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How to Inherit God's Kingdom

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
April 25, 2021 8:00 am

How to Inherit God's Kingdom

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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April 25, 2021 8:00 am

There’s plenty of talk today about the evils of poverty and the power of riches, just as there was in Jesus’ time. Certainly, our Lord was concerned for the poor, but His focus was not so much on material possessions. What kind of poverty did Jesus address in His earthly ministry? Find out on The Bible Study Hour as Dr. James Boice explains the requisites to inheriting the Kingdom of God.

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There's a great deal of thought today about the evils of poverty. The power of riches. Some people say which is better.

Jesus Christ teaches that in one sense, poor is better than a lot of misunderstanding and misapplication of this teaching that there doesn't need to be like to tell you what I mean and how it can affect your life. Welcome to Bible study on the radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act quickly. Jesus addressed the poor in spirit and spoke of that state of being is one the follower of Christ should desire to occupy because with it comes a benefit.

The world longs to possess join Dr. Boyce as he explores what it means to be poor in spirit, and its byproducts, blessings and happiness for the believer. There are not many things I know about Sophie Tucker, the actress, but years ago I heard a statement of hers that I've since remembered one occasion the actress was asked about her early struggles for success, and whether or not she had found a certain happiness in her years of poverty she answered. Listen, I've been rich and I've been poor and leave me riches better. For years I found this remark interesting. I remember it today because it seems to be the direct opposite of the first great principle taught by the Lord Jesus Christ about how you and I can find happiness. The first verse of the sermon on the Mount, the first of the Beatitudes.

Jesus Christ said blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven according to Jesus. Happiness is related to some sort of poverty. The heirs of God will be those in only those who find it. In all fairness to Sophie Tucker. However, I must admit that when Jesus Christ was talking about a poverty of spirit.

He was not talking about poverty in the same sense that most of us talk about it, talking about the opposite of being the materially rich. This is the sense in which many commentators on Matthew's gospel have taken Christ saying, but this is not its true meaning will be some justification for this interpretation. If Luke's version of the Beatitudes were all that we possessed in our Bibles because Luke reports Jesus is saying, Blessed be ye poor for yours is the kingdom of God. This could be material poverty but it's not for Matthew rules out this meaning by quoting Christ's full saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit be poor in spirit is to be poor in the inward man modern outward circumstances. Consequently, to be poor in spirit is to recognize one's poverty spiritually before God. If it were true that Matthew 53 refers to material poverty, then it would be a non-Christian thing for the Christian or any other person to seek to alleviate the burdens of the destitute and starving but would mean seeking to abolish that which actually brings them closer to God and to his happiness. If this were the meaning would not be right to attempt to relieve those were starving and Biafra would not be right to try and provide for the refugees left homeless by natural calamities and wars to be no social programs within the Christian churches there could be no orphanages, no hospitals or inner-city missions. None of these things would be Christian if this verse taught that spiritual blessedness was to be derived from material poverty. Fortunately, of course, the verse doesn't say this at all and what is equally important. God does not sanction poverty in any other biblical passage either.

It's true that there are versus the teach that sometimes riches can be a bad thing. Christ said that it's often hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. A person can be so caught up in the material things of this world, that he could miss all of God's spiritual benefits.

This is true, but if it's true that it's hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. It is also true that it's sometimes difficult for the poor man enter also the poor man can be equally materialistic, even though he doesn't possess the things that he craves for no the first beatitude is not talking about either material riches or material poverty, you know, it's not talking about the poor in spirit, in the sense of being poor spirited either. Poor spirited person is a person who lacks all drive and all enthusiasm for life are many Christians who seem to be like this but this isn't endorsed by Christ's teaching either. After all, David was the one man in all the Bible it was called a man after God's own heart was on a more ambitious or more successful man in all of Israel's history. David was a man who entered vigorously into the affairs of his day forged a nation out of diverse and mutually jealous tribes and the United them successfully enough to be able to drive off all of the surrounding nations the desire to conquer Israel. David was not poor, spirited yet he epitomized perhaps far more than any other character in history. What Jesus meant when he said that his followers were to be poor in spirit before God. What exactly did Jesus mean we can see the answer to this question. When we recognize that being poor in spirit is the opposite of being rich in pride fact, you might say that being poor in spirit is to be spiritually bankrupt before God. The mental state of the man was recognize something of the righteousness and holiness of God was seen into the sin and corruption of his own heart and is acknowledged his own deep and permanent inability to please God. Such a person alone is poor in spirit, and it is such a person. The Lord says that the kingdom of heaven belongs. Seen in this way, the first of the eight Beatitudes is one of the strongest statements in the Bible of the great doctrine of justification by faith in Jesus Christ alone for its statement of a person's total inability to please God by any human efforts of this first great teaching of the sermon on the Mount is one that can be spelled out more clearly in a number of related propositions.

