Fundamentals of the Rule of God in our Lives

Matthew 4:17 Matthew 5:1-12


Matt 4:

17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Matthew 5:

1Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


Repent means to turn toward God. To move our lives in the direction of God. We are actually called to a lifetime of repentance!


The Kingdom of heaven (God) has come near. The Kingdom of God is close. At the end of Jesus’ ministry: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…” Is this what the world looks like? And yet it is what God has said. So, what is the kingdom of God if it is not manifested outwardly like a worldly kingdom?

Kingdom means king. What does it mean for God to be your king? What are we missing if we miss the kingdom of God? Well, if there is a God, then what He wants from us is important!


Jesus taught about the kingdom of God a lot. Read Matthew 13 and the seven parables there are all about describing the nature of the Kingdom of God.

If God is our King, then He will live in covenant relationship with us. And the basic term that God uses to describe what He brings to the table in relationship is blessing. God blesses people with life, with purpose and meaning and with all good things!


When Matthew begins Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount with blessings, this is the offer of those good things to us from God because of His Kingly authority!

The following is the title for John the Baptist and Jesus’ message to the Jewish people of their day. I believe it is the title of their message to us as well.

  1. Repent the Kingdom is Near

This call to repentance is an individual call. This means that…

  1. God has a Kingdom purpose for our lives

Kingdom issues are what Jesus talks about. But there is much confusion about the Kingdom of God in Jesus’ day and there still is much confusion today because we equate God’s Kingdom with earthly Kingdoms and there are significant differences in the way that God rules. And these differences relate to the fact that God is different than people.

He is Creator

He is Alpha and Omega, beginning and end

There are no limits on His knowledge

There are no limits on His power

He is not insecure in any way

He desires to have a real love relationship with people and this requires that we have a free choice and submit to Him freely and trust Him even when we can’t control Him or see Him.


  1. Repent in order to submit to God

A call to repentance assumes a need for change. This is a call for humility. But, this needs specifics. What is it that needs to change? Let me give you some examples:

Luke 3:

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”

13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”

He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”


If nothing else, our lives require growth. We talked last week about pruning. God is the gardener!


  1. There is risk of missing God

If the Kingdom of God is near, then there is an element of opportunity that is unique.

        Isaiah 40: A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

There have been no OT prophets for 400 plus years. Israel still sees themselves in captivity. And then John shows up with this message. And then Jesus repeats the message!

Jesus and John came preaching about the kingdom of God and calling people to change. So, in the Sermon on the Mount we should expect to hear Jesus speak about things that need to change for the Jewish people and we should expect for Him to speak about things in our own lives that need to change.

So, if the message is for us to change because God’s kingdom is near in our own lives, then the question for us to ask God is “What needs to change?

The change of behavior is preparation for God’s kingdom work in and through our lives.


Jesus’ preaching about the kingdom summary statement is followed by what I call Matthew’s example of how and what Jesus taught about. And Jesus starts what we call the Sermon on the Mount talking about blessings. And blessings are a VERY IMPORTANT BIBLICAL ISSUE!

  1. The Biblical Importance of Blessing


  1. God creates and God blesses

These are the two necessary qualities in order to have a         flourishing life!

Genesis 1:

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

Genesis 2:

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.

The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.

10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden;

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

The greatest blessing is to have God’s blessing in our lives. Because in chapter 3 we see that God also curses!

Genesis 3: 14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush[b] your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”

17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”


  1. Abraham Babel and the blessing of God

        Genesis 11: They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

The desire of the people at Babel was to build a city for themselves. (God built a garden for people to live in)

They build a tower that will reach heaven. They will gain heaven on their own as a result of their new advancements in technology.

But the great goal is to make a great name for themselves and to keep themselves from being scattered. It is significance and protection that they seek.

The result of Babel is failure because God exists. It will always be failure, because God exists. But let me assure you that they sold their work as success all the while.

In contrast to Babel, we have Abraham!

All we know about Abraham is that he left Ur with his father, intending to travel to Canaan, that he is married to Sarai, that she is barren and that his nephew Lot is traveling with them. They don’t make it to Canaan, they stop in Harran.

And God then initiates a relationship with Abraham:

12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

I will make you great. I will bless you.

I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.

I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you.

All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.


The very things that the people of Babel sought God offers to Abraham of His own initiative. God is the source of these qualities of life that we call blessings.


This blessing from God to Abraham is passed down to his descendants. God promises to bless Abraham’s seed.

The New Testament picks up this idea of blessing and identifies the seed of Abraham as a particular individual.

Galatians 3: 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.

Galatians 3: 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.


  1. The blessings given in the Covenant with Moses

Deuteronomy 28: If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:

You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.

The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.

You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.

The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.

The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him. 10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you. 11 The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.

12 The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. 13 The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.

If we were to summarize these blessings into categories, we could say that God promises to bless them with:

Provision for their physical needs in abundance

Protection from their enemies

Purpose in life that is directly related to being His people.

These blessings come from keeping God’s law.


III. The Surprising Blessings Espoused by Jesus

These blessings explained by Jesus have always been true. They are a part of the kingdom of God. They have a negative tint because we live in God’s created world that has been tainted by sin. But they have always been true. Other than the first two, Jesus clearly shows us the pathway of the last several. He proves that this is the path of blessing!!

  1. Blessings of spiritual humility

        Isaiah 40: A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway
for our God.


Poor in spirit, mourning, meekness and a hunger for    righteousness


We must know the bad news in order to see that the gospel         really means good news to me personally.


  1. Blessings of spiritual pursuits

        Merciful, pure in heart and peacemakers


Understanding our need, we pursue following Christ as the cure   for what curses us! This is the pathway to blessing!


  1. Blessings of suffering

        Persecuted for righteousness sake, insulted, falsely accused and         slandered because of Jesus.


Following Jesus comes at a cost. For a Jewish person in the first   century to decide to follow Jesus, the cost would be like a Muslim     person today from a strict family deciding to follow Jesus.


What we will see in our own lives as we examine the teachings of Jesus is that if we do not have the blessings of spiritual humility, spiritual pursuit or the willingness to suffer, we will not follow Jesus’ teaching! These blessings are fundamental to individual repentance and change!