Living in the Kingdom of Heaven – Session Two
Living in the Kingdom of Heaven – Session Two
Session two looks at what the kingdom of heaven means for us today, and how we can live in the spirit of the Beatitudes.

Session two looks at what the kingdom of heaven means for us today, and how we can live in the spirit of the Beatitudes.

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Study Notes

Matthew tells us that John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus by telling the people to ‘repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ The kingdom of heaven exists wherever the King is present, operating through the hearts and lives of his people. Jesus talks about the Kingdom of heaven throughout Matthews Gospel  and contrast it strongly with the kingdoms of this world. 

The Beatitudes express this upside-down nature of the Kingdom reversing the values which were dominant in the culture of Christ’s day as in our own. In God’s Kingdom it is the meek who inherit the earth not the powerful, the self-seeking or those with ruthless ambitions. It is those who hunger and thirst after right living who are filled to satisfaction, not those who rely on wealth, tax havens or lavish expense accounts.

From the book

‘Jesus’ teaching about the Kingdom of heaven is also given in parables. Matthew highlights 8 parables of the Kingdom in chapter 13 that describe both the power of God’s word to bear Kingdom fruit and the need for those who hear it to be vigilant. As Jesus tells the crowd more and more about the demands of the Kingdom of heaven, the division between those who reject his teaching and those who receive it becomes increasingly marked. These parables signal that those who accept God’s word of life and those who reject it live together, but eventually ‘a tree is recognised by its fruit’.’ (Matthew 12 33- 37)

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‘At the very heart of the Kingdom of heaven is the king who rules in gentleness and mercy, in faithfulness and compassion. It is a Kingdom of peace where the wolf will lie will live with the lamb, the leopard lie down with a goat and a child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11 6) It is a Kingdom where swords will be beaten into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks.  ‘Nation will not take up sword against nation nor will they train for war any more’ (Isaiah 24).  Spurgeon rejoices in its radical nature. ‘Strange kingdom in which there is the palm without the sword, the victory without the battle, no blood, no tears, no devastation, no burned cities, no mangled bodies!  King of peace, King of peace this is thy dominion!’

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It is difficult for us in our consumerist and secular age to grasp the full meaning of the kingdom of heaven.  Yet although its values are deeply spiritual, they are also practical realities for the way we live. When we aim for simple, peace-loving, non-destructive, creation-care living, motivated by serving God and loving our neighbour, we are going in the right direction.

Points for Reflection

  1. What aspects of your life do you feel are in line with the Kingdom of heaven as taught by Jesus? How can you strengthen these?
  2. What do you make of the parable of the mustard seed? What aspects of the kingdom of heaven does it illustrate?

A Prayer

Lord, we thank you that your kingship extends over all creation. We pray that we might be willing to be equipped by you to be more effective citizens of the kingdom of heaven. Amen