness – less worry about gaining the things of earth; there would be more mercy – thus obtaining mercy; there would be more purity – more visions of God; there would be more opportunities for being peaceable – as the children of God; there would be more persecution – we would all be living faithfully as we are in the kingdom of heaven.
Let’s first look at the definition of the word “attitude“. “The position of something in relation to something else” is one definition according to the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY. What is the position your mind, your heart, your life in relation to God? We will consider those things your attitude. If we line ourselves up with God, having the right attitude we are “Blessed”, and that means “Happy”. Christians should be the happiest people in the world. I am not talking about a happiness based on frivolous circumstances, and life situations, but more of a joy which cannot be taken away.
What is the basis for having the Right Attitude?
I. THE FIRST THING IS TO HAVE THE ATTITUDE OF BEING “Poor in spirit” (v. 3).
A. This possesses a disciple of Jesus Christ as King.
1. It is the opposite of being proud, haughty and arrogant; especially when considering the things of God.
2. There is absolutely no room in the kingdom for pride.
3. It is bad enough to be arrogant, prideful and haughty before our fellow man, but to do so before God has eternal consequences
B. To be poor in spirit is to have more concern for the things of God, and the lives of others than we have for our own lives
1. What is the position of our heart toward God and our fellow man?
2. Seeing ourselves as God sees us is the proper attitude, and we will be poor in spirit, and ours will be the ‘kingdom of heaven’.
II. SECONDLY, THERE WILL BE AN ATTITUDE OF “Mourning” – having grief because of sin (v. 4).
A. The attitude of mourning over some thing or things which are not morally or spiritually right.
1. First of all, seeing sin in ourselves should cause us to mourn grievously, and lead us to repentance.
2. Secondly, when we sin in a love one, and we know that it is dragging them further and further away for God; we should be mourning over sin, and for their repentance.
3. Thirdly, when we see what sin is doing to our church by those who are “talebearing”, gossiping, and “sowing seeds of discord”; all should be grieving, mourning the destruction it is doing to the lives of those participating in it and the harm it brings to us all.
4. Fourthly, when we see what sin does to our community, State, Nation and the world we should be mourning sorrowfully and be praying for repentance.
B. There is comfort for those who mourn now.
1. There are many in and of the world who can laugh when a commedian tells an indecent story or joke, but when the story time is over they are sad once again.
2. Those who mourn now will be rejoicing through out all eternity, and that does not mean we cannot be joyous and truly happy while we are here.
3. When we see a sinner repent that will by a happy occasion; those who mourn shall be comforted.
III. IN THE THIRD PLACE, THERE IS THE ATTITUDE OF “Meekness” (v.5).
A. Meekness has been defined as “Strength/Power under control”.
1. Jesus was a great example of this definition of meekness.
2. It is also said of Moses, “Now this man Moses was very meek, above all men which were upon the face of the earth.” Numbers 12:3 (KJV).
3. Gentleness is another term for meekness.
B. The meek are those who know and realize who they are in Christ, but do not seek to exploit their position, power or person above others.
1. The meek are quick to defend others, but often will not defend themselves, and all the time stand for what is righteous, holy and just before God.
2. Meekness is one sure sign of being secure with who you are.
3. The inheritance of the meek is the earth;
“For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Psalm 37:9-11 (KJV).
C. Jesus tells us that the “meek shall inherit the earth, and the Psalmist says that of “Those who wait upon the LORD…” as well.
IV. FOURTHLY, WE NEED THE ATTITUDE OF “Hungering and thirsting for righteousness” (v. 6).
A. The kingdom child is hungry for God, His Word, His righteousness, His holiness, and His justice.
1. Righteousness is the way of God, and the child of God desires the way of God.
2. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; their desire is for Jesus Christ and nothing else, because He is the fulfillment of the righteousness of God.
B. Those “hungering and thirsting for righteousness has a very specific hunger and that is for those things which are honoring and pleasing to God and glorify Him
1. To devour the truth – getting it into the system in order to be strengthened, encouraged, and motivated to live right with God.
2. O, that we as the people of God grew in that hunger; never completely filled; but satisfied with Jesus, wanting more of Him, and His righteousness.
3. The thrist never completely quenched; with longing to drink from the well of the Water of Heaven.
4. Drink from the ‘river of water’ that flows from out of the throne of God Himself (Rev. 22:1).
V. THE FIFTH BASIS FOR HAVING THE RIGHT ATTITUDE IS TO BE “Merciful” (v.7).
A. When you are in the right position with mercy it is most likely because you have obtained mercy (See Matthew 6:14-15 and Luke 7:41-42).
B. Living in a competitive world many feel and/or believe it is okay to exact revenge on one who has wronged you.
C. Get-Even-Ism is not the way of mercy.
“There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?” Luke 7:41-42
1. Mercy is what we all desire, especially when we are in trouble, in need, or just flat out busted.
2. We all need it, but when it comes to others, we are a little slow at granting it, if we do at all.
3. The question, “Who was forgiven the most?” is a pertinent question for us today – How much have you been forgiven? Much or little?