The first one is this, we must recognize as a first principle for understanding the sermon on the Mount that we cannot fulfill the standards of the sermon on the Mount by ourselves sermon on the Mount wasn't given so that a man could say to himself, welcome on old chap. I guess we'll just have to try harder to pull you up by your bootstraps. The reason is that this cannot be done. Paradoxically, Jesus teaches that the sermon on the Mount is only for those who know that they cannot live by it. You will recognize that this is precisely what the law of God given in the Old Testament is all about. It was not given by God, so that a person might fulfill some of it and then congratulate himself on how well he's doing.

It was given to drive a man to God for God's mercy.

This is clearly demonstrated in the first giving of the law on Mount Sinai people of Israel and ask for the law unguarded called Moses up in the mountain to receive it.

Was told that there were to be no other gods before the one true God of Israel, there were to be no idols that was to be no greed, no adultery, no murder, no breaking of the Sabbath day and so on. One of the precepts of the law were being given to Moses on the top of Mount Sinai.

The people would come with him out of Egypt were down in the valley doing the very things that God was forbidding so right at the beginning of Israel's history. We have a demonstration that the standards of God's righteousness cannot be achieved by fallen human beings when time the people of Israel recognize this truth and those who submitted to it came to God, humbly confessing their sin and availing themselves of the cleansing that God provided through the sacrifices those would not submit to this truth and who instead boasted and wish to boast in their own self-righteousness.

These sought to whittle the high standards of law down to the low level of their own performance. They did this by interpreting and reinterpreting it under the direction of the scribes, a series of supplementary commandments was added to the law which had the effect of lowering its requirements. Although naturally no one would say this actually rabbis said that they were putting a hedge about the Torah Torah means law and this phrase meant that they were constructing a series of safeguard commandments about the central God-given commandment so that anyone who came close to breaking. It would be warned about it before he did so, and thus kept from sinning. In practice, however this only meant that the individual could tell himself that he had kept the divine commandment only was really doing was observing a series of lesser teachings by one or more of the scribes could tell himself that he had kept the Sabbath. The fee didn't travel more than a Sabbath day's journey didn't cook in his home did not work in the field and so on, and it was possible for him to escape entirely for more important demands upon his mind and conduct that in God's view actually made the day holy.

This was a situation in Jesus day end result was that Jesus confronted the hypocrisy of the religious people directly. Jesus said, for I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven, and he ended the first great section of the sermon on the mount with the categorical statement be therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.

In other words, Jesus was saying even though you may have kept the commandments of Rabbi Hillel, Rabbi Yehuda Rabbi Llosa.

This does not necessarily mean that you have kept the commandments of God and the purpose of those commandments is actually to show you that you have not kept them and that you will never be able to do so.

Years later, the apostle Paul came along and spelled out this identical teaching for his churches. He wrote I we know that whatever things the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight for why the law is the knowledge of sin is the this verse.

All of the others that I've quoted boil down to just this one thing that the law cannot do is to make a man righteous before God, rather than that, it condemns him.

Consequently if we are ever to understand the ethical teachings of Jesus Christ. We must recognize as a first great principle that we cannot cannot cannot do them. We must come in faith to the only one who didn't fulfill them, who alone can fulfill them and those who give their lives to him. Let me illustrate the truth. In this way to preach the standards of the sermon on the Mount persons who are unregenerate and new don't have Christ's nature within them is a bit like reaching the prophecies about the bliss of the millennium, and Isaiah to the animal world. The 11th chapter of Isaiah says that when Jesus Christ will return to this world to set up a holy kingdom all things will be made right. Sin will be stopped and even in nature. The lion will lie down with the lamb, will try preaching that today I've been to the zoo enough times to see the great cats fed. I have no doubt at all little lamb wandering into the lion's cage would only be dinner with Rulon.

No matter how many preachers were reading the 11th chapter of Isaiah to the lien what is necessary if the prophecy is to be fulfilled as it will be his for a new nature to be given to the lion and what is necessary if the law is to be fulfilled in us is for a new nature to be given to us were supposed to fulfill it.

