Note: We are continuing our sermon series in Lord’s Day afternoon worship through the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12). I have been helped by reading through Thomas Watson’s book The Beatitudes (1660; Banner ed. 1971). Below are some notes from the conclusion of last Sunday’s message on “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
In his reflections on the promise “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” Watson offers exhortations both to the wicked and to Christians.
First, he urges the wicked to take this promise as a warning. At the last day, the devil will reproach and laugh at those men who traded the pleasure of this life for the crown of the kingdom. The wicked will be like the Indians who traded gold and land to the first European settlers for pictures and glass beads! The valuable will have been forfeited for the worthless!
Second, Watson urges Christians to see the coming kingdom as a motivation to duty. He says, “Methinks we should sometimes go aside into our closets and weep to consider how little work we have done for God. What a vast disproportion is there between our service and our reward! What is all our weeping and fasting compared to a kingdom! Oh improve all your interest for God. Make seasons of grace opportunities for service.”
He then urges believers to walk worthy of this kingdom: “Live as kings. Let the majesty of holiness appear in your faces.”
A child of God is often so low in the world that he has not a foot of land to inherit. He is poor in purse as well as in spirit. But here is a fountain of consolation opened. The poorest saint who has lost all his golden fleece is heir to a kingdom, a kingdom which excels all the kingdoms and principalities of the world, more than pearl or diamond excels brass. It is peerless and endless. The hope of a kingdom, says Basil, should carry a Christian with courage and cheerfulness through all his afflictions. And it is a saying of Luther, 'The sea of God's mercy, overflowing in spiritual blessings, should drown all the sufferings of this life.’ What though you go now in rags? You shall have your white robes. What though you are fed as Daniel with pulse and have coarser fare? You shall feast when you come into the kingdom. Here you drink the water of tears, but shortly you shall drink the wine of paradise. Be comforted with the thoughts of a kingdom.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle
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