The Kingdom Story
12 Feb 2005, Dr Barry Wright
(Barry is Thornleigh's new Church Pastor)
THE KINGDOM STORY
SCRIPTURE READING: MATT 5:1-12.
William Barclay, the well-known Scottish New Testament scholar, once said that 'There is always a certain dramatic quality about life - that all life concentrates on man at the crossroads - that in every action of life man is confronted with a choice....'
As recorded in the Scriptures, the prophet Ezekiel makes a similar statement when he suggests that all of us, like the King of Babylon, stand at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, at the crossroads of life. We cannot go back; we must choose one way or the other and ON THAT DECISION HANGS OUR ETERNAL DESTINY (Ezekiel 21:21)
It was nearly midnight when Adolph Hitler and his friend Gustl Kubizek stepped out of the opera house in Linz, an Austrian city on the Danube River. They had just seen the performance of Richard Wagner's Rienzi, the fairy-tale story of a poor boy of Ancient Rome who became ruler of a vast empire.
As these two sixteen year old boys walked silently through the streets Hitler led Kubizek up a steep hill called the Feinberg where they were able to look down on the beautiful Danube River. It was here that Hitler turned to his friend and said that just like the story of Rienzi, he too would become the ruler of a great empire. He prophesied that Gutzl would hear much about him in the future.
That night both boys stood at the crossroads. Hitler chose the path that led him to become the mad dictator of World War II, bringing death to millions of people. Gustl, on the other hand, became a famous conductor of a European symphony orchestra bringing joy to many thousands of people.
In meeting again 30 years later Hitler reminded his friend of that moonlit night on the Feinberg. It was in that hour that it all began, he said. And what a difference that hour made to the course of history.
As James Russell Lowell once wrote:
Once to every man and nation
comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth and Falsehood,
For the good or evil side.
I would like to begin this morning by referring you to a very significant section of Scripture found in the book of Matthew where we find the words of Jesus specifically recorded for our instruction. It is found in Matt 7:13,14. Let's read what it says. I am reading from the NIV. JESUS says:
'Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it, BUT small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.'
The gate is small, the road is narrow that leads to life, and only a few find it.
ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE
Dear friends this verse is a formal invitation to you.
JESUS IS INVITING YOU TO ENTER AND BEGIN YOUR WALK OF SELF-DENIAL ON THE ROAD TO THE KINGDOM. JESUS IS ALSO INVITING YOU TO ACCEPT HIS VALUES - THE VALUES OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. AND IN ALL OF THIS, HE IS CALLING FOR YOU TO STAND UPON THE PLATFORM OF ETERNAL TRUTH, AND TO CONTEND EARNESTLY FOR THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS.
What is the significance of the gate? The Scriptures make it very clear that this gate is none other than Jesus Christ himself.
WE ARE BEING TOLD THAT THE ONLY WAY ONTO THAT NARROW PATH IS THROUGH JESUS - THERE IS NO OTHER WAY. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY THAT YOU AND I WILL GET TO THE KINGDOM.
Have you ever wondered where that gate is placed on the narrow path? Is it found at the beginning or at the end?
I want to thank God this morning that this gate was placed at the beginning of our walk because we are assured that once you pass that way and stay on the path, He has promised to be with you until the end. This wonderful promise is reinforced in the words of an old familiar hymn.
LISTEN TO WHAT IT SAYS
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, Not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt nor a fear, Not a sigh nor a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, Not a sorrow we share,~
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief nor a loss, Not a frown nor a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove The delights of His love,
Until all on the altar we lay,
For the favour He shows, And the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet, We will sit at His feet,
Or we'll walk by His side in the way,
What He says we will do, Where He sends we will go,
Never fear, only trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
What beautiful words of assurance. The fact that Jesus is pictured as the Gate makes it clear that if we wish to enter into the kingdom of heaven - if we would have 'life' and 'have it more abundantly', we need to accept His principles and values as an integral part of our lives. Jesus not only points out the way to begin, but He points out where to begin.
HOWEVER, as we read Matthew 7:14 we are told that only a few find the way. Does this mean that the entrance is too hard to find?
As I read the Scriptures it soon becomes abundantly clear to me that God has given us every opportunity - He has given an open invitation - it is given to all.
The problem is that few CHOOSE it.
