The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom #4
In the last Kingdom Note, we defined what makes up a unique culture. We also demonstrated that the culture of the Kingdom was based on a changed mentality, mastery and morality.
SERMON ON THE MOUNT
Lets begin to look at the spiritual beliefs that result in the values and actions of the Kingdom culture.
The intro to the sermon on the mountis what is typically referred to as the Beatitudes. Nine times in eleven verses Jesus declares something that is "blessed." Obviously, there must be something significant about this. In fact, as we will see, Jesus is presenting the answer to the most sought after "thing" of mankind ~ peace, happiness and contentment!
According to Strong's, the Greek word for blessed is makarios and means: "supremely blest; by extension, fortunate, well off." In the KJV it is also translated as "happy." Further, it is derived from makarizo, which means, "to beatify, i.e. pronounce (or esteem) fortunate." Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary says: "The Greek word translated blessed means 'spiritual well-being and prosperity,' the deep joy of the soul. Makarios is used in Greek literature as the unbelievable state of well being that the god’s were considered to live in."Jesus used this word to convey to the people that the Kingdom culture will bring a blessed life far above what the pagan gods are believed to experience.
I like how The Amplified Bible states this truth: verse 3 says: "Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous- with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (emphasis added)."Jesus is laying the foundational truth of a Kingdom lifestyle: it is a blessed one. He wants the world to see that His kingdom answers the longing of those who are desperately wandering in the world’s pursuit of happiness. His desire is for his people to live in a state of contentment, fulfillment, joy and even happiness
The Source Of Blessed
Paul describes God as a blessed God: "According to the glorious gospel of the blessed (contented, fulfilled, complete, happy) God, which was committed to my trust"(1 Tim 1:11). Think about it, the very nature of God is blessed and if by the new birth He lives in us we should be the same. It is His desire that this nature should be exhibited to the world in such a way that it is attractional. The Kingdom lifestyle presents to them what they are looking for!
Blessedness is a Product of Character
In the intro to the Kingdom culture, Jesus speaks to the very heart of each individual:The longing for a true sense of happiness, being blessed or satisfied. He is appealing to them: my kingdom is one of blessing, not cursing. It is spiritual, one of character - not sin or selfishness.
In identifying the culture of the kingdom, Jesus goes against the self-centered, materialistic culture of the world. Man's ways tell us we will be happy if we have the right kind of things, possess a certain amount of money, have the right job, posses power or prestige...the list goes on. Jesus tells us the blessed life of the Kingdom is in character. It is a spiritual metamorphosis of the inner man.
Jesus challenges the self-mindset, declaring the blessed are:
These are the ones who will find the happiness or contentment that they are looking for: such a challenging contrast to how we have been taught to live! It doesn't make sense to the natural man, but remember - the Kingdom is spiritual!
Darrell Bock states: "There’s an emptiness in pursuing anything less than God’s call." He further comments "Much of spirituality was influenced by American culture with its bent toward independence and self-fulfillment."So true. much of North American Christendom preaches a materialistic, bless me, escapist gospel.
By declaring the blessedness of the Kingdom, Jesus was revealing that the cultures of the Kingdom and of the world are in opposition to each other. There is a constant pull of the world's culture.
Jesus came preaching a Kingdom lifestyle that was radically different from this world. Entrance to this kingdom requires repentance: a change of our beliefs and values that are demonstrated by our life's actions. This Kingdom promises to meet our deepest desire – a blessed life. When we walk out this Kingdom lifestyle of being blessed, we become attractive to those we come into contact with.
Next Note we break down the spiritual characteristics that produce this blessed life.
Dr Martin lives in St Louis, MO with his wife Ava and their dog Zoe. His ministry is to assist church leadership in developing membership ministry involvement and growth. The focus is on teaching and empowering the body of Christ to demonstrate the power of His kingdom in tangible daily life. The results: increased faith and the potential for greater revival and harvest. He is available to speak to your local assembly, organization or ministry. For more information, check us out here