Mercy has been defined or illustrated in this manner – “It is not receiving what we justly deserve – that is JUDGMENT”. The next time you are about to release a verbiage of criticism on someone over something that has offended you; take a look at yourself. Someone has been merciful to you in the past, and probably over this same thing that has set you off. What is the position of your attitude in relation to mercy?
D. When we are merciful we shall obtain mercy.
VI. IN THE SIXTH PLACE IS THE NEED TO BE “Pure in heart” (v. 8).
A. Purity is such a sweet word. The definition of the word pure is:
“Unmixed with any other matter: free from taint’ also, ‘Free from moral fault: innocent”. From the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY.
1. Without a pure heart no one can see the Lord, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness [purity], without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14 KJV).
2. No one can appear before the presence of the Lord without pure heart – “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his sould unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” Psalm 24:3-4 (KJV).
B. There is a pure heart only by looking to Jesus Christ, and looking to Jesus you will see God.
VII. SEVENTH, IS THE HEART OF “Peacemakers” (v. 9).
A. This does not have anything to do with “World peace” initiatives or movements.
THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY on Matthew, Vol. 1, p. 211 states,
“The essentil fact to comprehend is that the peace about which Jesus speaks is more than the absence of conflice and strife; it is the presence of righteousness”.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Rom. 5:1 (KJV).
B. As long as men and women are at war with God, not believing Him or in Him; there will never be peace with God.
1. “Men can stop fighting without righteousness, but they cannot live peaceably without righteousness” IBID.
2. Having peace with God makes one righteous and just by decree from God.
3. There will be peace on earth when Jesus Christ sets up His kingdom on earth.
C. Those who have peace are the only ones who can offer peace to those who do not have it.
1. It is those who are peacemakers who have the peace with God, and the peace of God.
2. It is those who alone who can be called ‘the children of God’.
D. When your position with God is right; you will have peace with God, the peace of God, and you also will be a peacemaker.
VIII. THE EIGHTH AND FINAL BE-ATTITUDE IS THAT OF THE “Persecuted” (vv.10-12).
A. As a follower of Jesus Christ we must consider ourselves dead to the flesh any way.
1. It was Paul who wrote,
“I am crucified with Christ…” (Gal. 2:20). “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:4).
2. Paul also wrote to Timothy,
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” 2 Timothy 3:12.
B. These two “Blessed(s)” are for only those who are in Christ Jesus and walking in His righteousness.
1. These persecuted do not moan and groan their persecution, they rejoice that they are counted worthy to suffer for the cause of Jesus Christ.
2. This was the attitude of the early church; we see them rejoicing in this in Acts 5:41 –
“And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”
C. Do we go out seeking persecution? That is a definite NO!!!
1. When we live righteously in Christ it will come and then, we stand and we stand in His name.
2. Persecution is not for the believer to gain God’s grace, but because of grace.
D. Those who are persecuted will inherit the “kingdom of God”.
1. It too, will be a matter of rejoicing.
2. Great will be the reward in Heaven
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. James 1:12 (KJV).
IX. SUMMARY – WHAT IS THE POSITION OF YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARD GOD, HIS SON, AND HIS WORD, AND YOUR POSITION IN THE WORLD?
-Tim A. Blankenship
“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.
“And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.” Daniel 5:25-31 (KJV)
THE MESSAGE OF THE HANDWRITING AND ITS INTERPRETATION (vv. 25-28). The message of the handwriting was in Aramaic which the people could read, but did not understand. “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin”. ‘Mene’, being mentioned twice means you better pay attention – Daniel said, “This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.” The double “Mene” means the judgment is stacked up on you and is doubled. “Tekel”, was ‘You have come up short’. No one even had taken heed to the message from years before when Nebuchadnezzar had the dream of the statue with the golden head. They were pompous, proud, sanctimonious and secure, and God said, “You are done”. “Upharsin” or “Peres”, the kingdom is given to others – in particular to the Medes and Persians. Daniel knew this partially due to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, which he told him and interpreted.
The city of Babylon is about to fall and it is as though Belshazzar does not hear, and awards Daniel all these things of wealth. How foolish the heart of a king, or any leader who takes the Word of God so carelessly, haphazardly, and does not fall on his face before Holy God. The very act of awarding these to Daniel was an act of arrogance, and a lack of repentance.
It is not kings who set up kingdoms, or rule. It is the Almighty God. That is visually apparent, and easily seen when one has a heart for God, His Word, and His rule. Daniel would receive awards, but not from the hand of a fallen evil king.
PROMISES ARE CARRIED OUT JUST AS THEY WERE SPOKEN (vv. 29-31). That same night that Belshazzar awarded the one who interpreted the writing, Belshazzar was also given what God had promised. He was killed. God’s judgment is sure, and sometimes without delay.