It would seem that the pleasures of this world have become too attractive. Hence, for many so-called Christians, the need to be different becomes extremely distasteful.
It is paradoxical that the narrow way is not really the hard way and the broad way is not really the easy way. What you see is not necessarily what you get. All along the road that leads to death (the broad way) there are pains and penalties, there are sorrows and disappointments; there are warnings not to go on (TMB p. 139). In 2 Peter 3:9. Peter tells us: 'The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.'
DEAR FRIENDS, GOD HAS MADE IT VERY CLEAR THAT:
HE ONLY WANTS THE BEST FOR YOU AND ME
HE WANTS YOU TO BE HAPPY NOW IN THIS LIFE AND FOREVER
HE WANTS YOU IN THE KINGDOM AND HE WILL DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO SEE THAT YOU ARE THERE
THIS INVITATION IS ALL ABOUT CHOICE AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHARACTER RIGHT NOW.
YOU CAN EITHER ACCEPT OR REJECT THE OFFER- IT IS FREE.
ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE IS JESUS' EARNEST PLEA AND HE PROVIDES THIS SPECIAL INVITATION TO YOU TODAY.
At the same time, Jesus is inviting you to accept the values of His kingdom.
Dear Friends I believe it is essential that we review those values, but before we do let me begin by asking you a number of very important questions.
HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE THE OVERWHELMING DESIRE TO WANT TO GROW MORE AND MORE LIKE JESUS CHRIST?
HOW MANY OF YOU WISH TO BECOME CITIZENS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
HOW MANY OF YOU WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE HASTENING OF CHRIST'S KINGDOM OF GLORY?
HOW MANY OF YOU ARE PREPARED TO TAKE THAT ROAD LESS TRAVELLED?
IF YOU HAVE ANSWERED YES TO ALL THESE QUESTIONS THEN THIS CHURCH OUGHT TO BE ON FIRE FOR GOD, SHOULDN'T IT? IT OUGHT TO BE ON FIRE FOR GOD.
If we are going to respond to these questions I believe there are two very important terms we need to understand.
These terms are ' THE KINGDOM OF GRACE' and 'THE KINDOM OF GLORY'
WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
Let us turn to a text found in the book of Luke Chap. 17: 20, 21. Jesus, here, is answering the Pharisees who were asking Him WHEN the Kingdom of God would come. LET'S READ HIS REPLY. Luke 17:20,21
'The Kingdom of God does not come visibly, nor will people say, 'Here it is' or 'There it is' because the Kingdom of God is within you'
When you place Jesus on the throne of your heart, the Kingdom of God is within you.
WE CALL THAT THE KINGDOM OF GRACE.
THE KINGDOM OF GLORY IS YET TO COME.
We are told that this special event takes place at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ - At the end of the narrow road.
If you have accepted the invitation given by JESUS, THEN YOU ARE NOW PREPARING FOR THAT GREAT DAY - You have begun your journey on the narrow road of self-denial.
When Jesus was on earth, the Kingdom which He was to establish (and which was so misunderstood) was one that was to BEGIN within the hearts of His followers and END with the Kingdom of Glory.
The concept of God held by the people of His time needed changing. Jesus' mission was to usher in a Kingdom of Grace that would prepare all RECEPTIVE hearts for citizenship in His Kingdom of Glory.
It was essential that the character of the heavenly King should be reflected in the lives of His earthly subjects through the power of the gospel.
HE WAS PROVIDING AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO CHOOSE THE ROAD LEAST TRAVELLED AND TO ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE.
WHAT THEN ARE THE VALUES OF GOD'S KINGDOM?
We need to turn to Jesus' words read by our young people this morning in Matt Chapter 5. These words are commonly referred to by Bible commentators as the 'Beatitudes'. This is not a term found in the Bible but it comes from a Greek word meaning 'BLESSED, HAPPY, FORTUNATE.
Jesus, in Matthew Chapter 5, is pronouncing blessings, happiness or good fortune on all those who accept HIS values - THE VALUES OF THE KINGDOM.
In essence, the Beatitudes tell us what constitutes real happiness.
LET'S READ TOGETHER THE VERSES FOUND IN MATTHEW 5:1-12
'Now when He saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them…'
BEFORE WE GO ANY FURTHER, WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT:
JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES HAD JUST SPENT THE ENTIRE NIGHT IN PRAYER (Luke 6: 12-20).
