In our text today we find Jesus gathering the disciples, apostles and onlookers to level with them about who gets in and who gets left out of The Kingdom of God. We want to know what Jesus says, what it means and how it applies to us today.
There were three categories of people present when Jesus gave His message…
1. Apostles: 12 men freshly selected from the many disciples, to become Jesus’ messengers, ambassadors, representatives to the world.
2. Disciples: an unspecified number who heard Jesus’ message, began following Him, learning from Him, desiring to become like Him.
3. Onlookers – The Crowd: an unspecified number, hundreds, perhaps a 1,000 or more, who were curious, not following, but wanting to find out what the fuss was about.
VS20 tells us who Jesus’ prime target was. The “general disciples,” otherwise known as the “generally committed.” Like any other teaching Jesus gave, this sermon would draw some closer, and push others away.
TRUTH POINT #1: Light always illuminates the path for successful journey OR it blinds sensitive eyes from seeing the pathway before them. The gospel either draws or repels, but it never stagnates people’s movement concerning Jesus.
The message is set in the context of 4 blessings with 4 corresponding cursing’s. The language used could be interpreted physically or spiritually, determined by context. This context shows Jesus speaking spiritually.
TRUTH POINT #2: Jesus’ language is meant to paint a picture of inner attitudes of the soul.
Poor/Rich: Jesus said the kingdom of God belongs to those who are poor…
…those who understand they have nothing within themselves to merit the love and grace of God. They are spiritually bankrupt. These are blessed because they humbly confess their need and gladly receive the gift of grace Jesus purchased for them at the cross.
On the other hand, whatever “consolation” (comfort) the present-day offers is the best that the rich can expect…
…those who believe they are good as they are, thinking they are rich in good works, noble deeds, suitable heritage and the like. The kingdom of God is shut up to people like this and the only good they will know is whatever good may come to them in this life.
Hungry/Full: Jesus proclaimed that fullness of soul belongs to those who are hungry now…
To be hungry now is to be driven to receive that which will satisfy. It is a realization that what I have now does not satisfy and cannot satisfy and that more of the same will still leave me hungry spiritually.
To understand this is to grasp that the only remedy to satisfy the longings of my heart is not found in self, not found of this world, but found in Christ. Those who receive Him will not be disappointed because He will fill them to satisfaction. John 6:35
On the other hand, those who believe they are full now, will not eat of what the kingdom God has for them. They are not hungry. They are satiated by self and the world.
Jesus says that the eternity awaiting them is one of continuous hunger. They will come to see that the fullness they thought they had was only emptiness.
Weep/Laugh: The statement concerning weeping and laughing is aimed at our reaction to sin.
To weep over sin is to be repentant. Repentance leads to saving grace, which leads to JOY that I am accepted and loved by God, which only intensifies when I come into His eternal personal presence.
To laugh over sin is to think it no big deal. It is to refuse to take human depravity seriously, instead finding sin as the impetus for that which entertains me. This kind of life comes to a close with the horrid discovery that sin is a monster that leads to eternal death, separated from the only source of joy…God Himself.
Jesus says we are blessed when people hate us, exclude us, revile us and consider our name evil…not because we are jerks… but on account of our association with Him.
How can that be? Remember how I said light either illuminates the path or blind us from it? That’s what righteousness does in darkness. John 3:19-21
The light of Christ shining through His disciples becomes the testimony that one is living like their Master Jesus. It is evidence of their transforming life and thus of the reward that awaits them in heaven.
But watch out when the world speaks well of you, That is not natural for a sold-out disciple of Christ. Jesus makes that clear tying the praise of the world, to the Old Testament prophets who were false.
Matthew 10:25 - The more we take on the image of Jesus in this world, the more this world will despise and marginalize us. That is one of the costs of discipleship
Can you understand why the world ultimately wanted nothing to do with Jesus? His words, His actions, His values, were up-side-down to them.
TRUTH POINT #3: What the world does not understand is that they are seeing life from an up-side-down position, causing that which is right-side-up seem up-side-down.
That’s how all of us are until The Spirit of God sets us up-right so we can see the up-side-down world as it really is.
QUESTION: when you hear Jesus’ sermon, do you get it? Do you see the right-side-upness of it? If you do you will embrace it and great will be the kingdom of God to you, filled will be your soul, joy will be your countenance.
Do you recoil saying: that’s crazy! I’m not going to turn my life up-side-down… I’m going to keep reaching for the stars, working to improve my lot in life, I’m going to fit in and be praised by this world.
My friend, if that’s where you are, you are more up-side-down than you could ever imagine. But there is hope/
Jesus came for the express purpose of revealing the up-side-down nature of this sin cursed world and to make it possible for sinners to enter the right-side-up kingdom of God.
He did this by becoming the offering for sin, so that sinners might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The “bread” and “cup” of communion symbolizes this work of Christ.
The Bread = Jesus’ body broken for sin.
The Cup = His blood shed for the cleansing of sin from a life.
Communion reminds us of the “extra-ordinary” love of God for sinners and the extent to which He was willing to go to redeem us to Himself.
The Mission Church is committed to serving God by making disciples in the Des Moines area.
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