Thy Kingdom Come … in Our Hearts and Lives
Pastor Brent Whitefield
Introduction: Our familiarity with the Beatitudes can blunt the radical nature of the teaching behind them. Jesus is not only offering up the most impossible of ethical and moral standards for us to follow, but he attaches to it our temporal and eternal happiness. Where do we find the resources to be the kind of Christian demanded by the Beatitudes? The characteristics Christ describes are gifts and evidence of the new birth.
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. Are the Beatitudes a list of virtues to which we should aspire, or a way of showing the impossibility of living up to God’s standard by our own efforts?
2. In our culture today, who do we say the blessed ones are?
3. What is the significance of Jesus starting the sermon with the Beatitudes?
4. What is the difference between having the kingdom of heaven and inheriting the earth?
5. Martin Lloyd-Jones wrote that “all Christians are meant to manifest all of these characteristics.” Do you agree?
6. Do we understand the kingdom of heaven as a future hope or a present reality?
1. Read Matthew 5:1-12 ESV.
2. 01. Though we can and should grow in all of these characteristics, none of them may be conjured up by effort or willpower – they are gifts from God.
3. None of these descriptions is what we call a natural tendency. Each one of them is wholly a disposition which is produced by grace alone and the operation of the Holy Spirit upon us. … These are not natural qualities; nobody by birth and by nature is like this. – Martin Lloyd-Jones
4. The Beatitudes reveal key character traits that God approves in his people. These character traits are gracious gifts indicating God’s approval, not requirements for works that merit God’s approval. Those who repent receive these character traits in principle but must cultivate them in the process of discipleship. – David Turner
The poor in spirit in the sense of this beatitude are those who recognize that they are completely and utterly destitute in the realm of the Spirit. They recognize their lack of spiritual resources and therefore there a complete dependence on God. It is the opposite of the Pharisaic pride in one’s own virtue with which Jesus was so often confronted (and which has all too often made its appearance in later times).
– Leon Morris
6. 02. Christ’s blessings affirm and balance the present reality of the Kingdom of God and its future hope.
7. Read Matthew 5:3.
8. Read Matthew 5:10.
9. Though the full blessedness of those described in these beatitudes awaits the consummated kingdom, they already share in the kingdom is blessedness so far as it has been inaugurated. – DA Carson
10. 03. Jesus (and the other apostles) taught and exemplified the life of righteous suffering. Christian teaching that does not create an expectation of persecution is a soft-pedaled gospel.
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
– 2 Timothy 3:12