HE HAD JUST APPOINTED AND ORDAINED THESE 12 MEN TO BECOME HIS DISCIPLES - IN OTHER WORDS, THEY HAD JUST ACCEPTED JESUS' INVITATION TO ENTER THE NARROW GATE.
HE NOW SITS DOWN TO SHARE WITH THEM, AND THE MULTITUDE, THE VALUES OF HIS KINGDOM.
JESUS CAME TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT AND NOW HE BEGINS TO TEACH.
'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven'.
HAPPY IS THE MAN WHO HAS REALISED HIS OWN UTTER HELPLESSNESS AND PUTS HIS WHOLE TRUST IN GOD AND LEARNS TO OBEY. (Just like little children with their parents - the first lesson learnt in life needs to be the lesson of obedience).
IN OTHER WORDS, IF YOU FEEL YOUR NEED OF GOD AND PLACE YOUR TRUST IN HIM, THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU.
'Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted'.
CHRIST, WITH THESE WORDS IS SPECIFICALLY REFERRING TO THOSE WHO ARE INTENSELY SORRY FOR THEIR SINS.
THOSE WHO ARE BROKENHEARTED FOR WHAT THEIR SIN HAS DONE TO GOD AND TO JESUS CHRIST
THOSE WHO SEE THE CROSS AND ARE APPALLED BY THE HAVOC WROUGHT BY SIN IN THE WORLD.
MOURNING FOR SIN IS A NATURAL CONSEQUENCE OF THE FIRST STEP OF RECOGNISING YOUR NEED OF GOD.
However, this verse can also refer to those who mourn for whatever reason and it is here that Christ can offer COMFORT, CONSOLATION and HOPE for a better life.
'Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth'
THE MEEK ARE:
THOSE WHO HAVE SELF UNDER COMPLETE CONTROL. We need to remember that self-exaltation lost the kingdom. Meekness will regain it.)
THE MEEK ARE THOSE WHO ARE EAGER TO LISTEN AND OBEY (Without humility a man cannot learn - we all need to be teachable. A know-all is hard to teach. A person who thinks he has all the answers will never learn)
THE MEEK ARE THOSE WHO ACKNOWLEGE GOD AS THE SOURCE OF LIFE AND ABILITIES
ONE DAY PEOPLE LIKE THIS WILL FILL THE WHOLE EARTH (in an earth made new)
'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled'.
ONLY THOSE WHO LONG TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT (RIGHTEOUSNESS) WITH THE EAGER ANXIETY OF A MAN STARVING FOR LACK OF FOOD OR FAMISHING FOR WANT OF WATER, WILL FIND IT AND BE TRULY SATISFIED. NO EARTHLY SOURCE CAN SATISFY THE HUNGER AND THIRST OF THE SOUL.
THE LONGING IN ONES HEART TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT GIVES EVIDENCE THAT JESUS HAS ALREADY STARTED HIS WORK OF THE KINGDOM OF GRACE IN YOU.
'Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy'.
JESUS IS SAYING THAT HAPPINESS COMES FROM BEING KIND, CONSIDERATE AND FORGIVING TO OTHERS. The most important thing to remember here is that: PEOPLE WILL REMEMBER YOUR MERCY AND WILL RETURN THE SAME TO YOU (Every teacher, church member and parent need to recognise that mercy has the tremendous power to transform the human heart).
'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God'. (Sinful man cannot see God and live)
THIS IS EQUIVALENT TO BEING CLOTHED WITH THE ROBE OF CHRIST'S RIGHTEOUSNESS.
IF THE MOTIVES ARE PURE, THE LIFE WILL BE PURE (not sinless, but pressing towards the mark of perfection in Christ Jesus) THE PURE IN HEART WILL SEE GOD THROUGH THE EYES OF FAITH AND EVENTUALLY IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD WHERE THEY WILL SEE HIM FACE TO FACE.
'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God'.
We need to see more peacemakers don't we?
THESE ARE PERSONS WHO CAN PRODUCE RIGHT RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN PEOPLE
WE ARE TOLD TO BE AT PEACE WITH ALL MEN
WE ARE TO PRAY FOR PEACE
WE ARE TO WORK FOR PEACE
HOWEVER, THE ONLY POWER THAT CAN CREATE OR PERPETUATE TRUE PEACE IS THE GRACE OF CHRIST - THIS IS A PEACE THE WORLD CAN NEVER GIVE- A PEACE THAT PASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING.
'Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven'.
Jesus is teaching them:
THAT LIFE IS NOT A BED OF ROSES
THAT THERE IS ENMITY BETWEEN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN AND THE KINGDOM OF THIS WORLD.
THAT LIGHT CANNOT EXIST WITH DARKNESS
THAT CITIZENS OF THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM MAY EXPECT TO HAVE TRIBULATION IN THIS WORLD (2 Tim 3:12)
I guess it is appropriate that the first and the last of Jesus' teaching in these Beatitudes should contain the assurance of membership in the kingdom.
He tells us that those who experience the above qualifications or values are said to be worthy of citizenship.
They have begun the walk through the narrow gate to the kingdom of glory - The road to ultimate happiness.
Let's place these thoughts together:
FIRST, WE ARE TOLD THAT WE HAVE TO FEEL OUR UTTER HELPLESSNESS AND OUR NEED OF JESUS (This is our starting point)
AS A RESULT WE NEED TO LEARN TO TRUST AND OBEY
THIS WILL THEN BRING ABOUT INTENSE GRIEVING OVER OUR SINS
SELF WILL BE BROUGHT UNDER CONTROL
WE WILL LONG TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT THROUGH JESUS
WE WILL BECOME KIND, CONSIDERATE AND FORGIVING
WE WILL BECOME CLOTHED WITH THE ROBES OF CHRIST'S RIGHTEOUSNESS
WE WILL SEE GOD THROUGH FAITH
WE WILL SEEK PEACE WITH OUR FELLOW MAN
IN ALL THIS HOWEVER, OUR LIVES WILL GENERATE OPPOSITION FROM THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS
OUT OF THESE EXPERIENCES WE BECOME WORTHY OF A PLACE IN GOD'S KINGDOM
HAPPY, BLESSED AND FORTUNATE ARE THOSE WHO HAVE THESE VALUES.
BUT, FRIENDS JESUS DOES NOT STOP THERE. All of a sudden He turns and says in v. 13
'You are the salt of the earth, BUT if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again. It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.'
IN OTHER WORDS, IF YOU HOLD ON TO ALL OF THESE EIGHT VALUES, YOU WILL BE THE SALT OF THE WORLD, BUT IF YOU LET GO OF THESE VALUES, YOU WILL BE LIKE TASTELESS SALT. THE ONLY THING TO DO WITH IT IS TO THROW IT OUT ON THE ROAD FOR PEOPLE TO WALK ON.
Putting it simply, 'IF YOU DON'T USE WHAT YOU HAVE GAINED, YOU WILL LOSE IT'
In this discourse Jesus was specifically talking His Disciples
- These men were the new charter members of the Kingdom of His divine grace.
- They had only just been appointed and ordained
- They had just been told they were to be fishers of men and NOW He tells them what He designed them to be.
HE SAYS THEY ARE TO BE THE SALT OF THE WORLD
WHAT WAS THEIR PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY AND FOCUS?
It was to be:
- THE SALVATION OF THEIR FELLOW MEN
- THEY WERE NOT TO WITHDRAW FROM SOCIETY, BUT WERE TO REMAIN IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH THEIR FELLOW MEN AND TO PRESERVE, LIKE SALT, THE VALUES OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN SOCIETY.
JESUS IS SAYING THAT
- NOW THEY HAD BECOME SUBJECTS OF HIS GRACE THEY COULD NOW BECOME AGENTS IN SAVING OTHERS.
- THEY HAD BEEN GIVEN A PRIVILEGE OF BECOMING CITIZEN'S OF GOD'S KINGDOM - NOW THEY HAD TO ACCEPT ITS RESPONSIBILITIES
- AS THE SALT OF THE EARTH THEY WERE BEING TOLD TO GO INTO ALL THE WORLD TO PREACH THE GOSPEL (Christianity exploded onto the world scene and in the first 100 years had gone to almost all of the then known world.)
What again allows you to become the salt of the earth? It is when you accept Christ's righteousness - When you accept the invitation to enter the narrow path.
Jesus now adds a solemn warning and suggests that.