We need to recognize as a first principle of Christian ethics that a new nature given by the Lord Jesus Christ is prerequisite the second great principle suggested by Matthew 53 is that there must be an emptying in our lives before there can be a filling, we must become poor in spirit before we can become rich in God's spiritual blessings. The old wine be poured out of the wineskins before the new wine can be poured in right back at the beginning of our Lord's earthly life. Simeon acknowledged this in the prophecy made to Mary and Joseph when they appeared in Jerusalem for the presentation of the infant Jesus at the temple. Simeon said, behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel is the order first. The fall then the rising again. In other words, the emptying comes before the filling repentance before conversion, the recognition of worthlessness in God's sight before acceptance of his salvation.

This is what all of God's children have found was known as St. Augustine for his conversion, the future Bishop of hippo was proud of his intellect, knowledge, these things actually held them back from believing was only after he had emptied himself of his pride and his sense of being able to manage his own life perfectly that he found God's perfect wisdom through Scripture that he found the solution to all his personal problems. Through Christ. Luther's experience with similar when the future German reformer entered the monastery at a young age it was to earn his salvation through piety and good works.

Nevertheless, he had an acute sense of failure was only after he had recognized his own inability to please God and emptied himself of all attempts to earn his salvation that God touched his heart and showed him the true meaning of salvation by grace through faith. Luther became the great reformer of the church the same way modern hymn writer is written, but though I cannot sing or tell her know the fullness of I love wild here below my empty vessel. I may freely bring all who are to love the living spring. My vessel fill. I am an empty vessel, not one falloff door look of love.

I never really brought it.

I may come and come again today with this the empty sinners only plea bow lobbyist me an empty vessel. I am an empty vessel if you will say that then God will fill you with the life of Jesus Christ supernaturally and you will begin to live the standards of the sermon on the Mount by the power of the one who gave it Jesus Christ, and who himself lived it perfectly in this world, others only one more observation that needs to be added to these comments in the first beatitude I said there must be an emptying of the person before there can be a filling by God must be a true poverty of spirit, but this is not natural to man. In fact, it's impossible to man. We must therefore add that nothing but a direct confrontation with the holy just end loving God will produce it using it's never possible to create a true poverty of spirit by looking within ourselves or by looking around at other people. The human heart is corrupt because of it will always latch upon someone who is worse in some respect than yourself, you will find someone who is prouder than you Warren although you may still be quite proud. You will congratulate yourselves and being humble you will find someone who is strong fits of temper. Although you to have a temper you will congratulate yourself on being more moderate in your temper than he is, so it will go with all of the failings that make you less perfect than Jesus Christ and therefore the fit object of his mercy and salvation. Yet you know you need not look to other men for the basis of a self-evaluation may look to God as you see them reflected in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. There you will learn true humility.

True sense of need and the result will be beneficial.

You will say is Isaiah did when he saw God, war was made for I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of the people of unclean lips from when Isaac seen the King, the Lord of hosts. CS Lewis once wrote of this experience. Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good. Above all that we are better than someone else. I think we may be sure that we are being acted upon by God but by the devil. The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself.

Altogether see yourself as a small, dirty object is better to forget about yourself. Altogether, as we continue our studies of the Beatitudes.

I'm sure that both of those things will happen, but one other thing will happen. Also we shall see more and more of Jesus. One who uses himself sermon on the Mount, we shall be drawn increasingly closer to him. Now our father, we thank you for these true using your word for all the teach us about our relationship to you. There is anyone listening today who's trusting in his own ability to please you grant that he might have the blinders of his sin removed and that he might come to faith in Christ Jesus, grant that we all might catch a new glimpse of these crews and rejoice in them. We pray in Jesus name, amen. Your listing to the Bible study hours featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyce. Some people stumble upon the kingdom of God, almost by accident.

While some search high and low for it. Dr. Boyce studies. Each of these cases and explains how the kingdom may be found in our free CD offer entitled people of the kingdom. This free message is just our way of saying thanks to you, call us at 1-800-488-1888 and we will be happy to send you a copy of people of the kingdom. That number again is 1-800-488-1888 we hope you're enjoying the series on the sermon on the Mount last broadcast over 50 years ago. You know these timeless messages are useful and relevant whenever there and that's why the alliance of confessing Evangelicals can move confidently into the future as the Bible study our and our other broadcast ministries continue to grow.

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Wanting to escape to a life of freedom, a life on wings.

It's a wishes into this fallen man quickly will such a life take us doing Dr. James Boyce next time of the Bible study our as he shows us that the happiness man so often seeks may spring from a very unexpected source.

That's next time on Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically

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