The Peoples of Christ’s Kingdom – 2

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Scripture Text – Matthew 5:1-16

Please read the Scripture text to get a background on the subject. You can click on the link for a NKJV reading..

His follower’s character (Matthew 5:1-12) – continued. These qualities, referred to as “the Beatitudes,” listed in Part One, contrast sharply with Pharisaic “righteousness.” The Pharisees most definitely did not demonstrate those as being “poor in spirit”; they did not “mourn” in recognition or acknowledgement of their needs; and, they were proud and harsh, not humble and gentle; they felt they had attained righteousness and therefore did not have a continual appetite or desire for it; they were more concerned with the so-called “legalities” of God’s and their own laws than with showing mercy or compassion; ceremonially and even religiously, they were pure on the outside but not inwardly; created division and a rift, not peace in Judaism; and certainly did not possess true righteousness. Jesus’ followers who possess these qualities become heirs of God’s kingdom on earth and eventually in heaven, and are entitled to receive spiritual comfort, satisfaction, and to receive mercy from God and others. Jesus taught that they will see God, that is, they will recognize the Father in Jesus Christ, who is God “in a body” (1 Timothy 3:16; also see John 1:18; 14:7–9). His followers became known as God’s sons (Matthew 5:9; also see Galatians 3:26) for they took part in and of His righteousness (Matthew 5:10).

People possessing these qualities would naturally stand out in the crowd and would not be understood by others. Therefore, Jesus forewarned them that they would be persecuted and others would speak evil of them. However, Jesus’ words were meant to encourage His followers, for they would be walking in the steps of the prophets, who also were misunderstood and persecuted. In other words, they were in a specially chosen group of followers who followed after God’s heart.

et salt and light

His follower’s circle of influence (Matthew 5:13-16). To demonstrate the impact these people would make on their world and the world in that was still to unfold in the future, Jesus used two common illustrations: salt and light. Jesus’ followers would be like salt in that they would create a thirst for greater information. When one sees a unique person who possesses superior qualities in specific and certain areas, they desire to discover why that person is so different and special. Salt is also a commonly known preservative and so Jesus used the illustration to possibly mean that His followers were going to be a people that serve as a preservative against the evils of society. Whichever view anyone hearing about this important quality takes, the importance of the illustration is to note that salt ought to maintain its basic character. If it fails to be salty, it has lost its purpose for existence and therefore should be discarded.

A light is meant to shine, illuminate and give direction. Individuals Jesus described in verses 3–10 would obviously radiate and point others to the proper path. Their influence would be evident, like a city on a hill or a lamp . . . on its stand. A concealed lamp, placed under a bowl (usually a clay container for measuring grain) would be totally and wholly useless. Light-radiating people live so that others see their good deeds, not so that the person doing will get the praise and accolades, for that is exactly what the Pharisees like to do, but rather others seeing the deeds done selflessly would give praise and honor to their Father in heaven. I want you to notice that verse 16 starts with the first of 15 references by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount to God as “your, our or My Father in heaven; your, our or My heavenly Father; or simply, your, our or My Father. What this should tell everyone is that each and every one who stands in God’s righteousness by faith in Him has an intimate spiritual relationship to Him, like that of a child to his loving father.

Paul later wrote this to both the Romans and to the Galatians:

You received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. – Romans 8:15-16.

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. – Galatians 4:6-7.

Because we are sons of God, we should be displaying the very characteristics that Jesus described. With that in mind, let’s determine that with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can be the salt and the light to those around us!

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Certain excerpts were adapted from “Matthew” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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