- It is possible to lose the love, power, Righteousness of Christ - to stumble and fall from that narrow path.
- If the essential qualifications or values of Christ's Kingdom are lost from the life of a professed Christian - Let me tell you that there is no other source to which he may turn to supply the lack.
- You cannot give to others that which we do not possess ourselves.
One hundred and eighty years ago in the year 1820 a little English girl was born in the city of Florence. She was given the name of that great city so as to mark this special event. She was born into a very wealthy family. A family that was well known for their land and properties, for their exploits of travel, and for the fashionable world of high society in which they had become a part.
This little girl had everything that the world in nineteenth century England could possibly offer. The family had servants to do their every bidding. Their winter home had a beautiful ballroom where parties, dances and other high society functions were often held. Their summer home had fifteen bedrooms and this luxury was able to cater for those people around them who enjoyed the trappings of success and power.
However, Florence was soon to become weary of this extravagant lifestyle and, it was noted that from the age of six, she had always longed to do something special with her life.
She had a brilliant mind. Her father had taught her Greek, Latin, German, French, Italian as well as History and Philosophy. He also taught her to read the Bible from the original Greek text and it was this study that was to have a very special influence on her life.
As was common with the people of that age, a woman was to think only of marriage not a career, and Florence's mother was to be no exception in this belief. She expected her daughter to marry a rich young man in order to allow her to continue the life of luxury to which she had been accustomed.
However, her life felt empty and it was at the age of 16, alone in her room, that she made a decision to take God into her young life. There was no question in her mind that God was telling her to serve Him in some special way. She also believed that He would show her what she was to do when the time was right.
In the meantime, she continued her studies, particularly in Mathematics. This was later to become very helpful in the work she was called to do.
As she grew older she became more and more uneasy about her lifestyle. At this time in the 1840s, England was going through an economic depression and many of the poor were literally starving to death. As a result, Florence took medicine, food and clothing to them and cared for as many as she was able when they were sick. It was during this period, at the age of 24, that she was sure of what God wanted her to do. She wanted to become a nurse. Her scandalised parents flatly refused and were ashamed that she wanted to do a work that the majority of people saw as 'degrading'.
A nurse in those days was pictured as a woman of low repute involved in a job that no one else would do. Consequently, they were characterised as dirty, drunken, disreputable women with no knowledge of medicine and no care for their patients.
In the 1840s hospitals were dark, poorly run and disgusting. Floors were rarely scrubbed and walls were covered with dirt and mould. People with all kinds of diseases were crammed into the same room. Many came in filthy and often stayed that way. The smell was often so bad that doctors making the rounds would hold handkerchiefs over their faces. There was more chance of dying in these institutions then there was if a person stayed at home.
Torn between her desire to serve God and her desire to please her parents, she was to eventually suffer a nervous breakdown. Florence was just 27 years of age.
At age 33, with a number of refused marriage proposals behind her and the opportunity of further experiences in hospitals overseas, she was to eventually fulfil her dream when she was put in charge of a London Charity Hospital.
It was at this time that her parents bowed to the desires of their strong willed daughter recognising that absolutely nothing would turn her from the course she had chosen for her life.
Then came the Crimean War where England was to join forces with France and Turkey against the might of the Russian Army. Never had Britain been so unprepared for war as she was in 1854. For almost 40 years the nation had been at peace and as a result the British army was in many ways out of date and this was no more obvious than in the medical area. The cruelties practiced under English law at that time would be seen today as almost unbelievable.
Little care was taken of the sick and wounded - no comforts of any sort were provided and often men were just left to rot. To provide for the wounded from the Crimea the army had taken over a large dilapidated Turkish barracks at a place called SCUTARI.
This gloomy building, built over a sewer, now contained approximately four miles of beds, a foot or so apart. It was obvious that the army authorities were utterly incapable of dealing with the situation.
Florence's moment had come and her life was to change forever. She knew more about hospitals than anyone else in England. She was 34 years of age when Sidney Herbert, the Minister for War, and a special friend, asked her to take 38 nurses to Scutari.
They were unprepared for what they saw. Injured men lay on straw infested with fleas, lice and cockroaches. Soldiers slept in the muddy, blood-soaked clothing that they had worn on the battlefield. Rats ran over their feverish bodies, nibbling on the rotting flesh of their wounds. The dirt and the smell were indescribable. There was no ventilation and the floorboards were rotten in many places. There was no kitchen, no running water, no supplies and very little food.