Darius the Mede took the kingdom, to rule, and he was a man of 62 years of age. God would use Darius to give to Daniel what Belshazzar had given, and even more. Darius loved Daniel, which becomes apparent in the next chapter.
Where do you fit into God’s plan? Are you living for yourself, gaining all you can in this life? Do you believe your life to be all one big party? Are you flaunting yourself against the truths of God Almighty? Do you believe yourself to have your life fully in hand? Let me urge you to rethink those thoughts. You do not. Just as the kingdom can be taken from a king in one night, so can your life be taken in one night, then; what is your destiny?
When you see THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL it just may be too late.
There is only one hope for all mankind; and that is that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Calling on His name, believing in Him (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13), is the only way of escaping eternal damnation. That is today’s “Handwriting on the wall”.
Daniel 5:1 – 12
“In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another. The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom. Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof. Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.” Daniel 5:5-9 (KJV)
Belshazzar was most likely the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, and was the ruler of the city of Babylon, not the Babylonian empire. His father would have been ruler of the empire – he second in command under his father.
At this time, it has been estimated that Daniel was 82 years of age. Since Belshazzar does not know who Daniel it seems to indicate two things 1) Belshazzar’s ignorance or uncaring about the things that have happened in the past, and/or 2) Daniel had had not recent use in the kingdom.
THE PARTY THAT ENDED THE LIFE OF A KINGDOM AND A KING (vv. 1-4). There was a whole lot of riotous living going on in the palace on this night. It is said that when kings of this period had a drinking going on they left the women out of it. At this party, however, there were wives, concubines, and various kinds of women; which made this a party of debauchery .
It seemed to get so out of hand the king [Belshazzar] elevated the gods of Babylon over the God of all things. This was when he called for the vessels of God’s temple which had been taken from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar many years before. Nebuchadnezzar had also proclaimed that the people of Babylon was to respect, and revere the God of Israel. “Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.” Daniel 3:29 (KJV).
The thing that had taken place on this vital evening was blasphemy and idolatry which was the ‘last straw’ with God. God’s purpose for Babylon had reached its peak, now they would be brought to their knees, and Belshazzar would die.
Playing with the things of God which are holy will bring judgment. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). There is an terrible lot of playing around with godly things, and making what is holy vile and ugly. An example of that is the attempt to legally marry people of the same gender. Marriage is a holy institution ordained by God. It is a party of the vile, godless, and unholy seeking to make it approved by God and man. It will never be approved by God, but will bring down judgment. Do not mess around with the holy things of God.
GOD’S WARNING, A FRIGHTENED KING, AND HIS SPIRITUAL IGNORANCE (vv. 5-12). Even in a kingdom such as Babylon and its chief city the LORD gives warning, but the ‘king’ is completely ignorant of the God of Israel; most likely willfully so. The prophet Amos wrote, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealed His secret unto His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7), but Belshazzar knew no prophet.
A hand appears and is writing on the wall during the party – at least the party that use to be – which, of course, causes great alarm in the heart of the king. It would probably seem that there was an emergency sobering effect upon the thousand or so who were in attendance. All attention went to the wall where the hand with no body was writing; the playing, drinking, the noise all ceased. You could probably hear the proverbial pin drop. It got really quiet.
Belshazzar’s knees “smote one against the other” he was terribly frightened – he surely must have known his time was up. His rule was over. His life was over. He then calls the most spiritually inept people there were in the kingdom – the same ones his grandfather called upon many years ago before he humbled himself to the God of all gods. He receives a recommendation from his mother – she remembers the history of Nebuchadnezzar.
The handwriting on the wall is there for us to see. It is there and should strike fear into the hearts of all who make a mock at sin, and those who love the Lord and His Word. It is written in the pages of the ages, “Be sure your sin will find you out”, and that is God’s handwriting on the wall for all to see. THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL today is the pages of holy writ, the Bible, the Word of God. You can read it, accept it, believe it, and live by it trusting the Lord of the Word and His finished work on Calvary’s cross, or you can reject it and die.
What do I want for Christmas today?
I want to let Christians around the world know that Jesus Christ is Lord, and He has all the problems of your life and this world in His hands, and that there is no need to fear or dread; He is still God, He is sovereign and He loves you; and I want those who do not know Him to know that He died on a cross for your sins, was buried, and He arose and came out of the grave alive, and is today alive waiting to come and set up His righteous kingdom on earth.
“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 (KJV)
“At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in My sight, that it obey not My voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.” Jeremiah 18:7-10 (KJV)
What do I want for Christmas today?
I want our Nation’s (U. S. of A.) people and leaders to know that this life we live, the rulers who rule are actually overruled by God; because this life is not about “Me”; it is in fact about Him, His love, His mercy, His grace; and He has paid a redemption price by the gift of the life of His Son Jesus, that all who will believe on Him would not perish, but have everlasting life; and this is true for all the people of the world as well.