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                      "THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM"

                    The Righteousness Of The Kingdom

INTRODUCTION

1. To enter the kingdom of God one must be born again...
   a. Involving faith, repentance and immersion in water on man's part 
      - Jn 3:3-7; Mk 16:16
   b. Involving grace, mercy, and the renewal by the Spirit on God's
      part - Tit 3:5-7
   -- Such are conveyed into the present kingdom of God's dear Son - cf.
      Col 1:12-14

2. To enter the kingdom of God one must make their calling and election
   sure...
   a. With a righteousness that surpasses that of the scribes and
      Pharisees - Mt 5:20
   b. With diligence in growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus
      Christ - 2Pe 1:5-9
   -- Such will receive an abundant entrance into the everlasting
      kingdom of Jesus Christ - cf. 2Pe 1:10-11

2. In this lesson, we focus our attention on the righteousness of the
   kingdom...
   a. That surpasses the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees - Mt
      5:20
   b. That produces holiness without which no one will see the Lord - He
      12:14
   -- Though required, still makes us dependent upon God's mercy - cf.
      Lk 17:10; Tit 3:5

[In His sermon on the mount, Jesus had much to say about the
righteousness of the kingdom.  Beginning with "The Beatitudes" (Mt
5:3-12), we learn of the...]

I. NECESSARY ATTITUDES (Mt 5:3-12)

   A. THESE ATTITUDES INCLUDE...
      1. Poverty of spirit (i.e., humility) - Mt 5:3
      2. Mourning (e.g., over sin) - Mt 5:4
      3. Meekness toward God and others - Mt 5:5
      4. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness - Mt 5:6
      5. Merciful toward others - Mt 5:7
      6. Purity of heart (i.e., desire for holiness) - Mt 5:8
      7. Makers of peace - Mt 5:9
      8. Willingness to endure persecution for the kingdom and for Jesus
         - Mt 5:10-12

   B. THESE ATTITUDES CAN LEAD TO...
      1. The kingdom of heaven - Mt 5:3,12
      2. Comfort (e.g., from the burden of sin)  - Mt 5:4
      3. Inheriting the earth (i.e., living a blessed life) - Mt 5:5;
         cf. Ps 37
      4. Being filled with righteousness - Mt 5:6
      5. Obtaining mercy - Mt 5:7
      6. Seeing God - Mt 5:8
      7. Being called children of God - Mt 5:9
      8. A great reward in heaven, i.e., the kingdom of heaven! - Mt 5:
         10-12

[With these necessary attitudes, we are more like to display the conduct
necessary for the kingdom.  Which Jesus describes as He continues His
sermon on the mount...]

II. NECESSARY CONDUCT (Mt 5:13-6:18)

   A. LETTING YOUR LIGHT SHINE...
      1. You are the salt of the earth - Mt 5:13
      2. You are the light of the world - Mt 5:14-15
      3. Let your light shine, that men might glorify your Father - Mt
         5:16

   B. WITH A HIGHER STANDARD OF CONDUCT...
      1. Avoiding not just murder, but anger - Mt 5:21-26
      2. Avoiding not just adultery, but impure thoughts as well - Mt
         5:27-30
      3. Avoiding divorce because of what it does - Mt 5:31-32
      4. Avoiding flippant oaths by speaking truthfully - Mt 5:33-37
      5. Responding to evil with good - Mt 5:38-42
      6. Loving your enemy and those who mistreat you - Mt 5:43-48
      7. Doing charitable deeds to be seen of God, not men - Mt 6:1-4
      8. Praying to be seen of God, not men - Mt 6:5-15
      9. Fasting to be seen of God, not men - Mt 6:16-18

[This higher standard of righteousness can appear daunting.  Yet it
helps to have the right priorities which Jesus also discusses...]

III. NECESSARY PRIORITIES (Mt 6:19-34)

   A. REGARDING WHAT IS YOUR TREASURE...
      1. Let your priority be laying up treasure in heaven - Mt 6:19-20
      2. For where your treasure is, there your heart (emotions,
         devotions) will be - Mt 6:21
      3. If you have an evil eye (i.e., covetous, Pr 23:6), you walk in
         darkness - Mt 6:22-23
      4. You cannot serve both God and mammon (earthly treasure) - Mt
         6:24

   B. REGARDING WHAT COMES FIRST...
      1. Don't worry about life, food, clothing, for God will provide 
         - Mt 6:25-32
      2. God's kingdom and righteousness (i.e., His will) must take
         priority - Mt 6:33-34

CONCLUSION

1. We could continue on into the next chapter, where Jesus...
   a. Details additional aspects of the righteousness of the kingdom 
      - Mt 7:1-12
   b. Exhorts us to be diligent and use caution - Mt 7:13-20

2. But let's conclude by noting carefully what Jesus says...
   a. About doing the will of His Father in heaven - Mt 7:21-23
      1) It is not sufficient to be religious, or even active in doing
         things for Jesus
      2) What is crucial is that we do the Father's will as revealed by
         Jesus
   b. About being doers of His word, and not hearers only - Mt 7:24-27
      1) It is not sufficient to be good listeners (e.g., good
         churchgoers)
      2) We must be doers of the Word as well!

3. In view of such warnings, we should seek to be diligent in
   developing...
   a. The necessary attitudes (that will make us receptive to the
      Father's will)
   b. The necessary conduct (that is harmony with the Father's will)
   c. The necessary priorities (that will make the Father's will number
      one)

4. The necessary conduct (i.e., righteousness of the kingdom) may seem
   daunting and beyond our ability...
   a. But if we have the necessary attitudes
   b. And are willing to set the necessary priorities
   -- God will help us with the necessary conduct! - cf. Ep 3:16,20; Ph
      4:13

Can it be said that our righteousness surpasses the righteousness of the
scribes and Pharisees...?
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