On her arrival they immediately set to work. The place was thoroughly cleaned, a laundry was started, the food was improved and the wounded properly treated. For the first time the men were provided with soap, knives and forks, combs and toothbrushes. The army doctors bitterly resented her interference and stated strongly that she would only 'spoil the brutes'.
She worked up to 20 hours a day and often roamed the wards at night with her lamp. She had reduced the death rate from 42 out of 100 soldiers to 2 out of 100 by the end of the war and the men literally worshipped the ground on which she walked.
Because of her will of steel, her genius for organisation, a commanding personality and her expectation of obedience, she brought order out of chaos.
After the war had finished Florence Nightingale returned home to England. She was 36 years of age, broken in health and many feared she would not live much longer. OHT (Like shell-shocked soldiers) However, after a partial recovery and many more achievements to her credit she was to live for another 55 years as a semi- invalid to the great age of 91.
Her statue, the 'Lady of the Lamp', stands today among the heroes of her time in Waterloo Place, London.
In serving humanity Florence Nightingale stands out as one of the great women reformers who was able to change some of the evils of that old barbarous world.
Florence endorsed the sentiments made by Paul found in Philippians 3:8 where he says:
'What is more, I consider everything a loss
compared to the surpassing greatness of
knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, For whose sake
I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish,
that I may gain Christ.
Florence accepted Jesus Christ as her personal saviour, became a citizen of God's Kingdom and then one of God's special ambassadors.
She had discovered early in her life that 'Heaven is where peace is' and I would like to share with you the following verses of a song that expresses these special sentiments.
O the peace this world can offer
Cannot compare with what's in store
For the one whose long been waiting
Just to walk through heavens door
And all the riches of the kings of earth
Can never buy the peace of God
It's a gift to every sinner
That's covered by the blood
Heaven is where peace is
Like no man's ever known
Heaven is where peace is
Flowing from God's throne
O what joy just to be there
Never more to roam
Heaven is where peace is
And heaven will be home
Even though the Bible tells us,
Peace on earth cannot be found
There are those who still are searching
Saying peace will soon abound
But all the wisdom of the universe
Can never find the peace of God
It is the gift to every sinner
that's covered by the blood
Heaven is where peace is
Never more to roam
Heaven is where peace is
And heaven will be home.
To conclude our thoughts this morning, let me return to my four original questions
HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE THE DESIRE TO BECOME MORE AND MORE LIKE JESUS?
HOW MANY OF YOU WISH TO BECOME CITIZENS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
Jesus answers these first two questions when he tells us that we need:
TO RECOGNISE OUR UTTER HELPLESSNESS AND NEED OF HIM
and when He tells us
TO TRUST HIM AND TO LEARN THE LESSON OF OBEDIENCE
By accepting Jesus' invitation and placing Him on the throne of your heart, this will enable you to:
BRING SELF UNDER CONTROL
GRIEVE OVER YOUR SINS
LONG TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT
BECOME KIND, CONSIDERATE AND FORGIVING
BECOME CLOTHED WITH THE ROBES OF HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS
SEE GOD THROUGH FAITH
SEEK PEACE WITH YOUR FELLOW MAN WHILE GENERATING OPPOSITION FROM THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS
These experiences will then make you worthy of a place in God's kingdom
THE THIRD QUESTION WHICH ASKED WHETHER YOU WISH TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE HASTENING OF GOD'S KINGDOM IS ANSWERED IN THE TEXT THAT SAYS 'YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH'
THE FOURTH QUESTION WHICH ASKED 'HOW MANY OF YOU ARE PREPARED TO TAKE THE ROAD LEAST TRAVELLED?' can only be answered by your acceptance of Jesus' invitation to enter the narrow gate.
It is my prayer this morning that we fix our eyes on the Lamb of God, so that we may play our part in ushering in GOD'S WONDEROUS KINGDOM OF GLORY
Let's accept His special invitation when He says: 'Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world'.
SCRIPTURE READING: MATT 5:1-12. HYMNS: 229 'All Hail the Power of Jesus Name', 512 'Just when I need Him Most', 590 'Trust & Obey'
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