The Kingdom Manifest (01) - The Nature of the Kingdom
The Kingdom Manifest (part 1) (Matt. 5:1-20)
Are you in the Kingdom? What really is the Kingdom of God anyway? Do we bring in the Kingdom or wait for the Kingdom to come? Are you Kingdom-minded or Culture-minded? Have you made any strides in growth in Kingdom living within the last year? Or are you retreating into another kingdom?
We are beginning a new series on the Epiphany (manifestation) of the Kingdom from Matthew which will help you answer these questions for yourself, but not by yourself. Will you be there for the answer? The first part of this series will focus on our Lord’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount.
TEXT: Matthew 5:1–20 - When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 5:2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5:5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 5:10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 5:12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 5:15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 5:18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 5:19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 5:20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
1) The King Manifest in Matthew - An Overview. According to the ancients St. Matthew was the first Gospel written. Matthew shows Jesus as a Priest, a greater Moses with five “books”/sermons in Matthew which relate to the five books of Moses. Matthew recaps the history of Israel to fulfill the Law/Prophets (5:17). Jesus is called out of Egypt. Herod is like pharaoh, killing the innocents. The miracles demonstrate that Israel is unfit to be the priestly nation, hence twelve miracles in chs. 8-9 “restore” Israel. Then Jesus is a new David (king) and prophet (Elijah) (12-14). Followers of Jesus are to be a true “kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6) cleansing the nations - “Go and make disciples” (28:20). Yet, this new Torah does not end with the death of Moses (Dt. 34:10), but with the resurrection of One greater than Moses.
2) The Kingdom Manifest in the Matthew - Setting the Context. I believe Matthew (along with James) was written soon after Pentecost (prior to the expansion of the gospel to the Gentiles). Imagine being in this setting. What would you need to know? Thus far you would have read/heard how Jesus was genealogically the proper Son of David, Son of Abraham (v1:1); how Jesus fulfills the sign of a being born a Messianic King (Virgin-born Immanuel, v1:23); how Jesus was both persecuted and overcame Herod (the “kind of the jews” ch. 2); how John the Baptizer’s ministry was renewing Israel through the Jordan (ch. 3) and then Jesus crossing the Jordan and going out to the wilderness (in fulfillment of Israel’s 40 year journey). Then the battle with Herod II would begin again with the removal of John (4:12) and Jesus entering into public ministry in Herod II’s territory. Messianic king-light would come to the very place evil kings had brought darkness (4:15). From there Jesus would gather His new twelve tribe leaders of His kingdom.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more